A.D. 449. This year Marcian and Valentinian assumed the empire, and reigned seven winters. In their days Hengest and Horsa, invited by Wurtgern, king of the Britons to his assistance, landed in Britain in a place that is called Ipwinesfleet; first of all to support the Britons, but they afterwards fought against them. The king directed them to fight against the Picts; and they did so; and obtained the victory wheresoever they came …Then came the men from three powers of Germany; the Old Saxons, the Angles, and the Jutes.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Do use these as guidelines.


  • Don’t use these as gospel :)

This Strategy Guide jump starts you into the medieval world of Ortus Regni. It doesn’t replace the rules of the game, but helps you understand the game’s mechanisms and gives you tips on how to play to win. It leaves out some nuances and edge cases, and instead focuses on general “best practices” and common rules of thumb. Nothing in this guide is gospel and there will always be situations where the common wisdom in this guide should be ignored in the heat of battle!


Game Size

A.D. 729 …Ceolwulf was the son of Cutha, Cutha of Cuthwin, Cuthwin of Leodwald, Leodwald of Egwald, Egwald of Ealdhelm, Ealdhelm of Occa, Occa of Ida.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Duels can be fast and furious, use Tournament Rules to stretch out gameplay.
  • Use Variant Rules and the Variant Mats to add endless variety to Duels or group games.


  • Count on the same deck design playing the same with different player numbers.

The strategies and tactics used when facing one Earl differ significantly from those employed when facing multiple Earls.

Duels are a tight contest with every action, and card played, tipping the balance toward defeat or victory. Your deck design and your early turns will have a much greater effect than in multiplayer games. Not only that but the twists and turns of fortune will be more important. You must survive your early turns. Be aware of who will be able to attack first, from the starting turn order, and act accordingly. Tower some cards if you can, and place a second Fief down early unless you are counting on a rushing strategy. Knowing your opponent is often important. What are their favorite strategies? Second guess them, and build with this in mind.

Multiplayer games are much more situational. You want to survive the early turns, but there is more happening on the table. Not only can your deck include many more capabilities but the key will be to employ them at the opportune moments to move yourself toward victory. It is often useful to figure out which other Earl is your real nemesis, based on the capabilities you observe in their Earldom, but this knowledge is sometimes best kept secret while events progress.


Game Phases

A.D. 774. This year the Northumbrians banished their king, Alred, from York at Easter-tide; and chose Ethelred, the son of Mull, for their lord, who reigned four winters. This year also appeared in the heavens a red crucifix, after sunset; the Mercians and the men of Kent fought at Otford; and wonderful serpents were seen in the land of the South-Saxons.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Design to survive the early game phase.
  • Your deck should blossom in the middle game phase.


  • Forget to survive the first couple turns :)
  • Leave yourself unprepared for the important late game factors – Bequeathing and the Vikings – if the game is not won earlier.

This is a more theoretical discussion of the game. You can break a game of Ortus Regni into three general phases: early game, middle game, and late game. This framing will help you think about both your deck design and also your tactics.

When you think about designing decks it is useful to ask yourself how they will perform in these three phases. Some designs might aim to win in the late game, such as decks that go for Viking control. And every deck should be able to survive the early game phase. Don’t make your deck so esoteric that you end up with a sparse Earldom when entering the middle game, unless you are trying to design a rush deck (focusing on Champions) for a Duel.

The early game is all about survival. You don’t want to be eliminated by surprise. You also hope to learn about other Earls’ decks. Each Action you take should be carefully balanced against the uncertainty of the situation. For instance, if you place a Market Town and Land combo in the first two turns… you may well discover that another Earl is happy to Intrigue that nice pair of cards. So think about surviving, while also minimizing another Earl’s ability to surprise you. Getting Towers out is often crucial.

By the middle game phase you will have a good idea of how things are going. You will have access to your deck’s powers. Many games will resolve themselves in this phase, or have a clear leader. In Duels you don’t have a chance to pace yourself – it is you or them – but in a multiplayer games timing is the key to winning. Your ability to judge the whole table, with all its nuances, is the secret and that skill will only come with practice.

The late game phase of Ortus Regni has a couple familiar themes. The Vikings are regularly in battle, tipping the balance of power, and Bequeathing problems are emerging for Earls. You might find yourself in a race against a large Land & Army based Earl who is Recruiting a massive Army card pool.

