Take World of Warcraft. Now take the min-maxing, the obsession with better gear, the rampant theorycraft around talent builds, the poring over of combat logs, and the general numbers-based geekiness of it all. Now throw out the parts that involve running around and pressing buttons to whack on things — you know, the actual gameplay. Now you have Duels.

The nice thing about Duels — aside from the numbers-based geekiness of it all — is that it’s web-based and asynchronous, which means that you can mess around with your build and send off a bunch of challenges in the morning, then come back around lunchtime to find that you’ve leveled up and earned a bunch of cash without having to spend hours pressing the same sequence of action keys over and over again.

The annoying thing about the game is that it takes longer than it should for things to get really interesting. Once you figure out the basics, the game pretty much plays itself, which, while conveneient, gets old pretty fast. At level 25, though, you gain the ability to buy actions, which expand your palette of offensive and defensive maneuvers. What’s more, actions can be set to play on any given turn; for instance, if you think your opponent is going to stun you on the first turn, you could set your big attack action to go off on the second turn instead. This adds a layer of strategy and anticipation to challenges that goes beyond the rock-scissors-paper of gear and talent builds. Fun stuff, but getting to it is kind of a grind.

At any rate, Duels is fun and low-impact, which is just how I like things. More to the point, I get XP for recruiting other players, so you should all sign up for the game at this link: http://duels.com/users/register/mwadou. Get to it!