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 third part of our 10-minute conversation:
Rob (continuing): That was a fun time. That was one of those things where, you don’t know. I’ve worked on games that I thought were gonna be great and people were like “eh” and this was one that was a fun summer, off-and-on, while working on 5 other things, and here we go.
Roman: Yeah, it ended up being a gateway game for many people I know, got a lot of people into more strategy games. You know, Star Wars Minis followed Epic Duels, and that’s a little bit of a deeper strategy game, and it got a lot of my friends into that one.
Rob: I like that it really does… The character decks do feel different.
Roman: Yes, they do!
Rob: And they do feel like the characters. And I thought it was nice that we were able to tweak out the feeling of Count Dooku being different than Darth Maul from, I can’t remember now, you probably remember better than I do, how many special cards were in each deck.
Roman: Yeah, 12.
Rob: So, just a difference of 12 cards.
Roman: Yup, and Maul has a very distinct feeling from Anakin, from Dooku, and we always enjoyed that.
Rob: We never liked Dooku’s pose either. We always called him “I’m a little teapot” when we were play testing.
Roman: Ha, ha. Funny. It is kind of what he does in the movie but it’s still pretty funny.
Rob: Yeah, but when you’re down to something 20 millimeters tall or something, it looks a little silly.
Roman: Right. Well, they’ll enjoy that one.
Rob: It came out and it got good feedback, and we were sort of surprised, and that was a direct influence onto Heroscape, about a year later.
Roman: I’m a fan of that game, and what I like is that you can have armies fighting from different genres and different times. Did you ever think of doing something like that with Epic Duels? As I mentioned, people are doing Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones and Smash Brothers.
Rob: Wasn’t there a Transformers one officially?
Roman: Yeah, I think Craig [Van Ness] made that one. That’s fun. I have it. [Link to Geektopia reference section for it].
Rob: So what happened was, Hasbro was very much like, we did this Star Wars thing and it was done. Epic Duels isn’t enough of a brand for kids. It’s not Monopoly.
They weren’t going to build it into a brand, although any hobby company would have.
Roman: Yes, they would have.
Rob: So they moved on, and I started doing DVD games including a lot of Trivial Pursuit, and some stuff on Heroscape.
So, Craig ended up doing the one with Transformers. I don’t know that I even played it, let alone, worked on it. And that was it.
Roman: There was going to be a sequel at one point. I don’t know if you worked on that?
Check back for Part 4, where Rob gives his guess about the sequel and we discuss some of Rob’s upcoming new games.
Did you learn anything about the dynamics of Hasbro? Almost a shame it was a big game company, not a small one, that came up with Epic Duels. Did anyone else ever play that Transformers game?