I zigged and zagged my last living character across the tabletop, deftly avoiding the bullets being sprayed from my opponent’s Gatling Gun wielding character. Using the terrain that had been scattered around the battlefield, I manged to get myself into position to pick up an Item Crate and finally even the odds against his superior firepower. I aimed my flick carefully and, BAM, solidly impacted the Item Crate. My pulse quickened and my opponent let out an overly dramatic “Noooooooooooo….” as I drew my much needed firepower from the Item Deck. My devious, evil, merciless 8 year old opponent would have no choice but to deal with my newly acquired … Taco.
Disc Duelers, by Level 99 Games, is a silly, disc-flicking dexterity game in which players will be leading teams of unique characters in battles against each other by flicking the discs that represent those characters around, and off of, the tabletop. Composed simply of discs that represent characters and a few decks of cards Disc Duelers leaves a lot of the game-play decisions to the players themselves. How big the battlefield will be, how much terrain will be used, how many characters each player will control and even what the goal of the game will be is in the hands of the players and their imaginations. The relaxed rule-set and simple game-play mean that Disc Duelers is a great game to play with kids.
The rules are easy to comprehend and new players can be brought up to speed and ready to play on the fly. Confusingly, the physical copy of the rulebook omits the ranged attack rules, but they can easily be found online (a complete rulebook is linked to below). Regardless of the game mode being played, players will be choosing characters to play with and flicking them around the board into each other, the chosen terrain, Item Crates and off of the table.
Each player will create their team from a deck of unique characters, each with their own Movement and Attack stats and their own unique special ability. The characters are nowhere near balanced and if players pick their teams at random it can be an absolute bloodbath if one player ends up with more powerful characters than the other, especially when playing in death-match style modes. Some of the powers even rely on things such as the size of a player’s hand, and can swing wildly in power based on who is playing that character. The bright side to the crazy difference in character powers is that it fits perfectly with the wacky nature of the game. The variance in characters encourages team drafting over random selection, which adds a fun bit of strategy to the game.
Disc Duelers also includes an Item deck that should absolutely be used in every game of Disc Duelers, no matter which mode is being played. When playing with Items, players will toss brown Item Crate cubes around the chosen battlefield and will draw an Item from the deck whenever one of their character discs impacts one of the Item Crates. The Items are even more varied and ridiculous than the player powers, ranging from a Taco that refills a bit of health to Flamethrowers and Mind Control rays. It can be as much fun to see who can make most effective use of a ridiculous Item as it is to win the game, and often our games became a race to see who could get the coolest, most overpowered Item first and then use it to harass and eliminate the opponent’s characters.
The difference in character and Item power levels also mean that it is easy to create handicaps in Disc Duelers. Creating separate decks for adults and kids is a great way to make the game play more evenly between more dextrous and strategic adults and kids. Kids have a ton of fun playing this way as they get an absolute kick out of the crazy power imbalances that playing this way can lead to, especially in the game’s combat modes. There are other modes, such as soccer and racing, outlined in the rulebook but they either last too long or aren’t interesting enough to play more than once or twice. Playing death-match or team death-match is where Disc Duelers really shines.
A note on “chrome”: The art and component quality in Disc Duelers is very good. The art on the disc-stickers is a touch busy on some of the discs and so initially fishing the characters you are going to be using out of the stack of discs can take some time. Once on the table though, the discs are usually easy to distinguish from one another. The chibi/cartoonish art style is perfect for the game’s lighthearted mechanics. The rulebook is easy to understand although it’s a shame that it is missing a full page of rules.
The bottom line:
Disc Duelers is as much toy as it is game and as such younger players have an absolute blast playing it. While there are a few variations of play, including soccer, racing and volleyball, the real meat of the game lies in the combat modes. The variable player powers and item cards add a good amount of replay value to the game although there isn’t enough here to keep a group of adult gamers entertained over numerous plays. I’d recommend giving this game a pass if you only play with a group of adult gamers, but I highly recommend it for people who have elementary aged kids to play it with.
Get this game if:
You are looking for a game that kids will love.
You like dexterity games.
You are looking for a more light-hearted combat game.
Avoid this game if:
You are looking for a game to play with a group of adult gamers more than once or twice.
You don’t want to spend time chasing discs across the floor as they inevitably will fly off of the table during play.
Rules for Disc Duelers, including the page missing from the physical rulebook, can be found here.
The copy of Disc Duelers used for review was provided by Level 99 Games.
Disc Duelers is a good dexterity game with fun character powers and neat and funny items. While not deep enough to hold adult gamers' attention for long, kids absolutely love it.