Board Games

Board Game Review: RWBY Combat Ready

Board Game Review:

RWBY Combat Ready

Rating: 8.8 stars

Intro

When I heard there was a board game based on one of my favorite shows, I just had to play it! I ended up getting it as a birthday present. By now I’ve played it several times and found it challenging and fun every time.

Objective

What I hope to accomplish with my board game reviews is to introduce you to a new game and help you determine whether the game is a good fit for you. I will consider and rank five criteria: gameplay, design, strategy, originality, and replayability.

Description

RWBY Combat Ready is cooperative board game for 2-5 players. It is based on the anime series RWBY, and its name comes from a quote by the character Penny – “I’m combat ready!” The game takes about an hour unless you are doing a campaign, which will take around 3 hours. It was made for ages 14 and up.

The publishers are Arcane Wonders and Rooster Teeth Games.

Gameplay (7 out of 10 stars)

In RWBY Combat Ready, players can each choose a character from the anime: Ruby, Weiss, Blake, Yang, or Penny. Each of these characters have unique fighting styles and decks.

In the base game, you can play against one of three villains: Roman, Cinder, or Adam. In addition, you will be fighting against groups such as Roman’s Henchman, the White Fang, or the Grimm.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Board-2-1024x768.jpeg

At the beginning of each duel with the villain, one player starts at the beginning of the Hero Fury Track. The villains starts at the beginning of the villain track. Supporting players can choose to assist or combo with the main player, using different abilities on their cards accordingly. Or they can take out one of the lesser villains such as a henchman or Grimm.

The Hero deck is made up of attack cards of various types. Some are ranged, making them effective against flying enemies. Some are melee. Others are dash attacks. Each have different advantages and disadvantages.

The attack speed on the card is probably the most vital part. If the attack speed of the hero is higher than the villain, the hero hits the villain. If the villain’s attack speed is higher, the villain hits the hero. If they match, nothing happens. Higher speed attacks tend to do less damage, but lower speed attacks may not hit.

The villain’s deck is made up of Subtle, Aggressive, Balanced, and Event cards. Subtle cards are tricky – they could be high or low speed or damage. Aggressive cards will be very high speed or damage. Balanced cards will be in the middle. Event cards are bad and generally amp up the game by making everything harder. You can kind of predict the villain’s attack speed and power based on the card types, but it is hard to know just how fast you will have to be, so it’s a bit of a gamble. After the heroes choose their cards, the top card of the villain deck is flipped and the attack speed is compared, after which the conflict is resolved.

The hero and villain move up one step on the fury track per damage each dealt. When characters move up the fury track, they get bonuses. Once a hero reaches the end of the fury track, they can use their ultimate move. When a villain reaches the end of the track, they can bash a hero out of the duel.

At the end of each duel, whether a character uses their ultimate move or is bashed out of the duel, the next player starts a new duel and the villain is returned to the start of the Fury Track.

It is worthwhile to note that each hero has a different Semblance power they can use to help out once during each duel.

Between duels characters can use experience points received during battle to upgrade their cards.

For each game, you can either play against one villain or complete a campaign scenario. Campaigns are against three villains and are much harder.

Design (8 out of 10 stars)

Design includes two categories: art and components.

The miniatures in this game are great and detailed. They are colored to match the signature colors of each character. Still hoping to paint them someday when I get the time.

The boards are well-designed and the components are in general made expertly.

The cards are cool in some ways. The differing styles of design on cards reminded me of Pokémon cards, especially the old ones. However, some of the artwork was made with such artistic license that it no longer even looks like the character, like the one with the 7 speed shown above.

Strategy (10 out of 10 stars)

The strategy in this game is extremely high. Deciding what attack cards to use based on the style of villain card rewards careful decisionmaking. Choosing when to combo or assist is an equally hard decision. Also, you have to remember the lesser villains such as the White Fang or they’ll deal damage to the main player at the end of a duel. You also have to consider when to use semblances and ultimate moves, and when to fight vs. when to retreat. You can even customize your deck by leveling up!

