Unmatched - Epic Duels Reboot From Restoration Games

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Unmatched battle of legends board game

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There Will Be Games

Epic Duels is back...kind of!

Restoration Games Announces Unmatched Game Line, Mondo Partnership Extended line to include legendary heroes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and other licensed sets. Reno, NV – March 11, 2019.

Today, Restoration Games announced they are “teaming up” with Mondo Games to develop an ongoing line of tactical combat games, called Unmatched. In keeping with their company mission, the game is restored from 2002’s Star Wars: Epic Duels, the predecessor to Heroscape. Attendees at the GAMA Trade Show will have a chance to demo the game at a special event on Thursday, March 14th, at 2:00 PM PDT in the Sierra Penthouse Suite at the Peppermill Resort.

Unmatched pits two or four players against each other, with each player taking the role of their own hero. Each hero is represented by a unique ability and a custom deck of action cards, and each set comes with a double-sided board with different battlefields. The first two sets in the line are Battle of Legends, Vol. 1 and the eponymous Robin Hood vs. Big Foot. The Battle of Legends set includes King Arthur, Alice, Medusa, and Sinbad. Heroes from any set can be played against each other, making for surprising and exciting matchups and tons of replayability.

“We set out to make a simple, fast-paced skirmish game that rewards you for repeat play,” said J.R. Honeycutt, the lead line developer. “Asymmetry is core to Unmatched. No two heroes, decks, or maps are the same. Heroes have special abilities that fit their mythos, and sidekicks that support them. Each game of Unmatched unfolds uniquely, so you'll learn something new every time you take your favorite hero to battle. You'll make important choices as you fight: Should you step back and regroup, or press the advantage and attack?”

Restoration and Mondo Games will release several licensed versions of Unmatched set within the master game system. The initial wave includes both a Bruce Lee solo pack and a Buffy the Vampire Slayer set, slated to release later this year Luke Byers, Creative Director of Mondo Games, says, “Mondo Games focuses heavily on fostering collaborative partnerships. This year, we couldn't be more excited to announce the partnership with Restoration Games. With both of our companies desiring to create gaming experiences that are unique, accessible, and beautiful, we found the perfect equilibrium between all the talents our two teams offer.”

The game features striking art by Oliver Barrett and groundbreaking graphic design by the team of Lindsay Daviau, Jay Shaw, and Jason Taylor. The line continues in 2020 with Cobble & Fog, featuring heroes of Victorian literature: Sherlock Holmes, the Invisible Man, Dracula, and Jekyll & Hyde. Additional unannounced sets are already in the works.

Battle of Legends, Vol. 1 and Robin Hood vs. Big Foot will debut at Gen Con this year, with an MSRP of $39.95 for the four-pack and $24.95 for the two-pack. The Bruce Lee pack is a limited edition production; availability details will be announced in the coming months.

There Will Be Games Unmatched battle of legends board game
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Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #293651 11 Mar 2019 09:50
Restoration Games Announces Unmatched Game Line, Mondo Partnership Extended line...

Epic Duels is back...kind of!

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charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #293647 11 Mar 2019 09:59
I tried Epic Duels around 6-7 years ago and wasn't overly impressed. I think it may have been overhyped. I'm looking forward to this new version though and seeing what they did with the system.
Ska_baron's Avatar
Ska_baron replied the topic: #293652 11 Mar 2019 10:46
Never got to try out the original, but this is great news to give access to what I've heard is a great game system!
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #293653 11 Mar 2019 10:58
I figured this out last week after seeing their teases on Twitter. LOVE the direction they’re taking on this!
Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #293655 11 Mar 2019 11:01
Guess this is the thread we're using.

I've been on a serious skirmish kick lately. This couldn't have been announced at a better time. The licensed character packs could be literally anything. We're approaching Heroscape levels of potential characters here.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #293659 11 Mar 2019 11:50

charlest wrote: I tried Epic Duels around 6-7 years ago and wasn't overly impressed. I think it may have been overhyped. I'm looking forward to this new version though and seeing what they did with the system.


It's a kids game. Plays fast and fun, you get to mook your character's voice as you play. Vader kicks ass in it, as it should be.

A lot of fun, but don't expect deep deep thought.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #293660 11 Mar 2019 12:27
Continuing off the other thread regarding depth, Sag nailed it. The deepest the game gets is when you use the often overlooked Transformers Armada set and use the two characters per player variant. The TF one offers slightly deeper gameplay, better balance, but at the cost of the worst versions of the Transformers (yes, I’m counting the Bay ones).

I love the literary theme they’re going with here. I’d love to see Sherlock Holmes and Dracula in the future.
Anjou Valentine's Avatar
Anjou Valentine replied the topic: #293663 11 Mar 2019 14:03
So this is Heroscape Duels? ED looks like it has sold for roughly double the price of Transformers Armada on ToS - maybe people didn't see the same value in the TA box, but I suspect history favors the Star Wars theme.

