Yomi is a card based fighting game by Sirlin Games that we picked up recently and have been enjoying quite a bit. We got the Complete First Edition, which contains all 10 character decks and some extras that make storing and playing the game easy and pretty. The premise behind the game is that each player takes on the role of a specific character in the Fantasy Strike universe to compete in fighting tournaments, and it’s modeled after classic video fighting games such as Street Fighter 2. I love it that this designer is creating an Intellectual Property (IP) with his games, and working to expand a world and tell a story throughout several games (Yomi, Puzzle Strike, and Flash Duel). Inventing and representing an IP through board/card games is something that has always intrigued me, and this series seems to have hit the ground running and made quite an impact ‘round the ‘net so far. Since this is a game I was very very excited to get and has been a frequent flyer at our gaming table lately, I figured I might as well chime in and share my thoughts.
|The Complete First Edition; 10 decks, 2 play mats, life counters, deluxe rulebook, awesome storage box with good art.|
Combos! Combos are the heart of all fighting games. You can button mash until you are blue in the face, but the skilled player is the one who hits the right buttons in the right sequence at the right time. In Yomi, you can chain moves together with careful planning to create powerful combos, but you’ve always got to be alert for what your opponent is doing. Is it the right time to unleash your powerful combo attack, or will it just be dodged? Each card has two moves on it, and can be rotated to do either one based upon player choice. Additionally each card is numbered and suited like a poker deck. Cards are a finite resource, and you don’t want to waste them on moves that don’t connect. In addition, you can use sets of cards to “power up” and search for your ultimate move cards (Aces). Do you want to use that 7 as a throw or a block, keep it in hopes of a combo, discard it for a character special move, or discard the pair of them to search up an Ace? Interesting choices are a core part of this game, and how you use your cards matters.
According to the game’s designer, Yomi means “reading” in Japanese, and in this game the concept is applied to “reading” your opponent. Trying to figure out what the other player will chose is a huge consideration when playing and planning your own moves. Each character deck has it’s own strengths and weaknesses which are represented in the frequency, speed, and power of their moves. When playing against a character that is very skilled at throws (lots of throw cards available) it’s more risky to choose block or dodge. Each move has a counter, nothing is “ultimate”, so there’s always a consideration.
|Decks can be bought in 2-packs instead of the whole set. See the variety in card pictures, amazing!|
|Yes, each character has multiple special moves with awesome art like this one!|
The final element of this game that just makes it pop is the art and design. Each character has detailed and beautiful art on the card, especially the face cards. Those special moves really feel special, they are beautifully illustrated and capture that artistic style and feel that defines the fighting game genre. The attention to detail in this game is amazing, and “small” things like the unique design for each deck’s card back really enhance the experience of each character and set the tone. Every time I shuffle the cards and deal out a hand I think “Wow, cool”. Video games often reward players with neat animations and special effects when something epic like a finishing move happens, and this is the closest analog I have seen to that experience. My 5 year old daughter is too young to read all the cards in Yomi, but she loves to just play card games like Crazy 8’s or Go Fish with these decks because they have pretty art and “look cooler than our other cards”, plus it’s fun to pick out which character we’ll be playing with each time.
To sum up, Yomi is a game that is simple to learn with depth to grow. It’s an elegant design that captures the essential experience it was designed to deliver. It is beautiful and even more importantly, it’s fun. Yomi is a game with genuine style, and I’m impressed.
Amazingly enough, I could say more... but I won't. Yet. If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to leave a comment! We love comments, honest!