Flash Duel features 20 characters from the Fantasy Strike universe.
Fantasy Strike is an Olympic-style tournament that takes place in a fantasy martial arts world fractured by political conflict. Stone golem Garus Rook founded the tournament series to bring together the many provinces of the authoritarian Flagstone Kingdom, and plant the idea of a different way of life.
Flash Duel is a simple, fast card game for 1 to 5 players that simulates sparring matches amongst Fantasy Strike characters practicing for an upcoming tournament. You only need to score one hit to win a round in most modes, so it's all about jockeying for position on the 18-space board to land that hit. If you don't land the necessary blow in time, then timeout rules determine the winner based on last hits and distance moved.
There are seven different play modes in Flash Duel. That’s a lot of modes, but don’t be overwhelmed. If it's your first game and you're using the physical set, just try the Simple Mode versus a friend (it doesn't use the character ability cards, just the numbered cards), then move on to the Full Game. The Full Game has a whopping 190 different character matchups, so that’s plenty for you to explore.
If you’d like even more variation (but a bit more setup), the Custom Clockwork mode lets you build your own character. There are almost 500,000 different possible Clockwork characters you can build. All those modes are for 2 players, but sometimes you have more...or fewer! There’s a solo mode that lets you practice against an automated opponent, and a series of achievements to earn for doing so (Physical game only). With the online game you may practice against the Flash Duel bots if you don't have an opponent, or aren't confident enough yet.
If you have four players, you can try the 2v2 Team Battle mode. For even more co-op fun, the Raid on Deathstrike Dragon mode lets up to 4 players team up against a 5th player controlling the powerful dragon! The dragon can be hard to beat, but if you want even more of a challenge, you can try the Betrayal at Raid on Deathstrike Dragon, where one of your teammates is secretly working against you! Not for the faint of heart.
- At the beginning of each round shuffle 25 numbered cards, put them face-down on a pile on the table, then each player draws 5 cards. The 25 cards should have 5 copies of each number from 1 to 5.
- Put your pawn on your Start space of the track.
- Flip a coin to determine who goes first. In later rounds, before players draw cards, the loser of the previous round chooses who goes first.
- Set aside the 5 win tokens for now. Take a win token each time you win a round. The first player to win 3 rounds wins the game.
- Do one of these: Move, Push, Attack, or Dashing Strike
- If you did an attack or dashing strike, your opponent must respond or he loses the round.
- Discard any cards played this turn.
- Draw until you have 5 cards, then your turn ends. Your opponent takes his turn.
- Choose exactly one "main action" on your turn:
- 1) Move. Play any card from your hand to move your character that many spaces forward or backward. If you would move back off the edge of the board, move to the last space instead. If you would move on or past the opponent, instead move up to him, then stop in the adjacent space.
- 2) Push. You can only push if you're adjacent to the opponent. Play a card to push the opponent back the number of spaces on the card. For example, if you push with a 4, the opponent moves back 4 spaces, you stay in place, and the opponent will end up 5 spaces away from you. If he would be pushed off the edge of the board, instead he's pushed only to his Start space.
- 3) Attack. To attack, play a card from your hand whose number is the exact number of spaces to the opponent. For example, if he is 5 spaces away and you want to attack, you can only attack with a 5. You can strengthen your attack by playing more cards of that number. If you are 5 spaces away, you could attack with two or more 5s for a more powerful attack.
- 4) Dashing Strike. To dashing strike, first play a card to dash toward the opponent, then immediately play another card as your strike. The strike must be the same number as the distance to the opponent after the dash. You can strengthen your strike by playing more cards of the same number. For example, if the opponent is 8 spaces away, you could dash with a 3 then play a pair of 5s as the strike. If you would dash onto or past the opponent you instead stop next to them, allowing you to strike with a 1. Note: You can’t dashing strike if you’re already adjacent to the opponent.
- Surviving an Attack or Dashing Strike
- When you attack, your opponent must block or lose the round. When you dashing strike, your opponent must block or retreat (his choice) or lose the round.
