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The Duke

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Play OverviewPlay Overview

The Duke (2013) is an old-world strategy battle like chess but played with character tiles whose abilities both vary and change as they move. You play by choosing a tile to move ultimately aiming to capture your opponent's Duke character, but also whittling down their defences. The twist is that each time you move a piece you flip a tile to reveal alternating abilities.

Play starts with each player placing their Duke in the middle of the grid with two Footman characters guarding him. Each turn you can either move a Character tile as indicated on the side you can see, or draw a new Character tile from the bag. As you progress a battle evolves with the fifteen different character types.

Moving a tile means you also flip it over to show its reverse. One side is a more defensive posture and the other more offensive. What's clever is that each tile shows you your options on the face-up side with little symbols on a grid. The circle indicates movement, the hollow circle is a jump like a knight, the arrow is a slide like a bishop, and the star is a special ranged attack.

As you become more expert at the game there is a range of special additions. You can place Terrain tiles on the board to have to work around. You can play with additional rules, including a game-controlled Dark Rider character which pits five Pikeman against a lone Knight.

The result is a game similar to chess, but with more complex movement patterns. Although there's a lot to learn and a lot of flexibility, you always know what you can do because the tiles show you. This approachability, combined with the fantasy role-play feel of the game makes it great for children turned off by how Chess can appear staid -- and it may well lead to them trying Chess properly.

Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked The Duke 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 3 months ago.
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Play StylePlay Style

This is a Battle, Brain Game and Traversal game with Sequencing and Strategy elements. You can play with 2 players in the same room.

 
You can play this game in the following styles:

DurationDuration

Learn to Play: This takes 35 minutes to learn. Although it is a complex and deep game, the approachable pieces and built-in explanations of movement actions make it quicker to learn.

The first time you play the following can help:
  • Go through the pieces and their moves for each side.
  • Highlight how the end-game works and how you need to indicate an opponent's Duke being under threat like saying "Check" in Chess.

Play Time: This game will take between half an hour and 45 minutes to complete.

BenefitsBenefits

This game is good if you want to:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

We haven’t documented this game’s content rating.

CostsCosts

There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.
 
You can purchase expansions to extend the game:
  • The Duke: Robin Hood Expansion (2013) - Adds seven characters taken from the Robin Hood literary universe including Robin Hood, Little John, Maid Marion, Friar Tuck, Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham.
  • The Duke: Robert E. Howard Expansion (2013) - Adds four characters taken from the Robert E. Howard literary universe.
  • The Duke: Musketeers Expansion (2013) - Adds seven characters taken from the Musketeers literary universe, including D’Artagnon, Aramis, Porthos, Athos, Richlieu, Rochefort and De Winter.
  • The Duke: Middle Ages Siege Engines Expansion (2013) - Adds new tiles like Battering Ram, Trebuchet, Catapult, Ballista and Engineer. They have new abilities like Smash, Hammer, Area-Effect, and Non-capturing Move/Jump.
  • The Duke: Arthurian Legends Expansion (2013) - Adds seven mythical figures from the Arthurian legends. Arthur, Merlin, Lancelot, Guinevere, Perceval, Morgana, Mordred and Camelot.
  • The Duke: Reinforcements – City Troops (2014) - Adds tiles to replace the originals: Militia, Thief, Baron, Watch Tower.
  • The Duke: Reinforcements – Gunpowder Uprising (2019) - Adds eight new tiles for Guy Fawkes.
  • The Duke: Reinforcements – Battle Troops (2019) - Adds 12 tiles to capture enemy troops, Halberd Man, Heavy Horse, Highwayman and Crusader. 
 

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 01/01/2013, updated in 2019

Players: 2

Genres: Battle, Brain Game, Traversal (Sequencing and Strategy)

Accessibility: 0 features documented (Tweet Developer )

Components: Board and Figures

Developer: Catalyst Game Lab (@CatalystGameLab)


Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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