Unmatched details from Rolling Dice and Taking Names

Check out the really excellent podcast by Rolling Dice & Taking Names with Rob Daviau and his business partner (and blog commenter) Justin Jacobson.

If you want to see the game in action, you can get a glimpse from Roll for Crit on YouTube.

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Some highlights:

In battle there are no equals. It’s all about asymmetric battling.

“We went back and we looked at that,” said Rob, “and we thought, there was a real opportunity for something lighter, and breezier, something where you could mix and match”.

“The art and graphic designs on these cards are beautiful,” said Justin. “Sinbad’s got this Middle Eastern Mandala style”.  Stop and look at the art if you haven’t already.  It’s going to be amazing.

“We just saw the art for Robin Hood the other day and I said this is my favorite Robin Hood version ever because I like a grittier outlaw, sort of rob from the rich and give to the poor sort of guy,” said Rob.

The game has been reworked a bit in terms of how it plays by taking from Tannhauser instead of the old checkerboard with cardinal direction movement and orthogonal direction ranged attacking.

It sounds like Artist Oliver Barrett is bringing a lot of chops to this project. And, later in the podcast, Rob gets more into the major-minor dynamic of some of the decks, and it’s all really cool and thought out. So, Restoration is really investing in making this game good. You’ve got really good designers, really good publishers, and really good artists all coming together on this project.

The first 4 decks are:

  • Alice (from Wonderland) & Jabberwock, with a vorpal blade and the ability to grow and shrink.
  • King Arthur & Merlin. Arthur discards cards to BOOST the value of his attacks.
  • Medusa & Harpies. It sounds like Medusa has a killer Stone Gaze move that can end the game but I’m not sure what the mechanics are. I have some ideas of how I would go about it, obviously 😉
  • Sinbad & Porter. Sinbad has 7 journey cards, and as he plays them, he gains power for the late game.

2 Maps:

  • Sarpedon (Medusa’s Island)
  • Castle Marmoreal

Then they’ve got a Robin Hood vs. Bigfoot expansion planned:

  • Robin Hood & Outlaws
  • Bigfoot & Jackalope

2 maps:

  • Forest
  • Badlands

Maps are double-sided, like original Epic Duels, and figures are pre-assembled non-painted with a wash, and each with a colored base for their character (e.g. blue for Alice’s base, and the Jabberwock gets a blue disc).


Then they’re working with Mondo Games to bring us 4 decks from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They haven’t finalized the decks but I think it’s safe to say Buffy is one of them. I don’t know the series well enough to suggest others besides Angel, who I’m sure will appear in some way.

And then:

  • Bruce Lee

“We have a lot of ideas of licenses we’d like to do,” Rob adds. “But we’re waiting a little bit to see what people want and what they’re asking for. We’ve got another set of 4 that’s mostly designed, and then another set of 4 that’s mostly designed.”

Then around 56:00 into the podcast, Rob provides confirmation that the livelihood of the Epic Duels community, still strong 17 years since Epic Duels came out, has had a direct impact on what they’re doing at Restoration Games.

“That game was designed for 8-year-olds, to tie into a movie. I’m hoping that the Epic Duels community finds this and likes it, and maybe they’ll port some cards over from the old one, and kind of revamp them.”

“Is there an Epic Duels community?” asks Marty, the host.  (Marty:  Yes, there is).

“Yeah, the game really took off among a certain group of people,” says Justin Jacobson, (we resemble that remark 🙂 ) “Who were excited by the idea that it came with a bunch of characters, and you could pick any 2 and fight them, and so people would make their own decks, with heroes and characters they like from other IPs and in a way in finding that community it was sort of, we could build that into the game, we could find these other IPs and essentially you could match up any 2 fighters from any sets.”

So to the hundreds of monthly visitors to this blog and the Epic Duels Wiki:  This game is for you.  It’s being done with great art and interesting mechanics and a lot more craft than the original game.  I didn’t just go talk Epic Duels with Rob Daviau out of the blue, I did it because I saw that there was still such a passionate following for the game.  I expect there will be plenty of room for fan creativity.

“Part of the fun of the job is talking to people, finding out the games they want us to bring back, hearing what gets them excited. That’s what I’m excited about in Unmatched is the options are so limitless, to hear what heroes people want to see is going to be exciting.”

So, let’s get after it, gang.

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