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An innovative, tile-based strategy game. Summon your court, levy your troops, and seize the field of battle! Read more

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This project was successfully funded on July 1, 2012.

An innovative, tile-based strategy game. Summon your court, levy your troops, and seize the field of battle!

About this project

     "Most innovative little board game since Chess..."

     Michael A. Stackpole (New York Times Best-selling writer, Wastelands 2           Team Member, Award-winning Game Designer)

The Duke is a dynamic, tile-based strategy game with an old-world, feudal theme. It features high-quality wooden playing pieces and an innovative mechanic. The game takes moments to learn but hours of play to master. Levy your troops and maneuver them about the game board. If you end your movement in a square occupied by an opponent's tile, you capture that tile. Capture your opponent's Duke to win! 

(A Print & Play demo of the game, and the rules, are now available at ). 


The full list of Upgrades is at the bottom of this page. However, because of the incredible job Kickstarters have done in making The Duke not only a reality, but a much better game than it would have been otherwise, we have unlocked this final Tile Upgrade Pack. King Arthur!

King Arthur Tile Pack : $15

Arthur and Gueneviere. Merlin. Lancelot. Matching wits and swords with Morgana le Fey and Mordred. And there, on the hill, the city of silver and gold. Camelot! This tile pack will contain between 8 and 10 new tiles for playing with The Duke. Customizing for alternate play. Reliving the dream of Camelot as often as you'd like. Enjoy!


The way this campaign is running ahead full steam, this may be attainable! If we get to $50,000 we will add one more tile to the full game release, and it will come from the Kickstarter community! We will take your designs (one per backer) and do a P&P tile for each, then let you vote on which truly added something to the game. This person will also get "additional design" credits in the rulebook. Catalyst, joined by your two Dukes (Adam and James), will get to exercise some discretion over the final design. New tile powers will be considered. Special rules will be considered. Then again, simplicity has its own strength as well. So choose wisely!


This was initially considered and discarded due to the crazy expense of changing the stain color for less than a few hundred games. But with 500 backers and growing, you guys have made it a real possibility. So, at $45,000, we will unlock a full Kickstarter-exclusive color scheme. Any standard game rewarded on Kickstarter will have the option of staying with the standard colors (tan and light brown) OR requesting their game in Kickstarter colors! We are certain we can do a nice KS green stain. The opposing side in the darker brown. We don't have final approval on the printing of the grids and such, against such colors, but we believe it can be done and we will go the extra mile to make it happen.


Battlefields are a terrible place, full of death and treachery. And sometimes, that miasma of corruption lingers long after the battle is over, to stain the souls of those who come after. THE SPECTER would be an event-exclusive single tile that will only be found at special Catalyst events like this Kickstarter campaign. It has an extra-dark stain, like the Dragon (below). It enters the battlefield at random, and will use a random move element to "drift" about the playing surface, sowing confusion and death in its wake. Beware!

Playtest Rules: When a piece is captured, place a marker on the location. If not already on the board, the Specter enters from the nearest position along either side of the playing surface. At the end of each player's turn, that player must move the Specter one square closer to the marker. If it strikes another piece, that piece is destroyed (move the marker and the Specter waits there until a new piece is taken, then begins moving again). If the Specter moves past another piece such that the "Skull" power strikes the piece, that piece is rotated to its starting profile.


It seems so plain, so innocuous. Yet the Oracle holds a terrific power. If drawn, the Oracle may assist in bringing out the piece you need, right when you need it. When on the reverse side, draw any three tiles from your bag, and select the one you want to play. Once unlocked, this piece will be added to the regular edition of the game, included at all levels. Two tiles per game. One in light, one in dark. Be careful, though. Such divination may cost you dearly, if relied upon too heavily.


Well, we had hoped to make this a stretch goal to excite a lot of you out there, especially those already playing the Print & Play version, and posting so many interesting new ideas for pieces, tile packs, and alternate themes. But the supporters have been doing such a great job, you are almost there on your own. So we will be offering this as a for-purchase Upgrade Pack (see below) AS WELL AS a stretch goal to be included in the base game AND we will be adding one free Designer Kit Upgrade to all pledge levels at LORD and above!

At $30,000 all games will come with one blank wooden tile each in light and dark stain, and two sheets full of special ability stickers that you may use to customize your pieces several times over. We will have the grid printed on each blank tile for you, but the rest is all up to you! Design it! Name it! Play it!


