Bushido Duels Sneak peek #9: The Manipulator

A sharp mind beats a sharp blade, its time for the final  Bushido Duels Sneak peak.

Sneakiness, deceit and mind games are the way of life for this fighter. A deceitful man, able to manipulate your or your opponents hand of cards. The Manipulator’s Special attacks can force your opponent to discard cards and allow you to retrieve a previously played card from your discard, ultimately making your Attack cards more effective.

The special attack card we’ll be looking at today is Mind Games. Here a roll of 3 Speed dice (d3) will determine his speed value (the lower the value the faster the Attack). The effect of this special attack card will only trigger if one of the two conditions on his card are met.

As long as he’s faster the opponent must discard cards, how many depends on wether the technique is Offensive or Defensive. Only if he’s speed is equal or slower (higher value) will the opponent’s cards be unaffected.

The effect when triggered is pretty straightforward, if you were offensive and faster your opponent must discard 3 random cards. If you were defensive and faster your opponent must discard 1 random card. This has the potential to disrupt your opponent’s plans and perhaps even robbing him of one of his precious special attack cards.

Will you be able to manipulate and cripple your opponent or will they see right through your treacherous plans? Time will tell….

Bushido Duels Sneak peak #8*: The Bruiser

Hi and welcome to this week’s look at a special attack card from the game Bushido Duels. Today we’ll be looking at The Bruiser.

An avalanche on legs is an apt description of this strong warrior. Although he may be lacking the finesse of some of the other fighters he compensates this with sheer brute force.

Thanks to his battle raged state the Bruiser has the potential to deal massive amounts of damage, but it comes at a price… The trade-off is that his recklessness often leaves him vulnerable should his blade fail to hit its mark. 

His special attack cards all revolve around the strength of the character that allows him to deal massive amounts of damage and use his strength to block incoming attacks. His special attack cards weaknesses are their speed value and being more susceptible to receiving damage when on the defensive. 

In the card example above Berserker’s Rage, we see one example of what his special attack cards are all about. 

This Attack card has immense strength potential. Rolling 5 strength dice (d3) with a 78% chance of getting a strength value 9 or above, with a maximum of 15.

However the attack card has two drawbacks. One being the 4 speed dice (d3) he rolls for speed. This makes it fairly likely that his opponent will be faster (the lower the speed value the faster the technique) and thus be able to block some of the incoming damage, the sheer brute force could on the other hand make that a moot point. The other drawback is that on the defensive, this technique leaves him wide open and unable to block any incoming damage. This forces you to time the attack perfectly to ensure being on the offensive.

Join us next week when we’ll take a look at who is pulling the strings.

* Where is 7? Check out our Instagram or our Facebook page for that!

Bushido Duels Sneak peak #6: The Warlord

Hi and welcome to this week’s look at a special attack card from the game Bushido Duels.

Today we’ll be looking at The Warlord. This man’s battle lust is fuelled by the suffering and pain of others. It doesn’t matter whether they are strong or weak, young or old, rich or poor, to him they are all prey. Facing him one has to defeat fear incarnate.

The Warlord’s special attack cards are at their strongest when his opponents are at their weakest. Given the upper hand the Warlord is a tough opponent to defeat.

In the card example above You Are injured? How delightful, we see what his special attack cards are all about. 

This Attack card is capable of incredible speed (the lower the value the faster the technique), rolling two Speed dice (d3) will determine the technique’s Speed value. This makes it quite likely that you’ll be faster than your opponent regardless of if you’re on the offensive or the defensive.

The real kicker is his sadistic side, namely his damage potential is conditioned on him having damaged his opponent enough that he has the upper hand.

When he has more health than his opponent, his Strength value will be 3 plus 2 Strength dice (d3). If he instead is tied or has lower health than his opponent it’s only a modest 3, making it far less effective in inflicting or blocking damage.

Join us next week when we will be trying to answer the age old question. Is there any problem that sheer brute force cannot fix?

Bushido Duels Sneak peak #5: The Highborn

Hi and welcome to this week’s look at a special attack card from the game Bushido Duels.

Today we will be looking at The Highborn. This man believes that people of lower classes (and the middle classes) are filth and should be treated as such! An arrogant man who regards himself as the only true Sword Saint in history. His sword prowess is tightly intertwined with his belief in his own ability. Thus he is almost unmatched when on the offensive and on a winning streak.