At this point Earls have employed the main strategies of their decks; and the tactically agile or the lucky have survived. The state of the table usually favors one Earl, and players have small Hands and fewer options. This is also when a key Action or surprise card can suddenly tilt the balance dramatically. Conversely, an Earl who appears to have it all wrapped up should not rest on their laurels, many late gate wins can turn on a schilling.



A.D. 918. …After this, in the same year, before Martinmas, went King Edward to Buckingham with his army, and sat there four weeks, during which he built the two forts on either side of the water, ere he departed thence.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Tower some cards in the first turn or two.
  • Keep an eye on possible attacking forces, to gauge your Tower requirement.
  • Try to keep surplus cards in your Hand as future Towers.


  • Tower too massively unless necessary, this will make your Towers a nice target.

Knowing when, and how many, cards to Tower is one of the trickiest choices that you will face. At the start you will probably want 2 or 3 Towers protecting your Earldom. If you have too many Towers, they become a welcome target. And if you have too few then you’ve made a successful assault far too easy.

There is no magic number, of course, and you will want to keep an eye on both the visible power on the table (Lords and Army cards, and the size of Hands) and the size of the Viking Horde if they are rampaging. You sometimes need many Towers, but that is never a good thing. No one has infinite cards to Tower without losing capabilities. Overall, having at least 2 Towers is an efficient use of cards. Arguably 3 can be efficient, as well.

What cards should you Tower? Besides the obvious duplicates that you hold, you will want some knowledge of the decks that you are facing and how the game might progress. This is a mystery at first, so the first Towers that you place will be hardest to pick. But the temptation to delay Tower placement, until you know what you are facing, can cost you an Earldom!

Even when using Tournament Rules – when you have 2 Towers out for free – you should not ignore the chance to add a third Tower. You never know what you might be facing.

Be aware that opponents can repeatedly remove only your Towers, ignoring your Earldom, to drain you of cards. This can be a dire cycle to get into and, conversely, this can be an effective way to weaken opponents. Remember, Towers do not protect themselves and are hard to defend.



A.D. 1087. …The land of the Britons was in his power; and he wrought castles therein.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Have a second Fief whenever possible, to survive elimination.
  • Protect your Castles with a couple Towers when able.


  • Have one Fief, unless you can protect it.
  • Don’t place a Champion, Vassal or Monk in your last Fief unless you can stop a Treachery card.

It’s possible to win with only one Fief, just your starting Palace. But if you only have a single Fief then you are only one Siege away from being eliminated! A single extra Castle prevents such a lightning strike.

Earls aiming to build a large Land and Market Town Earldom will forgo placing too many extra Castles. Their properties will often be placed together in one Fief. A deck focusing on Lords will usually start placing Castles out early. A deck that aims to gain Viking control will probably want multiple Castles, to better survive until the Vikings come to their aid.

But being able to get at least one Castle out early is often crucial to prevent early elimination by an Earl employing a rushing strategy that is heavy on Champions being played from the Hand. This is particularly true in Duels.

Remember that without a modicum of Towers, extra Castles are easy pickings for others. You can seize Castles or Palaces with a Siege – if you have a Prince or Vassal Lord in the fight – but you cannot count on that happening.



A.D. 946. This year King Edmund died, on St. Augustine’s mass day. That was widely known, how he ended his days:—that Leof stabbed him at Pucklechurch.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Place a second Fief and some Towers early.


  • Get too carried away with your own strategy, waiting too long to defend yourself from elimination can be dangerous.

In a duel there is little margin for error. You can be hit by multiple Treacheries, emptying your Hand early, or your Palace could be Sieged by a massive force including Face Cards from your opponent’s Hand. Early aggressive decks tend to be one hit wonders, if they fail to eliminate you early on, then they often don’t have any staying power. Towering several cards, 3 or 4, and placing at least 1 Castle, will cause such decks some concern.

In multiplayer games there is less immediate pressure to survive early on. But even in 3+ player games, do not let yourself appear to be an easy target. That will become a self-fulfilling scenario. Keep an eye on the other Earls at the table and at minimum you should try to match the Towers or number of Fiefs they have so that you do not stand out as the weakest. If they have 2 Towers, have the same; a second Fief, then perhaps you should also have one.



A.D. 918. …And Earl Thurkytel sought him for his lord; and all the captains, and almost all the first men that belonged to Bedford; and also many of those that belonged to Northampton.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Use the Prince Lord as a safe and useful Lord.
  • Consider using Lords only for defensive purposes.
  • Try to hold the Church Decides power if using many Lords.
  • Consider your options if Lords are captured; holding extra Castles or Properties, as Ransoms, or replacement Face Cards in your Hand.


