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.

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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

RWBY Volume 3 Is A Major Turning Point in the Series

Spoiler-Free Anime Review:

RWBY Volume 3

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Intro

I enjoyed Volume 1 and 2, but I have to say that Volume 3 exceeded my expectations. There were so many surprises, and a major turning point in the series. It’s my favorite volume so far. I watched it twice, once with my siblings and once with my close friend.

Warning! Although there are no spoilers for Volume 3 in this review, there are minor spoilers for earlier volumes.

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.

Volume 3 was released in 2015. Before production began on Volume 3, Monty Oum had a severe allergic reaction, fell into a coma, and died on February 1, 2015. He was only 33. Despite this tragedy, new members of the team were hired and it was decided RWBY would continue.

Summary

The Vytal Festival Tournament is the ultimate battle of skill, pitting the world’s most powerful Huntsmen and Huntresses in training against one another… and it’s finally here! Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang are back for a season of over-the-top action, and they’re not alone. New fighters from around Remnant are ready to bring glory to their Kingdom, but there are those among them with a far more sinister goal in mind.”

Rooster Teeth quoted on Fandom

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

Pros

  • Memorable heroes
  • Effective villains
  • Unique weapons and apparel
  • Interesting character naming rules
  • Phenomenal fight scenes
  • Interesting setting
  • Original music
  • Attractive intro
  • Balance of comedic and dark moments
  • Groundbreaking American Anime

Cons

  • Animation better but still developing

Review

Characters

For my Volume 1 review I focused on Team RWBY, and for the Volume 2 review I focused on Team JNPR. For this review, I will focus on various favorite characters from Volume 3.

Ozpin is the principal of Beacon Academy, and has a lot of say when it comes to who attends his school and who will be teamed up with who. He makes what seem like strange decisions, such as choosing Ruby for the leader of Team RWBY even though she is the youngest and most immature in her group, and Jaune for the leader of Team JNPR even though he is the least experienced fighter. He has great insight however, recognizing that Ruby and Jaune exhibited leadership skills worthy of their positions. Ozpin has a mysterious past and says that “I’ve made more mistakes than any man, woman, and child on this planet.” Ozpin alludes to the Wizard of Oz.

Sun Wukong is a Faunus with monkey features, visiting Beacon Academy from the Kingdom of Vacuo. Sun became close friends with Blake during the events of Volume 1. He has a great sense of humor and is highly skilled at combat. He is the leader of Team SSSN. Sun is fun-loving, confident, and persistent.

According to Fandom, Sun alludes to Sun Wukong from the Chinese novel Journey to the West. Sun Wukong from the novel was also quite perceptive, had a similar power to Sun’s semblance, and is a monkey.

Neptune Vasilias is a skilled young man who is an incurable flirt. He is constantly trying to impress the girls, which makes him a really funny character. He is a close friend to Sun Wukong.

Neptune alludes to the Neptune found in Roman mythology. This is ironic, as you will see if you watch the volume.

Penny Polendina is an android with a soul, a loveable character whose catchphrase is “Salutations!” Upon meeting Ruby, she is intrigued by being called a friend and asks if it is true. Unsure how to react, Ruby reluctantly says yes at first, but then they do end up being close friends. Penny is curious, kind, loyal, and talented.

Penny is an allusion to Pinocchio, which makes sense since she was created. Even though she was made to be a weapon, she also just wants to do things like a real girl.

Coco Adel is the leader of Team CFVY. She is fashionable, confident, and generally likeable. She is never fazed by the Grimm, which suggests a lot of experience. The name Coco is an allusion to color because of Cocoa, which is brown.

I have to say Coco is one of the coolest characters. Seeing her in action is amazing. According to Fandom, her character design and name may be an allusion to 20th century fashion designer Coco Chanel.

Weapons and Apparel

According to Monty Oum’s Facebook, Sun Wukong’s weapon is a pair of nunchuks called Ruyi Bang and Jingu Bang. They can switch between staff form, gun form, and nunchuk form.

According to Fandom, their name comes from the novel Journey to the West, where the character Sun Wukong’s staff is called Ruyi Jingu Bang.

According to Fandom, Penny’s weapon is called Floating Array. It consists of a grouping of sword-guns that come from inside her body and are capable of shooting a laser.

They have strings attached to them, which is likely an allusion to the puppet strings of Pinocchio.

Coco’s handbag is her weapon, which according to Fandom is called Gianduja. The name comes from an Italian confection made of chocolate and hazelnut paste, which hearkens back to the character name.

Gianduja looks harmless but is actually quite heavy. It can be used as a bludgeoning weapon in handbag form or as a machine gun in gun form.

Naming Rules

Almost all character names and team names follow Monty Oum’s color naming rules, which basically require that all names should be inspired by color. The most notable exception is Ozpin, which makes sense later on.

In the past of Remnant, there was a Great War, during which art was destroyed and artistic suppression expressed. In response to that, later generations named their children based on color as a symbolic choice that meant they would not accept this kind of oppression.

