Star Wars: Epic Duels
2-6 players, $20
Review by John Palagyi
Star Wars: Epic Duels is one of four movie tie in games that came out when
“Attack of the Clones” did. The others are Star Wars: Jedi Unleashed
(see elsewhere this issue), Star Wars Life and Star Wars Stratego.
Epic Duels is a light, fun romp for two to six players, playing alone or
in teams. The object is to eliminate the opposing major characters.
In the box you will find 2 double-sided game boards, 12 character charts,
31 small figures and a whopping 378 cards (6 reference cards and a deck for
each major/minor character pair in the game).
Each player controls one of 12 sets of characters (Yoda and 2 Clone Troopers,
Obi-Wan Kenobi and 2 Clone Troopers, Mace Windu and 2 Clone Troopers, Luke
Skywalker and Leia, Anakin Skywalker and Padme, Han Solo and Chewbacca, Darth
Vader and 2 Storm Troopers, Darth Maul and 2 Battle Droids, Boba Fett and
Greedo, Jango Fett and Zam Wesell, the Emperor and 2 Royal Guardsmen, Count
Dooku and 2 Super Battle Droids).
You get your character pawns, chart, damage markers and deck of cards. Pick
one of the four boards and let the duel begin!
Each major character has a predefined start space on each board. Your
minor character(s) start adjacent to your major one. Your character
chart shows the number of hits your characters have taken, too many and that
character is out of the game. If it is your main character, you lose.
You start the game with four cards in hand and on your turn you move (optional)
and use two actions. Movement is accomplished by rolling the die, which
will show 3, 4 or 5 and possibly the word “all”. You may move your
character orthogonally up to the number of spaces shown. If “all” appears
with the number, you may move all your characters. You cannot move
through obstacles or enemies, but you can move through friendly characters.
You cannot finish on an occupied space. You then take your two actions.
There are three actions, draw a card, play a card or heal a character.
Cards form the heart of the game, the actual attack and defense of the duel.
There are three types of cards, Combat cards, Power Combat cards and Specials.
Combat cards have either a major or minor character pictured on them as well
as an attack and defense value. Cards can only be used by the character
pictured on them. The Power Combat cards will have only an attack or
defense value on them as well as some special action that can be taken.
The Special cards have no attack or defense value, but have instead a powerful
action that can be taken. For example, the Yoda deck has 10 Yoda Combat
cards, 9 Clone Trooper Combat cards, 5 Power Combat cards and 7 Specials.
Four of Yoda’s Power Combat cards allow him to draw a card after playing
them, a powerful benefit since cards can be tight in this game. This
is in addition to the attack or defense value. Yoda has three types
of Specials; Insight(2) allows Yoda to look at an opponents hand and pick
a card that must then be discarded, Force Push(2) allows Yoda to move an
enemy to any space on the board and gives that enemy 3 damage, and Force
Lift(3) which places an enemy on his side, he can no longer attack, defend
or move until he discards 3 cards. So back to taking actions.
Drawing a card is just that, adding to your hand up to a maximum of 10 cards.
Healing a character applies to your major character. After a minor
character has been eliminated, their Combat cards are useless and as an action
may be discarded one at a time for healing your major character one point
at a time. In practice this doesn’t happen unless these are the only
cards in your hand, it’s better to attack when you can. The third action
is playing a card and attacking an enemy. Unless you have a ranged
attack (as indicated by a gun on your character chart), you must be adjacent
to your enemy. You announce your attack and play a card face down,
say my Yoda Attack 4. Your opponent then has the option to defend by
playing a card face up, a Storm Trooper Defend 1. You then reveal your
card, subtract the defense (if any) from the attack number (4-1) and if positive,
mark up that much damage (3! One more hit and that Storm Trooper is eliminated!).
Ranged attacks are only allowed orthoganally or on the diagonal. And
that’s it. Keep dueling until the winner is left standing. A
two-player game lasts about 15 minutes, multi-player games 30-45 minutes.
There are additional rules for team play and a “Master” version (for 2 or
4), whereby you control two major characters.
The components are up to the usual Hasbro standards and I think this is a good game for the
money and what it is. A bad card draw, can see you eliminated without
ever having a chance to defend or strike back, but so what? It’s over
in a matter of minutes. Shuffle the deck and play again. Unlike
Jedi Unleashed, this one will hold the attention of adults and kids.
This review originally appeared in issue
18 of Counter Magazine.