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Yashima: Legend of the Kami Masters» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Impression after the first few games rss

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Kurt Wagner
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I'll go through this like I think someone would experience it one after another from unboxing to finishing his 4th or 5th game to structure it a bit.

So usually the first impression of a game is how the Box looks, how does the tplaymaterials look, we'll call this point: Art

There is really nothing bad to say here: The Box Art (For the core game, fairytale, deep woods and ice expansion) is spot on: Fitting the theme, good drawings - nice.
The miniatures (and this is coming from a tabletop gamer) are awesome. Beautiful models, very detailed, easy to distinguish for new players (and only the promo-pack-wizard has to be assembled, but only his arms, so also no big deal)...and I really can't wait to paint them.
The cards follow the box art and besides one or two that are mediocre, they are top notch. And I'm not even speaking of the very nice "Alternate Art Pack" or the foiled cards...Standard thickness so maybe sleeve them if you play a lot.
The token: Meh. Nothing special, nothing beautiful, but (and this may be the most important thing for token: Easy to see when they are on the board (except for "seed", but this one lasts only one round before it gets replaced by "plant"), easy to distinguish from one another. If you got the Token pack - 8 Fire and 8 Plant miniatures to replace the respective tokens - it's defenitly an upgrade.
The board(s) Hard one. Some of them look nice, some are cluttered (the symbols not helping in this case) some are too plain. Thickness of the board tiles is ok.
Points for Art: 8.5/10 - Good theme and coherence, nice look, amazing minis.


The next thing, before being able to play is grabbing the rules and look through them: Rules & Ease

Yashima is a game that seems to overwhelm you at first sight but becomes totally clear while playing the first game. So even after reading the rules and watching 2 "How it is played" videos, we were still confused and had to read in the rules. ("So...my cards are my hitpoints...and my cards are the cards of my master and my kami shuffled together...but not the cards in my mana pool, but they come back in my deck when I use them and are so again hitpoints...and the tome-cards are nothing of these, except you imprint them...")
But while playing it became obvious that the game mechanics are pretty logical and most rules are descripted via keywords (EXERT, DISCARD, LOSE, USE etc.) and together with the Glossar at the end of the rulebook you'll normally find fast what you are looking for.
Still, some of the rules are confusing and required some searching. The set up and maintenance is easy, no complaints here. The turn order, which is on the back of every "Hero-card" is also very helpful at the beginning.
Additionally I have to point out, that every hero has his own playstyle (Status he can give himself or others during play, attack patterns, Karma values, Tome actions etc.) so some are more straight forward to play than others.
The same, but not to such a big extent, goes for the Kamis which do not only have a different amount of cards (which leads to a different "Hitpoint"-total) but also own attack patterns, defense mechanics (block/clash/evade) cards and tend to influence the playstile of a master more than one would think after one or two games.
Also facing: For 2 players it's not that important (since you can turn your mini after eahc move and before each attack), but if you are palying with 3 or 4 people (or even more!) it's essential, not only because of your own attacks but because some heroes and kamis get stronger or unblockable attacks for attacking from behind. Since the facing of the minis is not always clear (e.g. looking over the shoulder - is the direction she is looking front or the direction her body is facing?), you should mark the "front" yourself.
The same goes for "move" actions - in the first games everyone might think they are useless, and it's just needed to rush to one another and fight until one is out - but after some games you'll use them more and more, to prevent your opponent from attacking and setting yourself up for the next turn. The same goes for "tome" actions" - some of them seem ridiculous strong or bad - but that feeling disappears after some games since you know how to play your strengths better.
Points for Rules & Ease: 7/10 - Maybe overwhelming at first but a well working logic makes them easy top understand while playing, still some of the occurances might require searching in the rules. Bonus point for good use of Keywords and Glossar.

