Geography often determines the outcome of local wars and conflicts. Can you defeat your closest neighbor while also surviving against the incursions of the Earl lurking just behind your lands?

Positional Play Around the Table

Neighbors follows a popular format for card games. You can only initiate a battle with the Earl to your left! While the Earl to your right can only invade you. Thus everyone around the table has a target Earl to defeat, and also an Earl that is determined to vanquish them.

But you can use Treachery or Intrigue on anyone at the table, ignoring the geographical limitations. And table wide events, like the Vikings, Jousts, the power of the Cathedral to cause Bequeathing trouble, and the Royal army card donation, are all still general and also ignore the geographical limitation set on individual Earls.

The circle of Earls shrinks when one Earl falls. Thus a victory against their neighbor to the left… has a new target and neighbor once that Earl falls.

The normal victory conditions of Ortus Regni apply.


  • You can only Attack the Earl to your left with your “ground” forces, i.e. battle them. That Earl can, of course, field forces and defend themselves in the normal fashion against your incursions.
  • You can play Treachery or Intrigue cards on any Earl at the table, as you can in a normal game.
  • Jousts operate in the normal fashion, around the table.
  • Acquiring the King card, and the “donation” of Army cards to the Royal army both operate in the normal fashion.
  • The Cathedral also operates in the normal fashion, and will prevent “distant” Earls from Bequeathing unless they have a Church.
  • The Vikings can be directed to Attack any Earl on the table. This is not limited by the controller’s own geographical limitation. They are mobile in their own right, much more so than the Anglo-Saxons whose lands they roam.
  • The circle of Earls shrinks whenever an Earl falls. So that the remaining adjacent Earls are now linked. And so one Earl has a new target to their left, and the other Earl has a new foe to their right!
  • If you have the ability to use the Monastery special power that can also be used on any Earl.

Gameplay Notes:

This circle format, that limits every Earl’s target options, is a classic format for card battlers. In Ortus Regni this format has several interesting effects.

The normal attempts at balance that can happen in 3+ player games - trying to collectively work on the most powerful Earl visible on the table - is much more limited. As everyone is much more focused on their own struggles, in the circle of neighbors. Because of this multiplayer games will often resolve more quickly, with Earl’s personal struggle often resolving more quickly.

Keep in mind that Politics is the only direct way you can spontaneously choose to meddle with the Earl who is targeted on your Earldom (i.e. the Earl to your right). This can be an effective way to slow down their preparations to crush your Fiefs, but remember that you also want to prepare your own forces, at some point, to defeat your neighbor to the left! Else they may grow into the greatest Lord in the lands, unhindered.

Then there are a number of classic Ortus Regni features that are still universal. The Vikings being the most obvious. But Jousts and the Cathedral can also be employed and effect everyone across the kingdom.

Obviously, who is sitting where matters in such a format. Players can handle that in any way they wish. The cubes and the Viking bag can be used to randomize that if desired. By placing each Earls’ color in the bag and drawing them out, one at a time, to determine the position of players at the table. The first cube also being the starting player, per normal Ortus Regni rules.