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Tail Feathers: Gameplay Basics

Previews begin! Learn about setting up and the phases of play

Tail Feathers boxWelcome to the first week of previews for Tail Feathers at Over the next 6 weeks, we’ll provide you with a wealth of information from the basics of gameplay, to specific units along with their strengths and weaknesses, and some strategy too.  We’ll also introduce you to the Downwood Militia, and Vermin Raider factions and the story surrounding the action in the game.

Tail Feathers is now available for pre-order at Pre-order today and get 20% off the retail price!  As an additional bonus, with your pre-order, you will receive Portents of Importance, a free promotional Lost Chapter for Mice & Mystics: Downwood Tales, which includes the Oakguard Allies initiative card and the Oak Leaf Sigil search cards as well!  Portents of Importance is an exciting additional story adventure which bridges the gap between Tail Feathers and Mice and Mystics and explains how King Collin and his band of heroes meets with the bird-riding mice of the northern Downwood Forest

Tail Feathers Gameplay

The goal of today's article is to help you understand the general flow of the game, how the phases work, and to familiarize you with some of the terms and concepts used in the game. Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section and we will answer them. So let's get started!

1. Gather Your Forces and Build the Battlefield

Battlefield Layout

A Tail Feathers battlefield is made up of at least 4 tree overlays that are arranged to form the battlefield outline. The game includes 4 scenarios which each have specific battlefield layouts. Players can choose one of the included scenarios or build their own battlefields. With multiple base sets, players have even more possibilities to create their own interesting scenarios. The basic battlefield simply has the 4 trees in each corner forming a square roughly 34 inches corner to corner. The center of the battle is important, and is marked by a battlefield axis marker.

Nest and CounterEach player places their home nest in a tree along their battlefield edge and as far as possible from their opponent's home nest. The nests have life point dials which are set to a value according to the chosen scenario or a number agreed upon by the players. To win, destroy your opponent's nest, drive his birds away and gain the power and protection of air superiority in the region.

Player 1 NutGather your forces! Each scenario has recommended quick-play forces, or players can build a custom force of an agreed upon point value. Your force must include a balance of flying bird units and ground units. Place all of your forces in your home tree. Place their unit cards in front of you and make sure you have a player clipboard.

Give the first player nut to the youngest player. Then start playing following the phases of play.

2. The Phases of Play

A game of Tail Feathers is made up of a series of rounds. Each round has 4 phases:

Mission Phase: Each player has access to 6 different mission cards that offer a variety of battlefield tasks for the ground troops. Players may choose a mission, place it face down on the battlefield near the center axis, and assign troops to that mission by putting them in their mission box on their clipboard. If you have the first player nut, you can wait to see what figures your opponent assigns before you decide which figures you will assign.

Mission Cards

Tilt Phase: Each player may adjust the tilts of their birds up to one tilt position. If you have the first player nut, you can force your opponent to tilt their birds first, giving you a good idea of which way they will fly when they are activated during the activation phase. If a bird is perched, and the player wants to launch that bird into flight, tilt the bird beak up.

Bird Tilt

Cheese and DiceAction Phase: The players first roll dice to determine initiative. Players can spend cheese to augment this roll. The player who wins the roll gets the first player nut and chooses a unit to activate. When activating a unit, the player will move the figures associated with that unit, and may then attack with those figures. Some die rolls will result in players gaining cheese tokens which you place on the cheese wheel on their player clipboard. This cheese can be used to power up action cards, augment an initiative roll, earn re-rolls, or you can cash in a full wheel to bring troops back from your casualty pile.

Player Clipboard

Players take turns activating units until all units have been activated, at which point they go to the final phase.

Final Phase: Players resolve the missions they assigned figures to earlier in the round, manage any battlefield conditions, refresh cards, and prepare for a new round.

3. Winning the Game

Unless specified by the scenario, the first player to destroy their opponent's nest wins the game.

This quick overview provides the basics.  If you can't wait and want to see more, check out the Tail Feathers rulebook PDF!

Click here to pre-order Tail Feathers today for $15 off the retail price and a special promo Mice and Mystics scenario with initiative and search cards compatible with Mice and Mystics: Downwood Tales!

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