  • Count on Lords alone to crush your rivals in battle, they will fall eventually.
  • Forget that your Lords (save for the Prince Lord) are vulnerable to Treachery, and try not to have too many Properties attached.

You should tread cautiously with Lords in a couple of ways. The Prince Lord is a great Lord to have in play, and is a classic opening move. You’ll probably have more than one Prince in your deck, to make sure you can Bequeath safely, and they provide some defensive and offensive support. And the Fief they occupy – which is usually the Palace – is not itself threatened by a Treachery card.

The other types of Lords are useful, but they all come with unique caveats.

Champion Lords are usually the most threatening to other Earls, and they tend to attract Treachery cards. Vassal Lords can support Political Struggle. Because of this Vassal Lords will also attract unwelcome attention from other Earls. Monk Lords are rarely used, and probably overlooked, since they are useful on defense and do not attract the same attention. And adding a Church or Cathedral to their Fief will grant you the Monastery special power (the ability to force someone to show their Hand to the table). But it is not generally advisable to use Monk Lords in a Duel.

Lords can Attack and Defend multiple times without dying in Battle. Yes! This can appear to be an overwhelming power. But never rely on this completely. The day will come when the Battle card turns against you and all your fielded Lords are captured in Battle. It will happen! An Earldom that relies completely on a line of powerful Lords is more fragile than it appears at first. A more balanced approach is often more practical. Carefully choosing when to risk multiple Lords is important. Accumulating extra Castles or Properties that you can give away as Ransoms is a buffer against a catastrophe on the battlefield.



A.D. 833. This year fought King Egbert with thirty-five pirates at Charmouth, where a great slaughter was made, and the Danes remained masters of the field.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Plan for the Vikings, with Emissaries or defenses.
  • Try to eliminate an Earl who controls the Vikings first, to remove that threat.


  • Waste turns competing for Viking control if another Earl is solidly in the lead.
  • Count on using the Vikings to win, even with massive control.
  • Forget to make a survivable Earldom, if using the Vikings.

The Norsemen can be a factor in deciding the fate of old England. The Viking threat might never reach its potential while at other times the Viking Horde may rampage across the land terrifying all in its path. How you handle them also depends on the size of the game.

In a Duel the Vikings arrive as a fairly weak force, causing little harm to well prepared Earls. But with only 2 players in the game a single Monk sent as an Emissary can give you a solid chance of controlling these invaders. And a moderate force that attacks at regular intervals can be a deciding factor. Keep in mind that a Duel might resolve itself before the Vikings have arrived; so a pure Emissary deck strategy is not likely to survive long enough to win the Kingdom.

In multiplayer games the Vikings are going to arrive with significantly more strength, often enough to pillage an Earldom. They might build up a run away horde if no one stands-up to them. But it will take several Monks and perhaps even some Vassals to gain significant control if you are competing with other Earls. It is also wise to not send Emissaries too early, tipping off your opponents.


The Church

A.D. 932. This year Burnstan was invested Bishop of Winchester on the fourth day before the calends of June; and he held the bishopric two years and a half.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Use the Cathedral carefully, remembering to hold on tight.
  • Use the Cathedral in the late game, to cause Bequeathing problems for rivals.
  • Use the humble Church in multiplayer, to gain Church Controls


  • Put the Cathedral out too early, unless in a Duel.
  • Forget to have a least one Church in your deck, in multiplayer, to safely Bequeath.

Many decks can forgo both the Church and the Cathedral. Having said that, in both Duels and multiplayer games the Cathedral is very nice to have. And in multiplayer games the Church card is often undervalued. Players who want to build a very safe deck, for Bequeathing, will also want include at least one Church, in case the Cathedral comes out.

The Cathedral’s main power is its ability to prevent your rivals from Bequeathing. This is often a deciding power in multiplayer games. It will become a target when it comes out, so time that carefully. Of course, if you delay too long someone else might beat you to it! In a Duel there is no real timing issue for placement, but Bequeathing is less common in Duels.

However, the ability to control the Church Decides battle result can be crucial in a Duel, where one key victory can set you up to win.

A humble Church placed out early is not much of a target for other Earls, and it might earn you the Church Decides power! And Churches can be given away if an Intrigue hits their Fief, or given as a Ransom to save a captured Lord, so it can be a buffer in many cases.



