In the Beginning

The year is 801 A.D., and you are the Lady or Lord of a small fiefdom in medieval England after the death of the legendary King Arthur. You will strive to become The Queen or King of this mystical England, as will every other Lady and Lord of the land. But beware: if you do not use your diplomatic skills wisely, you are unlikely to succeed. You must learn to form alliances with other players, make peace treaties for your own safety, break them when the time is right, and, most of all, learn whom you can trust and when.

England is divided into 46 small fiefdoms; at game start, 15 of these fiefdoms are ruled by players and the remaining fiefs are managed by the computer (referred to as non-player controlled fiefdoms or NPC fiefs or just NPCs). As the head of a noble family, you will rule your fiefdom with complete authority and, over time, seek to extend your reach as far as you can – maybe even to the crown itself. Each game turn equals one year of real time. As the ruler of a single fiefdom, you can issue a maximum of 12 orders each turn using 37 possible order types. You must issue these orders effectively to build the wealth and strength necessary to capture the crown and proclaim yourself ruler of the land. Not every order makes sense at all times, and some orders may have to be given several times to have the desired effect.

You can enter your orders on the web site by selecting the Current Games option under Play, which gives you a list of all active games, or by selecting Profile, which gives you a list of your past and present games. Game turns are processed at 3:00 a.m. CET; after a game’s turn is processed, you will have three days before the next turn is processed. All orders have to be issued by 3:00 a.m. CET, or the computer will issue orders to manage your fiefdom for that turn –- if this occurs, the computer will not issue any orders taking your armies to war. However, if you miss 3 consecutive turns, the computer will take control of your fiefdom permanently and manage it using the Advanced AI. These AI-coopted fiefdoms are referred to as Kalifs or Dark Star Lords, so named because they are represented on the map by a dark star. If you allow this to happen to you too many times, you may find it difficult to convince other Lords and Ladies form alliances with you.

You may have to read something more than once before it becomes clear to you, so it is recommended that you read these rules more than once. Even if you do, some rules will only become clear by playing the game and viewing them in context. And finally, you are welcome and encouraged to ask detailed questions concerning the rules on the Web Forum.

To apply for a game, select Play then Sign in for a new game on the web site. You must choose a name for your Lord or Lady. You may use the same name from game to game or vary it as you choose, but for any specific game, once you choose a name, you cannot change it later on. You will also choose whether you will play a Lady or a Lord. The choice to play a Lord vs. Lady has no real impact on the game, but it does add atmosphere to the game. And you will have to enter an e-mail address to which your game reports will be sent. This e-mail address will be available to the other players if they wish to contact you, and theirs will be available to you as well. Choose the language in which you want to receive the game reports. Select the Map/Scenario option you wish to register for –- not all Map/Scenario options are available at all times, so you may have to wait some time if you wish to play a specific Map/Scenario. Register for as many or as few games as you like.

After you have pressed the Register button, you only have to wait. When enough players have applied for a game, it starts automatically, and all the registered players for that game will be e-mailed their first turn. If you wish to remove your registration for an upcoming game, click the Profile menu option and then select the Remove button for the game you no longer wish to play.

There are many Map/Scenario games available to play; besides playing in England with 15 other players, you can also chose to play in England with 46 players, France with 25 players and Ireland with 10 players. For a full list of Map/Scenarios select About then List of Scenarios from the menu. Some scenarios employ exceptions to the rules as they are defined in this user guide; please read the scenario carefully to understand what exceptions, if any, apply to it. New players should note that they are required to paricipate in five training games before the majority of the scenarios become available to them.

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