Recently I've been trying out several games by smaller publishers. One of the ones with a strong reputation is Sirlin Games (makers of Puzzle Strike) - so I took an opportunity to try out Flash Duel.
In Flash Duel, you take on the role of a fighter that is trying to knock out his opponent. Fortunately for you, your opponent has a glass jaw - one hit and you'll take him down for the round (unless you're playing the dragon scenario). Unfortunately, you're a bit of a wimp, too, and you have the same weakness. To start the game, you each get five cards in your hand. These cards have a numeric value from 1 to 5. On your turn, you play a card - using this card you can either move, "push" your opponent backwards, or attack. In order to attack, the card played must represent the distance between you and your opponent. If you have several copies of the needed card, you can play all of them to "power up" your attack - thus forcing your opponent to play the same number of the card in order to block. If he can't, then he goes down, and you win the round. Also, after a move, you have the opportunity to do an attack (in the same way as a standard attack). However, this move/attack combo is called a "dashing strike." If your opponent cannot block your dashing strike, they have the option of playing a card to retreat (instead of getting knocked out), but then on their turn all they can do is draw cards. At the end of your turn, you draw back up to five cards. Play continues like this until a player is hit with an attack (at which time they collapse into a heap and lose the round), or the draw deck runs out. If the deck runs out, you each have one last opportunity to hit each other, and then whoever has advanced further along the track is declared the winner (in the "you couldn't hurt a fly" (also known as the "I like dancing better than boxing") division). After a round, you reset the board and go again. You typically play either best out of 3 or best out of 5.
|The Dragon is pretty awesome|
Another thing that I like about Flash Duel is that there are 20 different characters that you can use - each with his own abilities. Even more than this, there is also a "Clockwork" mode in which you can select powers from several different characters. This allows you some variability between games so that you don't feel like you're doing the exact same thing every time. However, the game will primarily still come down to whoever makes the best use of the cards they draw.
Finally, Flash Duel just "flows" well as a game. It is pretty smooth and intuitive. It doesn't take a long time to setup, and can be played with just about anybody. In this way, it's the epitome of what a "filler" game should be - a nice way of spending time while waiting until a longer game starts.
|One of the more interesting abilities|
My only other real complaint with the game is that it seems to cost too much for what it is. I recently have thought this about a different game because of the limited number of components. That is definitely not the case with Flash Duel. I feel like the number and quality of components that you receive for the list price of $35 is just fine. However, the game takes 5 minutes to play. The box claims 15 minutes, but I'm guessing that is a best out of 5 scenario, or includes setup time. (Including reading the rules?) To me $35 just seems a bit too high for a 5 minute game.
Overall, I give Flash Duel a 7.5/10. I think that it is a fine game, and I definitely understand why people enjoy it, but I think that for $35, I'd be disappointed with just how brief the game is. (Though I guess "Flash Duel" is an appropriate name for it!)
If you like fighting games, you might also check out Yomi, BattleCON, or Jab.
I would like to thank Sirlin Games for providing me with a review copy of Flash Duel via Game Salute.