A.D. 1087 …He left behind him three sons; the eldest, called Robert, who was earl in Normandy after him; the second, called William, who wore the crown after him in England; and the third, called Henry, to whom his father bequeathed immense treasure.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Use the standard safe Bequeathing kit to avoid trouble in multiplayer: 2 Princes, 2 Banners, 1 Church.
  • Consider forgoing Bequeathing in a Duel if your deck has a more aggressive plan.


  • Lose track of how many Princes or Banners remain in your deck late in the game.
  • Forget to remove a Prince Lord from rivals, when they are running out of cards.

The standard safe deck build to Bequeath without trouble typically includes: 2 Princes, 2 Banners and 1 Church.

Adding these 5 cards to your deck typically ensures that you will have a good chance of getting a Prince Lord out, having a spare Prince if he is targeted, and a Banner when needed. With a Church as backup, in case there is a Cathedral.

An Earl does not have to include these cards, but if you have less you may fail to Bequeath. Some Dueling decks purposely forgo the ability to Bequeath in favor of more aggressive builds. But in multiplayer games you have to get lucky to win with a deck that cannot Bequeath.

If you aim to cause Bequeathing troubles for other Earls there are a couple of strategies you can employ. Most obviously, possessing the Cathedral forces others to either take it, destroy it or own a Church. But equally popular is to target their Prince Lord when their deck is getting low, often with Treachery cards, although a successful Siege does the deed.

Making opponents “card poor” can occasionally cause them to spend the cards that they need to Bequeath; this is usually done by removing multiple Towers, thus forcing them to use key cards as Towers. Another ploy, if the situation arises, is to announce a Joust in the late game. Earls may not have spare Banners to opt out with. If you are the stronger jouster, and have a Champion Lord when others don’t, then late game Jousts can present your opponents with a really difficult choice.

Another nuance to keep in mind is that most Earls will face Bequeathing at about the same time. Only those who have Banqueted will differ. A final caution is that you will want to have some cards in your discard pile when you Bequeath. Some decks can run into trouble with overly large Hands or Earldoms. Let some Towers fall, or arrange to play some cards from your Hand, before you Bequeath in that situation.



A.D. 938. Here Athelstan king, of earls the lord, rewarder of heroes, and his brother eke, Edmund atheling, elder of ancient race, slew in the fight, with the edge of their swords, the foe at Brumby! The sons of Edward their board-walls clove, and hewed their banners, with the wrecks of their hammers.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Attack wisely, hitting Towers or Raiding Fiefs when you spot weakness.
  • Field enough to also override 1 Face card from their Hand, or they may block your attempt on a target.
  • Field at least 1 defender when possible, for a lucky Battle card.


  • Go “all in” unless that attack or defense is crucial to you.
  • Forget there are only 3 Attacker Wins, 3 Defender Wins, and 3 Church Decides cards in the starting Battle deck.
Forces on the table

Medieval battles are brutal and uncertain!

The basic calculation to be aware of is simple: how many blocking forces can be fielded against an attacking force. Attackers have a slight advantage because cards only have 1 str. on defense. But Knights, Champions, Mercenaries and Viking Chieftains all send 2 str. on attack.

If an Earl can send 2 Knights (2 x 2), 1 Infantry (1 x 1) and a Prince Lord (1 x 1) to Raid a Fief then they are sending 6 damage using only 4 cards. If nothing stops that Raid, 6 damage points will hit the Properties in the targeted Fief. The defending Earl would need to field 6 cards to stop that Raid entirely! Not an easy task. That would require the ability to field 6 Army cards, 6 Lords, or 6 Face cards from their Hand… or any mix of those cards. However, a couple of Towers protecting that Fief changes the math. Two or 3 Towers would mean that the Attacker has no implicit advantage here.

But all forces are not equal. Lords can be used repeatedly (unless captured), both as defenders or attackers, while Armies can grow into vast forces, and fielding a pile of Face cards from your Hand can surprise even a well-prepared adversary.

When attacking, you want to spot the most efficient battles to fight. Towers and Raids are often the right answer. These can win you “cheap” victories. Going “all in” repeatedly, or fighting often, will usually end in catastrophe.


The two canonical types of military Earldoms – Lord heavy decks and Land & Army decks – grow in strength at different speeds. They also plateau in different ways and collapse in yet other ways.

In the early game Lord Earldoms seem to have an edge. An Earl can acquire a Champion Lord and a Prince Lord and then go to battle early, perhaps using a couple of Face cards from the Hand as well. You can do well bludgeoning other Earls early, if the Battle result cards don’t go against you.

