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Monday, October 6, 2014

Review: A Duel Betwixt Us

At Gen Con I managed to snag a copy of A Duel Betwixt Us from Game Salute. With cover art like this, how could I possibly turn it down? A Duel Betwixt Us is a two-player card game with a silly twist.

From the designer's website: A Duel Betwixt Us is a 2-player card game designed to test your manly worth through the ancient & sacred art of violence.

Your heroic feats will earn you the love of fair maidens, and sturdy men join your ranks in admiration of your combative prowess.

You will send this fanclub to work in the mines, where they will toil tirelessly in your name. The fine ingots they pull from the earth will provide you with an economic & military edge in the series of spectacular duels which will unfold betwixt you and your nemesis. 

Who will be the finer specimen of Man? Will you gain the Gentlemanly Satisfaction you demand? Only time will tell... 

I was already sold. But, let's look inside and see exactly what you get. You get a full color rulebook, chock with examples and detailed instructions.

You also get five pre-folded card boxes to store all of the cards in. They even fit the cards when sleeved!

The goal of the game is to gain more favor with the ladies than your opponent. This is represented by cards with a rose. Each player starts with four, and over the course of the game, you take them from your opponent.

Each player represents a Duelist Persona, such as Baronet Percival Sparkletrout below. The personas are simply aesthetic and have no relevance on game play.

You have miners (you start with five, and gain more as the game goes on). While they all function the same in the game, they each have a unique name and portrait. Some are even zombies.

There is a mining section, with copper, silver, and gold ingots available to mine.

 You send your miners to mine the ingots. It takes one miner to mine copper, two miners to mine a silver ingot, and three to gather a gold ingot.

You use these ingots to construct weapons, armor, and pay for abilities.

The card itself forms the "hilt" of the weapon. You construct the weapon with ingots in the manner that the card has the empty yellow slots. So for example, I can add one ingot to this "Close Shaver". In this case, I added a silver ingot. The Close Shaver now has a combat value of two. You cannot use weapons until all of their ingot slots have been completed.

 This hammer has three empty slots, so by adding one of each ingot, I give it a combat value of six. Notice that it actually looks like a hammer!

You can also make armor and shields that work defensively. Here, can we put some jewels in a codpiece to protect your jewels.

You can also use ingots to pay for Events. Below is "A Miner Murder" event, where you can kill off one of your opponents loyal miners.


During the game, you fight duels against your opponent. You don't always know which kind of duel you will fight. Different duels require different types of weapons. Both players will bring the same types of weapons to a duel, so one person can't show up with a sword when the other shows up with a hammer.

Some of them even get crazy.

You simply tally up the offensive power of your weapons and reduce it be the defensive value of your opponents armor and shields. Note that you can only count weapons, armor, and shields that the duel allowed you to bring. The victor each takes one of his opponents favors, or gains two additional miners.

In addition, there a tricks you can play during duels. They are like events, but are used dueling the duel itself. Many of them involve concealed weapons.

A Duel Betwixt Us is a fun little game. It has some design issues - one that has been apparent is that once a player starts to win, they tend to runaway with the game, and its hard for the underdog to come back. But nonetheless, it makes for an amusing time.

If you're looking for a serious, competitive two player card game, I'd go elsewhere. But if you're looking for a fun, mustache totin' good time, a Duel Betwixt Us might be right up your alley!

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