The card game may be stacks of fun, but the main reason that many of us hold the series so close to our hearts is the deep, fleshed-out and often-wacky lore.
Set in the mystic land of Australis, a place untouched by humans, the five great civilisations lived in isolation: Kangaroo Kingdom, the Wombat Wastes, the Great Snake Empire, the Koala Confederacy and the Emu Isles. Each of these was inhabited by walking, talking animals who could use magic, each of whom had their own society, architecture and skills.
However, the balance was upset by the Sacred Stone of the Air arising in the center of the continent, summoned forth by the Ultimate Master. As the source of the continent’s magic, the Ultimate Master challenged all the great nations to a contest to see who could claim the stone for themselves, defeat him in a duel at its pinnacle and claim its vast power to rule forever.
Thus, the long war began, with Masters arising to command fighters in an attempt to claim the Sacred Stone of the Air. Alliances rise and fall, heroes are born, villains are created, and lurking in the shadows are new and emerging nations and factions, all of whom have their own goals…
So yeah, that’s it! Each Didgeri-Duel puts you at the forefront of the war as a Master, with you trying to gather enough red soil (the most valuable magical substance) to declare victory and have a shot at climbing the great stone.
The animated series delved a little deeper into the motivations of the main characters, people’s differing attitudes to the war, what daily life is like in the varying nations, and introduced a load of extra factions and characters that were eventually made into cards themselves (the Spider Sovereigns, Possum Posse, etc.).
The game was ‘dormant’ for a while, but the publishing company just decided to pick up production again with three completely new sets, extra rules and a second season to the animated series. Needless to say, we’re stoked! Looking forward to ushering in a new generation of fans and teaching them about this awesome game.
The characters themselves don’t affect the gameplay, but since your starter deck will probably be including one of these as a Master card, we should introduce a few of them:
The main mascot character of the series, Jai is a lackadaisical layabout from the Kangaroo Kingdom whose prodigy-level talent in magic has put him at the forefront of the war. Secretly, he fights to gain the power of the Sacred Stone to heal his sick little brother, who’s dying of the Wallaby Whooping Cough.
Jai has massive lightning resistance, can combine both physical and magical damage into a single attack and is still technically the Master with the highest agility, even if the Sovereign Secrets expansion introduced Fighters who can move faster if you get a couple of lucky dice rolls.
Baroness of the Koala Confederacy and physical powerhouse without peer. Sheila is a xenophobic tyrant with a warped sense of absolute justice, although her intentions are oddly noble, wanting to end the war and seal off the kingdoms so no one ever has to fight again.
You pick Sheila for her physical stats, although her magic resistance is decent and she kind of broke the game for a while with Magic Mace Enhancer before it was declared tournament illegal.
As the warrior princess of the Wombat Wastes, Jessie is…nuts. Totally axe-crazy, she was born with an overwhelming earth manipulation talent that means she’s never even had to train. She wants to use the power of the Stone to augment her powers and split Australis into several islands.
Jessie is your average glass cannon: useless in the hands of a new player, potentially devastating with a deck of Mystic Arts and Assets that revolve around her and her Fighters.
Ned is totally loyal to the Empress of the Great Snake Empire, but he has serious moral problems with his nation’s habit of annexing smaller countries. He constantly wrestles with the moral dilemma of his loyalty and what the Empress will do if she gets the Stone.
Ned is the undisputed king of augments. The creators have admitted that Ned is their favourite character, which is why the special edition set Serpentine Morale was based around him and his support cards.
Known as a renegade amongst her more violent kin, the noble lady Matilda leads a small, elite force of like-minded followers and welcomes all with unselfish motives to join her cause.
Matilda is by far the most pacifistic of all the Masters, with her attacks inflicting status ailments instead of killing blows and the ability to capture enemy units to convert them to your side. Not as many people play Matilda due to her style being the long-game, but the right combos can be incredibly rewarding and her self-heal is invaluable.
Operating under a complex code of ethics, Jack the Spider Duke will do anything to advance the cause of his downtrodden people, and is willing to pay any price to win the war…or steal victory from someone else, if the moment is right.
As with all spiders, Jack is an assassin and fares poorly in direct combat. His Master strategy revolves around poison chip damage, ignoring defence stats and summoning more units to his battlefield. He’s currently the only Master unaffected by both First Strikes and Power Blows.