Duel of Ages is a board game produced by Venatic Games and released in 2003. Designer Brett G. Murrell created a massive game to engulf 2-16 players into a multi-dimensional game that was to appeal to war gamers, RPG players, and board gamers alike. War gamers will find the hexagonal boards (or platters) as well as the line of sight firing to be quite familiar. RPG players will love the rich characters, diverse enemies, and even minute plotlines that may develop. Finally board gamers will love the simplistic goal oriented board and victory point system of the game. The overall theme lies in the equipment, characters, and villains being from ancient, colonial, modern, and futuristic time periods.
The game is built before playing using the PAKIT board game system. Players connect platters (fields and terrain) to dome keys (game entry points) and labyrinths (dungeons from different time periods). As players obtain expansion packs there become more platters and keys to fit together to create the overall game board.
Game play seems overwhelming at first as players try to do two major things to earn victory points: kill guardians (villains) and kill each other. Duel of Ages simplifies many things by using a color rating system and one chart for dice rolls. This creates the basis of a war game without the in-depth rolling system of a war game.
Many expansion packs were almost instantly created for Duel of Ages with only the first pack being mildly expensive. Set one, the basic set, is even given a set name: Worldspanner. What follows is each set and some of what it adds. Each set adds some new characters and equipment as well.
- Set 2 - Intensity: Prisons (and thus prisoners), Headquarters, vaults, mesas, creatures (pets), and the Lith alliance
- Set 3 - Vast Horizons: 21 new platters and 18 new keys (creating new, varying, and massive playing fields)
- Set 4 - Royal Tournament: Flying characters and creatures and the Royal Tournament
- Set 5 - Mercenary Camp: Henchmen, poisoned weapons, and the Mercenary Camp itself
- Set 6 - Field of Honor: Badges and the Field of Honor
- Set 7 - Ruins of Cany XII: Heavy weapons and the Ruins of Cany XII
Overall we really enjoy this game but find the 120-minute average playing time to be exhausting sometimes. The cure is players may set a time limit (we set an hour usually), which works well. The pieces are sort of small but we have grown accustomed to it. Really if you are looking for a simpler game do not choose this but if you have a group that enjoys conflicts and a wide variety in a game this is an excellent choice.