Originality/Creativity (10 out of 10 stars)

The dueling in this game is unique and offers tension and a feeling similar to the anime. It is a well-balanced game that even experienced gamers will find complex enough to enjoy. The speed-focus I have only seen in this game and makes sense for RWBY. The way that players can either combo or assist is also creative. Leveling up at the end of each duel is also something I have only seen in this game.

Replayability (9 out of 10 stars)

The replayability of this game is high due to the complexity of the dueling system, the existence of campaign scenarios, and the challenge of winning this game. Even with four players at full effort my family barely won each time we played.

Conclusion

I would recommend this game for anyone who enjoys the RWBY anime series, but also for those just looking for a challenging, engaging game.

Links

Anime, Shows

Fun-Sized RWBY

Image result for rwby chibi

Spoiler-Free Anime Review:

RWBY Chibi Season 1

Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

Intro

After watching six volumes of RWBY, my sisters and I discovered the series RWBY Chibi. The comedic aspects of this show were refreshing after the darker scenes of the later volumes of RWBY, but Season 1 of RWBY Chibi, while humorous, was not altogether satisfying.

Background

RWBY Chibi Season 1 was released in 2016 and is a RWBY spin-off show. It contains serious spoilers for Volumes 1-3 of RWBY.

It can be watched in its entirety on Amazon Prime, or as individual episodes on Youtube or the Rooster Teeth Website.

Summary

RWBY Chibi consists of comedy segments featuring characters from RWBY. The show is not considered canon.

Pros

  • Clever use of character traits and personalities for humor
  • Poking fun at character relationships
  • The studio’s self-deprecating sense of humor
  • Clever breaking of the fourth wall
  • Junior Detectives segment
  • Frequent references to western culture make it a unique anime

Cons

  • Extremely limited audience that it is unlikely to satisfy
  • Segment of Faunus racial profiling played for laughs
  • Distractingly strong exaggeration of Pyrrha’s accent

Review

Humor

The show used traits of the characters in exaggerated ways to increase the humor. For instance, it cleverly utilized Neptune’s fear of water, Pyrrha’s polarity, and Blake’s semblance to create hilarious scenarios.

The comedy also poked fun at Jaune’s obsession with Weiss, Weiss’s attempts to team up with Pyrrha, Pyrrha’s efforts to spend time with Jaune, and Nora and Ren’s awkward relationship.

My favorite part was when the studio created humor at their own expense by making fun of the poor animation of Volume 1 of RWBY, in particular the dark silhouettes that took the place of actual background characters.

Breaking the fourth wall was another tactic used, but not overused like it often is in other shows and movies. Nora used it to great effect to emphasize the fact that RWBY Chibi was a comedy and would not permit themes like death.

The Junior Detectives segment was amusing, and followed the antics of Sun and Neptune. I definitely got the feeling that Neptune was much more of a star in RWBY Chibi than he was in RWBY.

References

Frequent references to Western culture made this a unique anime. For example, there were references to Little Red Riding Hood and Jaune be nimble (instead of Jack be nimble).

Audience

This show would make no sense and would not be amusing to anyone who hasn’t watched RWBY.

Even if you watched RWBY, the show is clever but not as funny as one might hope.

Racial Profiling

Blake is part cat. We get it. But making racial profiling part of a joke, especially when the situation of the Faunus was so terrible in RWBY, is not funny.

Over-exaggeration

Over-exaggeration was only really a problem when it came to Pyrrha’s accent. It was exaggerated so that it didn’t really sound like her.

Conclusion

If you watched RWBY, this may be worth your time, but otherwise, don’t bother. It’s good for a few laughs, but don’t expect anything phenomenal.

The content is appropriate for audiences of all ages.

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.

Links

Anime, Shows

RWBY Volume 1: A Shaky Start to a Great Anime

Spoiler-Free Anime Review:

RWBY Volume 1

Rating: 6.8 out of 10 stars

Intro

Let me start by saying that RWBY is one of my favorite anime. However, even I have to admit that the quality of the first volume is lower than the quality of later volumes.