Some examples are:

Ruby--an obvious color

Weiss–German for “white”

Yang–Chinese for “sun,” suggests the color yellow

Blake–Old English for “black”

Furthermore, some characters are named to allude to fairy tale characters, such as how “Weiss Schnee” is a reference to Snow White.

Fight Scenes

The fight scenes in the Vytal tournament are phenomenal. I won’t tell you which teams matched up, but just think of the most skilled fighters with the most creative weapons. That’s what it was, one after another. I will say that we finally figure out what Velvet’s fighting style is, which is super exciting.

The battle of Qrow vs. Winter is one of favorites and comes up early in the volume.

Setting

Amity Colosseum is a floating arena that usually resides in Atlas. It is mobile and moves to the host kingdom of the Vytal festival every time the festival is held. The ground can change terrain randomly and this is used to challenge the fighters and add to the entertainment.

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.

My favorite song in Volume 3 is “Neon,” which is basically Neon making fun of a member of Team RWBY.

Intro

The intro is better animated than previous intros and highlights the darker nature of Volume 3. It shows important heroes and villains and foreshadows what is to come.

The intro also delves into the past a bit with well-placed hints.

Balance

Even though this volume is a bit darker than the previous ones, there is still a lot of humor. For instance, the dialogue is still funny at times.

Qrow: “They don’t give medals for almost.”

Ruby: “They do and they’re called silver!”

There is also a fairy tale quality to the past that Ozpin describes in RWBY. The villains’ threatening schemes add a dark element to this volume.

Animation

The 3D animation of RWBY is made using Poser, and thus differs greatly from most other anime. The animation is simple and does not involve a lot of shading and shadow like later volumes have. There are scenes like in the forest where it really shows how far the animators have come.

Contribution to Anime

RWBY is unique because it is one of the few American anime. It is filled with references to Western pop culture and folk tales, as well as some references to Eastern culture. Additionally, its animation style, while underdeveloped, sets out on a separate path from typical anime.“

Conclusion

Volume 3 is where RWBY really takes off and improves. If you like this volume, keep in mind that later volumes will get even better.

I recommend this anime for ages 13 and up.

Rating System

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

Links

Related Articles

Anime, Shows

RWBY Volume 2 Includes Best Food Fight Scene Ever!

Spoiler-Free Anime Review:

RWBY Volume 2

Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

Intro

Volume 1 was a good beginning that nonetheless had major issues with animation and a simplistic plot. Volume 2 veers away from the simple, ups the stakes, and has somewhat improved animation. I watched this volume the first time with my siblings, a second time by myself, and a third time with my closest friend.

Warning! Although there are no spoilers for Volume 2 in this review, there are minor spoilers for Volume 1.

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 2 was released in 2014, and is available with subscription on Amazon Prime, and for free on Crunchyroll and Youtube.

Summary

Team RWBY is back and ready for their second semester at Beacon, but real life doesn’t stop there. Between classes and homework, they still have to find time to save the world. And between the White Fang, Roman Torchwick, and a mysterious new trio, they certainly have their work cut out for them!” 

ROOSTER TEETH quoted on Fandom

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

Volume 2 consists of encounters with new villains, the ever-growing threat of the Grimm, a school dance, a mission that takes a turn for the worst, and preparations for the Vytal Festival.

Pros

  • Memorable heroes
  • Effective villains
  • Interesting character naming rules
  • Unique weapons and apparel
  • Phenomenal fight scenes
  • Team RWBY try their hands at a mission
  • Original music
  • Attractive intro
  • Balance of comedic and tense moments
  • Groundbreaking American Anime

Cons

  • Animation is still amateurish
  • Episodes shorter than the average show length

Observations

Heroes

Since I introduced the members of team RWBY in my review of Volume 1, for this review I will focus on team JNPR.

Jaune Arc is a generally unskilled aspiring huntsman. He grew up in a family with seven sisters, and even though he desires to be strong, his abilities are underdeveloped. According to Fandom, Jaune was also meant to be similar to the character Sokka from Avatar: The Last Airbender–a normal person among people with special powers.

Jaune Arc’s name alludes to Joan of Arc. The spelling of Jaune is also evocative of the French word for yellow. Arc may also refer to Jaune’s special symbol, which is a rainbow-shaped double-arc, displayed prominently on his shield.

Jaune is loyal to his friends and becomes an increasingly competent leader of Team JNPR.

Nora Valkyrie is a fun-loving, talkative young woman with immense skill using her hammer-like weapon. Her character alludes to Thor from Norse Mythology.

There are a couple of theories regarding her name. It may be a shortened form of Eleonora, from the Greek word meaning “light.” Additionally, Fandom suggests that it may be derived from the Arabic word for light or that it may come from the flower name Nora Barlow Columbine.

Nora has a close relationship with her friend Lie Ren with potential for future romance.

Pyrrha Nikos is a prodigy, skilled at melee and long-range fighting. She is basically a celebrity athlete, admired by many. Only Jaune seems to have no idea of her fame when he meets her, and this may be why she develops a very obvious crush on him. According to Fandom, Pyrrha’s name alludes to Achilles, who once took on the name Pyrrha while in disguise as a woman, and to Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory. Her name is also derived from a Greek word meaning “flame-colored.”

