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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Davidson

Andrew, Brad, & Patrick: Duel Edition!

Updated: Oct 2, 2022

Andrew, Brad, & Patrick: Duel Edition Gamers Sound Off about Board Games

Greetings, fellow gamers. In this special one-off episode of Andrew, Brad, and Patrick, Andrew Davidson of As Per My Ability (the site you are currently viewing), fellow friend and gamer Brad, and the infamous full-time host of the Level Up Board Game Podcast, Patrick Hapner, sit down to write their picks for games we think would be cool to have a “duel” version. But first, what exactly is a “duel” game? If you’re new, read on. If not, you can skip the following paragraph. No worries.

Duel games are, typically, reiterations of popular multiplayer games. The criterion for a duel game are:

1. Two players only—no more, no less. These are duel games after all.

2. Come in smaller boxes with a smaller board (if any) and fewer pieces.

3. Offers a shorter, more streamlined version of its original version.

Keep in mind, these are not games that are originally designed to be two-player games such as The Shores of Tripoli, Memoir ’44, or Lost Cities (to name a few). Some popular games with a duel companion game are: Tesla vs. Edison, Zooloretto, Imhotep, 7 Wonders, Kingdomino, Cosmic Encounter, Dinosaur Island, and Space Cadets. So, naturally, those are off the table.

What if you could take any one of your favorite multiplayer games, wiggle your nose just like Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched, and the game magically spawns a duel version? Well, friends and well-wishers, read on to see our picks.

Andrew’s Picks

Hey everybody, Andrew here. I’ve got to be honest with you regarding my picks: I didn’t put a ton of thought into this. I simply walked around my shelves and wrote down the first few games I saw—the ones I really enjoy playing but cannot get to the table due to the long duration or player count. I’ve ordered these from most to least interesting.

  • I wonder what a two-player of Covert would look like. Personally, I love the theme. Covert is a Cold War-era spy game where players attempt to complete missions by cracking codes, and obtaining items, all while focusing on and sending prayers to the ever-so-powerful God of the Turn Order. Covert is a fantastic dice-action-placement game where, as previously mentioned, turn order can make or break your perfectly designed strategy.

  • The only reason Eric M. Lang’s Bloodborne: The Card Game crossed my mind is due to its three-person minimum player count. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of the art style. I’ve never played the video or board game. However, I really enjoy how smooth the gameplay is. I’m probably the minority in stating that I really enjoy Bloodborne: The Card Game; however, every time I have the itch to play it I’m either alone or with one other person. I am sure someone out there has developed a two-person variant that I am unaware of but as the game sits, it would be awesome (for me) to have a two-person iteration of the game.

  • Christian Peterson’s Smash Up is a fantastic card game; unfortunately, the gameplay suffers with two players—which is the only way I enjoy playing Smash Up. In fact, whenever I play the game with two players I make the following two major modifications: Ten points to victory (instead of 15) and bases break at their threshold divided in half (rounded up). This version of playing is still wonky but it gets the job done as games typically last for about 30 – 45 minutes, which is perfect. But still, an official version of Smash Up: Duel would be incredibly interesting to try.

What are some of your picks for a “duel” version? Comment below and let us know!

Brad’s Picks

Hello, fellow gamers. My name is Brad. I’m tempted to go for the low-hanging fruit and say that Cash ‘n Guns needs a two-player duel version (Pistols at Noon, anybody?), but I’m a euro gamer at heart. There is one game that sticks out like a sore thumb in the BoardGameGeek top 100. Clearly, I’m talking about the Friedemann Friese classic:

  • Power Grid. Let’s face it, Power Grid: Duel practically designs itself.

o Each player gets one of two asymmetric power companies. One power company utilizes the legacy power generation methods of coal, gas, and nuclear energy. The other power company uses renewable energy sources. Pollution, power cost, power reliability, and public reputation drive profit margins.

o I’d love to play on either side, carefully using profits to purchase new power generation stations from a variable set of cards. Can I hold pollution levels from my coal plant low enough to keep people happy? Will my opponent’s wind farm be reliable enough to keep the lights on? How do I prevent my opponent from turning the section of the map with abundant coal into countryside covered with solar panels?

Yeah, I know the original Power Grid claims to play 2-6 players. That argument immediately falls apart when a quick look at BGG shows 98% of players do not recommend playing at that player count. What about the Robots expansion that improves the two-player experience, you say? Hogwash. Adding extra complexity to an already meaty two-hour game is insane. Power Grid: Duel will be played in a brisk 45-minute session. So, get on it, Mr. Friese; let’s get this game designed! Creating Power Grid: Duel is essentially printing your own money. I can’t see this game doing anything but flying off store shelves into the arms of excited gamers. After all, there’s no way this power engineer would ever overestimate the number of people excited for this game.

Patrick’s Picks

Hello there readers! I’m Patrick from the Level Up Board Game Podcast. When initially asked what game I'd like to see made into a “duel” style game, I had some that I immediately thought of. However, I suppose first I have to consider what makes a game ideal for this sort of treatment. Typically we see games that are phenomenal at higher player counts get a duel version, such as 7 Wonders and Cosmic Encounter.

  • While I think it would be great to have a shortened version of Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization get a compact two-player game, it is probably unnecessary as the available version is fantastic for two.

  • A one-on-one version of Scythe, with a condensed map, would be quite intriguing, and I'd love to see what a heads-up version of Twilight Imperium IV would look like.

  • Ultimately, I think I'd most like to see a duel version for Beyond the Sun. Yes, this game already plays well with two, but there are times when players tend to pursue independent paths for technology advancements, and the area control game on the galaxy map is anything but cutthroat. Perhaps condensing the galaxy, and providing more reason to follow tech decisions, combined with a shorter play time, could make a two-player-only version unique from the base game, while still capturing its intriguing gameplay.

Can't wait to hear what others have to say.

Comment below!

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