Fueled by confidence and mockingly discarding his own attack cards to power his most potent attack gives him the potential to totally steam roll his opponents. However… what would happen to his self-confidence and sword prowess should his opponent block an attack or perhaps even connect with their blade?

In the card above A slight case of Hübris, we see the essence of his special attack cards. 

The roll of three Speed dice (d3) determining his speed value (the lower value the faster the technique) is one of the more important rolls in the game. If low enough, on the offensive, it unlocks a powerful attack of four strength dice (d3), dealing unblockable damage due to him being faster. Then you’ll discard an attack card of your choice but don’t sweat it as it only helps strengthen his ultimate attack down the line…

The downside to this card is that it is that on the defensive or if you’re not fast enough, the efficiency drops considerably as it only lets you to roll two strength dice making it far less impactful.

Join us next week when we’ll be going to war!

Bushido Duels Sneak peak #4: The Lethal Rose

Hello, glad you could join me for this week’s look at a special attack card from Bushido Duels.

Today we’ll be looking at The Lethal Rose. First off, don’t let her appearance fool you. This Rose has thorns, and they will cut you! I’d argue that she might be one of, if not the most, powerful fighter in the game thanks to how consistent her special attack cards are.

As she is often underestimated by other fighters, her special attack cards all revolve around altering her opponent’s strength and speed values. This is a curiously strong ability and an advantage in almost every situation. The special attack cards can dull the power of attacks or blocking attempts alike, and also slow down her enemies enough that she’ll have an advantage regardless if she’s on the offensive or the defensive. The number of times the Lethal Rose has bested me in a duel is too numerous to count.

One example of her powers is when she uses her blade The Flower’s Caress as shown in the special attack card above.

This card forces your opponent to roll 1 speed die (d3) and add it to their Speed value (the lower the speed value the faster the technique).

This could force an opponent to become too slow to block your incoming attack. Pow! 5 points of damage will then bypass their defenses entirely. The real Zinger is when used defensively and this attack card is faster (ties does not count). This card will then count as the offensive card, turning the tables and hitting them for 5 points of damage*.

Join us next week when we will have a royal surprise for you!

* Boof, this is starting to look like of an episode of the 60’s Batman show.

Bushido Duels Sneak Peak #3: The Thrillseeker

“Pain does not exist in this dojo, does it!?” 

Hi and welcome to this week’s look at a special attack card for the card dueling game Bushido Duels.

Today we will be looking at the Thrillseeker. This fighter is a creature of chaos, neither good nor evil. He is always looking for the thrill of battle and is seemingly impervious to pain, or perhaps he might even be thriving on it? (Who are we kidding, of course he does!)

In the game, the Thrillseeker likes taking damage. His Special attack cards all revolve around the concept of taking damage, and in so doing, fueling his attack cards’ damage potential. The closer he gets to being knocked out, the more dangerous he becomes.  An interesting example of his Special attack cards is : You think you’ve bested me? Think again!

You’ll roll two speed dice (d3) to determine your speed value (the lower the value, the faster the technique) giving you a speed value of 2-6. This gives you a great chance to be faster than your opponent regardless whether your attack card is offensive or defensive. 

Should your card be the offensive one, you’ll most likely ping your opponent for 2 damage but the real flavor and fun of the card happens when you’re defensive.

Now, should you be faster than your opponent (ties does not count) you’ll only block 2 points of damage. But, it is all a means to an end. The Thrillseeker is letting himself get stabbed so that he can get close to the opponent and return the favor with his blade. 

He’ll be striking back with as much force as he got hit, making your opponent receive the same damage as you just took…

This means the harder you’re hit the more damage your opponent will receive.

This is a sneaky way of knocking out your opponent or making it so that you’ll take him down with you*. It can also be used to ensure you lose some initial health as your other two special attack cards revolve around how much damage the Thrillseeker has taken.

The game is on, will your opponent be able to finish him off before you are able to retaliate with The Thrillseekers his most devastating attacks?

Join us next week when “A rose by any other name would not cut as deep

* Fun fact: this is pretty much the only way to end in a draw.

Bushido Duels Sneak peak #2: The Swift

Fast as lightning

You can’t hit or block what you cant catch and good luck catching up with this fighter!  It’s time for the second installment of the Bushido Duels sneak peaks, The Swift!

This young lady is, as the name suggest, the quickest of all the eight fighters and her special attack cards all revolve around their Speed values. Her three special attack cards enable her to dodge almost anything, perform two attacks at once or, as we’ll see further down, deliver a Strike as fast and deadly as lightning!

