So, you’ve fought the Dark Shogun, survived against the dragon’s castle and fought half digested samurai within the bowels of the beast. The next step is logical. Go shopping! That’s exactly what the Feudal village is there to provide, along with gambling, brawling and other downtime activities such as joining a new religion and getting murdered by an evil daimyo.
Feudal village expands massively on the post mission stage of Shadows of Brimstone Forbidden Fortress but also provides more content to flesh out other areas of the game as well.
It is also worth noting that this expansion is near identical to Frontier Town but caters to the Japanese theme and characters rather than the old west ones. Both are completely compatible and add unique elements so having both is still beneficial but go for whichever one you own the respective core set for first.
The main focus is on the new towns and expanded town stage. There is a larger and more diverse range of travel hazards that range from escaping hellbats to cutting a deal with a mysterious stranger for a wealth of free coins. But, with the caveat that if you ever meet him again your character will be instantly and permanently destroyed. But if you can survive the expanded travel hazards then you can visit a town of small, medium or large size with each step up having more locations to visit.
The locations themselves are randomized and incorporate the existing buildings in the base game. This provides some randomness to the towns and gives the benefit of risking more travel to reach a larger town to ensure it has a doctor or temple to recover and boost your character.
New Buildings Mean More Weapons
items and activities you can act on which gives you much more options for character builds. There are also specialized town cards that can be added which further enhance the towns. Perhaps you have stumbled onto a Dark Shogun controlled town where unmutated characters will be treated with hostility or a Portuguese trading port with rare and exotic European weapons and the powerful ability to swap your initial starting heirloom item and trait for another one.
These new towns and buildings also come with random events that can trigger which trigger more chaos. Will you visit the blacksmith and chance upon a rare artifact sale, or will the blacksmith be overcome with mutation and trash half the town?
It is the randomness and chaotic nature which is to be expected from Shadows of Brimstone at this point. This is compounded by the town event deck. A series of cards that are drawn at the start of each day and carry an effect through for the rest of the day. This also combines with the Forbidden Fortress Allies pack which adds a few ally specific cards to the deck.
On top of fleshing out the downtime stage with more of everything there is also a new board included. A typical folding board rather than the tiles of the fortress or mines. It features the aforementioned feudal village and is used to play through a selection of new missions. Most focused on the new enemy type included in the box.
The Bandits. This enemy group is very versatile. They are a low to mid-tier enemy with trait cards in the form of bandit gangs. This can give them powerful new abilities and they often appear in large numbers. They also have cards to spawn on any missions so they build on the base game and can pop up in your classic Forbidden Fortress missions.
The village missions usually see you defending the town from enemies trying to burn it down or assassinate the town magistrate. There is even a particularly gruelling survival-based mission which sees random enemy threats spawn on the edges of the map and attack the villagers as you try to survive and defend them for a set number of turns.
These missions can be undertaken like any of the standard ones and add some nice variation as you modify your tactics for open areas and use buildings for cover rather than fighting in the tunnels and fortifications of the classic fortress. Additionally, there is a new thematic mission featuring the Onyro which is a variation of a miniboss from the core set and includes a new trait card you can add to her deck.
There are also new item cards and tokens included and which are shuffled into the standard deck. Most of these new tokens can be bought at the new building types but it is good to have the option to find them randomly within missions as well. There are also many new and powerful items available in town.
These range from a massive new array of weapons and armour to horses and clothing. Pretty much every aspect that could be expanded from the base game has been and there are more options for lower and higher-level players which allow for a larger variety of playstyles and builds.
The quality of the new pieces is high. You receive a multitude of cards and sheets all with good artwork and of the same quality as the base game. The new board is of a decent thickness and does a good job of capturing the feel of a Japanese feudal village with a variety of different buildings and features.
The new bandit enemies are of a higher quality than the base game miniatures and each one has a few different options so you can assemble 12 unique models rather than have the same identical pose repeated twice like in some of their other expansions. This is a welcome change and hopefully will be the norm going forward as it helps to differentiate and add interest to the board when they have some small differences between them.
This may also be a slight turn off for people not used to assembling models but they are very straightforward to make so it should be a bearable experience. There are as to be expected also a multitude of tokens included which are of the standard quality.
The Feudal Village is not so much a standalone expansion as it is Forbidden Fortress 1.5. It relies heavily on one part of the game and overhauls it into its own experience as well as expanding on all the existing content with more cards, more enemies and more missions. More importantly, it gives you access to a lot more options for building your character and enhancing them the way that you want to.
From a narrative point of view, it adds a lot of thematic events such as visiting ghost towns and the random events as well as the travel hazards and it unlocks more gameplay at all character levels which makes the game easier by virtue of being able to have more options and strategies available to you.
It is also chaotic. Some events may just instakill your character and you could potentially never draw a particular building in an entire character’s campaign/lifespan. This I feel is where some house ruling and some soft doings are beneficial to help balance the game and it is something that Shadows of Brimstone encourages.
E.g., adding traits to enemies to toughen them up based on player experience. In all, if you want more Brimstone then this is the way to go. It is near essential and it is the best expansion you can pick up first and I say that knowing how tempting it is to get for something like the Derelict Ship or Tredderan otherworld deluxe expansions but the feudal village is the one that will reward you most in terms of expanding the core gameplay and adding variety to your game.