Designing Microgames–Duel, Part 9

The Story So Far…

A new microgame is in development.  Duel supports two players, each with a deck of 20 cards.  Players have a hand of 4 cards and may (1) play a card into an empty space, (2) play a card onto an enemy card, or (3) move a card one space.  After this, the player refills her hand.  The game ends if a player is down to 3 or fewer cards in hand and chooses to end it.  The player controlling the majority of spaces in a 3×3 grid wins.

Kevin (APE Games Brusky has given the prototype a look and wants to proceed together.  APE Games will release the game in two-player packs containing two unique armies.

We have taken an extensive look at two decks–the team boosting Pirates and the lone swimming Sea Monsters.  Each was created to focus on a certain part of the game.  Now we look at the Shogunate deck and bring the Ally ability into the conversation.


Rules Update: Terminology

The “Support” ability has given many players issues.  We have repeatedly seen them mistake this ability for a defensive boost rather than an attack boost.  This is natural, considering the connotation of the word.  To clarify, we ran through a list of replacements and came up with “Strike.”  The rules have been updated accordingly.

Duel Rules 3-2


A New Deck: the Shogunate

NagamakiClose on the heels of the Pirates and the Sea Monsters were the Shogunate. This deck was conceived around the kind of large-scale battles we see in films like Akira Kurosawa’s Ran.  And Ninjas.  You gotta have ninjas.

The Shogunate became an effort to blend elements from each of the previous two decks.  In this deck, we see the Ninjas equipped with a first strike ability akin to that used in the Sea Monsters.

We see Archers with a Strike ability similar to that of the the Pirates.  

The Shogunate also feature the first appearance of the Ally ability–Nagamaki cards that can to add to the defense of a space.

Testing the Shogunate

As of this writing, the Shogunate deck has been through three major overhauls.  The Ninja were too weak at first, the Swordsman too strong.  The version you’re seeing here has been testing well, however and I don’t anticipate any major changes any time soon.

Shogunate 1 Shogunate 2Shogunate 3



We’ll take a look at the Shogunate’s chief rivals next time when you’ll see The Masters of Kung Fu deck.  How do these decks interact with one another? You’ll find out Friday!


What’s your favorite Microgame?  What do you like best about it?  Have you written one? How did your players respond to it? Share with your fellow readers in the comments below.  And if you’re enjoying what you’re reading, create an account with WordPress and follow this blog.  You keep reading. I’ll keep writing.


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