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Coming To America: Eagerly Anticipated Duel Masters Trading Card Game Arrives On U.S. Shores This Week

The game that’s topped the charts in Japan for much of the past year hits U.S. toy and hobby stores this week. The DUEL MASTERSTM Trading Card Game, published by Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS), already has a fan base in the U.S. among trading card game players and retailers, who have been chatting about the game online since last fall. The DUEL MASTERS Trading Card Game officially arrives on store shelves nationwide today, and will be at the center of an event at Toys "R" Us Times Square this Saturday, March 6, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

When the first DUEL MASTERS comic books were released to a U.S. audience a couple of months ago, they quickly sold through their first print run. Last weekend, Cartoon Network aired a special 90-minute preview of its "DUEL MASTERS" TV series, which will air weekly beginning later this month. Online, at www.duelmasters.com, thousands of players have already signed up for D-MAXTM, the official DUEL MASTERS club.

Following its successful trading card game model, Wizards of the Coast will release expansion card sets to build on the DUEL MASTERS starter game releasing this week. Three expansions are planned this year, with more on the way for 2005. Kids will also soon be able to find DUEL MASTERS video games. Atari is developing two Game Boy Advanced titles and a PlayStation 2 title. This fall, Hasbro will release a line of DUEL MASTERS action figures and board games.

"With our success in Japan – and here in the U.S. the brisk sell-out of the Duel Masters comic books and great reaction to last week’s sneak preview of the TV show on Cartoon Network –there’s a lot of momentum that’s been building to this week’s release of the trading card game," explained Chuck Huebner, Wizards of the Coast’s president and chief executive officer. "Duel Masters has strong support within Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro and among our licensing and retail partners." To support the launch, Toys "R" Us will host a DUEL MASTERS "Learn to Play Day" in all stores nationwide on March 20 as a featured activity for the new Geoffrey’s Fundays program.

DUEL MASTERS was jointly developed by Wizards of the Coast and Shogakukan, Inc., and Mitsui & Co., Ltd in Japan. DUEL MASTERS game-play is fast and intense. Players do battle with fantastic creatures that hail from five distinct civilizations. Each creature has unique powers and characteristics that enhance strategic play. Players start with a 40-card deck, laying five cards in front of them to serve as "shields" and holding five cards with which to begin the battle. They take turns casting cards in an attempt to break through all five of their opponent’s shields and win the game.

Wizards of the Coast will initially release DUEL MASTERS in a two-player starter game ($9.99 MSRP) and booster packs ($3.49 MSRP). Kids will be able to learn how to play DUEL MASTERS in several ways: online, at www.duelmasters.com, at their local hobby and game retailers, many of whom are planning to host DUEL MASTERS events, and through a 15-city mall tour hosted by Wizards of the Coast.

Source: Wizards of the Coast Inc.
Date: March 5, 2004

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