Basically,

Low Budget + Slow Start = Lackluster Beginning

Yep, it’s the same issue as with the original trailers. For my review of the trailers, click here.

RWBY Volume 1 is available on Crunchyroll and Amazon Prime.

Background

RWBY is an American anime. Some people say anime has to come from Japan to be legit–I disagree. I share the opinion of many others that say anime is a style and not limited to the products of any one country.

The creator is Monty Oum, who developed the plot for the company Rooster Teeth. Originally the anime was an indie miniseries with a low budget, but it has become largely successful.

Volume 1 was released in 2013, preceded by four color-themed trailers that established some character development and worldbuilding.

Summary

A young hero, an exalted heiress, a troubled rogue, and a party girl–These are the four members of RWBY, a team brought together and trained for the sole purpose of combating the rampant evils that plague the fantastic world of Remnant. If these four girls want to graduate Beacon Academy they’ll have to learn to work together both on the battlefield and in the classroom.” (1)

Rooster Teeth

Basically, RWBY is about four young women who seek to become huntresses and defend the world of Remnant from shadowy creatures called Grimm.

Pros

  • Fantastic worldbuilding with mythological inspiration
    • A world with its own mythology
  • Memorable characters
    • Character names and design that allude to fairy tales
  • Unique weapons
  • Elaborate fight scenes
  • Original music
  • Humorous dialogue
  • Creative design for the monsters called Grimm
  • Groundbreaking American Anime
    • Helping to define a new category of anime

Cons

  • Poor animation
    • Merely shadowy silhouettes of non-essential characters
    • Very little detail, especially in backgrounds
    • Occasionally very awkward movement
  • Ridiculously short episodes
  • Cliché aspects of the plot

Review

Worldbuilding

Map of Remnant (2)

The map of Remnant was developed by squirting ketchup on a napkin at an IHOP restaurant (3). As such, the landmasses are complicated shapes that make up a creative, unique world.

In the beginning, the people of Remnant were created from dust, and were forced to contend with the darkness, which took its own form in the creatures called Grimm. The power that allowed them to fight back was given the name Dust.

Dust is an energy source activated by Aura. It can be used to add elemental power to attacks, and it is extremely valuable to supplement weapons.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dust-crystals.png
Dust Crystals

Every person who has a soul in Remnant has an Aura, though some are better using it than others. Aura is basically the energy inside a person that can be used to protect oneself or attack. A person’s aura shows a certain color–for instance, Ren’s Aura is pink and Jaune’s is white.

Ren using his Aura
Jaune using Aura for the first time

According to Pyrrha,

Aura is the manifestation of our souls.”

Aura is what lets the people of Remnant use their semblances, which are special powers. For instance, Ruby’s semblance Petal Burst allows her to turn into a fast-moving cloud of rose petals, and Pyrrha’s semblance is called Polarity, the ability to mess with magnetism.

Characters

Ruby Rose is a spunky, determined teenager who tends to be a bit silly and childish. At age 15, she is the youngest of Team RWBY, but she should not be underestimated.

She is truly what Monty Oum wanted her to be, “a badass Red Riding Hood” (4). She obliterates Grimm who stand in her way with the fighting skills she learned from her uncle Qrow.

The name Weiss Schnee comes from German and literally means “white snow.” Her name was chosen to allude to the character of Snow White.

Weiss is a bit of a spoiled rich kid. However, her childhood was darkened by the attitude of her father and the depression of her mother. She tends to think highly of herself and look down on others, but is willing to change her mind.

Blake Belladonna had a troubled past that she tries to put behind her when she enrolls at Beacon to become a Huntress.

She loves reading, which makes her awesome in my opinion. Her character alludes to both Beauty and the Beast, which is definitely more subtle than the previous two characters (5). Belladonna is a type of flower, a poisonous plant that’s part of the nightshade family.