Looking at the card Lightning Strike we see that she rolls one speed die (d3) to determine her Speed value. The lower the result (the faster her reaction time is) the stronger the technique has the potential to be as the number of strength dice (d3) you roll are determined by the result of that Speed die.

Lightning Strike

For example, should she be able to get a Speed value result of 1 she unlocks her a devastatingly strong technique and get to roll 4 Strength dice (d3) resulting in a strength value of anything from 4 to 12.

In addition to the raw Strength, remember the importance of an attack card’s speed value. That Speed value of 1 is impossible for the other fighters beat (Blocking is only performed when a defensive technique is faster, ties does not count). Meaning on the offensive she will inflict damage equal to her Strength value and on the defensive she will be fast enough to block some if not all of the incoming damage depending on what she rolled for in strength.

It’s only when she rolls a 3 on the speed die that she is in any real danger of not being faster than some of her opponents (still not very likely). However her Strength value potential drops so that although she still might be faster than her opponent, her damage and blocking potential is reduced.

Will she be able to draw her blade fast enough to catch her opponents off guard or will a slight hesitation bring her down?

Join us next week when we’ll meet someone who doesn’t mind a bit of pain.

Lightning via Good Free Photos

Bushido Duels Sneak peak #1: The Wanderer

We are on the road to the release of Bushido Duels! Late October the game will be available for purchase. To celebrate this we’ll start showcasing some of the cards of the game.

The eight fighters in the box all have their own flavor and are drawn in a beautiful Manga-style. Each of them leaning into their respective archetypes.

First up is Åke’s favorite fighter, the Wanderer. This laidback man (The Wanderer not Åke*) enjoys the simple things in life and were it up to him, he’d spend his time fishing or napping under a cherry tree instead of fighting. But we’re here to talk duels so let’s see what he’s all about.

The Wanderer’s three Special Attack Cards are stronger when his opponent has the upper hand, making him a tough nut to crack if the duel drags on. An example of this is the Attack Card Minimal Effort.

The Wanderer

Here you get to roll three Speed dice (d3) adding their results together to determine your Speed value. Remember, the lower the Speed value the faster the technique. The roll will give you a speed value from 3 to 9 where the results of a 5, 6 or 7 are the three most probable. This Speed value will determine if you’re fast enough to connect with full strength or, if on the defensive, fast enough to block the incoming attack.

However, the game isn’t all about speed. Strength has a major impact**.
The Minimal Effort-card has a condition dictating your strength depending on whether your Attack card was offensive or defensive.

If offensive The Wanderer does not exert himself and his strength clocks in at a mere 4. Should he however be put on the defensive his Strength is a whopping 9 making it possible for him to block everything except the most brutal attacks, if he is fast enough that is.
This illustrates what The Wanderer is all about, not straining himself needlessly, just when he absolutely has to.

Will you outlast your opponent or will the Wanderer’s laidback attitude be your downfall?

Join us next week when it’s all about Speed!

*Åke enjoys long walks on the beach, a glass of wine and roses.
**Pun intended

Hedge Maze #1: Origins and development

Last Monday we released Hedge Maze, a print and play game with a simple set of rules. It can either be played with printable components or with a chess board a set of Dominoes and a couple of tokens. This post will contain some of the history of the game and how it came to be what it now is.


The idea

A game doesn’t need to be complicated to be fun and doesn’t really need custom pieces, extravagant art or complicated mechanics either as long as the core of the game is fun and challenging. This is something that has been capitalized by other print and play games and probably made famous by Cheap Ass Games (of Kill Doctor Lucky fame). A game could very likely just be a rearrangement of an existing set of game pieces with new rules.

This is the main idea that drove development of Hedge Maze, using something common like the chess board and a set of game pieces creating a fun abstract strategy / puzzle game.

The main mechanic is sort of similar to Chinese checkers, get your pieces to the other side of the board before the opponent. While the ever moving maze is something that is fairly original to this game, the change the environment to suit yourself while blocking the opponent is a classic mechanic. Despite leaning on classics this is a new take on the mechanics, packaged in a way that can be played on the go or in

The first prototype was actually played on a computer screen. An Inkscape document where all the pieces could be moved around on a board was used to test the basic rules. After proving that it was an actual challenge and also a bit of fun within the tiny ruleset we invested in a set of Dominoes to start playing the game as intended.

