KB Rivals Turmoil Strategy Guide


This guide assumes you have already read the Gold strategy guide Please read it carefully before proceeding.

Winning Strategy

  • Get strength early and make sure you keep it: There are more feuds and fraternal feuds in turmoil than any other version, so conceding strength advantage is absolutely fatal. In addition to the big powerful knights like Carl and Candamir, and the defensive knight, Heinrich, consider adding a small cheap knight like Austin so that you can remove him if you fall foul of an archer or riots.
  • Build up before you build out: The sooner you get your city up the sooner you will be able to play the Hedge Tavern. The first person to be able to play the Hedge Tavern will have an enormous advantage. And, unlike Progress or Duel, there is no plague event.
  • Hit the theme decks early: In most other Rivals games (perhaps with the exception of Duel) I would normally recommend getting your starting base right before you dig into the theme decks, but there are knights in the turmoil decks which you need to grab before your opponent if you are to have any chance of winning.
  • Ensure you have enough gold: Believe it or not, gold is more important in Turmoil than in Gold. You need it to build the Hedge Tavern and to protect your knights from riots. Bear in mind that riots occurs more often in Turmoil than in any other version. Get the toll bridge if possible and if you have a scout, consider taking an extra gold field when you build your first settlement. Resist taking a resource for gold with the event travelling merchant unless you have a really strong gold income and never use a gold merchant. Consider topping up your gold reserves when you get bonus resources (eg plentiful harvest, celebration) and stealing gold from your opponent with the Brigands card or Voyage of Plunder (both require strength advantage). But also be careful not to have too many resources as you will lose all your gold if a brigands rolls. I know from personal experience that brigands followed by riots is pretty much a death sentence.
  • Be flexible: Be prepared to adjust your strategy to counter your opponent. Don't be afraid to destroy something you have built if it will help you regain momentum. For example, if your opponent takes strength and you have a knight which will enable you to take it back but nowhere to put it, consider destroying a building that carries no VPs or strength points, eg a storehouse, factory or trade fleet.
  • Don't be nice!: Turmoil is the most brutal of all the Rivals games (a bit like playing CK with only blue cards). Once you have your Hedge Tavern in play you need to go after all six attack cards and use them, regardless of the score. If you stop attacking your opponent because they are behind, then you are leaving the door open for them to inflict misery on you at the end.

Card Selection

Starting Decks

Key Starting Cards

  • Parish Hall: If you could only pick one starting card this would be it. In turmoil it is essential to find the right cards from the theme deck as quickly as possible.
  • Candamir: Playing Candamir early will give you a quick strength advantage. But see below on key theme deck cards. Even if you don't play him immediately, it is important to ensure that your opponent doesn't.
  • Toll Bridge: The toll bridge is the key to a good steady gold supply and will likely give you a head start on building the Hedge Tavern.

Other Useful Starting Cards

  • Merchant Caravan: Can help you trade to get the right resources to give you a head start from the off.
  • Brigitta: Can help you roll that key resource you need to place something (or somebody) critical.

Luxury Cards

Normally, I am a great fan of the abbey and storehouse combination and the factories, because of their resource production. But for turmoil these are luxuries because they take up valuable building spots which can be put to better use. If you are going to play any of these, go for the abbey because it allows you to hold an extra card in your hand. Once I have a strong knight base, I might go back for these cards - as well as the market - later.

Don't be tempted to use a gold merchant unless you have both the toll bridge and a second gold field. Leaving yourself without gold in this game could prove fatal.

Theme Decks

Early Picks

  • The most important card in the theme deck is Heinrich. He not only carries 2 SP but he also helps defend you against the mean attackers who lay awaiting you in your opponent's hedge tavern. With Heinrich in play, your opponent cannot breach your defences with a traitor, an arsonist, or an archer if you roll a 3, 4 or 5. If you also get the watch tower (which also adds 1 SP), you are also protected with a 1 or a 2, which renders your opponent's Hedge Tavern virtually useless.
  • With 5 SP, Carl Forkbeard is the only knight in Rivals more powerful than Candamir. Get the two together and you pretty much have strength wrapped up, unless you start to lose knights to archers or riots.
  • If time allows (and you will need to assess your opponents position) it might be worth grabbing the drill ground as an early pick. It only costs a brick and a wheat to build, gives you a cheap strength point, but then costs you one less resource for every knight you build thereafter. This can make a huge difference as you seek to win the knight battle.

Attack Cards

As soon as you get your Hedge Tavern up you need to grab as many of the six HT attack cards as you can and use them as quickly as possible. There are two of each of the following.

  • The Arsonist will burn down one of your opponent's buildings, unless it is situated in a city with a fire brigade. If possible, use it to take out their Hedge Tavern, otherwise use go for any VP buildings. But never sit on it. If you have to, use it on a non-VP building but go after something that they will really miss, like their parish hall, toll bridge or a watch tower.
  • The Archer will take out one of your opponent's heros. But you don't get to choose which one, which is why having a cheap throw away knight on the table can help your defence.
  • The Traitor acts like a spy and enables you to steal a card from your opponent's hand, which is why you should avoid getting caugth with any of the other attack cards in your hand, unless you have Heinrich.

If you have strength advantage you can also use the brigands and the voyage of plunder to steal resources from your opponent. Try using them to wipe out your opponents gold (espeically to prevent them getting their hedge tavern).

Other Useful Cards

  • There are two fire brigades which protects all the buildings in that city from arson. It is worth building early, but make sure you use it to protect your Hedge Tavern. If necessary, use a relocation (there is one in the starting decks) to line up your fire brigade and hedge tavern.
  • There are also two chapels, which provide VPs and protect your knights from riots. One protects with 1-2-3 and the other with 3-4-5 so having both chapels means you no longer have to worry about gold.
  • The large tournament hall is expensive to build but is worth 2 VPs so worth considering towards the end of the game, especially if you are running out of building slots.


With turmoil, the most common events are feud, fraternal feud and riots. To take advantage (or defend) against this:

  • Go for strength over skill when choosing knights
  • Keep yourself with a good stock of gold to prevent losing out to a riot
  • Consider a cheap knight or trade fleet which you could destroy if you don't have gold to protect your knights
  • If you benefit from feuds, make sure you pick the 3 buildings which will most damage your opponent (HT, parish hall, toll station)
  • If you benefit from fraternal feuds make sure that you remove any attack cards which can hurt you next turn (unless you have also have a traitor)
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