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Store:  Family Games, 2-Player Games, Card Games
Edition:  En Garde / Duell
Series:  En Garde
Theme:  Sports
Format:  Card Games

Duell

multilingual edition of En Garde


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Ages Play Time Players
9+ 30 minutes 2

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Ravensburger Germany

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Product Description

En garde! Get ready for a sporting competition! The first player to win five duels is the winner. Cross blades - and may the best player win!

Product Information

Contents:

  • 1 game board (in three sections)
  • 25 cards (5 each, values 1 to 5)
  • 8 special cards (rectangular)
  • 2 figures + 2 markers

Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 4.2 in 10 reviews

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The Fighting Little Knizia with the Big Theme
May 31, 2012

En Garde has been around since 1993, and is one of Knizia's better card game fillers. The basic design of this game also lies at the core of David Sirlin's 2011 game, Flash Duel (Second Edition), which has enjoyed considerable independent success over the last year. En Garde as originally conceived by Knizia, is a game about the sport of fencing, and in 2009 it appeared in this great new edition from Gryphon Games that helps give it even more sparkle than the original edition from almost 20 years ago.

The impressive game-play is unlike any other two-player game I've played, in the tug-of-war style battle it offers. Players each place their swordsman - represented by a lovely metal miniature - on the mounted gameboard. Players draw cards from a common deck of cards which contains cards numbered 1 through 5, and play a single card to move their swordsman forwards or backwards. Moving forward the exact distance between you and your opponent is considered an attack which your opponent must parry, otherwise he takes a hit. Players will move back and forth, jostling for position in an attempt to strike the winning blow - an activity which only takes a few minutes.

I don't often see myself praising a Knizia game for theme, but I'm doing it here. Additionally, En Garde is easy to learn, quick to play, and fun. Really, Knizia got almost everything perfect! With the great components of the Gryphon Games edition, I'm very pleased to have this in my collection. If you're looking for a light and clever game with a novel theme and strong bluffing element, you won't be disappointed.

EndersGame, BGG reviewer
Profile: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/user/EndersGame
Reviews: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/37596

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
 
 
 
 
 
by EndersGame
Fencing fun -- without the bruises!
February 11, 2010

Design by: Reiner Knizia
Published by: Gryphon Games
2 Players, 20 minutes
Review by: Greg J. Schloesser

I guess it is only natural that a game about fencing would be designed strictly for two players. I'm not very familiar with fencing, but I'm pretty sure most fencing matches involve just two individuals. I guess if there are more participants, it would be a sword fight!

I've been enjoying this little 2-player game since the mid-1990s when it was released by Abacus Spiele in a small card box. The components were very basic, with dice representing the fencers and the field being formed from cards. I played the game so much, the box is now considerably worn. So I'm especially happy that Gryphon Games has released a new, spiffier version.

The card game pits two players in a fencing duel, with each player attempting to be the first player to score five points, with points being scored either by hits or positioning at the end of a round. Players position their pewter swordsman at either end of the twenty-three space board and draw a hand of five cards. The large cards are numbered from 1 - 5, with five of each number. Cards regulate movement, defense and attack. Players alternate playing cards to move and/or attack, drawing cards to replace those played. The idea is to try to position yourself so that you can make an attack.

Movement is simple: play a card and move that many spaces forward (toward your opponent). An attack is also simple: play one or more cards with a value equal to the distance to your opponent. For example: if you are three spaces away from your opponent, you can use cards with a number '3' to make an attack. You can use more than one of the same numbered cards in an attack, and the defender must parry all of them in order to avoid an attack. To successfully parry an attack, your opponent must play an equal number of cards of the same value. If he cannot do this, a hit is scored.

If a player successfully parries an attack, he has a choice. He can either immediately attack his opponent before re-filling his hand of cards (known as a "riposte"), or he can take a normal turn, playing a card to move. In either case, he refills his hand to five cards after his turn.

The Advanced rules allowing a charge attack, wherein a player can play both a movement and one or more attack cards during the same turn. However, the defender can evade this type of attack by simply moving backwards. The advantage of a charge attack, though, is that it usually forces your opponent back if he cannot parry the charge, thereby improving your position on the board. This is important because if the round ends without anyone scoring a 'hit', the player furthest away from their starting position wins the round.

