Thursday, 1 March 2012


Plays: 2Px4.

The Game

Yomi is a 2-player fighting game where each fighter is represented by a deck of 54 cards, i.e. a standard card deck plus two jokers. The cards have much more information on them than normal playing cards. Every card has two possible uses and you must pick one when you play it. You can use a card to attack, to throw, or to block/dodge. Every turn both players simultaneously pick a card to play (and which half to use). Once the cards are revealed, attack beats throw, throw beats block/dodge, block/dodge beats attack. If both players play the same action, the card with a lower initiative value wins. So this is very much like rock-paper-scissors.

Each character starts with a certain health level. Whenever you successfully attack or throw your opponent, you injure him and deduct his health based on the strength of your card(s) played. You win the game if you reduce your opponent's health to zero.

Some cards let you string attacks. After your card beats your opponent's card, you may be able to play extra cards to deal more damage. This would reduce your hand size though, because at the end of your turn you always only draw one card. One way to increase hand size is by blocking successfully, because doing this lets you draw an extra card.

J, Q, K, A cards are powerful cards. Some of them when played in pairs, triplets or quads can deal a huge amount of damage. So there is incentive to try to fish those cards from your deck and then keep them for such combos. Stringing attacks lets you take powerful cards, so does discarding matching numbered cards. The latter can be risky though because you are significantly reducing your hand size and thus flexibility.

Characters are quite different, with different special abilities, unique attacks, initial health level and also distribution of card types (attacks, throws, blocks/dodges).

This is a Chinese version which Allen's cousin bought for him in China, but Allen doesn't read Chinese, so he gave the game to Han. The icons on the top right (and bottom left) corners of the cards represent how they can be used. Each card can be played in one of two ways, and the chosen icon should point forward when the card is played. The (top right) icons on these cards are Dodge, Block and Attack.

The small board on the left is for tracking health level. The card on the right is a character card, which shows the character's limitation when playing attack combos, the cards distribution of his deck, and also his special ability.

The Play

Having only played four games, I am still far from having a good grasp of the strategies. My initial impression is it is at the core a double-guessing game. There are factors and information affecting how you make the guesses, but ultimately win or lose depends on making the right guesses. You may not need to make more right guesses to win though, if you can make good use of those right guesses to deal a lot of damage.

As I play more I expect to discover and remember more tricks to make powerful combos. As players get familiar with the decks and develop their own play styles and approaches in playing each deck, there will be more and more basis for the double-guessing.

The Thoughts

I am rather lukewarm towards Yomi. Admittedly there is much more to explore, techniques to learn and advantages to exploit, but that feeling of playing rock-paper-scissors makes me feel a little uncomfortable. This is a game that requires repeated plays to truly learn and to appreciate. You need to learn how to utilize your character well, how to put together attack chains, so that you are not relying on making more right guesses than your opponent to win. If you can't get past that point, the game will feel like just glorified rock-paper-scissors, which I don't believe it is. You need to manipulate your hand of cards and stay flexible. You need to plan for both possibilities: If you lose, can you afford to waste that card? If you win, will you be able to follow-up with a chain attack? Will a big chain deplete your hand so much that you are left with almost no options?

Buy from Noble Knight Games. Status: restocking (at time of this post).

No comments: