FTW Staff Picks - Duple
For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new.
Genre: Word / Party
Designer: Anomia Press
Player Size: 3-6 Players
Game Length: 20 minutes
For fans of: Anomia, Bananagrams, Word on the Street
Anomia has long been one of the most beloved party games on our shelves. It's also one of the most embarrassingly mispronounced games. And if Anomia is were the popular, older brother then Duple is his geeky, outcasted little brother. Rarely played, and unbeknownst to most gamers, Duple comes in an identical box as Anomia with a fresh coat of orange. It's less of a shouting match and more a thought exercise. It's a test of vocabulary and speed, as opposed to street-smarts.
Duple is a fast-paced word game that pits players in a series of duels. Each game begins with one Category card and one Wild card face up in the middle of the table. Beside them are two decks of cards shuffled together with a combination of the remaining cards (Letter, Category and Wild). Each Letter card has a letter and symbol on it. Players take turns drawing the top card of either deck and placing it in its designated space. If it's a Letter card, they place it face-up in front of them, covering any previously played Letter card. If it's a Category card, it replaces the previous Category. And if it's a Wild card, it replaces the previous Wild card. Players continue drawing one card at a time, until 2 players have matching symbols (or matching Wild symbols) and they engage in a Face-Off. In a Face-Off, one player has to shout out a word that matches the Category and contains both Letters, and is at least 5-letters long. The winning player takes the opposing player's Letter card and it now counts as a point. Once both decks are depleted, players count up their points and the highest score is declared the winner.
For those of you familiar with Anomia, all of this should feel very similar. It's still a game of matching symbols, and being first. But because of the restrictions, it makes coming up with an appropriate answer much more difficult. A lot of times, both players will need upwards of a few minutes to even come up with a response. It's a different pace and may even be off-putting for those who just prefer shouting matches. But for wordsmiths, it's an intriguing proposition; particularly when the 10-Letter Category pops up. The game even comes with a few blank Category cards, for players to come up with their own unique ideas. It's a more diverse game than Anomia and leaves room for more replayability.
It's not a game for everyone, and I'd even argue the people who love Anomia might not even enjoy Duple at all. But for anyone looking for a fun and challenging word-game that isn't just Scrabble, this should prove to be a good alternative.