A Land & Army Earldom is more vulnerable early on, but if it starts to place multiple Lands with a Market Town then it will build-up a crushingly big force. And its ability to Recruit gives it more strength over time.

A classic game cycle is for a Lord deck to get into a repeated struggle with a Land & Army deck. This can appear to be a losing cycle for the Land deck. But these cycles often end with the Lord deck losing a Battle, and thus many of its Lords, whereupon the Army deck regains its strength quickly and overwhelms the Lord deck.

Keep in mind that there’s ample space for hybrid play. A mix of Lords and Lands, or the occasional political card or added Mercenary, will usually be much more resilient.

What to Attack

As a general rule, you should always assume that your target has at least 1 Face Card in their Hand. Especially if you are Sieging a Palace or Castle, you should attack with 1 or 2 more points than is required by what you see on the table.

Ultimately the importance of when and what to strike is determined by the table situation. Does that Cathedral have to go? Do you want to pull down all their Towers before the Vikings strike?

In multiplayer games, look for the most efficient and least risky targets of opportunity to Attack. In Duels, anything that weakens your foe’s development is a good target.

Some deck designs never plan to win by direct attacks, and will remain on the defensive. Merely building up forces to protect their Earldom. Political decks, Viking control decks, King card & Cathedral decks tend to do this.

When to defend

If you don’t field anything you can’t get a lucky Battle card. If you can afford to do so a single card on defense is better than nothing.

Towers are very hard to defend, so it is not usually wise to try and save them all.

Pay attention to how much damage you can do to the attacking force. If they are Lords, or Face cards from the Hand, then adding more defenders changes little. If they are Army cards, Mercenaries or Vikings then fielding more forces can inflict real loses on them.


It is possible to play Ortus Regni as one endless sequence of battles, but this will often fail. The uncertainties of medieval combat are such that you will stumble. And it is entirely possible to fight only a few battles and still earn the Kingdom.

To improve your luck in battle, use a hybrid force and limit the level of your engagement. You can also create buffers for both Armies and Lords. For example, by having extra Army cards in your Army card pool, or when using Lords by having extra Properties to Ransom, or extra Face cards in your Hand to replace them. Having the Church Decides power – either with a Church or the Cathedral – can also be surprisingly decisive.

The Battle deck itself can be known to a limited extent. There are only 3 Defender wins, 3 Attacker wins, and 3 Church decides in that deck at the start. If you have recently seen 2 or 3 Defender wins come up… then you know that the immediate future is probably not great for defenders.



A.D. 845. This year Alderman Eanwulf, with the men of Somersetshire, and Bishop Ealstan, and Alderman Osric, with the men of Dorsetshire, fought at the mouth of the Parret with the Danish army; and there, after making a great slaughter, obtained the victory.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Get your Market Town out first.
  • Recruit whenever you have a free Action.


  • Forget to Recruit extra Army cards.
  • Forget Intrigues love a Market Town and Land combo target.
  • Forget that Lands can be a good addition to many decks.

Many hybrid decks can benefit from the occasional Land card. This gives you the ability to Recruit when you have no other clear Action that turn. Single Lands can also provide garrisons for Mercenaries or the King card. Try to place only 1 Land on each Fief to deny Intrigues a good target.

If you are really going for a Land & Army Earldom you will want to build a Market Town on your Palace and then add Lands to that Fief. But beware of Intrigues as you will attract them.

Once you have multiple Lands on that Palace Fief, and perhaps a Church or even extra Market Towns, you will be more immune to Intrigues; with extra Properties to give away without losing capability.

An Army based Earldom in full bloom is able to field the largest force in Ortus Regni, with multiple Knights marching out. And the ability to Recruit 2 Army cards, with that Market Town and Land combo, is hard for other Earls to keep up with.

Land & Army Earldoms do want to start placing their Properties out fairly early, but a Prince Lord or Mercenary might come before your first Market Town.

The Prince Lord is the best friend of Army based decks. And while such Earldoms are vulnerable to Intrigues they are also more resilient to the Treachery card. If you find yourself in conflict with a Lord heavy deck you can often count on capturing their Lords in Battle, if you have enough cards in your Army pool to fight a series of battles.



A.D. 626. This year came Eamer from Cwichelm, king of the West-Saxons, with a design to assassinate King Edwin; but he killed Lilla his thane, and Forthere, and wounded the king.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Target your rival’s Hand as well.
  • Time your Treachery use carefully in multiplayer.
  • Remember that there are less Allies late in the game.
  • Use them freely in Duels.