Yang Xiao Long is a laidback party girl with an intense side. Her character alludes to the character of Goldilocks, another fairy tale allusion that is not as obvious as that of Weiss and Ruby (6).

She is the older half-sister of Ruby Rose. She is particular about her hair to the point where she will pretty much kill anyone who messes with it. When angry, her eyes turn from purple to red.

Weapons

In RWBY, weapons are truly extensions of the characters. They reveal and deepen the characters’ development and personality, and make all those freakin’ awesome fight scenes possible. Most of the weapons in RWBY can be used multiple ways and generalize in both long-range and short-range attacks.

Just weapons? They’re an extension of ourselves.”

Ruby Rose
Crescent Rose | Heroism Wiki | Fandom
Crescent Rose

Crescent Rose is Ruby’s weapon, and functions as both a scythe and a sniper rifle. What is even more amazing than seeing this weapon in action is the fact that Ruby built the thing.

Myrtenaster

Myrtenaster is Weiss’s weapon of choice – a Multi Action Dust Rapier (7). Weiss can use dust to add elemental power to her attacks. The reason it looks like a fencing sword and that Weiss fights like a fencer is apparently because of Monty Oum’s own background in fencing (8). A Myrtenaster is a flower found in Germany, and is likely the origin of the name (9).

Gambol Shroud | RWBY Wiki | Fandom
Gambol Shroud

Blake’s signature weapon is Gambol Shroud, which has two different sword forms and a gun form. Even the sheath is used as a weapon.

Ember Celica

Yang uses Ember Celica, her Dual Ranged Shot Gauntlets (10). When inactive, they appear to be bracelets, but when activate they cover her arms. The ammunition explodes on contact with the enemy. There apparently is a Celica flower that has a double bloom–possibly that’s where they got the name? Just a theory.

Fight Scenes

RWBY blasts its way to mainstream success with side-splitting comedy,  heart-rending drama, and adrenaline-pumping action – The Reflection

The fight scenes in the RWBY trailers are phenomenal. Even though movements seem awkward during other parts of the episodes, the fight scenes are graceful, true works of art.

Music

Unlike with many anime, the music in RWBY was created exclusively for RWBY, with foreshadowing built into the songs and songs that seem linked to specific characters.

The music was composed by Jeff Williams, and his daughter Casey Lee Williams does a lot of the vocals. Jeff Williams does not regard the songs as canon and asserts that they should not be taken literally (11).

To me, that just seems like he is covering for himself and Rooster Teeth in case the story ends up veering too far from the lyrics, but I know that so far the songs fit the theme and story very well.

The best songs in Volume 1, in my opinion, are Red Like Roses Part II and This Will Be the Day (12, 13).

Dialogue

The humor of the dialogue in RWBY contributes to the lighter tone of Volume 1 compared to the other volumes.

Ruby’s dialogue reveals her childish nature. For example, when she says:

I don’t need people to help me grow up. I drink MILK!!!”

Jaune’s naïve tendencies are demonstrated by his words, such as this eyeroll-worthy statement:

My dad said all women look for is confidence.”

And how could I be a RWBY fan if I left out this quote by Nora:

We’ll break his legs!”

Monsters

The monster called Grimm come in a variety of forms and dissipate into darkness when defeated. Some are pretty puny in Volume 1 compared to the heroes…others are worthy foes.

Beowolf | RWBY Wiki | Fandom
Beowolf
Nevermore | RWBY Wiki | Fandom
Nevermore

Beowolves are pretty common in RWBY. Nevermores are not rare either, but they boast more unique characteristics, such as sharp, hard feathers that can pin prey to the ground.

Death Stalkers | Villains Wiki | Fandom
Death Stalker

Death Stalkers are ridiculously tough and take a lot of ingenuity to conquer.

Animation

Unimportant background character is a silhouette

The 3D animation of RWBY is made using Poser, and thus differs greatly from most other anime. The major consequence of a low budget combined with this 3D style was that it made the whole volume look underdeveloped.

