Coming soon from Renegade Studios is a card game so simple and so straight forward first timers may wonder where the challenge is to this card game. It looks so underwhelming, why would people bother with this? Then you sit down and play it. While the game plays extremely fast and straight forward, the nuance and challenge becomes evident. When you and your opponent play almost identical decks, the game quickly becomes out thinking and out foxing your opponent. The closest comparison I can think of is rock, paper, scissors. Well, maybe more like rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock. Duel of Wands – The Card Game takes complex simplicity to a whole new level.

I will admit when Duel of Wands arrived, I was a bit underwhelmed. The game came in a giant box, but the game box itself only measures ~5″x 8″. I expected a bit more complex game, but other good card games come in similar boxes so we shall see. I pulled the plastic wrapped deck out of the box to find it only contains a total of 45 cards. Being only a two player game, it broke down to x2 11 card player decks, x2 8 card side decks and 7 unique spells. The reference card showed both player decks contain the exact same cards. My hopes began to sink on this game, but then I began playing.

All you need to play this game

Duel of Wands – Set Up and Gameplay

When you set up for gameplay, one player takes the blue deck and the other takes the orange, complex right? The first time you play Duel of Wands, play the decks as-is, but after that take two cards from the side deck and swap out two cards from your main deck. Also add 2 random cards from the unique cards to both player decks. At 13 cards you are now ready to play. Draw 4 cards and begin.

On the player’s turn they have one to two actions. They either play a spell or simply discard a spell (if you do not want the effect) to their Cast Spell Pile. If a card calls for banishment, it goes to a separate Banish pile. A player wins if the opponent has no more cards to draw when required, or their ‘psyche’ finds its way to the cast or banished pile. With 13 cards in a deck, games must go quick. Yes and No.

There are cards that take cards from you, and every time an action concludes both players must redraw their hands back to 4 cards; However, players can block steal and discard attempts. There are also a couple cards that allow you to scoop up your hand, cast pile and deck into one, reshuffle and draw 4 new cards. This move extends the life of your deck, but players can only do this once or twice, if the proper card doesn’t get stolen or banished.

Duel of Wands – Out Thinking Your Opponent

Duel of Wands gameplay
Your side of the table in a game

You play back and forth until either the player loses their draw deck, or their psyche card. After a duel ends, players take back their original cards and remove the unique spells. The loser can take two new cards from their upgrade cards and swap them out with two other cards in their hand, giving them 4 upgrades. This, in theory, gives them an advantage the next round. Players each receive a new rando, unique card and they duel again. So on and so forth until someone wins 2 out of 3 duels. If you want you can say 3 out of 5 or however you wish.

Much like rock, paper, scissors, or in this case, rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock, You know the options your opponent possesses. You must guess at what they have in their hand and what they can play. This simple game becomes a mental chess match about outguessing what your opponent has and can do. The random cards add a bit of extra variables to the game. One player may customize the deck one way, while some one else will choose different custom cards.

Duel of Wands – Final Thoughts

I really love that about Duel of Wands. It is extremely easy to learn the rules and how to play. Players will be at full rule speed in no time, but the strategy of defeating your opponent will take much longer. In fact the difficulty is in direct correlation to the mental equivalent of your opponent. You can find yourself stuck not because you do not understand the rules, but because you are trying to outguess your opponent. What can they do? What will they do? The game is labeled for ages +10. Younger kids can learn to play, but they will find it harder to master out thinking their opponent.

I’d say this is a great game when you want a simpler, easy gaming night, but you can give yourself a headache trying to out-think your opponent. This game has yet to be released. It’s marked for a first quarter 2021 release, so it should release soon. Head on over to to pre-order this game or take a look at some of their others. This game runs $20 USD.

ASIDE: You will notice the box says Duel of Wands – Kids on Brooms Card Game and may be asking yourself about the Kids on Brooms tag. Kids on Brooms is an RPG this game can, but by no means has to, connect with.

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