Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review -- FLASH DUEL

It's always interesting how games evolve over time, and how subtle difference can become whole new games. We see that a lot in the world of chess where a new piece, or two, or a change in the board creates a whole new variant on the game. In the case of chess there are hundreds, a couple to be reviewed here soon.
But today I am looking at the card-based dueling game Flash Duel from Sirlin Games.
Game creator David Sirlin has developed Flash Duel with an eye to recreating the 'feel' of old video franchises such as Street Fighter.
There are actually 10 fighters, on playing cards, to choose from. The art has a Japanese 'anime/manga' feel, and is very nicely rendered. One. 'Lum Bam-foo' seems plucked direct from the moved Kung Fu Panda, I suspect for obvious reasons of cashing in on that movie's popularity.
In this two-player contest each player selects a combatant. The other character cards get set aside.
There are also 25 community cards, which are a shared resource. Players each get five cards to start.
There is a play board, and nice wooden markers which represent your fighter on the board.
The community cards help determine movement back and forth on the play area, and of course determine attacks and strikes.
Score one hit on your opponent and you win the round. It is suggested you play a best-of-five match.
The game, in terms of card mechanics, has a bit of a War feel, although board positioning is important in card play decisions.
Each of the 10 characters also has 'special abilities' which can be used once per game, sort of the 'ace up the sleeve' which really helps gives Flash Duel its video game aspect.
Now I prefaced this column by mentioning game evolutions. Well Flash Duel certainly has to look back to En Garde as a root game. En Garde is a fine little game which mimics a fencing duel rather well. It is created by Reiner Knizia, one of the great board game creators of the current era, so the lineage is rather stellar.
En Garde is a great and quick game.
Flash Duel updates the 'feel' of the game, and holds the nice aspect of being very quick to play.
Flash Duel also comes in a nice little wooden box, although the lid doesn't have a way of being fastened, so the functionality fails, while the aesthetics get a big thumb's up.
Overall, a great little one-on-one combat game, that has to be recommended.

-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper January 19, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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