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Board Game Review – Flash Duel

2011 August 16
by Michael Schroeder

Review copy kindly provided by Sirlin Games/Game Salute.

No, there’s no flashing people in this game…it’s called, Flash Duel…you’re fighting. As as the title of the game suggests – a round can be over in a flash!

Flash Duel

Flash Duel by Sirlin Games


Designer: David Sirlin

Number of players: 2

Age: 8+

Time: 5 minutes

What’s the game about?

A description from the publisher…

Flash Duel is a simple, fast card game that simulates a duel between two Fantasy Strike characters. There are 10 characters to choose from (all included), each with three different special abilities. Landing just one hit wins a round, and a game is best three out of five rounds. Games take only a few minutes to play.

The duel takes place along an 18-space linear track. Players draw from a common deck of 25 of numbered cards (five copies of each number 1 through 5), and use these cards to move, attack, dashing strike, block, and push. Each character’s special ability cards add a new dimension to the base gameplay, and create 45 different character matchups.

Flash Duel was designed and balanced by David Sirlin, the multiplayer balancer of Street Fighter HD RemixPuzzle Fighter HD RemixKongaiYomi, and Puzzle Strike. The core gameplay was inspired by Reiner Knizia’s game En Garde.

Basic idea in my own words:

Flash Duel is a short game that pits two characters from the Fantasy Strike realm against each other in a sparring match. One hit on your opponent lands a win in that round.  A game is best 3 out of 5.

How do you play?


Basic version and Deluxe version movement track

Basic version and Deluxe version movement track

Separate out the cards that represent the track and lay it down with one start end near one player and another start card facing the other player. Use two coins to represent your players and place them on the start spaces. If you have the deluxe version, you have the pawns to use instead.

Both players will pick a character and take the 3 character cards with it. Take the fighting/movement cards and shuffle them all together and lay them in reach of both players. Each player draws 5 cards off this deck and add them to your hand. Choose a starting player and this is where your actions come in…

What you can do on your turn…

  • Move – You can move closer to your opponent by throwing down a card from your hand. If you throw a 5, you move 5 spaces up, etc. If you are close to your opponent and have extra movement beyond them, you stop at the space before them. In addition, you can throw down a card to move backwards, if you do so wish.
  • Push – If you are standing on the space adjacent to your opponent; if you declare a move, you can push your opponent back towards his start space – which to either of you, is a bad thing. So if you throw, say, a 3 card down, you push that opponent back 3 spaces.
  • Attack – If you’re close enough to your opponent, you can declare an attack. If you are 3 spaces away from your opponent, throw down a 3. You can also throw down a pair or 3 of a kind. The purpose of this is because if your opponent can’t match that set, he gets hit.
  • Dashing Strike – A dashing strike is a dash towards your opponent, and a strike. What you do is throw down a card for the move forward, then throw down the card for the strike. The card for the strike must be the same number as the space to the opponent. During the strike part of the action, you can again, throw down a pair or 3 of a kind.
At the end of your turn, you draw up to 5 cards.

How your opponent can fend off the attack…

When attacked, your opponent must be able to block the attack. He can block by throwing down the same numbered card that the attacker attacked with. If you don’t have the match, you lose the round, then move onto the next round. If the attacker throws down a two or 3 of a pair, the defender must match that. Because the defender may have used a card to block, his next turn he starts with less cards.

If your attacked with a dash and attack, you have the option of blocking of retreating. To retreat, throw down any card to move that number backwards. If you’re stuck at your start space you can’t move back and you lose. If you retreat, you must skip your next turn but you still draw 5 cards.

Special Move Cards:

You start with 3 character cards. These are one time use abilities a round. The cards will tell you pre-combat or some other trigger. When the trigger occurs, you can just use the special action on the card. Once you use it, turn it over, that means you can’t use it again until the next round.


Also to note, the discard pile is public information

Review Breakdown:

Components: 1/5

I give the game a 1/5 as far as components because all the game is, is a tuck box with cards and a rulebook. I’d give it a 2/5, but since my grading scale doesn’t have much room to work with, it gets a 1. This by no means is meant to bash the game…it is what it is, it doesn’t need to be any more. But the Deluxe version I have not played with, it’s more expensive, understandably, and comes in a wooden box and comes with pawns and win tokens to indicate who won rounds.

Theme: 2/5

The theme works well with the game, but I’m not at all interested in anime street fighter type characters or lore…and I don’t even know what the Fantasy Strike Universe is…but that’s OK. I wanted this for mechanics and fun not theme.

Luck Factor: 3/5

The game relies a lot on luck as your dealing with shuffled cards. This is fine, but there is certainly strategy in the game as holding onto the right cards and playing them right.

Strategy: 3/5

There’s a good amount of strategy in this game for the complexity of it. You must be able to play your hand and hold your cards for the right time. The lower numbered cards are valuable for attacking.

Overall Feelings: 3/5

I enjoy Flash Duel. It’s a short filler game that can be played with just about anyone. It has a good amount of strategy for the complexity yet has the level of randomness that should be there in a game this quick. If you can find this game for the right price – and need a filler game for two players, pick it up!

Notes: Thanks for those on BGG that posted pictures, which I used.

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