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Monday
Jan132014

Yomi Development: New Rulebook and Print-and-Play Decks

Here's a new rulebook for Yomi. It has many updates, including visuals for combo sequences that are valid and invalid to better illustrate to new players how combos work. It also has the new 2v2 Team Battle mode as well as a solo mode.

Yomi 2v2 Mode

The 2v2 mode is pretty crazy and awesome. Amazingly, you can play it right now with decks you already have. It doesn't need any changes to any cards to work. (That is some kind of insane miracle, if you ask me.) You can think of the 2v2 mode sort of like Marvel vs. Capcom-style games where you have a main character in play and an assist character on the bench. The assist player gets to heal a little bit and draw extra cards. You'll probably want to switch several times so you each get a chance to heal and get cards, because you can do combos by tagging, and because sometimes switching your partner in creates a more favorable matchup against the opponent's team.

There's also an assist mechanic that lets the assist character participate in combat along side you. You might play without the assist mechanic at first because it's the most complicated part of the 2v2 mode. If you're ready for it though, and can wrap your mind around it, it really adds to the craziness. It turns out that tons of characters have good assist moves because there's several properties that help in an assist. Any linker becomes good as an assist move because it can help you do big combos. Any fast move is good because it helps you win combat. And any SLOW move is good because of the way the timing to resolve things works, you'll get to resolve things in the order most favorable to you if you do a slow assist.

Even besides assists, the 2v2 mode is really super crazy. It feels a bit like Marvel vs. Capcom video games in that so many teams have absurdly powerful things they can do. And when you think it's unfair, you realize the opponent's team also has some amazing thing too. Some examples off the top of my head: Argagarg on the bench with Bubble Shield active, ticking away and you can't even hit him. Troq is the only character in the game who can guarantee a snapback (to force the opponent's team to switch) without needing to even win combat. DeGrey dodging all day into Rook's AAAA Checkmate Buster super even though Rook can't dodge into it himself. Gloria as the only character who can continue to combo after she tags in with a super. Lum building on the bench building up extra cards to set up poker hands. The list goes on!

Solo Mode

The new rulebook contains instructions for how to fight against an automated "bot" opponent. It's actually pretty neat and legitimately helpful for new players. Playing against it until you can consistently beat it means you will learn the fundamentals of the game and about card valuation. Blocking more early, dodging more late, managing your hand, generally being efficient, getting the best use out of your abilities and playing to minimize the opponent's abilities—all that stuff is very important even without the "yomi" (reading) aspect of predicting what an opponent will do. The bot could be a good start to learn some basic competence at the game.

The online version of the game at www.fantasystrike.com also has bots. These bots used to play literally randomly, so they were terrible and probably taught you very little, other than how bad playing randomly really is. Now, that random bot is still available as an "easy" setting, and there's a new "hard" setting that's very sophisticated. Much, much more sophisticated than the single bot in the rulebook for the tabletop version. The hardbots online will put you through your paces.

Various Rule Changes

These days in Yomi, whenever your normal attack wins combat or is blocked, you get to draw a card. This makes normal attacks a bit better, lets you get away with blocking a bit less, and causes a wider range of speeds to be relevant in combat. It's pretty fun.

There are also other minor rule changes. There's now a hand cap of 12 cards. It's pretty easy to stay under that, so hopefully it won't affect you much. What it does is put a cap on how good blocking can possibly be. I'm not saying you should block block block until you have 12 cards, but if you do, then you won't much benefit for blocking beyond that. Also, some Lum players had like 30 cards in hand at times in order to set up poker moves, and it's just unwieldy and bad-feeling in live play. Now it feels much better to have a reasonable cap. And don't worry, Lum is still plenty good.

When both you and your opponent are knocked down at the same time, just cancel the knockdown effect. Imagine that you both get up and fight normally. It doesn't really make any sense for you to BOTH be able to mixup the other. This was an edge case that rarely happened, and it's slightly more possible (still rare) with the expansion characters, so this is just a minor bug fix.

When an effect would have you gain life, you can't gain more than your maximum HP. First, this fits fighting game flavor where you can't go above the end of your energy bar. Also, it allows the 2v2 mode to work at all. The benched character healing above their maximum life would be a problem there. The cap on hand size AND life makes it so that a benched character in 2v2 who is maxed on one of those is "wasting" the benefit of getting more cards and life while benched, so that's an incentive to switch in, which is a fun dynamic. The cap on life total also prevents bad potential gamestates with Gloria (a healing character) where she might be able to gain so much life that the match would take too long.

Finally, there's a new time out condition for when any player runs of out cards to draw. Now when any player draws their last card, the game ends right away and the winner is whoever has more HP. This is just like a fighting game, so it matches the flavor a bit better. It's similar to how time out works in Flash Duel (the round also immediately ends when the last card is drawn). It also helps with some rare situations in the 2v2 mode.

The normal draw rule changes the feel a fair amount, but all the rest of that stuff is just minor edge case fixes that you might not even notice by just playing normally. Yomi's been around long enough that we can smooth out some of those edge cases though. :)

Print-and-Play decks

All 20 characters are now available in print-and-play form here. All the final art is there for every card, including the card back designs, new graphic designs for all character cards, and a completely new "stat & reference" card for all characters that gives you a quick way to know every stat in your deck. Grave and Jaina's print-and-play decks are free right now too.

Physical Beta decks

There are still a few beta decks available for 8 characters: Grave, Jaina, Midori, Setsuki, Quince, Onimaru, BBB, and Troq. These are from a print-on-demand run, and are pretty good quality. If anything changes about the balance, it will be easy to offer just a set of changed cards later for these decks because they were print-on-demand, rather than a large scale print run. Same goes for the print-and-play files, those will be updated if anything changes too, and you'll be able to use the same download links to get new versions later. That said, the balance is in a very polished state right now, and there might not be any further changes.

It will still be a while until a real manufacturing run. For starters, I have to design a crap load of boxes and packaging. There's probably months of behind the scenes stuff left to do, plus more time to set up a kickstarter, then run the kickstarter, then several more months for manufacturing. I'm as anxious to release it as you are, if not more, so believe me it's coming but there's still a wait. In the meantime, the beta decks, print-and-play version, and online should tide you over.

Yomi Online

You can play Yomi online, too. The online version at www.fantasystrike.com has all 20 characters. The iPad version of Yomi is pretty far along too. It's hard to predict development times for it, but maybe another month given how far along it is at this point.

New Players

We could use your help in recruiting new players. You could invite them to try the online version for free with you, or for the tabletop version you could print out the Grave and Jaina decks for free (all the tabletop and print-and-play stuff is here). Or maybe you already own the tabletop version. Try out the 2v2 mode with some friends. I hope you enjoy Yomi in one way or another!

Oh and some specific call outs: Hey Day9, TrumpSC, and Kripp. I think Yomi should really be your competitive card game of choice. How about train up and start entering our online tournaments?