Duelmasters is designed with the intention of being the most vivid and realistic simulation of ancient gladiatorial combat available anywhere in the world today. The computer programs which determine the results of each duel take into account a tremendous array of factors which our research into ancient combat has revealed as realistically significant to the outcome of single combat in the ancient period. While all such factors are placed under the control of participants in the simulation, the specific parameters by which victory and defeat are determined remain outside the domain of player information except as may be derived by the players through careful thought and the experience of play.

What this means to you as a player is that while a great number of factors will come to bear on the success of each of your strategic decisions in the game, you will not find these factors listed anywhere in the form of a chart or a handy formula for victory. The only guides to success in Duelmasters are your own thoughts as to what makes sense, what should be effective in a combat situation, and the follow-up of experience gained through strategic experiments.

While the uncertainties inherent in such a process might at first (and even later) appear frustrating (Wouldn't it be so much easier to just look at a chart which read... "The Requirements for Using a Longsword Are..."?), the game is intended to be a pleasurable and provocative means of stimulating thought and imagination. Let your imagination and powers of reason give you a starting point from which to experiment with combinations of strategies, arms, and fighting styles. Through experimentation, you will gain increasing insight into the art of gladiatorial combat which should in turn provide food for further thought and imaging.

A few examples. A warrior takes damage from several locations on their body. Blows to the legs will affect their mobility; to the arms, their ability to use a weapon; to their head, perhaps the ability to make intelligent dueling decisions. Using a one-handed weapon with both hands, depending on the particular weapon and its user, increases its effectiveness, just as a less than superhuman warrior carrying two of the larger or trickier single-handed weapons may have a decreased ability to wield either.

In Duelmasters winning just a little over 50% of your fights is considered very good play. In most arenas, a 60% overall Win-Loss record is enough for any team to hold a position at the very top of their rankings. Some of the most respected team managers in the game have team rankings below 50% because they do a lot of strategic experimentation. Because Duelmasters is a game of continually developing strategy and experimentation, losses are commonplace. The undefeated team is non-existent. The undefeated warrior is almost so. Take your losses with a grain of salt and remember that the best team managers are those who learn from every one of their fights, both from victory and defeat.

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