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Duel of Ages Set 1: Worldspanner» Forums » Reviews

Subject: REVIEW! Did it live up to the hype? rss

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Matt Mehlhoff
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Hello ALL! This is my first review on this site.

So I've really gotten into board games recently, been playing Puerto Rico, Agricola, Settlers (the one that got me into it all), Carcassonne, Zombies!! and Dominion...

I have been following Tom Vassal's top 100 and watching them along with his reviews to decide the next fun game for myself and so have really been wanting to try... DUEL OF AGES!

I found someone here on BGG who had a copy and he happened to live less than an hour away so I purchased it from him (thanks Carl) and was pumped to try it out with my friend Mike. Being careful to do it right the first time, hearing it may be a love/hate relationship, I did much research ahead of time to make sure that the first experience was as good as possible

My thoughts:
When first looking at the pieces they are actually fairly simple and not very artistic. I was kind of thrown off by this because I've heard they are well designed so I didn't expect the amazon woman to look like she was rendered out of the first Sims game.

Having set it up it took about an hour to read through the rules and made sure we understood them. We were patient and it worked fine although we expectedly had to reference them later. The rules were well laid out except for glaring holes, such as where you START - kind of a key element.

Gameplay was fun, I took the BGG users' advice of not taking the scoring too seriously, have fun, think of it as a race with some combat mixed in to prevent chars from getting to the labyrinths, start with 8 characters (game recommends 3 to start) give 1 pt for each 2 enemies killed etc. I can say that while we again had to constantly go back to the rule books we did slowly gain gameplay knowledge and the game became more fun as turns sped up. It was clear though that you need at least 2 hours to have a good game from it considering ours only lasted about 1.5hrs and we felt we barely completed anything.

What I really think will make this game great is the customization. There are a lot of places I will be altering the rules for a better experience (or who knows, maybe I think I'm creating rules that already exist but the rulebook isn't clear on) such as getting a new char every 30min after your initial group, get 1pt for killing each 2 enemy characters, creating my own custom characters (Obama - charming but no wits, Darth Vader - powerful melee, can move a character back 2 spaces with the force). I can see creating new characters and weapons to be something that would really bring much more of a laugh factor to the game. I've found that's the key - just have fun, picture the characters in the situations, fighting the fights, and laugh about the ridiculousness throughout. Play the scenario as future kings that have time warped these characters into the setting, they must fight to win to go home, or they die, not this hologram stuff.

PROS:
- Cool characters/weapons, but adding more through expansions/customization will add significantly
- Boards have a variety of elements on it
- Fairly complex rules (I hate finding out a game is reallllly simple)
- 2 players but easily expandable to 3 4 5 6
- Expansions if you enjoy it and want to add more - although being out of print they are hard to find

CONS:
- Complex to learn, wouldn't teach this to anyone who isn't into the crazy idea or that doesn't like complex learning of games (my wife, younger cousin, etc)
- Rulebook may look clear but there are glaring holes in it too, (ugh, duh, wtf to I do to start my characters on the map - yes I found it on duelofages.com but it would be nice if they attempted to read the instructions through before publishing them)
- No easy way of marking health besides pen/paper or the recommended "pennies"
- some of the "adventures" are kinda lame - basketball? but then again it can be humorous I guess
- can be long and there is really no exciting endgame as opposed to enjoying the experience, obviously an excellent game should have both

Overall? 7.8/10 for now because I like the crazy characters, the board is ok, the combat is interesting w/rolling and the labyrinth challenges are more fun than I thought they'd be, but also because the pieces are low quality, rules are not fully explained, can take forever to learn and play.I believe this score will get better with more plays, and more customization in tweaking the rules to make it better and adding your own/expansion characters.

I've only played this once and it was a learning experience. I expect to play it 2-3 more times before really having a verdict and deciding if it's going to collect dust or be played often. If I have even a slight interest in making it a regular game I think adding my own custom cards will really create even more hilarious groupings (Obama/ Charleton Heston/Yoda/Kit Carson/Yeti). I would recommend this game but play slow, learn, enjoy the characters, the settings, etc. The best board games let you enjoy the experience and the win, this game is more about the experience, especially at first.

PS> anyone want to donate Geek Gold to let me have an avatar? Thanks!
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Marco Marandola
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It took us 3-4 games before we could play a game with all the right rules I love this game.

By the way Kit Carson is already in the game.
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Matt Mehlhoff
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Morrison wrote:
By the way Kit Carson is already in the game.


Right, I was just using it to show the idea of pairing new characters with existing characters. Thanks though and if you have any recommendations on ways to play that you've found that make it more fun that would be great.
 
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Marco Marandola
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Well at first we played it with a set time (like it says in the rules) since there's no end to this game.

But I prefer another way I found on BGG you play a set number of turns we play 12 after the twelved turn you roll a die an remove 1-6 counters of those twelve turns if there's still some counters left you continue if not it end the game add a trill for the end game.
 
