Read through the rules at boardgamegeek and while Unmatched is very similar to Epic Duels, there are some interesting differences.
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Object: Defeat the opposing major, called the hero, or both opposing majors in a 2v2 game. (nothing new there)
The battlefield is made up of circular spaces of varying color/pattern called zones. Some spaces are in 2 or more zones. Lines between the circular spaces designate adjacency. Melee characters can only attack adjacent characters, regardless of colored zone. Ranged characters can attack any character in the same colored zone, or any adjacent character. Ranged characters in zones with multiple colors can attack character in any zones of any of the colors, but can also be attacked by characters in any zones of any of the colors of the space they are in.
On your turn you get 2 actions and may take any of these actions:
You have a hand limit of 7 cards (a change from Epic Duels, where you could hold 10).
If you run out of cards in your draw pile, your fighters are exhausted. If you need to draw a card while your fighters are exhausted, it says “do not reshuffle the discard pile, instead each of your fighters immediately takes 2 damage.” So you never shuffle again? That doesn’t seem right.
Maneuver: First, draw a card. Then, move your characters for their move value (optional).
Movement: Same as Epic Duels, move through friendlies but not through baddies. However, now you can BOOST your movement by playing a card, and moving that card’s BOOST value. You can use the cards of defeated minors for BOOST so it looks like those cards have more value now than they used to. King Arthur can use BOOST for his attack cards.
Scheme: When you take the scheme action, you play a scheme card and resolves its effects. Scheme cards are like Special cards in Epic Duels, a card with effects. I can’t tell if any of the cards in Unmatched have lasting effects, but Alice can change size, and an effect like that would have been new to Epic Duels, so they are bringing some new things into it.
Attack: Mostly like Epic Duels, attacker declares an attack and the defender may choose to defend, and subtract the defense valued from the attack value. It’s different in that you reveal the cards simultaneously in this game, and the defender’s effects go first.
So basically, you either draw & move, or you play a special card, or you attack, the same as Epic Duels except that moving is included in drawing, instead of being a separate, additional thing, and you can boost your movement.
- I’m interested in seeing if the 7-card limit discourages the degree of stockpiling that tends to go on in Epic Duels.
- The exhaust rules are something new and I summarized here, but it also says that
- The whole maps and movement is totally different, and something I’m interested in getting to understand. I always liked the chess-like, basic movement of Epic Duels, and it’s part of why I like it better than other tactical combat games. I have no patience to measure things with a little tape measure like a Warhammer game. Anyways, Unmatched uses the map-and-movement system of Tannhauser, a game that has gotten a lot of love, so it’s a well regarded, tried-and-true system, but it’s different than what Epic Duels fans are used to.
- The removal of the dice roll and the addition of the maneuver action definitely add a layer of strategy compared to Epic Duels.
- I love the whole BOOST mechanic. You can get where you want to, but you’ll pay the price of burning cards, a price made all the higher when you have only 7 of them. This is a trade-off I would have loved the option of in Epic Duels instead of relying upon getting the dice roll you need, though Epic Duels is hardly the only game that sometimes comes down to a die.
Unmatched is a renovation of Epic Duels but it’s not Epic Duels. The combat system is the same but this is a new and different tactical combat game, especially the way you maneuver around the battle field. We’ll have to see how it all plays out.