A force to be reckoned with, The Dragon is a single-tile addition to the game. This tile waits on the board for another piece to stray too close, at which time it may act, dealing a deadly blow. Also, on a player's turn, a strong tile may attack the Dragon, driving it into the enemy ranks and causing great havoc.

The Dragon will come with all games, but Kickstarters will receive an exclusive rendition with a unique color-stain scheme. For rules on how to play the Dragon in our Print&Play demo, see Updates or Comments!


The Duchess is the Duke's secret weapon. Crafty, secretive, and so much more than the formal hostess of political functions. The Duchess may not be as aggressive as her Duke, but she can swing the tide of battle by acting at the most opportune time. The Duchess will be added to all games, but a Kickstarter-exclusive edition will be made available to all campaign supporters!

The innovative game-play feature of The Duke are its double-sided tiles.  Each side represents a different posture--often considered to be defensive or offensive--and demonstrates exactly what the piece can do within the turn. At the end of a move (or use of a special ability) the tile is flipped to its other side, displaying a new offensive or defensive posture. 

Each posture conveys different options for maneuver and attack. The full circle is a standard Move, the hollow circle the Jump, the arrow provides for the Slide, the star a special Strike ability and so on. Each turn a player may select any tile to maneuver, attempting to defend his own troops while positioning himself to capture his opponent's Duke.

Player's start the game by placing their Duke in one of the two middle squares on their side of the gameboard. Two Footman are then placed next to the Duke. 

Each turn a player may choose to either move a single tile, or randomly draw a new tile from the bag. 

With twelve different Troop Tiles, all double-sided, and sixteen total pieces for each player, the variety of game play is limitless.

Every time you play The Duke you'll find it a different game, with new challenges requiring unique strategies.

Beyond the endless variety of the basic game, Terrain Tiles introduce a variety of game play options, altering the gameboard. These rules also include several Alternate Objectives, such as the challenging Dark Rider game which pits five Pikeman against a lone Knight.

Catalyst Game Labs is committed to publishing this game no matter what. However, we've two large games releasing soon, one of which, Leviathans, is a massive, epic universe with numerous follow up products. With these production commitments, The Duke would not see game stores until 2013.

We believe this game is cool enough that it deserves to come out now, not wait till next year. We believe that once you've a chance to take a look at this fantastic game, you'll agree.

What's more, with the Kickstarter community at our side, we'll be able to take a great game and make the entire package fantastic. We are looking at additional troop tiles and different gameboards, as well as different themes. In fact, one of our stretch goals will be to allow Kickstarters to choose a new theme for this game and guide our efforts in development.

It's all up to you!

Catalyst continues to source new materials for The Duke, making it an exceptional game for all of our players and especially for Kickstarter supporters. If you like an upgrade, simply increase your pledge by the amount shown. We will send you a survey email at the end of the campaign where you can note which upgrades you desire. Don't worry, we won't mail your rewards until we are sure you are receiving all levels and upgrades to which you are entitled.


EXTRA COPY OF THE GAME : $30 (see shipping instructions)

Thanks to all who asked, and thanks also to those who assumed and went ahead and pledged for it without knowing. YES! Absolutely you can pledge to receive more than one copy of the game. A second copy of the Standard Bearer is $30, and will come with all Kickstarter exclusives and stretch goal extras. (In fact, you can pledge for any number of reward and upgrade packages by increasing your pledge, and letting us know which final combination of rewards and upgrades you would like.) Please see individual rewards for any extra shipping costs and add in accordingly! 


An 8 to 10 tile set which adds the Arthurian Legend to The Duke. On one side, King Arthur, Gueneviere, Sir Lancelot, Merlin. On the other Mordred and Morgana and their dark knights. And between them, Camelot! This set is meant to expand The Duke's regular play as well as spark several new mini-games that will be published online. Some pieces may be added. Some will swap out for existing pieces, to better balance the sides and to give the game a great new level of alternate play.

LEATHER PLAYING SURFACE : $45 (See Cartographer Reward)

This upgrade cannot be purchased except as part of an existing pledge (Cartographer, Gentry or higher) or with a second copy of The Duke (one leather map per physical game). But we wanted to post pictures so you can see that it is an incredible quality map, laser-etched into good vegetable-stained 5-6 oz cowhide. If you choose this as an upgrade, you get the map AND a copy of The Duke. (The final product will have brown edges stained or laser-burned to match the edge detail).

ROBIN HOOD CUSTOM TILE PACK : $15 (shipping included)

Defend King RIchard's throne with Robin Hood's tile pack. Each limited edition set includes Robin Hood, Maid Marion, Little John, and one more merry man TBD in light stain, Prince John The Sheriff, and Sir Guy in dark stain. Maid Marion may be captured, then released later in an effort to save Prince John and extend the game! An engaging new mechanic for alternate game play!

Robin Hood tiles shown below. Obviously based on the Bowman, but upgraded for the mythical archer! (And our graphics artist thinks Robin should have the "outlaw" darker stain, so there you go!)

THREE MUSKETEERS CUSTOM TILE PACK : $15 (shipping included)

All for one and one for all! Customize your game with a Three Musketeers tile pack. Each limited edition set includes four Musketeers, Richelieu, de Winter, and Roquefort. These tiles will replace other tiles on both sides, to put a twist into The Duke's regular play, and will spawn several fun mini-games as well. (Yes, RIchelieu is shown on a light tile as well, below. Rest assured, he will be on the darker tiles in the final version.) 

ROBERT E. HOWARD (CONAN!) CUSTOM TILE PACK : $12 (shipping included)

Thanks to a previous working relations with Paradox Entertainment, we were able to secure limited rights to four Robert E. howard characters for inclusion in a custom tile pack for The Duke.  Conan and Solomon Kane will soon be joined by two other great Howard characters in this limited edition set. (We've already heard calls out there for Kull the Conqueror, Black Agnes, and others. All good choices!)

DESIGNER TILE KIT : $15 (shipping included)

Purchase the designer tile kit, and in addition to the blank tiles and sticker sheet that will soon come with every game, you will receive two additional pairs of light and dark stained wooden tiles (4 tiles total!) and 8 sticker sheets for long-term use in customizing your own pieces for The Duke. The wooden tiles will come with the starting and reverse grids already printed on them, awaiting only your design and a call to the battlefield! (One Designer Kit will also be added to all pledges of LORD and above.)


Catalyst located a local tannery that makes great suede-leather drawstring pouches. We are having them resized, so they will hold all tiles for storage and for drawing during the game. 

The final pouches will be in two colors, to match the two tile stains, and will have The Duke hand-dyed on them. A $40 retail value, which we are bringing you for $30, including domestic and international shipping! (All international supporters, please check your import laws regarding leather goods before upgrading!) This upgrade is a KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE, and has already been added to the LORD and NOBLE pledge levels!

Want to know more about the game? Feel free to visit, and click on "TableTop." There you'll find The Duke's home page, where you can download a free copy of the game's complete rules! Also, follow us on Twitter: catalystgamelab

Thanks for checking out The Duke, and remember...Levy, Maneuver, Conquer!


Check out some of our first attempts at Kickstarter video footage. No game developers were hurt in the making of this video.


  • The standard playing surface for The Duke is a litho-wrapped cardboard/chipboard like you would find in most boardgames. We will be offering upgraded playing surfaces here on Kickstarter, but currently there is no plan to permanently upgrade the playing board that comes in our standard box. Maybe as a stretch reward...

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  • On the back of each regular edition gameboard will be two royal "family trees." The "Duke" positions will be filled by our Duke-level pledges. All other locations will be filled in from the top, down, with our biggest sponsors and earliest sponsors taking precedence. Any pledge of "NOBLE" level or higher is guaranteed a place on the tree.

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  • Absolutely. We understand there may be times you don't want to pull out the nice leather playing surface. During a grand ball, perhaps. Lord Winthrop would likely use it as a coaster. All upgrades, unless otherwise stated, will be in addition to the materials listed under "Standard Bearer."

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  • Yes. In their current designs, they are all Kickstarter exclusive.

    By this we mean that we will not be releasing any of these higher-end upgrades in a retail setting. It's just not practical. We may (may!) offer something similar as a limited upgrade in any future editions of the game, or as prize support at one of the conventions we attend, but we would never offer the exact same design/colors/size/etc. What you get here will remain unique to this campaign. And for something like the JESTER tile, that will be retired and never used again, anywhere, by us.

