What’s in a Duel? Rob Daviau Interview Part 2 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 second part of our 10-minute conversation:

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

Rob:  Yeah, Vader gets the most debate.  I can see that.  I mean, if you don’t know about ALL TOO EASY, he’s overpowered in one way.  If you know about it, he’s too weak.

Roman:  That’s been our experience.

Rob:  Yeah, and so we designed this for 8-to-10 year-olds to last 3 months.

They were the target. Not me and probably not you.

Not that we ever want to put out a bad game, but I did not expect in 2018 to be talking about adults deciding the balance of it!  Which is amazing!  And I can say that yeah you’re right, Vader probably needed tuning, I would say Yoda was a little fussy.  I really like how, we got most of them to work well.

Roman:  Absolutely!

Rob:  I like how Chewie feels like a major character.

I did the Greedo, where he either did really great or dies, because it just makes me laugh.

Roman:  Us too!  We gave him his own deck where he’s a major with the other guys from the Cantina for his minors.

Rob:  Oh, nice.

Roman:  He does all the same things, but he still dies.

Rob:  He still dies.  Maybe he gets lucky.

Roman:  Anything you would have done differently with that game, in the absence of deadlines?  I think we kind of touched on, you may have revisited Yoda…

Rob:  I was never entirely happy about, when the minor character is done, after removing from the game and you have their cards in your hand, and you play them to heal, it always felt like it was 75% as effective as I wanted.  I remember we went back and forth, trying to figure it out.  I don’t think it’s bad, I just don’t think it’s what – like, if I had to do it again today, I would look at that.  You still have to spend the action to draw it, you still have to spend the action to play it and you only get 1 renewal.

Roman:  It’s not a move people use very often.  It’s for very particular situations.

Rob:  Yeah, and we kind of knew when we were doing it, and we’re under deadline and we’re like “this works”.  And, an 8-year-old can understand it.  And, they’re not going to think, “it’s an inefficient use of an action system.”

He’s probably not thinking, “You know? That heal move is an inefficient use of an action.”

So we wanted to keep it simple.  And if we were like, well 35-year-olds are playing it, we would have had a different philosophy.

Roman:  Of course.

Well 35-year-olds ARE playing it (pic from bgg, no idea who that is)

Check back for Part 3, where Rob talks about how Epic Duels was received and what it led to for him, plus our talk about the Transformers Epic Duels game.

Learn anything new about Epic Duels?  Does it change anything about how you see the game or how you’ll play it?  Any ideas on how to address the heal rule?  Leave comments below!

One comment

  1. roman says:

    I figured out a potential tweak for the heal rule but as I think about it… it would just extend the game a little more, it would be less of a punishment to the major to have his minor(s) killed off, it would encourage more running, hiding and healing… I suppose it would make movement a tad more valuable but in hindsight, I think I would have told Rob that the rule is fine the way it is.

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