The licensed tie-ins here don't particularly interest me, but hopefully they encourage people to support the new game. The variety of potential characters is still exciting. That Penny Dreadful-esque expansion they have lined up sounds cool, too. Deadliest Warrior ran for 32 episodes, which totals 62 historical warriors plus vampires and zombies. If the added crunch in Unmatched can give the Epic Duels system new legs (a la MtG: Arena of the Planeswalkers), I may have to clear a bunch of shelf space.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #293664 11 Mar 2019 14:21
I just read about the Buffy set coming, cementing this an autobuy for our house. I think my wife has had the series on repeat while she works for the last 5 years now.

Mondo has a number of John Carpenter licenses. Love to see those get some play.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #293665 11 Mar 2019 14:26
OMG BUFFY!!!!!!!!!!


P.S. - I merged the two threads.
Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #293666 11 Mar 2019 14:34

Josh Look wrote: I just read about the Buffy set coming, cementing this an autobuy for our house. I think my wife has had the series on repeat while she works for the last 5 years now.

Mondo has a number of John Carpenter licenses. Love to see those get some play.


I don't think Mondo has Big Trouble in Little China, but I would absolutely lose my mind for a team from that. With Wang as the main character and Jack as the sidekick, of course.

I could see this doing INCREDIBLY well depending on how the licenses shake out. They said that Bruce Lee was some kind of limited thing, which worries me, but we'll see what happens.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #293667 11 Mar 2019 14:34

Sagrilarus wrote:

charlest wrote: I tried Epic Duels around 6-7 years ago and wasn't overly impressed. I think it may have been overhyped. I'm looking forward to this new version though and seeing what they did with the system.


It's a kids game. Plays fast and fun, you get to mook your character's voice as you play. Vader kicks as in it, as it should be.

A lot of fun, but don't expect deep deep thought.


Yeah, that makes sense. I think at the time I played it, I would have less appreciation for such a thing.
Colorcrayons's Avatar
Colorcrayons replied the topic: #293676 11 Mar 2019 17:49
I'm hopeful it has a bit more teeth than the original Epic Duels. It was a fun game that you could see a lot of potential in. The kind of game that makes your inner designer happy since making cards could be a good way to stretch those kind of muscles, and not make people cringe at what you create.

Especially when you compare them against Darth Vader and his 20 point choke-the-ever-loving-shit-out-of-you card.

Tannhauser LOS system was interesting. Maybe that's enough to raise it above it's original incarnation. I wonder if I can just throw this on Heroscape tiles and not have any compatibility issues.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #293679 11 Mar 2019 18:21
The board is not at all like Epic Duels. Looks like a point-to-point thing. I’m interested to see that shake out in a skirmish game.

They did say this is the biggest deviation from the source material than any Restoration game has taken so far.
Anjou Valentine's Avatar
Anjou Valentine replied the topic: #293681 11 Mar 2019 18:32
Evidently, they "did a big enough overhaul on enough different fronts" that they decided to change the name. Sounds like the Star Wars characters won't be backwards compatible. The game will need an upgrade kit, obviously.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #293683 11 Mar 2019 19:09
I guessed what this was correctly last week on Twitter. The tease images just added up. I made a joke about Sherlock Holmes being an “epic” detective, and lo, Holmes is coming in the “Cobble and Fog” expansion.

I’m down with this but I am way more interested in the literary figures than the licensed stuff. It looks great- the Mondo illustrators are doing excellent work with it.

However...the long term fail rate for this kind of mash-up game is spectacularly high. So I’m worried that we are looking at something that may very well start strong, but may falter. I know some of y’all are excited about Buffy, but that is not a license that sells papers, so to speak. So that is a lot of time, money, and other resources invested in a license that has a niche appeal. I’m concerned hat if this game becomes a clearinghouse for the kinds of flagging, inexpensive licenses that are popular in board games today it’s not going to go anywhere. Look, I love Bruce Lee but...who’s next, Chuck Norris?

But the thing is, the literary hero/villain thing is great! It’s a neat idea, and everybody is familiar with what the characters and what to expect- much like Star Wars. I want to play a game where Robin Hood squares off with Dracula- that’s my Mace Windu versus Darth Vader moment here. But do I really want to see Spike versus Hudson Hawk or whatever? Nah.

Regardless, the base game is a must have and I am very interested in what Mr. Daviau has done with the design after all these years. Epic Duels was good dumb fun that definitely could have been better.

I am wondering how this will compare to WH Underworlds, Wildlands, 40k Combat Arena, and other contemporary comparatives. I’d like to see this stay dumb fun with some mod cons.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #293689 11 Mar 2019 20:40
I still own Star Wars: Epic Duels. It doesn't hit the table much, because I'm not a huge fan of Star Wars and Epic Duels is a pretty shallow game. And yet, I've never had a bad game of Star Wars: Epic Duels. And when a friend brought it over for the first time, our role-playing group instead played Epic Duels all afternoon.