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Matt Mehlhoff
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Morrison wrote:
Well at first we played it with a set time (like it says in the rules) since there's no end to this game.

But I prefer another way I found on BGG you play a set number of turns we play 12 after the twelved turn you roll a die an remove 1-6 counters of those twelve turns if there's still some counters left you continue if not it end the game add a trill for the end game.


I LIKE IT! We'll have to try that way, sounds like a much better way than the time limit. That aspect really turned us off to it at first.
 
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Dennis Gadgaard
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Also, if you haven't already you should really download the rulebook from the Master's Addendum expansion which is fortunately on the duel of ages site for free.

I think it clears up a lot compared to the rules in set 1.
 
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Matt Mehlhoff
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DenGad wrote:
Also, if you haven't already you should really download the rulebook from the Master's Addendum expansion which is fortunately on the duel of ages site for free.

I think it clears up a lot compared to the rules in set 1.


Thanks I did and it helped. Any idea of if these games are coming back or if they're out of print forever? I heard something about them trying to get control of their site again because obviously some parts are down. Could it be when that happens they'll start selling it again or do I need to quickly pick up any expansions I may want?
 
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Gregory Wong
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You may find my two-page quick reference helpful. It covers all of the expansions and the Masters Addendum.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/17816/doa_reference_v1...

I print up the two sheets and put them back to back in a sheet protector and give one to each player.

I run this game a lot at conventions. The fact that I can set the ending time and players can drop in and out during the game makes it ideal for cons.

--Greg

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Ivan Flack
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Did it live up to the hype - OH YES IT DID!!!
In my humble opinion this has been and still remains one of the most fun and playable games in my collection.

Loved by everyone I have played it with...

I have all of the sets and have used them all so far. I now have a second copy of each of them still unopened that I intend to keep and pass on to my kids at some stage down the line!!!

I find that the rules can be 'bent' to suit and that it is easy to come up with new rules, characters and even cardboard platters to expand the game for yourself.

My kids made some platters up themselves using templates on the PC and we use them a lot.

Great game, great fun...!!!

Later...
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Big Sixer
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I'm the "Mike" that played this with Lannister last night.

I am also new to the hobby, before Lan introduced me to Settlers the extent of my board game experience involved Pictionary and the occasional Trivial Pursuit. At one point I was huge into video games but as I get older I find I prefer the social interaction of board and card games over the solo experience of a video game, even if I play it online. There is just something nice about being there in front of the person you are playing...

I also have been following Tom Vassel's top 100. I picked up Heroscape just yesterday and plan on playing it tonight for the first time (look for my review). Great job Tom, if you happen to read this!

I would like to add just a bit to Lan's review. I am an optimist. From the gate I wanted to like this game. Even though the rules either were translated (poorly) or the person who wrote them is just not all that clever with the English language. Not only were there holes in WHAT to do and HOW to do it, but the directions that were there, were often not clear. We sat there like monkeys doing a math problem trying to figure out the way to assess damage/hits in ranged vs. melee combat only to figure out the correct way to do melee with 10 mins before we had to stop playing for the night.

Line of site attacks are...odd. If you have a ranged weapon the way the rules has you determine if a player is in range is hazy at best. Lan and I finally just determined our own way of doing it. As Lan says, that seems to be okay. As long as all the players agree, then just have fun with it and don't stress over the rules.

Towers, houses, and domes... oh my! Houses you can see into, but can't shoot into. You can see out of them, but can't shoot out of them. Towers can only be accupied by one player at a time and from what I saw were mostly useless. The mechanic behind the domes and how you end up there is interesting, if not intuitive.

The game is clearly designed to be a race game, with the addition of combat but seriously: where is the fun in that? About halfway through the game I started just throwing my guys against his any time I got the chance. This is where I think the game really shines. In any combat situation you play your character vs. your rival's. The cards have a vast amount of data on them that helps you determine your fighter's strengths vs. your opponent’s strengths. There is a handy chart that will explain the number you must roll in order to be successful in your attack. Hit that number (average is 7, obviously with 2 dice) or below and you are successful. The amount you come in UNDER the desired number determines how successful your attack is. The lower your roll, the better your attack will be. This is how combat is determined in the adventures as well. While the only way to get items into the game is through these adventure battles, it is more fun to fight each other in a lot of cases.

What I like about combat is initially what I hated about this game. Luck. You can have the greatest advantage in the world and still end up falling on your face. Last night I had to roll ANYTHING but a 12 and I would have killed his character. I rolled a 12. That meant I missed him, AND my weapon broke. It was very painful. There were several times where I said "Lan, this is my least favorite game". Oddly, as the night went on it was this very same thing, the element of the unknown that kept me interested.

All-in-all I am very interested in playing this game again. I felt like we our time was too short to even begin to come to grips with how this game is really played. The weapons and combat are both great. I did not find the art as offensive as Lan did, but to each there own. I give the game a 7/10 overall. My rating will change, up or down, based on more plays I am sure.