Characters without importance were denoted using shadowy silhouettes without any details. This made it obvious from the beginning which characters would be recurring, making the series more predictable.

Backgrounds had very little detail as well, making the scenery less interesting.

The animated movement was occasionally very awkward.

Plot

The plot is similar to many magical school kind of shows. Some of its terribly predictable, such as the way the bullying episodes progressed and the way they ended. That’s not to say there’s nothing unique–it’s just that the first volume is more predictable than the rest.

Episode Length

Episode length varies from around 6 minutes to closer to 12. This is annoying, but avoidable if you watch the whole Volume as one. It is available in that format on Amazon Prime. If you try watching this on Crunchyroll without Premium, you’re in for a ridiculous amount of commercials.

Contribution to Anime

RWBY is unique because it is one of the few American anime. Additionally, its animation style, while underdeveloped, sets out on a separate path from typical anime.

Conclusion

If you decide to watch Volume 1 and it doesn’t peak your interest in RWBY, still give the next few volumes a chance. Most of the people I’ve talked to are more distracted by the animation than anything else. Once you get used to that, you can appreciate the rich storytelling and worldbuilding of RWBY.

Even as a RWBY fan, I rated Volume 1 relatively low because its poor animation quality and predictability. It took me awhile to get into it…but it gets better, trust me.

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.

Links

  1. Rooster Teeth Quote – Source: Fandom
  2. Remnant Map – Source: Rooster Teeth
  3. Remnant Development – Source: Fandom
  4. Interview with Monty Oum
  5. Blake’s Development – Source: Fandom
  6. Yang’s Development – Source: Youtube
  7. Myrtenaster – Source: Twitter
  8. Weiss and Fencing – Source: Twitter
  9. Image of Myrtenaster Flower – Source: Wikimedia Commons
  10. Ember Celica Info – Source: Twitter
  11. RWBY Soundtrack Info – Source: Fandom
  12. Red Like Roses Part II – Source: Youtube
  13. This Will Be The Day – Source: Youtube

Related Articles

Anime, Shows

Anime Review: RWBY Volume 1 Trailers (Spoiler-Free)

RWBY all Trailers! 😆👍🔥 - YouTube

Rating: 6.5 out of 10 stars

Intro

Let me start by saying that RWBY is one of my favorite anime. However, even I have to admit that the quality of the trailers and the first couple of volumes is lower than the quality of later volumes.

Basically,

Low Budget + Slow Start = Lackluster Beginning

That being said, if you delve into RWBY, you shouldn’t skip the trailers or any of the episodes.

Why? Because unlike most trailers, the RWBY Volume 1 trailers are actually part of the story and provide character development and backstory. Sure, they offer a window into what Volume 1 will be like, but they are so much more than that.

Background

RWBY is an American anime. Some people say anime has to come from Japan to be legit–I disagree. I share the opinion of many others that say anime is a style and not limited to the products of any one country.

The creator is Monty Oum, who developed the plot for the company Rooster Teeth.

The trailers were released in 2013 can be found on Crunchyroll and Youtube.

Summary

RWBY is about four young women who seek to become huntresses and defend the world of Remnant from shadowy creatures called Grimm.

The Red Trailer features the main character Ruby, who is visiting her mother’s grave. On her way back home, she is attacked by Grimm.

The White Trailer features Weiss, who is performing for a large crowd by singing the song “Mirror, Mirror.” The scene fades and is replaced by a fight scene between her and a mysterious knight.

The Black Trailer features Blake alongside Adam. They conduct a two-person raid on a train and fight through numerous robotic enemies.

The Yellow Trailer features Yang, who enters a club to interrogate a man named Junior. The situation escalates quickly and ends in a fight.

