Jeremy hopes the Force is with him as he pursues a forensics career in the swamps of Louisiana.
What Is Epic Duels?
Despite the mixed reception to the Star Wars prequels, they undeniably generated millions of dollars, often collected through toys and games. Of the dozens of options available, I've always enjoyed the board/card game blend of Star Wars Epic Duels.
Created in 2002, this relic was out of print by 2004. Though short-lived, it offered an enjoyable strategy game complex enough to appeal to hardcore fans and simple enough to be rapidly learned. Today, we'll review how to play, examine some of the decks, and explore the future of Epic Duels!
How To Play
Epic Duels comes with several boards depicting various Star Wars locations. From constantly storming Kamino to the ominous carbonite chamber in Cloud City, these sets will host your battles. Epic Duels includes several character decks with a variety of cards that players use to defeat their opponents, as well as miniature figures that move across the board as you battle.
Characters: Each deck includes a "major" character and either one or two "minor" characters. They also have their own sheet and counters to keep track of each combatant's health. Your objective is to vanquish the opposing major character. Eliminating minor characters will make the task easier, but you only win once the major foe falls.
Below is a quick list of the available combinations.
Clone Trooper (x2)
Clone Trooper (x2)
Clone Trooper (x2
Super Battle Droid (x2)
Battle Droid (x2)
Royal Guard (x2)
Game Set-Up: In two player games, one player chooses a Light team and the other selects a Dark. Pick a board you'd like to battle on, then each player places their main character in the designated spot on the board.
Next, roll a die, and the player with the higher value puts their minor character(s) anywhere adjacent to their main character, then their opponent does the same. Shuffle each player's deck, and draw four cards. The player who rolled higher goes first.
Turn Progression: First, roll a die and move a single character a number of spaces up to the number you rolled. The die in Epic Duels sometimes lands on an "all" number; this lets you move all your characters up to the rolled value. You do not have to move if you don't want to.
Actions: Now, you have tqo actions to spend on your turn. You can mix and match your actions or double up on either drawing a card, playing a card, or healing. Drawing a card is simple enough, just remember your maximum hand size is ten. If your minor character has perished, you can spend an action to discard one of their cards to heal your major character one damage.
Attacking: The real fun comes with playing cards. If you can attack (see range below) you may spend an action to do so, or play one of your "special" cards (see card types). When attacking, you declare which character you're using to attack as well as the target, then set your attack cards face-down. Before you reveal your attack, your opponent has the option to defend by playing a Defense card. Reveal both cards, and the defender takes damage equal to the difference between the two. An attack of five defended by a Defense of three results in two damage, for example.
Range: Characters with lightsabers must be next to an opponent to attack them, while characters with blasters only need to be facing them in a straight line, no matter the number of squares between. A character's health card has a small blaster icon if they can attack from range.
Combat cards list both an attack and a defense score; you can use these to either attack or defend using the appropriate value.
Power Combat cards have only a single attack or defense score, but contain a variety of additional effects, from moving extra spaces to looking at your opponent's hand. If used to attack, your opponent can defend as normal.
Special cards invite mayhem with a plethora of unique effects. These can't be defended against.
For further clarification on any rules, you can review a pdf file of the instructions here.
Risky deck that easily defeats minor characters with "Wrath" Special.
Ranged, weak major but superb minor character.
Balanced deck, Luke becomes deadly once Leia perishes.
Windu gains power as you accumulate cards.
Focuses on movement and extra draws.
Incredible defense and potent specials.
Well-balanced, focus on drawing cards. Strong minors.
Offense-oriented, focuses on bonus attacks. Weak minors.
Hit Points galore and unavoidable damage through Specials.
Low Health but strong minors and forced opposing discards.
Risky and ranged deck with high offense but low defense.
Ranged, focus on movement.
Epic Duel released after Attack of the Clones but before Revenge of the Sith, so many characters are based on their Episode 2 incarnations. Disappointed by the absence of your favorite characters? Fear not! Despite the relative obscurity and short life of Epic Duels, it retains some devoted fans to this day.
You can even go here to see hundreds of fan-made decks that encompass characters from the new movies, like Kylo Ren, Expanded Universe champions, like Mara Jade, and new pairings of classic fighters, like Old Ben Kenobi with young Luke. Thanks to devoted fans and the internet, this classic game enjoys play even today, and I hope you give it a chance to see if it enthralls you!
Questions & Answers
Question: How much does Star Wars Epic Duels cost?
Answer: Like any popular out-of-print board game, obtaining a new copy won't be cheap. I found gently used copies on Amazon for $150, and around $240 for an entirely new one. If you're lucky enough to own an unopened copy, there's some profit to be made!
© 2016 Jeremy Gill