  • Use them as freely early in multiplayer games, they will attract enemies.
  • Forget that Treacheries alone will not usually win the Kingdom.

Treachery cards are the most powerful political cards in play. They can eliminate an entire Fief or strip a rival’s Hand of important cards. There is almost always a target available for a Treachery card. What’s not to like?

Well, they do take an Action to use, and if your political attack fails you have lost a turn. Second, while they harm an opponent they do not strengthen your Earldom. Third, while they are in your Hand they are not doing anything, and are not useful on defense.

Treachery cards have two very common uses. First, to remove cards from your opponent’s Hand early in a Duel. Second, to assassinate Prince Lords when people need them to Bequeath.

In a Duel using Treachery cards is efficient, you are weakening your only rival. But in a multiplayer game simply weakening someone else is more ambiguous. And other Earls may target you, if they think you have a Treachery heavy deck.

The brute strength of Treachery cards will not win you the kingdom alone. You will want to have a secondary strategy to finish the game. And many players will have Allies cards, so you may also need to invest in Vassals or Vassal Lords. Four to 6 Treachery cards with Vassal support is a serious investment, that is a political deck.

If you make a political deck the remaining cards in your deck are that much more important. You can go many ways – Lands, Vikings, Lords – but whatever you do, ensure that you can survive. Some extra Castles are a good idea and perhaps some Banquets to gather more cards, both as towers and to get those political cards into your Hand faster.



A.D. 1015. This year was the great council at Oxford; where Alderman Edric betrayed Sigferth and Morcar, the eldest thanes belonging to the Seven Towns.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Take Market Town and Land combos when possible.
  • Take the Cathedral when possible.
  • Steal Mercenaries with Knights attached when possible.


  • Think that Earls will provide you with good targets every game.

An Intrigue card can be even more powerful than a Treachery card. But Intrigue cards have one key limitation, there has to be something to steal. In a surprisingly large number of games, players will offer you sparse pickings; maybe just a lone Land or a single Church.

Many deck designs may only place a couple of Castles, maybe a couple of Lords, so you may have no luck with Intrigue cards alone.

Intrigue cards really want to steal a Land and Market Town combo. Grabbing this combo is a real win. You not only remove a capability from a rival Earl but you add a great resource to your own Earldom. Of course, stealing the occasional Mercenary with an attached Knight is nice, as well.

Keep in mind that Land and Army based decks will often anticipate this and have political defenses. You will often need to use Vassals to succeed. This presents a bit of a dilemma for your deck design. You don’t necessarily want to “trust in fate” that you will find nice targets to steal. Meaning that you may want to add some Treachery cards to your Intrigues and Vassals. And then you have designed a real political deck, whether you meant to or not.

Still, an Intrigue or two in your deck may earn their keep, if you see a chance to grab something that tips the balance. A classic move is to try and steal the Cathedral, late in the game, destabilizing the Bequeathing situation.



A.D. 1086 …Afterwards he moved about so that he came by Lammas to Sarum; where he was met by his councilors; and all the landsmen that were of any account over all England became this man’s vassals as they were; and they all bowed themselves before him, and became his men, and swore him oaths of allegiance that they would against all other men be faithful to him.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Try to have at least 3 or 4 Allies in most Decks, unless you build to have few political targets in your Earldom.
  • When designing with 4 or more Allies consider having an equal number of Vassals.


  • Play an Allies card when you can see that their Vassal Lords overmatch your Vassals.
  • Forget that Bequeathing can bring Allies back into your deck.

The Allies card can be the bane of your deck or your best friend. Players who like to stop political attacks will often have at least 4 Allies cards in their deck, and also 4 Vassal cards. With that kind of deck build you will make a political deck work for its successes; and you will usually stop more hybrid decks from using politics on you.

One early problem with Allies cards is that you don’t generally want all your Allies cards in your early Hand. An opening Hand with 3 or 4 Allies is not a very welcome sight. Towering some is nerve wracking.

Be careful not to use an Allies card when you can already see that your opponent has more Vassal Lords on the table than all your Vassals; those futile Allies cards might as well be Towers. This is an easy mistake to make.

Be aware that Earls will occasionally try to burn through your Allies cards by hitting you with politics repeatedly. Once you are truly out of Allies, no number of Vassals will help. Banquet cards and Bequeathing can help bring more cards into your Hand and recycle your Allies cards. And remember that only you know how many Allies you have in your deck. Politics is a guessing game.

