Star Wars Episode 1: Clash of the Lightsabers
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Darth Maul and Qui-Gon's duel-to-the-finish card game. Includes 2 collectible pewter figures.
Average Rating: 4.3 in 3 reviews
I am always looking for a new two player game that will be simple enough for my non-gamer wife to learn but will have enough complexity to interest her for multiple plays. Clash of the Lightsabers is one of those games. We are big fans of Lost Cities, Hera and Zeus, and The Reef (which I can never seem to win any more!). This game is most similar to Hera and Zeus with less special cards and therefore less complexity. However it plays just as well, and after the initial game there is no need to pick up the rulebook again. The play level of this game is just right for us. The game isn't overboard on the Star Wars theme, but has just enough to hook any Star Wars fan. The theme works but could have been many different movies or stories, the game would still be fun and challenging.
The play is fast and the rules are clear. Between each game new strategies emerge.
The pewter figures are excellent quality but the pictures on the victory track cards and basic attack cards are a little lacking, however they don't interfere with this excellent game.
Way to go Hasbro!
There is an unwritten rule in the game community that states that games based on movies generally suck. While the original Dune game came out years before the movie and was very good, the official movie tie-in was terrible. I could go on, but you can take my word for it. In general, the rule holds true.
It was no small surprise when my wife picked up a copy of this game as her prize at a local game gathering. I almost dismissed it outright, but then gave it a try. Much to my surprise, it is actually a good little two-player card game.
This game can be thought of as Condottiere for two, sans the luck-of-the-draw problems of that game. There is enough strategy here that it might even have been given a different theme and released as part of the excellent Kosmos two-player series.
With each player having an identical deck, a win or loss can't be blamed on the cards. As with Hera & Zeus and [/page 07364]Caesar & Cleopatra, the players make do with what they draw, knowing that eventually almost every card will, in fact, be used.
Pick this one up, it really is better than one would expect. And the miniatures are nice, too!
Upon recommendation of some folks on-line, I got myself a copy of this little game. Before I even tore the shrinkwrap, I had my doubts. I mean here we have a movie tie-in game (always a bad sign) that was on the shelves alongside the first wave of toys (potential rush-job), bearing the same style artwork and logos as the myriad toys and bubble bath products, and to top it all off... the Hasbro logo!!! I definitely had my doubts!
But then I opened it up, unwrapped the two decks of cards and retrieved the rulebook. I knew I had something that deserved a second chance the moment I started reading through it. Easy to comprehend instructions!!! And on top of all that, it sounded like a great little game!
One player is Jedi Knight, Qui-Gon Jinn (hooray!) and the other is Sith Lord, Darth Maul (boo! hiss!) The object of the game is to defeat your opponent over the course of five 'duels'. Each duel consists of three 'battles' during which both players lay out 'power cards' to try to out-score one another. You begin each duel with a hand of 7 cards (although remaining cards from each preceding duel are kept in your hand). There are also 'special cards' that you may play that affect scoring or cards on the table or in your hand.
All-in-all, 'Clash Of The Lightsabers' is definitely worth the money! It is, sadly, a widely overlooked non-collectible card game from 1999 that should be in your collection! And though I (nor many others) don't say THIS too often... 'Thanks for a great game Hasbro!'
...and may The Force be with you...
The box cries, "Recreate Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul's Epic Duel to the Finish!". Hey, I'm not even a Star Wars fan (in fact, I haven't even seen Episode 1 yet), but thanks to the incredible media blitz surrounding the movie, even I know who these two guys are. It comes as no surprise that there has been an avalanche of movie tie-in products, including several board and card games, but almost without fail, movie tie-in games are incredibly lame and quickly fill the shelves of thrift and charity stores.
Well, this trend has been interrupted. Clash of the Lightsabers is actually an entertaining and reasonably engaging card game for two players and what makes this all the more amazing is that it has been released by Hasbro, the toy and game giant from whom we've come to expect nothing but mindless drivel. One can only hope that this is not merely an aberration, but rather the first step in what could be a journey to more challenging and stimulating adult-oriented games.
Don't get me wrong. Clash of the Lightsabers is not the pinnacle of adult gaming. It is, however, leaps and bounds beyond what we've come to expect from Hasbro (or just about any other mainstream American game company). Kudos to game designer Craig Van Ness (who, by the way, is unfortunately NOT credited anywhere on the game box or rulebook) for a decent game--AND for convincing Hasbro to release it.
The game is very simple and bears some similarities with Caesar & Cleopatra and Lost Cities, two other simple yet engaging two player card games. One player represents Qui-Gon Ginn, the legendary Jedi Knight, while the other player represents Darth Maul, the epitome of evil. The object of the game is to win four rounds of battle, successfully vanquishing your opponent.
Each player has an identical deck of battle cards. Well, identical as to their strength and special abilities, though the wording has been changed on each deck to make it more appropriate to the particular character being played. Cards consist of attack cards, which range in value from 1 -5, and special action cards. The special action cards allow a player to perform various special functions, including drawing extra cards into his hand, blocking a card played by your opponent, doubling the value of your cards played this round, etc. The timing of when to play these cards is a major part of the strategy involved in the game.
The 'board' is comprised of ten cards, five for each player, which depict in full color scenes from the movie depicting the epic battle. Each player lays the five cards, appropriately numbered 1-5 (gee, isn't that clever!), in a row and places their character figure on card number 1. These figures are of finely detailed pewter and represent their character.
At the beginning of each round, each player lays three cards face down, one for each of the three rounds of battle in a turn. Each round is completed before progressing to the next round. Players reveal the card laid for the first round and the player who has laid the lowest attack card then has the option of adding more cards to his attack in the hope of winning the battle. If he opts to do so, he must play cards which then make his total greater than that of his opponent, or play special action cards. If he is able to accomplish this, his opponent now has the opportunity to play cards, following the same procedure and restrictions. This continues until one player opts not to play any further cards, or cannot play any further cards, thereby conceding that round of combat. Play then proceeds to the next round of combat and then to the third and final round.
If a player wins two of the three rounds in a battle, he moves his figure up one notch on the dueling track. If he sweeps all three rounds of the battle, he advances his figure two spaces on the track. One needs to advance four spaces to card number 5 in order to capture the victory and dispatch your opponent to the void (or to the sequel, whichever comes first).
Once one cycle of three battles is completed, a new round is begun. Players receive seven new cards each round, so if they conserved a few cards from the previous battles, they will have a larger arsenal of cards for the upcoming conflicts. Knowing when to concede a battle and conserve your remaining cards is an important element of play.
Proper card management is essential in the game. One has seven cards to allocate over three rounds of battle. Picking which round(s) to commit your cards and which to concede is an important decision. The special action cards are also very important as they can give you new cards, nullify cards played by your opponent, double the value of your cards played, etc. Timing the play of these is an essential key to victory.
As with any card game, luck of the draw can have an impact. However, since each player has identical decks and the game will last a number of rounds, it has been my experience that the 'luck of the draw' evens out very nicely. The loser of the match really can't blame his loss on not getting the right cards!
A full game of Clash of the Lightsabers takes about 20 minutes. It is an entertaining twenty minutes of matching wits with an opponent. The release of such a game as this, plus the news of their plans for Avalon Hill, gives me hope that Hasbro may, indeed, be interested in the adult strategy game market. Let's hope that this isn't too much to ask for.