Duel of Ages: Field of Honor
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(Worth 1,495 Funagain Points!)
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Stand upon the Field of Honor... and challenge the watery-legged curs who dare to oppose you. At long last, you can make the despicable foes come to you, to answer for their myriad crimes and repulsive manners. Honorable characters may allow their opponent the first shot, while Dishonorable may act treacherously. It's raw colonial justice, as a small lead ball or sword point decides right and wrong...
This review assumes you know how to play Duel of Ages: Worldspanner)
Field of Honor is an interesting expansion, to be sure, for it adds a very different idea to the game - duels. These take place on the new adventure key included in this expansion. All spaces on it are clear, with 4 challenge spots. On these spots are where the duels occur.
First, a character from either team must move to one of the four spots (melee, throw, point, or aim) with a weapon of the indicated type. He then makes a challenge to the opposing team. Unless they ignore the challenge (in which case they lose), the other team sends one character (living) to answer the challenge. In the challenge, each character uses the same weapon and tries to hit their opponent with it. They continue to pummel each other until one of them is dead (in which case the other wins), or until one of them retreats (in which case the other also wins.) The weapon is then lost, and the winner places their marker on the spot. If one team gets markers on three of the attack types without the other being taken by the opponent, they get a free character to join their side (a huge boost!). Also, whichever team has the most markers at the end of the game gets one victory point.
Honorable characters may allow their opponent to take the first shot, which gives the enemy an advantage, but does not allow him to win the duel. Dishonorable characters can cheat, but if they don't kill their opponent, they are in a heap of trouble.
Several new characters are added in this expansion, and are listed here with comments:
Annah Mischkev, the International Spy - She's not much to look at, with mediocre stats. He special abilities, seeing the opponents cards and never being banished are also okay. One of my least favorite characters from this expansion.
Aramis, the Musketeer - Very good in fighting, especially with swords. Of course, the fool always allows the other the first blow, so he's not perfect by any means.
Davy Crockett, the Backwoodsman - He's a good shot, especially through woods. Sadly, though, you can easily find a better shot in other characters.
Dr. Memnar, the Mad Scientist - Here is Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. He can become a scientist, who has poor stats except for intelligence, or a monster - who has some of the best melee stats in the game. He's fun, except when you are chasing a powerful character as monster, and suddenly transform back into the scientist. Still, a great, fun character.
Erik Merit, the Retired Elite - Erik has the best stats in the game. However, he cannot attack the enemy until he either FOPPs on a test (which rarely happens) or until they attack him. (which again, rarely happens). This means he has free reign of the board. He is one of the best characters of the set.
Fanged Tracnids, the Multipliers - They have good fighting stats, but start off weak until they land in water. Water is where they replenish their health. If playing them, quickly kill them off before this happens.
Hans August, the Outdoorsman - He can move well through water, and can climb cliffs. I'm not sure that makes up for his mediocre stats, however. I like him, but it's more an emotional attachment than anything else.
Ian Welsh, the Secret Agent - Here we have James Bond. He's immune to chaotic effects by the enemy, and has very good skills with guns.
Ivymane, the Wood Fay - One of the fastest characters in the game, Ivymane can also charm opponents, keeping them from attacking her. This lets her get all over the board, and do havoc.
Jade the Unicorn, the Mythical Beast - One of my favorite characters. Armor means nothing to them, and they're a good fighter. Too bad they can't use weapons and move slowly through some terrain. Still, they're one of the best melee fighters.
Jerry Gillis, the Survivalist - If you like collecting cards, use Jerry - he gets plenty. Jerry can't give them away, but surely some of the plethora of cards he picks up will come in handy.
Leapgrip, the Hunter Race - A very good fighter, and very difficult to hit. However, they can't use guns or attack people without cards - which in the beginning is almost everyone. Good, but not good enough.
Mandibled Plasmoid, the Bug-Eyed Alien - Not that good of a fighter, but it can soak up a lot of damage. Also, it can eat living cards to heal itself. A formidable character, indeed.
Napoleon, the Strategos - A weak fighter, Napoleon not only can move quickly, but adds one to all colonial teammates' movement on the board. A good character, but you need to protect him.
Prince Wallard Blatt, the Time Prisoner - Blatt is a pathetic fighter, with no special abilities to make up for it. All he can do is come back to life, time and time again - until he is the only character left. I guess he makes good cannon fodder - again and again.
Jedidiah Smith, the Mountain Man - At first, Smith looks quite normal with decently good stats. But if you can get him a rifle and a pistol, he becomes one of the deadliest shots in the game.
Shifter, the Adapter - Shifter starts out with horrendous stats. Over time, they increase with the opportunity of becoming superbly stunning. So if you are playing the Shifter, kill it quickly!
Sven, the Netmender and Tanika, the Young Heroine - Both of these characters are very similar. Most of their stats are unknown, until they use them the first time. At that time, dice are rolled, and the color of their new stat becomes known. Sometimes they will be great heroes. Other times they will be stupid clowns.
Yori Blackpad, the Cave Dweller - Currently the only character in the game that is totally at home in the many tunnels in Duel of Ages. He can move quickly through them, as well as fight well in them. If you use him, get a lot of tunnels on the map, fast! He's a very fun character to use.
A lot of new equipment cards are included with this expansion. Some of my favorites include the Excalibur, one of the best swords in the game; Brass Knuckles - not a great weapon but just necessary in this kind of game ; and Plate Armor, powerful armor worn only by the strong.
The game also includes a new form of equipment, the badges. Unlike most equipment, the badge must be revealed when it is drawn. It changes it's wearers rating in a certain category, depending on their honor. Usually it will make the rating go up, but a dishonorable character can have their rating go down. When ever anyone deals damage to someone wearing a badge, the badge passes to them. Other than that, one cannot lose a badge.
The duel rules add a lot to the game, and make it fun. It's not the best expansion to throw in when teaching a beginner, as the badges and duel rules may be a bit too much. Still, like all the expansions for Duel of Ages, I recommend it heartily!