Everything is set up and ready to be used, time to play the game:
Playing and fun
After the first (as for nearly all games) slow and bumpy round which consists of a lot of searching for Rules and Keywords, insecurity what to do (Move in to attack or wait, what to do in my tome action, attack always with highest attack value or better with some helpful side effects etc.) it starts to flow.
You invent strategies before the game, depending on your selected master and kami, adapt it to your hand cards and mana pool, throw them over board in the second round because you have to sacrifice your next attack card to block, so you could turn a page o your tome to get the action that you wanted to imprint in your deck but it's useless without the status you should have given your oppenent...yes, it's fun, for us it was great fun. We played a lot of 1vs1, some 1vs1vs1 and one 2vs2 - and all of them were great, 2vs2 probably standing out due to the tactical nature of trying not to hit your partner and helping them instead of only looking out for yourself makes the game even better.
All duels except one were very close, all left us thinking "One more!" and so I have to say:
Points for Playing and fun: 9/10 - As one of the players said: "It's like Tekken. But Isometric view. And with magic. And you can influence the environment. And...ok it's not like Tekken. Doesn't matter. One more game?"

So some rounds are played...is it game over?
Flexibility and replay value
Thanks to mixing kamis&masters there are a lot of combinations, the double sided game boards with different environmental influences (Every player places one of the boards himself, except for the "centerpiece", it just has to be connected to the other ones so you could also get different boards everytime, regarding environmental influences and form of the board) give a great variety. And even if you face off with the exact same combination of masters/kami/boards it wont be the same. There is a great tactical depth to this game that you experience after some games, far more than the first impression will give you. Since it's a "Duel"-game there are no campaigns, scenarios etc.
Points for Flexibility and replay value: 9/10 - Great for a duel game.

Important for this type of game:
Balance
Some combinations of Master/kami are just undeniable better than others - Look here. But I have yet to encounter a combination that is unfair.
So, no, it's not balanced. If you are inexperienced and pair a master and a kami with bad snyergy and your opponent does the opposite, it will be rather impossible to win. But MOST of the time you'll face off with combinations that are at least close to one another regarding the "power level".
Points for Balance: 5/10 - Not really balanced, but that's no surprise: that's the cost you got to pay for the variety of masters and their unique skills and the combination with very different kamis.

Conclusion
A fun game, exciting with great art and miniatures. If you're not playing 100% competitive, the only really negative, the imbalance of master/kami combinations, will have no big influence on your gaming experience.
Overall I'd say: Awesome game, my groups enjoyed it very much and we look forward for some more fights. Just for your amusement: While typing this review, one of my friends I played with, sent me a plan for a league system with rotating masters and kamis. Looks confusing as hell but I got the feeling that my group will enjoy that. So, lucky me, there are a lot of Yashima fights in my future it seems.
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Joshua Sprung
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Thanks for the kind words, Kurt! We're glad you enjoy Yashima! We're currently working on scenario play, so I hope to get that out soon!
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Tony Gullotti
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Great analysis of the game Kurt! As one of the designers, it really has been a pleasure reading people's perceptions of the game. Josh and I frequently text each other and chat about different posts when they come up.

While I don't agree with you completely concerning the balance aspect, I will concede that some Master+Kami combinations have tougher times against certain Master+Kami combinations than others do (for example Toru has a hard time against Mulan because he is constantly trying to cycle his deck for imprints).

I think what you'll find as you continue to dig into the the game is that certain players gravitate to particular combinations based on personal preference. I can go toe-to-toe with whatever combination out there with various Hikaru builds. And Josh is very scary with Yuki from the Icy Peaks expansion, but I'm garbage with her.

Anyway, it was a blast reading your assessment of the game! Thank you for taking the time to put down your thoughts!
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Kurt Wagner
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My pleasure, and thanks for such a great game and your and Joshs answers - didn't regret a minute to have it backed on KS (but still salty we didn't reach the desert expansion stretch goal )

I already found that I love Toru..Imprint everything, Seed armor (and seed everything and everyone), Exploding plants, heal and teleporting...he's awesome. And Lu Bu is a beast...while my gf loves Mulan (well not for her skill set. She loved the character of Mulan since forever) and got her skillset working after some games - and oh my, I fear the next friday (second day of our groups yashima tournament)...I'll have to face her and I think I'll go crazy and try wizard+tortoise just for the sake of it.

P.S.: That desert expansion...any chance that it will be available sooner or later...?
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Tony Gullotti
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Veldorn wrote:

P.S.: That desert expansion...any chance that it will be available sooner or later...?


Maybe sooner? whistle

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James Mustafa
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any news on dessert expansion?
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Joshua Sprung
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I'll pass this along to GBG, see if they have an official answer.
 
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James Mustafa
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woohoo.. hooe there is good news
 
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Joshua Sprung
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I spoke to Julie last night, she should be posting a response soon...
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