Board Game Review:
RWBY Combat Ready
Rating: 8.8 stars
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.
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.
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.
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.
I would recommend this game for anyone who enjoys the RWBY anime series, but also for those just looking for a challenging, engaging game.