So I am at least somewhat introduced in this reboot. I think that the literary characters are a great idea for famous yet open license source material. But I don't consider Bigfoot to be a literary character. I still like Buffy, so that set interests me, and it would be great if they make every deck pretty close to equal in power.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #293694 11 Mar 2019 22:22
I see the literary/legendary characters approach and all I can think of is Extraordinary Gentlemen. The comic wasn't that great (by far one of Moore's lesser efforts) and the movie was, being generous, pedestrian. The concept of King Arthur and Sherlock Holmes squaring off leaves me completely dry and I'm someone who used to love TORG and Shadowrun. Pass.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #293696 11 Mar 2019 23:49
If it's like the original, this game is so light as to be almost transparent. Not my style regardless of license.
Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #293702 12 Mar 2019 09:59
The more I see of this the more I'm convinced this is Daviau and crew making a game for the modern era with Epic Duels as its skeleton. Movement, LoS, and the structure of the decks are completely different. The only close match rules-wise that I can see is the combat.

I'm increasingly excited for this as I see more of it. Skirmish board games are great, but they need to straddle an incredibly difficult line of accessibility to hook newbies and having actual meat to be replayable. Recently I've seen a lot of games fail one, the other, or both. Warhammer Underworlds is an exception (and is phenomenal) but deck construction and model building has put a lot of people off in my area. Something visually striking, simple to play, and replayable if only for the sheer variety of teams could be exactly what I've been looking for. Plus licenses help attract players.

I'm cautiously but enthusiastically optimistic.
Colorcrayons's Avatar
Colorcrayons replied the topic: #293703 12 Mar 2019 10:22

Vysetron wrote: Skirmish board games are great, but they need to straddle an incredibly difficult line of accessibility to hook newbies and having actual meat to be replayable. Recently I've seen a lot of games fail one, the other, or both. Warhammer Underworlds is an exception (and is phenomenal) but deck construction and model building has put a lot of people off in my area. Something visually striking, simple to play, and replayability if only for the sheer variety of teams could be exactly what I've been looking for.


Gorechosen and Shadespire are good examples.

The former is a bit too light and the latter misses the mark a bit as you note as well. Both great great games, but that elusive middle ground... The baby bear of Goldilocks skirmish games is hard to find.

But we've gotten close to a truly solid and evergreen game engine on many occasions. Okko, Gorechosen, Shadespire, Frostgrave, Marvel Heroscape, etc. I feel that Epic Duels is likely to hit the "too light" extreme though due to the lack of granularity in the cards, even after the rumors Jacobson has shared about how they work now. Time will tell.

Gorechosen handled this best, I think. Three differing options on each card is just good design granularity while maximizing player agency in the face of random option distribution.

But that's ok. There is room for all types of these games and more variety is mo' bettuh. Some days you feel like playing Epic Duels. Some days you don't.
derekjinx's Avatar
derekjinx replied the topic: #293704 12 Mar 2019 10:40
Got to play test this one. It played light and quick and my rather clever 8 year old son figured it out fast and beat me on several occasions. I couldn't make the association that it was a restoration of Epic Duels as I had only played that one once many years ago. The decision points all focus on board position and card usage. Easy to pick up and play anywhere for sure. No drafting required.
Anjou Valentine's Avatar
Anjou Valentine replied the topic: #293762 13 Mar 2019 14:17
ToS has been streaming from the GAMA Trade Show this year and they did a spot with Restoration Games this morning. They should have the clip up later if they don't already. Neat to see it all laid out and watch Jacob Jacobsen be excited about it for a couple minutes, even if it's nothing we didn't know already.

The mook tokens leave me cold considering the detail they've lavished on the cards and miniatures. I just bought Blitz Bowl for $38 and that has twelve GW miniatures; I know that's kind of apples and oranges since GW is a huge company and it's a B&N partnership, but at the end of the day I feel like I'm getting a lot more for forty bucks. Do the Unmatched characters really have to be Forge World-level miniatures? I would have settled for Heroclix quality if it meant figures for every combatant.

The spaces on the board also seem more pronounced in the video than in the promo photos. I know a lot of people complained about how hard it was to see the spaces on Tannhauser's board. Unmatched takes it to the opposite extreme - it looks like a mini's game set up on a Chinese checkers set.

Just aesthetic nitpicks, though. Still look forward to hearing more about how it plays!

EDIT: Mondo games has the Fight Club license, apparently? "That's right! In Unmatched, Tyler Durden can fight Abraham Lincoln! Create your own match-ups!"
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #293767 13 Mar 2019 14:42
Yeah, the board looks like you're fighting on pie charts.
Anjou Valentine's Avatar
Anjou Valentine replied the topic: #293769 13 Mar 2019 15:05
I think it borrows heavily from Cranium.