Six

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Bartow Riggs
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Bigsixer wrote:
I'm the "Mike" that played this with Lannister last night.

I am also new to the hobby, before Lan introduced me to Settlers the extent of my board game experience involved Pictionary and the occasional Trivial Pursuit. At one point I was huge into video games but as I get older I find I prefer the social interaction of board and card games over the solo experience of a video game, even if I play it online. There is just something nice about being there in front of the person you are playing...

I also have been following Tom Vassel's top 100. I picked up Heroscape just yesterday and plan on playing it tonight for the first time (look for my review). Great job Tom, if you happen to read this!

I would like to add just a bit to Lan's review. I am an optimist. From the gate I wanted to like this game. Even though the rules either were translated (poorly) or the person who wrote them is just not all that clever with the English language. Not only were there holes in WHAT to do and HOW to do it, but the directions that were there, were often not clear. We sat there like monkeys doing a math problem trying to figure out the way to assess damage/hits in ranged vs. melee combat only to figure out the correct way to do melee with 10 mins before we had to stop playing for the night.

Line of site attacks are...odd. If you have a ranged weapon the way the rules has you determine if a player is in range is hazy at best. Lan and I finally just determined our own way of doing it. As Lan says, that seems to be okay. As long as all the players agree, then just have fun with it and don't stress over the rules.

Towers, houses, and domes... oh my! Houses you can see into, but can't shoot into. You can see out of them, but can't shoot out of them. Towers can only be accupied by one player at a time and from what I saw were mostly useless. The mechanic behind the domes and how you end up there is interesting, if not intuitive.

The game is clearly designed to be a race game, with the addition of combat but seriously: where is the fun in that? About halfway through the game I started just throwing my guys against his any time I got the chance. This is where I think the game really shines. In any combat situation you play your character vs. your rival's. The cards have a vast amount of data on them that helps you determine your fighter's strengths vs. your opponent’s strengths. There is a handy chart that will explain the number you must roll in order to be successful in your attack. Hit that number (average is 7, obviously with 2 dice) or below and you are successful. The amount you come in UNDER the desired number determines how successful your attack is. The lower your roll, the better your attack will be. This is how combat is determined in the adventures as well. While the only way to get items into the game is through these adventure battles, it is more fun to fight each other in a lot of cases.

What I like about combat is initially what I hated about this game. Luck. You can have the greatest advantage in the world and still end up falling on your face. Last night I had to roll ANYTHING but a 12 and I would have killed his character. I rolled a 12. That meant I missed him, AND my weapon broke. It was very painful. There were several times where I said "Lan, this is my least favorite game". Oddly, as the night went on it was this very same thing, the element of the unknown that kept me interested.

All-in-all I am very interested in playing this game again. I felt like we our time was too short to even begin to come to grips with how this game is really played. The weapons and combat all both great. I did not find the art as offensive as Lan did, but to each there own. I give the game a 7/10 overall.


Six



You can't shoot _into_ or _out_ of houses? I don't have the rules here in front of me but that doesn't sound at all right.

Domes and towers yes - but houses?
 
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Big Sixer
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I could be wrong on the houses part... we never got into any so we never had to worry about it laugh
 
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Matt Mehlhoff
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Bigsixer wrote:
I could be wrong on the houses part... we never got into any so we never had to worry about it laugh


You can shoot in and out of houses, just not over them unless it's like a grenade. Towers are what you can't shoot in and out of.
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Henrik Lantz
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You can certainly shoot into and out of houses. You cannot, however, shoot through them. If you want to shoot at an enemy two spaces away, but there is a house in the square between the two of you, you cannot shoot.
 
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David desJardins
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The master rulebook is a free download and I think it's perfectly clear. There may be some gaps in the original rulebook---I've never studied it closely---but if so they were addressed many years ago.
 
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Warrick Williams
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Thanks for the review, I cant help liking this a game - I actually do love the artwork on the cards - its diverse and imaginative plus Im heavily into black and white energies so I like the team colours.
I bought the first two sets - and it really helps to have the second set INTENSITY which gives it a fuller bodied experience ( u even get pets )

You can set your own end time , so the playing is quite flexible. yeah - its fun - keep playing . I need to get this out more- its not actually too difficult to teach as long as you have a good understanding of the rules & I don't think is too hard to learn.....but if all u play is Settlers or Carcassonne - then yeah.... it may not have instant "meeple" appeal. It would be of course nice to have miniatures ( its a very flat game indeed ) - but there are SO many characters it would not be viable, so use your imagination. :)
 
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Warrick Williams
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PS - to anyone in Western Australia - the shop TACTICS ( I found on my recent visit ) in London Court still have this game and its various editions in stock - yahoo - coz its hard to find and may even be out of print now.
 
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Matt Mehlhoff
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Version 2 due out someday...

http://worldspanner.net/disc/
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