General Information

Running totals are maintained by the computer. All additions and subtractions are made at once and further transactions are limited by the current balance. No credit is allowed (with one exception).

One hectare of land equals about 2.5 acres. One hectoliter of grain equals about 2.8 bushels.

It is (usually) necessary to gamble occasionally to win. Most gambles consist of buying land you can't afford at very low prices and gambling that yield will be high and there won't be a war. If the gamble fails, you will spend the next ten years recovering (if you survive, that is).

Food Allocation

By overfeeding the peasants when possible, you can build up good will among the population. This may save your life as it can counteract unavoidable resentment in the future (during times of famine, for instance). Judge Lynch never sleeps!

Land Trading

When you buy land you always receive 60% quality. When you sell land the machine sells your 60% land until used up, then the 80% quality and finally the 100% if you sell that much. You can never sell 40% (or poorer) quality land; no buyers will accept it.

There is another limit on land sales: You cannot sell more than 4000 HL. worth in any one year. That's all the grain available to pay you with.

Crop Hazards

Sometimes the rats get into the granery and eat up 10% or so of your reserve grain. Rats never eat field grain -- field grain is eaten by the seven year locusts. They eat half of all your crop in the years that they appear. The yield printed in these years already includes locust losses.

The King's Peasant Levy

Occasionally rats will eat so much of the High King's grain that some of his workers starve to death. When this happens, the King will require some peasants from each of his Dukes as replacements. You may supply them as requested or pay an alternate amount of grain.


Neighboring Dukes may attack you, hoping to obtain some land. This is more probable in years of poor crop yield. It is no secret and you can attack first if you wish. This means that you and your peasants go over there some night and burn a few huts and generally make a great din. If your attack is impressive, the nearby Duke may cancel his war plans. This depends on the size of your attack force and the size of his current defense force. You will certainly lose some peasants in such an attack.

If your first attack fails, or if you do not elect to attack first, the war will occur. You had better hire some mercenaries since your enemy is doing the same. A mercenary is worth about 8 peasants in fighting power. Mercenaries cost 40 HL. each and there is a maximum of 75 mercenaries available to you. If your fighting power (mercenaries + peasants) exceeds your enemy's, you win; otherwise he wins. The winner acquires land from the loser in ratio to the size of the win. How much you fed the peasants last fall is now important and may occasionally make the difference between a win and a loss.

The winner also picks up some grain from the captured land and is able to harvest the captured land along with his own (at the same yield as his original land). The land acquired (or lost) will appear in next year's land quality table evenly distributed between the 100%, 80%, and 60% categories.

Since the mercenaries are horse mounted and the peasants are on foot, the mercenaries attack first. Thus, a large number of mercenaries will keep down your peasant losses whether you win or lose. The mercenaries must be paid after the battle. You can use granary reserves and the actual grain captured from acquired land (the one exception to the no-credit rule), but not the anticipated harvest (the mercenaries want their pay NOW).

If you can't pay all the mercenaries, they will attack your peasants, killing them and collecting grain from their huts until fully paid. Since the peasants don't have much grain this late in the season, even a small default may cost you a lot of peasants. Incidentally, if the mercenaries do turn on the peasants, they also rape very female in the Duchy, making next year's birth rate very high. (We ignore the fact that the women deliver only a few months later -- these are no ordinary mercenaries.)

All peasant deaths from war cause resentment to build up against you. Attack by your own mercenaries is quite heavily resented.

Plagues and Poxes

The plague will kill off a third of the population, but in so doing it confers a 13 year immunity on the survivors. Therefore the plague cannot occur again for at least 13 years.

The pox is less deadly; it kills 10% or fewer peasants but confers no immunity. It can occur several years in a row.

Taxes and Expenses

The High King charges a tax of 1/2 HL. of grain for each HA. of land you possess (after war gains or losses). You had better be able to pay.

After the grain is harvested it must be milled. The castle granary can mill a maximum of 4000 HL. during the year. Additional harvest must be sent to the village miller at a charge of 10% of the amount milled. This amount is added to the castle overhead which is fixed at 120 HL. per year.

Births and Deaths

During the year, some natural deaths and numerous births have occurred. Both are lumped together as if they occur just after the fall harvest.

The computer now prints out the results for the year and you start over again with the peasant's food decision.

Winning the Game

Through astute land management, profitable real-estate trading, winning a few wars and lots of luck, you may be able to build up your Duchy. If instead you let it decline, the High King may take it away from you and select a new manager. An unemployed Duke can find employment as a mercenary in somebody elses game.

Prosperity brings its risks. If you get too prosperous, the High King may become worried and begin to subsidize wars against you. These subsidies get larger as the game progresses.

If you should persevere, you may eventually beat some Duke so badly that you succeed in taking over his entire Duchy. In addition to the more than 400 HA. of land you will obtain, you get all of his surviving peasants (your war casualties will be positive) and the remaining contents of his granary. This poses a real threat to the crown and the High King will begin planning a direct attack against you. At the beginning of the following year the King will demand twice the usual tax. You may pay it and continue the game as usual, or you may refuse. You will never be rid of the double tax once it starts unless you refuse to pay it. This constitutes defiance of your Leige Lord and the King has his excuse for attacking you directly. The rest of the year will go as usual except that there will be no tax at all (no peasant levy either) and there will be no war threats (nobody dares).

The following year the King will attack just before planting time. You will have to hire as many foreign mercenaries as possible at 100 HL. each, grain in advance (the loser won't be in any position to pay). The program will automatically hire as many mercenaries as you can afford at the time. There is no limit to the number of foreign mercenaries you can hire except your current grain holdings. Each mercenary has as much fighting power as 8 peasants. If your total fighting strength is greater than the King's, you win. 250 to 300 mercenaries ought to be enough, depending on how many peasants you have.

Either way, the game is over. Good Luck!

Historical Waiver

No historical accuracy is implied in any way by this game. Except for the grain yields and planting requirements, the game is almost pure fiction. There were few mercenaries, Dukes did not often fight each other nor readily buy and sell land, the church was a power to be feared. The metric system had not yet been developed and the seven year locusts were not so reliable.

A Duke would have as his lord not a King but a Count or Earl and would have under him Barons or Marquises. The various nobles were the fighting force of the Kingdom (peasants did not fight). Taxes were paid not in grain but in periods of military services. (Yes, the National Guard was a medieval invention -- at the latest.)


Original HAMMURABI game concept by Rick Merrill and David Ahl (1969)

KINGDOM program written by Lee Schneider and Todd Voros (1974) and distributed by Digital Equipment Corporation and, later, Data General Corporation

Original DUKEDOM program (loosely based on the KINGDOM program) written in D-level PL/I by Vince Talbot, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles

Rewritten (with extensive revision) in I.T.S. EXBASIC by Jamie E. Hanrahan

Adapted for /GAMES/ by David C. Barber

Re-written from I.T.S. EXBASIC to Hewlett-Packard level F BASIC then to DEC RSTS/E BASIC_PLUS then to Microsoft CP?M Disk BASIC by Richard A. Kaapke

(tm) CP/M is a registered trademark of Digital Research, Inc. of Pacific Grove, Ca.
(tm) EXBASIC is a trademark of International Timesharing Systems, Inc. (I.T.S.)
(tm) RSTS/E and BASIC-PLUS are trademarks of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), of Maynard, Mass.
(C) Microsoft BASIC is a proprietary product of Microsft, Inc. of New Mexico.
(tm) PL/I is atrademark of International Business Machines, Inc.

Last edited Sep 5, 2011 at 7:06 PM by joe3k, version 1


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