Yoda was the prototype: Rob Daviau interview Part 1 of 5

After seeing a recent surge of interest in Epic Duels here and on the Wiki, I contacted Rob Daviau , the original creator of Star Wars Epic Duels, and requested an interview.  He agreed, and we met in person at the NYC Toy Fair in February.  This is the first part of our 10-minute conversation:

Roman F:  I’m here at the Toy Fair with Rob Daviau, who has been part of creating many of my favorite titles including Heroscape, Pandemic Legacy, DownForce, and he has a couple more titles coming out.

I want to thank you for taking time out to talk about a game that has been around for 15 years now in Star Wars Epic Duels.  You created that in 2002 for Hasbro with Craig Van Ness.  As we talked about, there’s [still] a lot of interest in the game.  Do you remember creating that game?  Anything in particular you remember about the creative process of that game?

Star Wars Epic Duels, still our favorite

Rob D:  It was one of 3 or 4 games that we were doing for Attack of the Clones.  There was another one that was Jedi Unleashed, Epic Duels, I think there was a third one that never saw the light of day.

I remember Craig had the very simple idea of like, you play the cards face down, and it’s the difference between them, and then I was like, “well that could work” and we weren’t sure how many cards so we’ll make a general, aggressive deck and defensive deck and balance it, which is still in there.  You pull all the cards out, you can see the underlying base cards in those 3 different flavors.

Roman:  Red, blue and green, we call them.

Rob:  Yup.  I think that’s actually what we did.  Originally we were like ok, take Darth Vader and take a red deck and shuffle them together, but it was cheaper just to integrate them and have enough red decks so that 2 people could play an aggressive deck.  So we came to that idea pretty quickly.

Then I came up with the Yoda deck first.  If you notice, the Yoda deck is kind of the funkiest.  It’s a little quirky.  So we kind of used that to test, but then we realized, it should be simpler, probably a little more streamlined, but we never had the time to go back and streamline the Yoda deck.  So it kind of is like the prototype deck that got published.  So when I play the game I’m like, “This one is still a bit fussy.”

Roman:  With the FORCE LIFT?

Rob:  With the FORCE LIFT, moving stuff on its side.  Conceptually it works, but it was sorted of executed as a first draft.  We didn’t have time to refine.

Roman:  I feel like that deck, most people actually like it pretty well.  I think Vader would be the one that gets the most debate.

Check back for Part 2 where Rob discusses Vader and Greedo, plus his overall thoughts on the game, next week.


  1. roman says:

    It just occurred to me that the third Star Wars game that Rob Daviau was working on, DID see the light of day. The Queen’s Gambit! Shame on me for not reminding him.

    • James says:

      Seems like, by his answer, QG was for Episode 1, whole Epic Duels and the two others were a few years later, for episode 2.

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