One of the first board setups. Similar but not identical to the one shown in the current rules.
One of the first prototype boards we used when testing on a computer. The setup is similar but not identical to the one shown in the current rules.


Despite having a quite simple core, at one point it was even simpler. Initially pieces couldn’t be rotated and the flip rule wasn’t added more than a couple of months ago.

The development of Hedge Maze has been quite slow and in periods. It was always a side project to Bushido Duels so it was in sprints we played and improved the rules and the starting maze layout. We’ve considered it almost done for over a year, it just needed a “little tweak”… So we’ve tweaked it, considering extra rules, adding new, removing again.

When writing the rules we tried making the format as compact as possible and to be easily printable. Fitting the entire rules on a single folded A4 (two pages for side) was set as the goal. This resulted in the current  Front page + 3 pages of rules. It became a bit cramped but it is hopefully understandable still. (If not, we’re open to suggestions)

Isn't that a nice and small booklet?
Isn’t that a nice and small booklet?

The Optional rules

On the back of the rules booklet we have the text:

This Game is © Frozen Maze Games AB 2019
this is a simple game and there is room for extra rules, so feel free to add your  own ideas to the game and remix it as you see fit.

During Stockholm Tabletop Game Expo, the game designer (and very nice guy) Manuel sat down and played the game and we got talking about additional rules and the possibility to add and extend the game. We talked a bit about the rules we’d considered to make the game more interesting but not added to the core.  He suggested to encourage remixes and optional rules, an idea we felt fit excellently and incorporated quickly.

On the last page of the rules booklet there’s now a list of optional rules, some suggested by players testing the game at conventions and some rules we set aside during development. We hope players will now contribute rules back to us, extending the game further.

Bushido Duels #2: The idea

In this instalment of the dev blog Per shares the origin of Bushido Duels. Let’s go back to 2016 on a well trafficked highway somewhere in northern Sweden…*

It was during a drive up north in the summer of 2016 that Bushido Duels (called Samurai Duels back then) came to be. As I was driving I started to think about over the top anime duels and began pondering on how such duels could be simulated in an easy and fast to play way.

As we were just getting started in game design and a Kickstarter campaign was our goal at the time, I thought that if a first game could be done using nothing but cards it would make production “easier” (more on that another time).

Embracing stereotypes and Anime tropes.

I wanted the game to be centred around the different character’s attacks and creating interesting situations where  characters with different attacks and play-styles would face off.

Some think that the anime or cartoon character tropes have been done to death but I wanted to embrace the tropes and have the different fighters to be distinct from each other and easily recognisable. One should only need to take one look at them or hear their nicknames to understand what they were all about. And I feel that our Skype calls (much later during the visual design process) and discussions with the artist Emily Ryan helped us achieved that.

The game mechanic

I wanted the player to make strategic choices but also wanted luck (good or bad) to play a noticeable part in the game. In my mind the rock/paper/scissors system would provide a good framework for what I wanted to achieve as it provided a basis for interactions between the attacks.  It also fit my plan of having any one attack to be successful against half of the opponent’s attacks and unsuccessful against the other half. I wanted an attack to be really really successful against two of your opponents cards while the other two although successful will have less of an impact as the opponent will be able to block some of the incoming damage. This led to the development of the speed and strength values. These would allow for another level of interaction between the cards than just win or lose. (see how to play Bushido duels for example on how).

And most importantly each character would have special attack cards unique to that fighter.

The Mon Symbols

Each card would be identified by an unique symbol. Visually I wanted the symbols to adhere to the anime and Japanese theme of the game, I also wanted them to have some similarities to make it a bit harder to remember which cards the opponent had already played.

How many attack cards?

I wanted to move away from the basics of rock paper scissors and have more attacks. But how many? 3-6 seemed too few since I wanted each character to have at least three special attacks and I didn’t feel that half of the attacks should be comprised of special attacks. It should feel special to successfully perform one of these attacks.

After a bit of thinking I ended up with 9 attack cards. The reason for this was that the special attack cards would comprise one third of the total number of attacks. I felt this would allow for the special attack cards to surface often enough during a game so that the uniqueness of the fighters would be presented while at the same time allowing the game to not only be about special attacks. After all in the anime movies and Mangas it takes a while for the heroes and villains to unleash their most devastating attacks. 9 played cards also felt like the upper limit of what’s possible to remember.

Then what?

With that the foundation of the game was there. Next came making a prototype and game testing etc. More on that another time.

* Editors Note: North of the wall