It is important to note that there are three versions of the game: basic, beginner and advanced, with additional rules added with each level. The advanced version is really not that much more involved than the basic version, but it offers more tactics and options. Thus, I always play the advanced version.

The game plays quickly, with most hands taking just a few minutes. In spite of its simplicity, there are numerous decisions to be made and tactics to pursue. Counting cards is a benefit, as one can track which cards have been played, which cards you hold, and play the odds when maneuvering forward and contemplating an attack. Until the deck nears depletion, however, one can never be quite sure which cards an opponent holds, and which are still buried in the deck. So, chances must be taken, but it wise to take calculated risks as opposed to simply recklessly charging ahead.

I usually desire to be aggressive, charging out of the starting block and racing to my opponent's side of the field. That way, if the round ends with the deck expiring, I have a better chance of winning based on my position. However, one must adapt to the cards being held, so sometimes a slower, more cautious approach is wiser. Plan your strategy based on the cards you hold and draw.

En Garde is a fun, fast and engaging two-player game that has stood the test of time, at least in terms of today's game market where games have a short shelf life. It has been around since 1993, and hasn't lost any of its luster. This new, more attractive version makes it even more appealing. Hopefully, the game will find an even wider audience who will get to enjoy the challenge of fencing … without the bruises!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
 
 
 
 
 
A well-themed numbers game? Touche!
July 06, 2004

Short games deserve their own special place in a gamer's closet. After all, we don't always have time for a 90 minute Elfenland, or even a 45 minute Carcassonne. So games that play in 20 minutes or less are a special breed: very light, uncomplicated games with not too much brainwork. And sadly, they are rarely well themed, which takes away from replayability. The double whammy is that Reiner Knizia's numbered card games tend to be dry like the riverbeds of Baja California, and so imagine my surprise upon playing this gem of a game.

Production of this simple little game is nearly off the charts. Heavy fencing figures ('meeple' humanoid silouettes, who, strangely enough, both look suspiciously like Count Dracula), a nicely illustrated deck of cards, a beautifully illustrated board depicting a fencing field surrounded by trees, shade, foliage and the like. (Mind you, this game is very pricey for such a light 2-player game, so I suppose you get what you pay for.)

Gameplay is simple enough, play a card, advance you figure. Das' it. If you can add numbers between 1 and 5 together, you can play this game (that means you, Joe Steadman. =) The beauty of the game is its simplicity and remarkable capture of the fencing aesthetic.

The deck of cards is numbered 1-5 with 5 of each card. Players have a hand of 5 cards to choose there action from. When a player plays a card, he advances (or retreats) that many spaces on the fencing ground. Players rush towards each other trying to push the other fencer back. Once a player is within striking distance (5 spaces or less) the player has an additional option: make a strike at the other player. At this point he may play more than one card. For example, if he is 3 spaces from his opponent, he may play any number of '3' cards to attack. Then the attacked player has an opportunity to parry by playing the same number of '3' cards. At this point, the parrying player may also counter attack. The key here is that since there are only five of each number, having three of a number guarantees a hit from that range (sicne your opponent couldn not parry it). But the kicker is that since you hold so many cards of that number, a smart opponent will make sure never to be that many spaces away from you. But as the draw deck evaporates, the players must takes risks, for if no hit is made when the draw deck runs out, then whomever was pushed back the furthest loses. This creates a remarkable tension and bluff as players move inside each others range trying to feel out what cards a player may have.

And when you tire of that way to play, the game includes extra cards that add some spice by introducing one rule change to a match, changing the tactics needed to win!

Amazingly light, and uncharacteristicly thematic, Duell is an excellent 2-player game. I almost feel bad only awarding 4 stars, but the high price point, and the repetitive nature of gameplay mean this game will be great filler for 2-player game nights, but probably not a game to be played every day. But if I am wrong, I'll come back and up the rating, because this game is close to excellence. Elegant, appealing, Duell is a game most people will want to pick up, and by far the best game in the Ravensburger 2-player series.


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