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Cross blades in a cliffside duel to the death in this fast-action game for 2-6 players! Will your superior technique reign supreme?
Cross blades in a cliffside duel to the death in this fast-action game for 2-6 players! Will your superior technique reign supreme?
460 backers pledged $11,524 to help bring this project to life.

How to Duel

Posted by SlugFest Games (Creator)

Greetings Duelists!

What a first day! As of this post, we have raised nearly 24% of the funding we need to hit our all-in Unbelievable! Stretch Goal. We are thrilled to see so many fans of the original game coming back. But for all of our new duelists, we thought it'd be great to dive into how you play the game in a bit of extra detail. Today, we'll teach you How to Duel!

En Garde Reforged is a fast-paced card game where you must eliminate each of your opponents while keeping yourself in the fight. Throughout the game you'll be playing a variety of cards to attack your opponent's Poise while defending or restoring your own. The full rules for the game are available here and here so we today we are going to go over the game in broad strokes, and hyper focus on the most exciting part of it: the Exchange.

Before we dive into the Exchange, lets quickly cover some other concepts first:

Poise: Poise is a measure of how calm, cool and collected you are. If you fail to block an attack, it will cause you to lose Poise. 

As long as you have any amount of Poise remaining, no attack (no matter how nasty) can eliminate you from the game. Any attack that brings you below 1 Poise instead sets you at No Poise.If you have No Poise, the next time you are successfully attacked, you are eliminated from the game. 

Beware of players who are at No Poise! Many of the most powerful cards in the game take a considerable amount of effort to perform, and thus cost Poise to play. However, when you are at No Poise, you are desperately fighting for your life, and no longer pay any Poise to play your cards!

Turn Order: A player's turn order is pretty straight forward:

  •  Discard and Refill: At the start of a player's turn they may discard any cards from their hand and then refill to a new hand of 9 cards.
  •  Play Cards: A player may play any number of Item and Restoration cards, but may only initiate one Exchange. After the Exchange, a player may again play any Item and Restoration cards.
  •  Ending your Turn: And that's it! Once you are done playing cards, your turn ends.

 Card Types: There are various types of cards in the game:

  •  Items: These cards provide you with passive or one-shot bonuses.
  •  Attack: These cards deal damage to your Opponents.
  •  Enhancement: These cards make your Attacks better.
  •  Response: These cards block Attacks.
  •  Press: These cards counter Responses.
  •  Fancy Move: These cards do unique and exciting things.
  •  Restore: These cards heal you.

So with the broad strokes out of the way, lets dive in to the real meat of the game! You may initiate up to exactly one Exchange on your turn by playing an Attack and declaring who you are dueling. The players in the Exchange (and only those players) then alternate playing cards to the Field.

Ending the Exchange: The Exchange ends when one of the duelists chooses not to or can not play a card. Choosing the correct time to conserve your resources and end an Exchange, even an unfavorable one, is a key to winning the game!

When the exchange ends, the following happen in order:

  •  Resolve any additional effects that say they happen at the end of the Exchange.
  • Calculate the total damage of each unblocked Attack on the Field.
  • Each player loses Poise equal to the total calculated damage. If a player is already at No Poise, they lose the game!
  • Discard all cards from the Field

Example Exchange: Sam is at 6 Poise and Jen is at 5. On Sam's turn, he starts an Exchange with Jen by playing Thrust with the Enhancement Masterful Strike. Same loses 1 Poise to pay for the Masterful Strike. Sam goes from 6 Poise to 5 Poise.

Jen plays Parry Riposte to block Sam's Attack. Parry Riposte has an additional effect that allows her to pay 1 Poise to play an Attack of her own, so she does so with her own Lunge, which itself costs 1 Poise. Jen goes from 5 Poise to 3 Poise.

Sam looks at his hand and has two cards he can play. He can play his own Parry Riposte to block Jen's Lunge or he can play Coupé which would remove Jen's Parry Riposte and open her back up to the original Attack.

Sam may not play both cards, but decides he'd rather not get hit by Jen's Lunge, so he plays the Parry Riposte. Sam also decides not to play another Attack, so he does not pay the 1 Poise to use the additional effects of Parry Riposte.

It's Jen's turn in the Exchange and she plays the Fancy Move Taste My Blade!, which allows her to play a new Attack. She plays Slash with the Enhancement Powerful Strike.

Jen has really turned Sam's attack around on him! Sam has no more Response Cards, but still has his Press Coupé and decides to play it to remove Jen's Parry Riposte so he can push his original attack back through.

Jen has no more cards that she wants to play, so she passes. The Exchange ends and damage is calculated. Sam loses 3 Poise and goes to 2. Jen loses 5 and goes to No Poise, but she’s not out of the game yet! The next hit she takes will finish her off if she doesn’t recover some Poise first.

And that's the Exchange! We'll be diving into more exciting content later this week and next so stay tuned! If you have any questions, comments or concerns do not hesitate to reach out to us to touch base!

Torsten Buhck, AcesofDeath7, and 4 more people like this update.


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    1. SlugFest Games 12-time creator on

      @Joe: Definitely going to sleep better tonight. :D

    2. Joe on

      Yes, I see your point -- with the larger hand size, the ability of the defender to end the exchange (the attacker can't just lob attack after attack against a defender with few cards, knowing they can't respond), and No Poise letting you use all those heavy cards... Okay, you've definitely sold me on the mechanics, and given me some good advice on strategy. (I'm sure you'll sleep a lot better tonight knowing you've got my approval. =)

      I'm also beginning to see how a 3-player game is going to flow *very* differently from a 6-player game.

    3. SlugFest Games 12-time creator on

      @Gareth: It's a lot of fun but you need to be extra careful about spending your cards on a given exchange, especially because of what Joe mentioned...
      @Joe: Oh we definitely felt that when we went to revise the game for the reprint. That's the major reason why the hand size was increased from 7 to 9, just so players all had a bit more gas in the tank. The big thing this game has going for it is that the defender always has the first opportunity to just end the Exchange. So if your opponent just sends out an exploratory 2 damage attack, you can opt to just take the hit and conserve your cards for later. Which means that players feel the need to throw something a bit meatier, forcing offensive players to invest a few more cards than they might want to. It's a tricky game of cat and mouse, and with the No Poise mechanic ensuring you can never get one-shot AND you can defensively go all-out when your life is on the line, players have a good chance of fighting back from being down.

    4. Joe on

      One issue I'm worried about is one that I also see in high-player-number games of Red Dragon Inn: with draws only happening at the beginning of your turn, it's very possible to find yourself with a near-empty hand and several people still in a position to beat you like a piñata. I'm not sure that's a *problem* in an objective, game-balance sense, but we find it frustrating sometimes. I'm wondering how it would change game play to allow Restore cards to be played by *either* member after an Exchange, and to have Restore cards that say something like "Draw 2 cards". Though even as I type that, I realize that I'm talking about a *drastically* different game flow, so maybe best to leave the tried-and-true game mechanics alone. :)

    5. Gareth Johns on

      Very cool :) I'd love to see an example of this for a multiplayer scenario