- To block an attack or dashing strike, the opponent must match your attack cards (or your strike cards in the case of a dashing strike) with the exact same cards of his own. For example, if you attack with a 3, he must play a 3 to block. If you attack with two 1s, he must play two 1s to block. If you dashing strike with a 2 as the dash and a 4 as the strike, he must play a 4 to block. He will then start his turn with fewer than 5 cards because players only draw at the end of their own turns.
- To retreat from a dashing strike, your opponent can play any card from his hand to retreat that many spaces. For example, if he plays a 2, he retreats 2 spaces. If he would retreat past the edge of the board, retreat to the last space instead. He cannot retreat at all if he's already at the edge of the board.
- When an opponent retreats, he must recover next turn. He can't take any actions or play any abilities on a turn while he's recovering except to draw back to up to 5 cards.
- When the last card is drawn, time has run out. Both players reveal their hands and see if either or both have any cards that would allow an attack (not a dashing strike). If one player has more of these cards, he wins. Otherwise, the winner is the player who advanced the farthest on the board. If both players advanced the same distance, the round is a draw.
- Public Information
- The discard pile is public information and any player can look through it at any time. The number of cards left in the draw pile is also public information, and players can count how many cards remain any time.
The Full Game has the same basic rules as the Simple Game, but each player chooses one of the 20 Fantasy Strike characters before the game starts. If either player wants to choose characters using a double-blind method, you should do so. In that case, you each secretly choose a character, then simultaneously reveal your choices. Mirror matches are allowed (same character vs. same character) if you have a second copy of the game.
After you pick your character, put your character's three special ability cards face up on the table. Each ability card lists its timing trigger in the wood-panel area of the card and its effect in the larger canvas area below. The timing trigger tells you when that ability card is “lit up” and able to be played. When an ability’s timing trigger happens, that means you can choose to play the ability—it doesn’t happen automatically. If you choose to play the ability, flip the card face down to get the effect it states.
If you could use an ability at the same moment as your opponent could use one of his, the player whose turn it is acts first.
- One Ability Per Turn, Replenish Each Round
- You can only play one ability per turn. (You can play an ability on your turn, then a different one on the opponent’s following turn if you like though.) At the start of each new round (not the start of each turn!), you flip your three ability cards face up to replenish them.
- Time-Over and Public Information
- If the round ends in timeout (last card drawn), no more abilities can be played except for Argagarg's Pacifism.
Special ability cards are public information and either player can read the other’s ability cards whether they are face up or face down.
Custom Clockwork Mode
In this mode you can build your own clockwork soldier by mixing abilities from any characters. First, choose 12 character abilities at random from the entire set of 60. You and your opponent will draft 4 abilities each from this pool of 12. Flip a coin to determine who will choose first.
Choosing first is an advantage, so to offset that the second player chooses two abilities in a row. The complete order you choose abilities is: 12211221 (meaning player 1 chooses, then player 2, then player 2 again, then player 1, then player 1 again, and so on). You each place your 4 ability cards face up on the table and the player who drafted the first ability also plays first.
One Ability Per Turn, Replenish Each Round
As usual, you can only play one ability per turn. As usual, when the round ends (not the turn!), you replenish all your abilities by flipping them face up. It still takes 3 round wins to win the game.
Tweak Your Clockwork Soldier
If you lose a round, you may switch one of your abilities with one of the 4 unused abilities from the pool if you want. This lets you adjust your clockwork soldier if things didn't go as planned. The winner of the previous round must keep the same abilities for the next round.
This mode is intended for use with a physical copy of the game, as the online version has AI bots you may play against.
Playing Solo is similar to the Full Game, except you play against an automated "bot." Like a human player, the bot starts with a hand of 5 cards and draws back up to 5 at the end of his turn. Since you make the bot's moves for him, his hand is always revealed to you. On each of his turns, the bot draws a card, then plays according to these rules, in order:
1. The bot attacks if he can, and he always powers up the attack (with pairs, triples, etc.) as much as possible. 2. If he is adjacent to an opponent, he pushes with the card he drew for the turn. 3. If the bot can dashing strike using the card he drew as the dash and other card(s) from his hand as the strike, he does. The bot always powers up the strike as much as possible. 4. Otherwise, he moves forward (never backward) with the card he drew.