Pyrrha is compassionate, loyal, empathetic, and brave. Her semblance is Polarity, which allows her to magnetize and control metals.

Lie Ren is a talented young man who is able to fight easily long-range and melee. He ignores Nora’s obvious crush on him without being particularly cruel.

According to Fandom, his last name comes from the Japanese kanji word for lotus, while his full name is derived from the pinyin of the Chinese word for hunter. He was intended to allude loosely with Mulan.

Ren is quiet, thoughtful, intelligent, and stubborn. As shown in the food fight scene, he does have a side that is fun and spontaneous.

Villains

Mercury Black and Emerald Sustrai are introduced in Volume 2 as part of Cinder’s faction. With the introduction of these two formidable foes, the threat level is amped up somewhat.

Naming

Almost all character names and team names follow Monty Oum’s color naming rules, which basically require that all names should be inspired by color.

Other interesting themes are that all character names or the characters themselves on Team JNPR are inspired by people who dressed as the opposite gender: Joan of Arc, Thor, Achilles, and Mulan.

Another name theme is references to flowers, which is more apparent in my review of Volume 1.

Weapons and Apparel

Other than Jaune’s weapon, which is basically a hand-me-down sword, Team JNPR’s weapons are impressive. (If you want to learn about Team RWBY’s weapons, check out my review of Volume 1.) It is worthwhile to mention that even though Jaune’s sword is boring, his expandable/collapsible shield is rather helpful and creative.

Nora’s weapon is called Magnhild, which is referenced in the Volume 2 song “Boop,” and functions as both a hammer and a grenade launcher. It utilizes pink dust that fits her character design. According to Fandom, the name comes from Old Norse, German and Norwegian and is based on the words for “mighty” and “battle.”

Nora’s clothing design befits her lighthearted character with the bright pinks and heart design.

Pyrrha Nikos’ weapon and shield are called Miló and Akoúo̱. According to Monty Oum’s Twitter, their names mean “speak” and “listen” respectively. Miló can change between sword, a javelin and a rifle, allowing long-range and melee attacks. Furthermore, the shield Akoúo̱ can be thrown like a discus.

According to Monty Oum’s Facebook, Lie Ren’s weapon is called StormFlower. It consists of two handguns with sickle like blades.

Like most weapons in RWBY, Stormflower is useful for close combat and long range.

Inspiration for his clothing was influenced by Chinese culture.

Fight Scenes

RWBY always has phenomenal fight scenes. Seeing Team CFVY fight had to be one of the highlights of the volume, though. Professor Oobleck was no pushover, either. Even just seeing Team RWBY against White Fang members and Grimm was impressive. They even have new names for their formidable new team techniques, such as Freezerburn, Checkmate, and Ladybug.

Mission

What I like about the mission that Team RWBY undertakes is that it forces them to confront the reasons why they seek to become huntresses. Additionally, I think it is kind of funny that they see these huge Grimm passing by at a distance at one point and are like–yeah, those beasties are a little too dangerous, let’s stay clear of those. Even talented fledging huntresses have their limits. It kind of reminds me of RPG games such as Final Fantasy that have monsters far too difficult to beat that you have to just avoid until later in the game.

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.

The best songs in Volume 2, in my opinion, are “Time to Say Goodbye” and “Caffeine.”

Intro

The intro for Volume 2 is beautiful, even if the animation still leaves much to be desired. The backgrounds are simple, but I appreciate how it switches art styles in the middle.

The music in the intro fits the anime and hints at a darker future for the show.

Comedy and Tension

The most comedic moment has to be the food fight that occurs in the first episode of the volume. It defies logic, and yet it is so hilarious that I do not care.

Humor is also shown in the dialogue, such as when Ruby addresses the group as “Sisters, friends, Weiss…”

There are plenty of tenser moments too, such as when Emerald and Mercury confront Tukson, when Blake worries herself into complete exhaustion, and when a Grimm attack threatens innocents.

Animation

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.

The animated movement was occasionally awkward, even though Volume 2 showed improvements over Volume 1. There are no longer just silhouettes for background characters. However, in the dance scene there are copies of some partners, giving it an overly simplistic feel.

Episode Length

Each episode in Volume 2 is 12 minutes long. That’s still short for an anime episode, and there is no reason they shouldn’t have just combined episodes to make them longer.

Contribution to Anime

RWBY is unique because it is one of the few American anime. It is filled with references to Western pop culture and folk tales. Additionally, its animation style, while underdeveloped, sets out on a separate path from typical anime.

Conclusion

Volume 2, while it is better than Volume 1, is not as great as the later volumes, mostly due to poor animation. If you’re not sure about the show after watching 1 and 2, I would say you should at least try Volume 3 before reaching a final judgment.

That being said, Volume 2 is fun, enjoyable, and totally worth your time. I would recommend this Volume for ages 13 and up.

Rating System

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

Related Articles

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