    You may see some "web-exclusive" materials show up on this or other Catalyst campaigns. Or "event exclusives." Web-exlcusives are items we will only offer online through Kickstarter, our own website, or maybe a major supporting channel like boardgamegeek, for instance. Event-exclusives would also cover conventions and tournament play, things of that nature. Just FYI.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    3 backers

    SUPPLICANT: Anyone who pledges at this level has our deepest appreciation. It also holds a place for you on our survey list, in case we offer any after-campaign specials. We invite you to check out our website and then review the other great rewards one more time.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    15 backers

    MESSENGER: At this level, supporters will be sent a link for a downloadable copy of the game similar to what our playtesters receive. Just print and play! The game is fully playable as a card stock game and will incclude the Kickstarter exclusive piece, the JESTER.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    225 backers

    STANDARD BEARER: Answer the call to glory! Supporters at this level will receive a link to our downloadable print-and-play copy AND a final production copy of The Duke, PLUS the Kickstarter-exclusive playing tile: JESTER. A $45 value which includes domestic shipping! (Please add $8 for shipping to Canada, $15 for overseas.)

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  • You selected
    Pledge $45 or more

    113 backers

    CARTOGRAPHER: Add a touch of old-world cache. Receive the Standard Bearer rewards, PLUS a leather gaming surface. Domestic shipping included. (Please add $8 for shipping to Canada, $15 for overseas.)

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  • You selected
    Pledge $60 or more

    18 backers Limited (32 left of 50)

    LANDED: Not for the common player. Receive all rewards as the Standard Bearer, PLUS an engraved woooden box for coffee-table display and storage of your game. Domestic shipping included. (Please add $12 for shipping to Canada, $20 for overseas.)

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  • You selected
    Pledge $70 or more

    137 backers

    GENTRY: Old world all the way. Receive the same rewards as Landed, PLUS the Cartographer's leather playing surface. Domestic shipping included. (Please add $12 for shipping to Canada, $20 for overseas.)

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  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    31 backers

    MINISTER: One to play, one to display! Receive all rewards as Gentry, PLUS an additional copy of the Standard Bearer rewards. Domestic shipping included. (Please add $12 for shipping to Canada, $20 for full international.)

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  • You selected
    Pledge $125 or more

    6 backers

    MERCHANT: For brick-and-mortar retailers only, we will provide one case of The Duke. That's six copies! One copy will come in a "Gentry" package which includes the engraved wooden box and leather playing surface. Each copy includes the Kickstarter-exclusive tile, JESTER. That's a $225 retail value. Any pledge not from a retail store will be rewarded with 4 x Standard Bearer. Domestic shipping is included. (Please add $20 for shipping to Canada, $45 for full international.)

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  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    0 backers

    AMBASSADOR: Diplomatic privilege! To make it easier on shipping costs, supporters at this level will receive 5 copies of all rewards as Standard Bearer. Domestic shipping included. (Please add $20 for shipping to Canada, $45 for full international.)

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  • You selected
    Pledge $175 or more

    4 backers

    LORD: Blueblood rules the battlefield! Receive all rewards from Minister, PLUS two quality leather pouches for keeping your tiles during play (just added), AND design a playing piece that will be unique to your set! You'll coordinate with Catalyst to create and name your own unique Troop Tile (subject to Catalyst approval). Two tiles (one for each player) will ship with your game. Domestic and Canadian shipping included. (Overseas please add $20,)

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  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    4 backers Limited (2 left of 6)

    NOBLE: Let your pedigree be known! Receive all rewards as Lord (including the newly added leather pouches!), PLUS be immortalized with your name on the back of the gameboard which will display the genealogies of two noble houses. Patron and Duke supporters will automatically be included at the top, with 12 more entries filling out the family trees. This is first come, first serve, so the first pledges at each level will appear higher on the tree. Domestic and international shipping included.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    14 backers Limited (2 left of 16)

    PATRON: Looking for the royal treatment? We are commissioning twenty high-end "legacy" editions of The Duke from one of the industry's master carpentry shops (Geek Chic! If you don't know their work, check them out at We will release only twelve publicly. All pieces are laser engraved in choice hardwoods, hand-stained to bring out the grain, and displayed in a beautiful hardwood case. Game surface and bags are tooled in finished leather. You will also get two regular editions of the game for the commoners to enjoy. Your name will be added to the genealogy tree on the back of the regular gameboard (early pledges get the higher noble rank) and you will also be named in the rulebook as a Patron of the arts! Domestic and international shipping included.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    2 backers All gone!

    DUKE: Royalty hath its privileges. Receive all rewards from Patron, PLUS design a unique playing piece that will be included in the full print run of The Duke. You'll coordinate with Catalyst to create and name a new and unique Troop Tile (subject to Catalyst approval) that will be included in every game! You will also be given "additional design" credit in the rulebook. Domestic and international shipping included.

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Funding period

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