It is possible to make Earldoms that are resistant to politics, and thus need less or no Allies. Earldoms that only use a Prince Lord, a couple of Castles, maybe a couple of Lands (but not on the same Fief), perhaps a Mercenary or two, are not lovely targets for either a Treachery or an Intrigue. And if you held the King card, and maybe have some Viking control, this resistant Earldom model can still be powerful.

You can make decks with no Allies cards at all, and it is actually not too uncommon. Rather than get stuck in the arms race – adding Allies and Vassals – you can go in an entirely different direction. You will have your whole 24 card deck to play with. It is a more risky posture, but it can pay off.


Using Vassals

A.D. 755 …The King was gone, thinly attended, on a visit to a lady at Merton, 28 rode after him, and beset him therein; surrounding the town without, ere the attendants of the king were aware of him. When the king found this, he went out of doors, and defended himself with courage; till, having looked on the etheling, he rushed out upon him, and wounded him severely. Then were they all fighting against the king, until they had slain him. As soon as the king’s thanes in the lady’s bower heard the tumult, they ran to the spot, whoever was then ready. The etheling immediately offered them life and rewards; which none of them would accept, but continued fighting together against him, till they all lay dead.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Vassals are good general purpose cards.
  • Keep an eye on the number of Vassals on the table.


  • Forget that Vassal Lords are politically powerful on both offense and defense.
  • Forget that Vassals can provide a nice Viking control boost.

Vassals operate on several levels and knowing how to handle them is important. They are the most widely useful card in Ortus Regni, but as a generalist they are not as powerful as specialized cards in most cases.

Vassals can be played from the Hand into combat, but not as effectively as Champions. Vassals can be sent as Emissaries to the Vikings, but they do not get you as many cubes as Monks.

Vassals can be installed in Castles or Palaces, and then when sent on a Raid or a Siege they allow you to seize a card (as does the Prince Lord). But as a Lord they are vulnerable to Treachery and (unlike the Prince Lord) their Fief will be lost.

The most crucial and nuanced feature of Vassals is their power in Political Struggles. When you are trying to defend against politics with an Allies card, or trying to use a Treachery or an Intrigue card, the exact number of Vassals you can bring to the table can make all the difference.

The number of Vassal Lords in an Earldom tells you a lot about an Earl’s ability to win any such struggle. If you see and Earl with 2 Vassal Lords they are likely to either block a political attack or successfully launch one!

Political Struggles with Vassal Lords are an all or nothing gambit… the loser will lose all their Vassal Lords. The cost of this face-off has a powerful deterrent effect, and merely possessing multiple Vassal Lords can deter political attacks.

It is easy to add 3 or 4, even 5, Vassals into any deck design, without building a deck around them in particular. If nothing else, having an extra Vassal or two come up in the middle or late game might mean that you win the Viking’s favor!



This King lay royally at Camelot at Christmas tide with many fine lords, the best of men, all the rich brethren of the Round Table, with right rich revel and careless mirth. There full many heroes tourneyed betimes, jousted full gaily; then returned these gentle knights to the court to make carols. For there the feast was held full fifteen days alike with all the meat and the mirth that men could devise. Such a merry tumult, glorious to hear; joyful din by say, dancing at night. All was high joy in halls and champers with lords and ladies as pleased them best.

– Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Fytte The First, 3.


  • Joust if you have a Champion Lord and you face nothing more than Vassal Lords.
  • Consider Jousting if you have a Champion heavy deck.
  • Use Jousts to draw Banner cards out of your rival’s Hands.


  • Forget how many Banners you have when you opt out of a Joust with a Banner.
  • Forget that others may have Champions in their Hand.
  • Forget that extra Properties and Castles can be spare Joust Anti’s.

Jousting is a kind of madness. Few Earls seeks out a career in this blood sport. But calling your rivals out to the “field of honor” can have its uses.

If your Earldom is down on its luck in multiplayer games, and you have a Prince… well, you might give this sport a try. And if you are very lucky then your “winnings” might put you back on your feet.

A more thoughtful Earl may try to position themselves with the only Champion Lord on the table, before they call a Joust. And if your opponents don’t even have Prince Lords then your Champion Lord might stand alone in the tilt.

Decks that use a large number of Champion Lords might want to stock some extra Banners if jousting opportunities arise. A knock-on effect of this is that you can pull Banner cards out of the other Earl’s Hands, perhaps making their Bequeathing situation more troublesome.

