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Cincygamers Epic Duels Review
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Star Wars: Epic Duels

Hasbro (starwars.hasbro.com)

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.