The village is represented by a 24 by 24 grid of individual plots. Every plot of land is large enough for one field, or one building. Every plot is also either owned by one family or common ground. The later can be used by all families.
In most games, every family starts with a section of land, one continuous, square area of plots owned by them. These plots are empty except for one which contains their hut. There are two types of grounds. The outer circle is at the edge of the village, closer to the forest and thus more threatened. These grounds are larger, at 4*4 or 16 plots each. The inner circle is around the center of the village, more protected but smaller (3*3 or 9 plots).
In some games, families start owning just the plot under their house. When you pick a family to join, you will see which type of game it is, and you can back out without picking a family if you prefer the other kind.
At the start of the village, a perimeter two plots wide at the forest edge and the very center of the map are common ground, including the common houses (see below) at the center. Many villages are also not populated to the max, leaving lands empty (and thus common grounds) where in other games a family resides. Common ground is as important as own ground. It can be the place for shared projects, for example the village can join forces to build a fence and later wall all around on the common land at the forest edge, because everyone can build on common ground, making cooperation easy. However, everyone also profits from common ground. If you plant a field on common ground, everyone can harvest it when it is ready. This may or may not be the desired result.
Family names and sizes, which lands are occupied and which empty, and the locations of huts are randomly determined for every village, so games are never exactly the same.
Every village has a set of common buildings at the village center. These buildings and their functions are shared by all families. They can be repaired, but not rebuilt. Once destroyed, they are gone for good.
The well provides water for the peasants and to water the fields. All peasants are assumed to get their own water from the well themselves, so this part is not simulated in the game. However, to water fields, a lot of water is required constantly. For this reason, the well needs to be manned every day by at least one peasant. It doesn't matter who.
If the well is not manned, all fields will suffer from drought. But since there is natural rain and wetness in the ground, lack of water by itself will not destroy a field. The damage depends on how well (pun not intended) the field is. Every field has a value, this is explained elsewhere in the manual. If it has the full value of 7, there is a 65% chance it will lose one. At 6, a 50% chance. If its value is 5, there is a 25% chance of a loss, and if the value is 4, a 10% chance. Fields that are already damaged beyond that, whether by animals or lack of water, will suffer no further ill effect.
As you can see, it is vital that someone mans the well every day. How to manage this is up to the players in the game to resolve. To allow time for communication, the well has no effect on the first day.
The watchtower is also a common project, like the well, with similar rules. Its purpose is to look out for signs of creatures in the forest during the day, and to check where good gathering locations are.
If the tower is not manned, peasants going into the forest to gather have to be on the lookout by themselves and can spend less time gathering with no directions to good spots. As a result, there is a 33% chance for every gathering action to return with one resource less. Yes, this means those gathering stone could return empty-handed.
Clearly, same as the well, it is vital that someone mans the watchtower. How to manage this is again up to the players to organize. Like the well, the watchtower has no effect on the first day.
The tiny market is almost abandoned as the village is deep in the forest. However, with a gold coin, traders can be attracted here and karma can be turned into resources.
Note that the market cannot be repaired. Damage it suffers is not just to the structure, but also to reputation. The market also symbolizes the willingness of merchants to travel to the village.
This is where all the dead are buried. The graveyard is passive, no actions can be made here. The creatures of the forest ignore it, so it will neither stop them nor take damage.