Reprint Details: What’s New (and What’s Not) in Medieval

Photo Oct 31, 2 45 06 PM.jpg

So, what the heck did we change with this reprint of Medieval?

Wait—reprint? Okay, for those of you who are new to Medieval, welcome! This post will give you a little insight into our playtesting and development so far. As for players of the original release, you'll remember that Medieval was first designed by Richard Berg and published by GMT Games back in 2003, which we are republishing with the blessing of both Richard and GMT. And you had some questions about what's new. So here we go ...

The obvious updates are to the look and feel of the game, most notably introducing a full-sized 23” x 33” hard-mounted board for the map (as opposed to forming the map with playing-size cards). As you can see, a fresh look at the components is a major focus for the reprint, both in terms of the art and the physical composition of all the pieces-parts too. For a full rundown of updated components, head over to our Kickstarter page.


As far as gameplay goes, we remained true to the original. Heck, the bloody watermark (bloodmark?) of Medieval is big battles, table talk, crazy events that throw the medieval equivalent of a wrench into things, backstabbing, and the way the lead shifts and changes throughout the game. And Mongols. Yeah, we kept them too. Because Mongols.

We didn’t touch any of that because that style of gameplay convinced us to form HGN Games and give this Kickstarter a shot. So, if you’re a player of the original, you’ll be glad to know that the black and desiccated heart of the game that makes it so much fun to play is still intact.

So, in our “Do no harm” design ethos, we kept true to the following:

  • Map discovery as areas for conquest open up
  • Map destruction as the Mongols attack and conquer sections of the map
  • The “power of the purse” where you keep your treasury secret and can apply it to boost combat

What we did update, in addition to the new rules for our stretch goals (2 to 6 players instead of 3 to 5, investments, and so forth), falls into the category of clarifications and refinements. Based on years of play at conventions and game nights, and the input from our playtesters, we addressed some oddball edge cases like the order of playing Spies cards during an attack and what happens to a Power card when all provinces in play are destroyed by the Mongols even though there are still some provinces yet to be uncovered. You know, oddball stuff like that. 

We also removed a few items that, based on experience, were extraneous and didn’t add much to gameplay in light of the rules involved, like the using the Pope card for a Diplomatic Marriage and to transit through the Papal States.

The biggest change is in the endgame—with the aim of making it (even more) intense. The game now ends after that last Mongol card is played (at the worst possible time for you because you have that one, final attack all lined up and now you're stuck), rather than waiting for the deck to empty or when the next Power card is drawn. We want just about everyone around the table to shout NO WAY when that last Mongol card gets slapped down on the table.

We also changed the sequence of play so that players draw cards at the end of their turn and then play mandatory cards. This makes for faster game play, since players can scheme and plan while the other cabals take their turns.

Next up for us is a full edit pass on the rules. Once we have them playtested (including our new optional rules from the stretch goals), we'll get all English major on them.

- Novice Peter


Pete Gade