Dual Powers: Revolution 1917 – Thunderworks Games – Review

Theme and What is it?

You sir… are part of the ruling class… The proletariat are tired of being your slaves. You will fight the will of the people, to either survive, or to go the way of Anastasia… no longer a part of the future.

Dual Powers, has the main facet right in the title, this is a two player game, that can be played solo. Each round you will be dealt a hand of 5 cards, 4 of which being your hand, and one being a secret objective. Simple, yet elegant.

Gameplay Mechanics

This is a trick taking game at its heart, that has been built into a board game. I am obviously OVER simplifying, but not generally incorrect. You just don’t know who has won a “trick” until the end of the round when the objectives are scored.

You are dealt 5 cards, 4 are your hand, one a secret objective, and one common objective is dealt in the beginning of the previous round as a district of unrest. Once you have played all the cards, you will look at how many of your party are in the district, and who has the voice of the people. This is the tiebreaker for most rounds.

Each card will do a couple different things; ALL will move the date, by the number on the top left, each will allow a number of your supporters to be placed, and each card has a secondary action, such as movement or resetting a a fatigued group.

Scoring is simply based on who has more members in the objective areas. Scoring allows you to take points or extra actions. You’ll have to decide which is more important. The only part of this game that hasn’t been discussed is the idea of calendaring. If your card moves the date marker to or past the 15 and/or 31, you will get an extra action, including taking the will of the people. How great the idea of the movement taking place over time.

Initial Impressions

Dual Powers was a game that I Kickstarted, which happens less and less as MeepleGamers grows, just due to the nature of the amount of time I have for new games that are not provided for review purposes. So, that being said, my initial response was that I loved the art, and I liked the idea of a stripped down political intrigue game.

Game Build Quality

The voice of the people is a hand holding a hammer. This is something I really enjoy, it is something different that was built into the game. The rest of the game has been built to look good. I am a fan of the build and thoughtfulness put into the coloring scheme.

Artistic Direction

The art is so bright and inviting that I feel quite happy about a part of the Russian Revolution, it was such a HAPPY time.

This is not disingenuous in the least. I truly really enjoy the art, and believe that even dark subject matter can be depicted meaningfully with a well thought out art direction. With that being said, Kwanchai Moriya was involved in this project as well, which recently is an automatic win for me.

Fun Factor

There is nothing quite like building for secret objectives, and still winning them based on cards dealt to you at the beginning of the hand. There are decisions to be made, but it does feel like there is some luck involved based on the deal. This for me is not even remotely a deal-breaker, as I loved watching the interaction. The game can be played in about 15 minutes with someone experienced and not overthinking. So, I am a fan, because I get to play it several times, and have a deep experience.

Age Range & Weight

13+. I think that this is a pretty good number. A younger person, I could see not finding the subject matter interesting, and the gameplay a bit anemic for their attention span. For anyone over that age, that likes games, I can see being able to enjoy it, and actually enjoying it.

Conclusions

I have become a bit gun-shy on kickstarter, as I have backed so many games that have turned out to be either lackluster, or just plain old lack.

Dual Powers is in terms of Kickstarter, easily in my top 5 games kickstarted in 2018. Part of what I am excited about is the original game was supposed to fulfill in February 2019. I received this two days ago, and have played it enough times that I already really enjoy it. The game is high quality, the art incredible, the gameplay superb. This is a trifecta of enjoyment.

This is a top-shelf game for me. Now to move down other games, and remove a bottom shelf game for the next bulk giveaway.