The Good: Decent sized images, Easy to learn game, No lame foil reprints, Value has increased
The Bad: Lame game mechanic, Cannot be played with only cards from this expansion
The Basics: A surprisingly strong expansion, "Duel Of The Fates" was underproduced and enhances decks well, despite not being playable on its own!
There is some irony to the way Decipher created its Young Jedi game. When it did not appear to take off with the first three sets, it deprioritized it, scrapped most of the next set and that underproduced work became one of the best sellers for that new customizable card game! Yes, fans didn't have to like it, they just had to buy it!
The fourth set was "Duel Of The Fates" and it sold out quickly, largely because it was so much more limited than the earlier releases and only was available in boxes of booster packs. It remains (oddly enough) one of the harder to find Decipher Star Wars sets largely because of its quick sell-out!
The "Duel Of The Fates" was the fourth set Decipher produced to capitalize on the excitement surrounding the release of The Phantom Menace. While their enormously popular Star Wars CCG would have expansions that contained characters and themes from Episode 1, that game was not designed for the heavy influence of Jedi Knights that the time period of The Phantom Menace demanded. As a result, they decided to create a new game, called Young Jedi. Young Jedi was also geared toward a slightly younger audience than the late-teen and twentysomething crowd that ate up the Star Wars CCG.
"Duel Of The Fates" is a 60 card gaming card set comprised of 20 common, 20 uncommon, 18 rare cards and 2 ultra rare cards. The cards were broken down between Light and Dark Side cards with each side getting seventy of each. The 60 cards for the set were comprised of 21 Character (cards depicting personnel like Obi-Wan Kenobi or Darth Sideous), 5 Weapon (cards illustrating weapons that enhance a character's ability to do battle, like a Jedi Lightsaber, Stolen By Aurra Sing or a Booma), 20 Battle (cards that provide playable actions for the characters, like Power Of The Sith or Gungan Mounted Troops), 12 Effect (cards that determine consequences for battle actions, like Pounded Unto Death or Blockade) and 2 Starship cards (which provide vehicles to move characters from one location to another, like a Naboo Starfighter or Droid Starfighter).
The images on the Young Jedi cards are as close to full bleed as possible, minimizing the borders and texts to provide cards that are actually nice to look at. "Duel Of The Fates" was originally released in boxes that had 36 packs of eleven cards each. Booster packs came with 1 rare, three uncommon and seven common cards. There were no foil cards in this set. The "Duel Of The Fates" cards are distinguished from subsequent sets by the small Obi-Wan Kenobi head in the lower right corner of each card.
Young Jedi introduced a new gaming mechanic unique to this game. The game is played with sixty-card decks and the rulebook (not included in the booster packs or boxes) describes how to assemble a deck to play the game and achieve victory against your opponent. This is essentially a strategy game played with cards that have different values and functions. Players draw cards to their hand, stock up a location with characters and do battle.
"Duel Of The Fates" requires other cards from other expansions as there are no location cards in this expansion. As a result, it is impossible to play the game with just cards from these boxes.
Most of the cards, especially the Battle cards define actions and tell the player how to use them. This is an easy game to learn, but consequently one that is not challenging to master and therefore less exciting to play over and over again.
"Duel Of The Fates" is the fourth Young Jedi set. There are no starter decks, so one must track down a starter deck from one of the first three expansions for rules. Starter decks come with a rulebook (not included in booster packs). Given that the rules take up 29 pages of a little book, it's not so much the point of a review to list the rules for readers. "Duel Of The Fates" follows the same rules laid out in "Menace Of Darth Maul" (reviewed here!) with no changes to the core game.
It is best to find a "Battle Of Naboo" starter deck, as "Battle Of Naboo" expanded the game by adding a new planet to it and provided new rules for the new card type. The new card type was Effects and "Duel Of The Fates" has them, too. Effects essentially allow one to play cards together and most every one has text on it with explicit directions on how to use it for play.
Fans of The Phantom Menace will likely enjoy "Duel Of The Fates" for the images of a number of very popular Star Wars characters. In addition to familiar characters like R2-D2, Yoda and the young Obi-Wan, "Duel Of The Fates" includes such new favorites as Ki-Adi Mundi, Valorum, Watto and Nute Gunray.
But for the best card of the set, I'd have to go with card the ultra rare 31 Darth Maul, Student Of The Dark Side. First, this Maul is sufficiently powerful to hold his own against most anyone, with six power and five damage. But the real kicker is he gets additional power by fighting Jedi. Let's face it, who else are you going to use a Darth Maul against but a Jedi?! So with eight power, this is the supreme Jedi killer!
"Duel Of The Fates" was beautifully underproduced, for a change ans as a result - and the fact that the set was so small - made it one of the harder ones to find. Many dealers did not even get it in and as a result, it sold out quickly and has been a tougher set to find on the secondary market. As well, without any foils, the set is easier to collect, even with the ultra rares!
Ultra rares seem to pop up about one per box, so it is not difficult to make a master set of these cards, but collectors are likely to be left with a lot of leftovers, even if they only purchase two boxes.
Young Jedi might be an agreeably diverting game, and if one is looking to invest in the product, "Duel Of The Fates" is one of the strongest ways to go, even if one cannot play the game right out of this box.
This set utilizes images from Star Wars The Phantom Menace reviewed here!
"Duel Of The Fates" was preceded by "Battle Of Naboo" (reviewed here!) and was followed by "Young Jedi Reflections" ((reviewed here!)).
For other card reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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