Disc Duelers Review

Disc Duelers game in play

So, if this is your first one of my reviews - hi.  I'm Josh.  I love dexterity games.  And so, the people that have been checking out my site for a while will in no way be surprised that I sought out a copy of Disc Duelers to try out.

In Disc Duelers (the normal version - there are about 4-5 various ways to play), each player has a handful of characters, represented by discs, that they are using in an epic grudge match against all of their opponents discs.  (Of course, they are mortal enemies, since they were not selected for the same Kickball team years ago...  what?  There's not any real justification for why they want to kill each other?  Oh well.)  Each disc has a corresponding card that represents how many moves and attacks that disc can make, as well as any special rules it might have.  When setting up the game, you will place random (heavy) objects on your table as "terrain."  When moving, you may freely bounce off this terrain, but if you hit a different disc, you will take damage.  When attacking, you will deal damage to any opponents discs that you hit, but you will also take damage for hitting terrain.  Any disc that goes hurtling off of the table (this happens a lot) also takes a point of damage (regardless of turn).  Play consists of players alternating turns with one of their characters until each of the characters have been destroyed (by taking 5 points of damage).  When only one player has any discs remaining, then they have won the epic disc grudge match!

The first pro that I have for Disc Duelers is that I like the concept of my discs being different - representing actual characters that would be fighting in the arena.  It makes sense that they are not all made the same - some people should fight better than others; and others should be able to run around and get in position, hide, etc.  And, though this could be represented in different sized discs (Catacombs does this to an extent), I appreciate both ways of handling this.  Additionally, Disc Duelers lets you draft your characters so that you get at least some say in your army's makeup - thus tailoring it to your skills.

Terrain picture for Disc Duelers board game
The great elephant terrain!
The next pro that I have for Disc Duelers is how they have built table size and terrain into the game.  In most flicking games, obstacles are either game-specific pieces that you buy (I'm thinking of things like ramps in PitchCar), or you are supposed to make sure that the playing surface is clear.  However, I think that it's a fun and unique element that Disc Duelers suggests for terrain - find things that are lying around near you, and set them on the table as terrain.  And, this doesn't only give your pieces places to hide behind (and change the attacking player's vectors), but the terrain even has rules about it!  If you hit terrain when attacking, or when it's not your turn, then you take damage.  They took things that are lying around your house and added strategic effects to them!  I could see someone being really creative with this and adding ramps and overhangs, and all kinds of sweet terrain to this game.

However, though there are some pretty sweet elements to Disc Duelers, there are also some fairly sizable drawbacks.  First, the rulebook is awful.  For instance - when picking your characters, many of them talk about ranged attacks.  I would estimate that about 1/3 of the characters have a ranged attack of some form.  Want to know how a ranged attack works?  Me too!  The rules don't discuss it.  (If you found this page by searching for that, here is how they work: you use the small red discs and place them near your character and flick them instead of your character's disc.  There is a thread on BoardGameGeek that covers it more thoroughly.)  Aside from the ranged attacks, I remember having to make up or assume things about many other situations that we ran into while playing the game.  (What happens if you shoot your disc off the table, but it has attacks or moves left?  Based on some other rules, we assume that you take a damage and your turn is over.  But, this isn't really clearly covered anywhere.  Are you allowed to move, attack, move, attack, or do you have to do all of your moves together and attacks together?  Do you have to move first?)

Disc Duelers character cards
A few characters
The next con for Disc Duelers is that it is hard to keep track of who your characters are, and where they are (not to mention who owns all of the other discs).  The discs each have a sticker on them that matches (part of) the art on their character cards.  However, as you play, there will be over 20 different discs on the table in ever changing positions, with each one looking the exact same except for the picture - which may even look similar.  So, when different pieces are hit, it's generally easy to remember whether you own a given piece (though when attacking, you may have no idea which player you're targeting).  However, each turn will probably start with, "Ok, I have these characters alive and untapped - now where are they?"

My final con for Disc Duelers is that items are, for the most part, a neat sounding non-factor.  In the game, you must use each of your characters before you are allowed to re-use a character.  You may also, optionally, play with items.  (In my opinion, using items is the "full" game.)  Whenever a character picks up items, they go on the character that picked them up (hit them with his disc).  This, of course, makes sense.  However, depending on which characters you have used, you will have to live several rounds with your character before you can actually use that item.  If the item sounds good, you will probably be dead by the time that would happen.  Five points of damage does not last very long when you can take three damage from a single attack; and even more if a player uses their first few attacks to barely tap your disc, thus leaving you in position for them to attack you with the rest of their attacks (remember that most characters have three or more attacks).  As I type this, I realize that the repeat attack strategy is also an annoying con.

Overall, I give Disc Duelers a 7.0/10.  It has all of the flicking fun that I enjoy, but it also has a bit more down time than I would prefer in a dexterity game.  That combined with the rulebook keep it out of the upper echelon of dexterity games - at least in my opinion.

If Disc Duelers sounds fun, you should also check out Crokinole, Elk Fest, and Catacombs.

I would like to thank Level 99 Games for providing me with a review copy of Disc Duelers.


  1. Josh,

    I was seriously just thinking about this game when your review popped up. Thanx for such a thorough review! Whats your favorite dexterity game?

    1. My favorites are Crokinole, PitchCar, Maximum Throwdown, Catacombs... I also like Elk Fest, Riff Raff, Bamboleo. There are tons of good ones! (And, I think I've reviewed all the ones I mentioned other than Maximum Throwdown - and that one I did a little help on designing, so I didn't think I should review it.)