Sunday, March 20, 2011

Yomi - A review

I don't know about anyone else, but I love playing fighting games. I don't really know why, but in college I could just sit there glued to the TV playing Soul Caliber 2 with my roommate for hours. Unfortunately, he played many more hours than I did: he eventually was able to pull off the ultimate button combo with Ivy, and I was no longer a worthy opponent. I would, however, joyfully watch he and another friend - who played just as much as my roommate- get into guard brake battles that could last for up to half an hour.

Photo courtesy of Digital Entertainment News

Yeaaaaaaaah... I'm gonna go to class now....

I still played, and I got better. Quite frankly though, I was never really good at getting those button combos down. I just really enjoy mashing buttons in certain sequences to see if a combo can magically appear. It usually doesn't.

Thankfully Sirlin Games has come out with Yomi. I don't know why, but I am positively gleeful when it comes to seeing video games hit the table-top format (SDE for example). From the very first time I played Yomi, I was in love.

The Game:

Yomi is a non-collectible card game (thank the Lord) that accurately simulates a fighting game. I went out and bought this game the second I got home from playing a friend's copy. The game revolves around pre-constructed 52 card decks. Each deck is representative of an individual fighter. Currently there are ten different fighters in the game. Each fighter plays in a very unique way even though each deck is basically a deck of normal playing cards (of course, there are special rules on most cards). Each deck contains the basic rules, a referance card, a special character card, and the 5 combat cards that make up the deck. 

Yomi essentially means "to read your opponent." That is the nature of the game. It is based on a rock, paper, scissors system. A block or dodge card beats an attack card, a throw beats a block or dodge card and finally an attack card beats a throw card. Each offensive card also has a speed attached to it. The lower the speed, the faster your attack. 

The game even allows you to string combos together. If you hit with an attack, you have the option of continuing the attack via sequential cards or linker and ender cards. This gives the perfect ambiance to the fight.

The way combat works is simple. You and your opponent each choose a card from your hand and place it face-down. Each card has two sides to it. You pick the side you want to use and face it toward your opponent. You each flip your card and resolve the combat based on the rock, paper, scissors model on the reference card. Of course, there are a few more advanced rules, but that's the gist of it. You can download the full rules here.

The Product:

Buying Yomi is like buying an Apple product: you get an expensive product that is long-lasting and will be used frequently. You also might just end up petting it- the box is so pretty. Of course in this article I am just talking about the Yomi: Complete Collection. You can also buy the fighter decks in packs of two. 
The complete collection comes with 2 beautiful play mats, life trackers for use on the playmats, ten fighter decks and an expanded rules pamphlet. If you just buy the decks they also each come with a rules pamphlet. 

Another nice thing about the company is that most of their games can be downloaded as a print-and-play option that is significantly cheaper than buying the actual game. I have never really seen a game marketed this way, but think its a pretty neat idea. 

My opinion:

Yes, very yes. This is a great product. It is clear this game has had a lot of thought put into its mechanics. The replay value is great and the game is addicting. I will sit down and play this game, and just like a fighting game, you will go multiple rounds without fatiguing. The playmats are a wonderful addition. They have life points printed on them and it's a very enjoyable experience to use them and play on them. Turning your cards makes you want to say FIGHT! every time. 

Photo courtesy of

Of course everyone, has their complaints about games. For Yomi, many complain that the game is based too much on luck: that is to say, people consider it luck if you play a card that beats your opponent via the rock-paper-scissors (-lizard-Spock) system. If you think about it though, this is essentially the same system fighting games use for determining the outcome of an attack. 

8 1/2 of 10 
I'd give it more, but I want to see future expansions. As with any fighting games, the more fighter selection, the better the game (though this is much nicer than the 8 options the original street fighter had). Basically though,  I think this is a great game to own and has wonderful tournament potential.

News and the Future:

So I have been approached to write for an online magazine called Handcannon. While this is a fun opportunity for me, it means i will be updating this blog with original content less frequently. I will try to do bi-weekly but it may be monthly updates. Either way though, I will put links up to my articles in this blog. 

Peace out all, keep mashin' those buttons, 
Steve (a new challenger has entered the ring)

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