It is very rare to create a deck strategy around Jousting, but decks with lots of Castles or Properties and Champions can employ it to some effect. Jousts can have a dramatic effect on the table situation, but they are one of the riskier tactics to employ.

Keep in mind that if you have a Champion in your hand, and see no Princes or Champions on the table, then you might also Joust profitably.

It is wise to stock 2 Banners in your deck, at minimum, to have the chance to opt out of a Joust without ruining your chance to Bequeath.



A.D. 1006 …So great was the fear of the enemy, that no man could think or devise how to drive them from the land, or hold this territory against them; for they had terribly marked each shire in Wessex with fire and devastation. Then the king began to consult seriously with his council, what they all thought most advisable for defending this land, ere it was utterly undone.

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Design a deck for the size of the game.
  • Design a deck with the three game phases in mind.
  • Experiment with different cards.
  • Remember that even single cards in multiplayer games can be useful.


  • Forget to design for early survival.
  • Forget that 4 cards of one type provides good consistency, while 6 might fill your opening hand with that card.

You have no time to waste in a Duel. You need to have a clear victory strategy. And you must survive on your own, you are your rival’s only target. Dueling decks generally need to include fewer types of Earl cards to ensure greater predictability in card draws.

Dueling decks will tend to be more canonical in design. There will be rush decks (with lots of Face cards that hope to swamp their rival early), Land & Army decks (that hope to create a well developed Army force), political decks (that hope to take advantage of whatever weakness their opponent offers), King & Cathedral decks (that try to utilize those capabilities to win in the middle game phase), Viking control decks (that hope to survive to the late game phase), etc.

In multiplayer games your deck can go in many directions, but you still have to survive the early game phase. This is accomplished by having: 3 Princes, 3 Castles and maybe 3 Lands. This will provide a fairly standard opening, and with some Towers you should not stand out as an early target.

As a general rule, if you have 3 of a given card in your 24 card Earl deck, you have a decent chance of getting a copy of it early in the game. Four of a card makes this even more certain. But if you have 5 or 6 of a card you may end up with multiple copies early, which may (or may not!) be unwelcome. Keep in mind that the Banquet card can be employed to pull more cards out faster, so a Banquet or 2 can allow for more overall variability in your deck.

You can even include several solo cards – like a Cathedral or a single Market Town – in multiplayer games. They might appear at the right time and give your deck unusual flexibility.

In the final analysis the overall strategies that appeal to you are a personal choice. Ortus Regni includes a broad sweep of medieval options. Some Earls like to be sneaky, and Treachery or Intrigue will appeal to them. Some Earls have a King complex, and will often go for the King card.

Earls that are fond of massive risky battles will be drawn to Champions, whether as Lords or played from their Hands. More nuanced Earls will play with hybrid designs that appeal to their own instincts and gameplay styles.

Whatever your favorite strategy is there are secondary strategies that have good synergies with it. You will also want to decide what level of political protection you are comfortable with, if any.


Fate & Fortune

A.D. 1087 …Alas! how false and how uncertain is this world’s weal! He that was before a rich king, and lord of many lands, had not then of all his land more than a space of seven feet!

– The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


  • Remember that you can manipulate much of your fortune in the game.
  • Alter your fortune in a way that best suites your deck (Vikings, Church Decides, etc.) and
  • Only take big risks when the rewards are large.


  • Lose all hope when fate turns against you, many fallen Earldoms can pull out a surprise win if they stick it out and make wise choices.

This is a late medieval game that is thematically set in the Dark Ages. Nothing is guaranteed. The world is not “push button” certain or convenient or comfortable.

And no strategy survives first contact. Your struggle for the Kingdom will almost never go to plan.

Riding out this rolling wheel of fate is one of the key features of Ortus Regni, both through the design of your deck and in your tactical choices during the struggle.

The key sources of fortune in Ortus Regni are known. They can either be manipulated or understood to some extent. The Vikings can be “bribed” with moderate success; your deck can include more cards that you want to draw with higher frequency; and the Battle deck can be manipulated with the Church Decides power or by keeping an eye on the Attacker wins or Defender wins cards that have arrived (there are only 3 of each in the starting Battle deck).

Thus in most cases you can gain a decent idea of what chances you have in a given situation, and act accordingly. Even so fate may work against you! If you have played wisely then even from dire straights you may rise and win, despite the winds of fortune.

You may find all such twists and turns in your journey exhilarating – a very medieval experience – and find that you can still make wise or unusual choices in any situation.


May fortune shine on your endeavors!