Pros

  • Functions as part of the storyline instead of just a sneak peak
  • Insight into characters
  • Creative weapons
  • Elaborate fight scenes
  • Original music

Cons

  • Poor animation
  • Off-putting, inappropriate attack (Yellow Trailer)
  • Awkward dialogue (Yellow Trailer)

Review

Function

These trailers are unique because they function as actual story components. Most of the time, trailers just show glimpses of what is to come, while these trailers provide backstory and context.

I have never seen a trailer that functioned in this way before–it is really quite creative.

Character Development

The trailers begin the character development that will continue into future volumes.

Ruby Rose is established as a character with a deep care for family, revealed in the way that she visiting her mother’s grave despite the great danger. The area is infested with Grimm.

She is also shown to be a highly skilled fighter, and even seems to enjoy the battle at times.

Weiss Schnee, from the song of her trailer, is shown to be an extremely lonely, potentially famous person.

She is a talented singer, and the only one who is shown to actually sing one of the songs of the series.

The way that she battles is calm and collected.

Blake Belladonna is introduced as a rebel engaging in an attack on a train in perhaps the most revealing trailer.

This is because the trailer associates her with Adam Taurus, shows her empathy compared to his idealism, and establishes her as a skilled fighter.

Yang Xiao Long is established as a prideful, powerful young woman who has no qualms about using violence to solve her problems.

She’s the sort who gets things done and works hard to get what she wants.

Fight Scenes and Weapons

Beowolf | RWBY Wiki | Fandom
Beowolf

The fight scenes in the RWBY trailers are phenomenal. Even though movements seem awkward during other parts of the trailers, the fight scenes are graceful, true works of art.

In the Red Trailer, Ruby uses her weapon Crescent Rose to eliminate dozens of Beowolves, which are a type of Grimm. Crescent Rose is a scythe that doubles as a gun.

Crescent Rose | Heroism Wiki | Fandom
Crescent Rose

In the White Trailer, Weiss uses Myrtenaster, a Multi Action Dust Rapier, to fight a mysterious knight. Dust allows one to add elemental power to an attack.

Myrtenaster
RWBY: The Creatures of Grimm / Characters - TV Tropes
Knight from White Trailer

In the Black Trailer, Blake fights through various droids using her weapon, Gambol Shroud, which has two different sword forms and a gun form. Even the sheath is used as a weapon.

Gambol Shroud | RWBY Wiki | Fandom
Atlesian Knight-130 | RWBY Wiki | Fandom

In the Yellow Trailer, Yang uses Ember Celica, her Dual Ranged Shot Gauntlets. She is a powerful melee and long range fighter. One of her attacks on Junior is likely to make people uncomfortable, but it does fit her character, so it’s not exactly out of place.

Ember Celica

Animation

The 3D animation used in RWBY certainly improves over time, but in the trailers it is very rough and looks amateurish. The colors are bold to the point of looking completely unrealistic, and the simplistic animation on top of that makes it look badly made.

Movements outside of battle are awkward as well.

Music

Unlike with many anime, the music in RWBY was created exclusively for RWBY, with foreshadowing built into the songs and songs that seem linked to specific characters.

The music was composed by Jeff Williams, and his daughter Casey Lee Williams does a lot of the vocals. According to Fandom, Jeff Williams does not regard the songs as canon and asserts that they should not be taken literally.

To me, that just seems like he is covering for himself and Rooster Teeth in case the story ends up veering too far from the lyrics, but I know that so far the songs fit the theme and story very well.

Dialogue

There is no dialogue in the Red Trailer or the White Trailer (unless you include singing).

The Black Trailer includes sparse dialogue that nonetheless provides some character development.

The Yellow Trailer has pretty natural dialogue at the start, which is very fitting for Yang’s character. Yang’s interaction with Ruby is awkward and unrealistic, however. The voice acting comes off as fake and the words themselves seem unnatural.

Conclusion

If you decide to watch the trailers and they don’t peak your interest in RWBY, still give the first few seasons a chance. Most of the people I’ve talked to are more distracted by the animation than anything else. Once you get used to that, you can appreciate the rich storytelling and worldbuilding of RWBY.

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.

Links