On your turns, the bot plays according to these rules: 1. Whenever you attack or dashing strike the bot, he draws an extra card, then blocks if he can. (Note: only a bot gets to draw a card in this situation; human players never do.) 2. If the bot can't block when you dashing strike, he retreats with the extra card he drew.
You may play against three characters:
- Dummy: You can play against a training dummy with no abilities.
- Rook Bot: You can play against Garus Rook, the stone golem who runs the Fantasy Strike tournament. Rook uses his abilities any time he is able to.
- Deathstrike Dragon: You can play against Deathstrike Dragon, if you dare! He has the three abilities listed below, and it takes two hits to defeat him. (Use the time-over rules from Raid on Deathstrike Dragon.) When you hit the Dragon with a pair or better, he must discard all cards of the same number as your hit. (For example, when you hit the Dragon bot with a pair of 2s, if he has a 2 in his hand, he must discard it.)
- 1) Deep Breath: He must use it whenever an opponent is in range.
- 2) Perfect Counter: He must use it whenever possible.
- 3) Black Diamond Hide: He must use it if it would enable the Dragon to block a dashing strike he couldn't otherwise block.
Have four people? Team up for 2v2!
- Choose your characters. One player from team A chooses one of the 20 Fantasy Strike Characters, then one player from team B chooses a character. Then the other member of team B chooses, then the second member of team A chooses.
- At the beginning of each round shuffle all 50 numbered cards, put them face-down on a pile on the table, then each player draws 5 cards.
- Put your pawn on your Start space of the track. Both pawns of team A go on one Start space, while both pawns from team B go on the other.
- Flip a coin to determine which team goes first. On later rounds, before players draw cards, the team that lost the previous round chooses who goes first.
- Set aside the 5 win tokens for now. Take a win token each time your team wins a round. Winning a round means defeating both members of the other team, even if one member on your team was defeated. The first team to win 3 rounds wins the game.
A player from team A takes his turn, then a player from team B. Then the other player from team A, then the other player from team B. Repeat this sequence (p1 A, p1 B, p2 A, p2 B) without changing the order for the rest of the round. Each round, you can switch who is p1 and who is p2 on your team.
In this mode, you can block or retreat while recovering, but not dashing block (see below). If you retreat twice before your next turn, you only have to recover one turn to make up for it. As usual, refill your hand to five cards at the end of your turn, whether you are recovering or not.
Other Team Battle Rules
- Talk with your teammate all you want. You can show each other your hand cards, too.
- You cannot advance past the front-most member of the other team.
- Remove your pawn from the playfield if you’re defeated, but don’t fret -- if your teammate wins the round, your team still wins!
- Both teammates can occupy the same space. If an opponent attacks or dashing strikes that space, both you and your teammate must separately respond to avoid being defeated. As usual, attacks must be blocked and dashing strikes can be either blocked or retreated from. You can push multiple opponents who are on an adjacent space with a single push.
When the last card is drawn, time has run out. Players reveal their hands to check for last-hits with each of their opponents. Each player checks with each remaining opponent to see who has more cards capable of an attack (not a dashing strike). For example, if you are two spaces away from an opponent, a last-hit is scored if either you or the opponent has more 2s than the other.
If after last-hits, at least one of your players remains while both opponents are defeated, your team wins. If after-last hits, one team has two players left while the other only has one player, the team with two players wins. If after last-hits, no one on either team is defeated or exactly one player on each team is defeated, the winning team is the one whose front-most member advanced farthest on the board.
If after last-hits, all four players are defeated, the round ends in a draw.
In the Team Battle mode, you have access to a new move: the dashing block. If a teammate is ahead of you and is threatened with an attack or dashing strike, you may dashing block to protect him. Play a card as your dash to move forward (not backward) just like with a dashing strike, then you and your partner play the appropriate cards to block. For example, if a teammate 5 spaces ahead of you is attacked with a pair of 3s, you could play a 5 to dash to his space, then you each play a 3 to block the opponent’s pair of 3s. You can’t dashing block while recovering.