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TOPIC: Let's Talk Yomi

Let's Talk Yomi 07 Jun 2017 10:55 #249540

For some reason I was re-reading Dysjunct's excellent review from back in the time before time:
fortressat.com/articles-boardgame-review...t-fighter#!/ccomment

So, what's the status of this game now? New editions? Anyone still play? Has it held up? Has it been re-implemented as something else? Does it have a legacy in gaming or forgotten?
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Let's Talk Yomi 07 Jun 2017 12:26 #249558

I haven't played it for years. I remember liking it with my nephew. I haven't followed it for at least 5 -6 years.

Sirlin is slavishly dedicated to balancing things for the competitive scene. He comes from playing competitive Street Fighter in the 90s. This is misguided for a number of reasons.

1. The number one thing to create a competitive scene is to create a large scene. Blizzard and WotC can create competitive scenes with ease because they have such an astoundingly large player base that it happens almost naturally. This is part of why Heroscape had/has an OK competitive following for awhile, despite being the most chill and laid back game ever- it was EVERYWHERE; it only took a small %age of those folks to want to play it in tournaments to want to do it. Most MtG players are 'kitchen table,' but there are just so many of them out there that you can still run events for the hardcore.

2. He thinks he can just patch stuff like it's a video game, releasing revised versions of previous content. He rails against MtG or FFG or Plaid Hat for creating new content to fix balance issues, but that kind of stuff is mostly OK to the collector-driven board game market.

3. Competitive players often enjoy imbalances. Solving the current metagame is a lot of the fun for those people. If the very strongest option only gives you a 52% odds of winning against a field of similarly skilled opponents, that's not enough. Some people like picking stuff that helps them dominate. A game with 60 characters where 10 are viable is just as fun to competitive types as a game with 12 where 10 are viable, and the 'casuals' will probably have more fun with the game with 60 guys because who really cares how balanced it is.

4. It gives an air of overconfidence which permeates all of his writing. "My games are super balanced! Better than all of that crap you guys are playing already!" Then you get the number 2 point above, where he makes a patch/new edition after more than his 100-1000 true fans tested it, and people decide they don't want to plunge more money into the "same stuff," especially if his lofty balance claims don't seem to hold up.

5. The art direction and story are rather lacking, but I don't think he'd appreciate people telling him that. Art is a huge part of board games these days, probably bigger for the general market than any other factor.

I don't know what his end-game is. Get video game versions of his titles made? For someone so obsessed with Playing to Win, he doesn't seem nearly concerned enough with maximizing his revenue. His early connection to Game Salute and wanting to maximize profit PER UNIT sold rather than creating a large player base was not good.
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Let's Talk Yomi 07 Jun 2017 13:01 #249562

I played a few weeks ago with my son. The game is still fun, and it hits a lot of the notes about fighting games well. It's overly complicated for ittle gain in some parts, probably because of some "balance issues" his little cadre teased out over their obsessive plays. The whole Knockdown thing could be dropped and no one would give a shit, for example. And his obsession with making them into Poker decks is utterly lost on me. It adds nothing to the game.

I like the art/design of his games though. He may look oversaturated now, but when he was making these shit like this was around:


The bar was low.
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Let's Talk Yomi 07 Jun 2017 13:39 #249565

The art had a bit of a disconnect early on.

The box for Puzzle Strike was pink and had a ton of chibi art. 8 year old girls fawned over it, while dudes who played Dominion and thought Thunderstone was actually a good game often dismissed it out of hand due to the childish/video-gamey art.
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Let's Talk Yomi 07 Jun 2017 13:43 #249566

Sirlin really turned me off from it. I thought it was brilliant. But he was insufferable.

I greatly prefer Battlecon.
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Let's Talk Yomi 07 Jun 2017 13:58 #249568

Jexik wrote:
The art had a bit of a disconnect early on.

The box for Puzzle Strike was pink and had a ton of chibi art. 8 year old girls fawned over it, while dudes who played Dominion and thought Thunderstone was actually a good game often dismissed it out of hand due to the childish/video-gamey art.
For folks in the scene, it wasn't a disconnect at all, and this speaks to his insufferability as well. YOMI is obviously themed on fighting games, and in particular on STREET FIGHTER II (and its children). Makes sense, Sirlin did a lot of the development on (inhale) SUPER STREET FIGHTER II TURBO HD REMIX. The art style for YOMI is very similar and dramatic with all the oversized musculature.


Now Capcom, the SF2 company, had ported the SF2 brand to its TETRISy puzzle game, SUPER PUZZLE FIGHTER II TURBO (ps it's fucking fun as hell) but with a Chibi superdeformed look:


So, as homage (and a lark), the puzzle game set in Sirlinverse also uses this art style.

AND NOW I AM AS INSUFFERABLE AS SIRLIN AND CAN JOIN THE INNER SANCTUM.
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Let's Talk Yomi 07 Jun 2017 14:02 #249569

It's not a video game, and the box is rubbish. It does not make you think, "SRS TRNAMENT DECK BUILDER"

www.sirlin.net/puzzle-strike/

This is the 3rd EDITION! He had plenty of time to change this. Puzzle Strike: Bag of Chips: 3rd Edition? Nonsense.

He is not selling the game to 90s video gamers anymore. I've played puzzle fighter 2. I doubt everyone who played Dominion in 2008 would get the reference.

Sorry, just realized that I started going on about Puzzle Strike when this was a Yomi thread. I still think his approach with the fighting game sensibilities of huge anime boobs and thongs can push away a lot of female players compared to the art you see now from other companies. Also, the general sense that he is his own worst marketing enemy still applies to everything he creates.
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Let's Talk Yomi 07 Jun 2017 15:10 #249581

The real issue with Yomi, and one that I suspect is also an issue in stuff like BattleCon, is that it's only fun when you are playing at a lot. I had two sessions with Yomi where the friend who bought the whole set (back in 2011) sat down with me and we played like a dozen times in a row. Those were terrific, because we started to see how the other person played, we had a good chance to internalize the rules, and we figured out what characters we like. The problem is that I often have to teach it, and to be frank the game just isn't that good at first blush. It's too complicated for its own good, and some of the characters require way too much deck knowledge for them to be fun right away.

I want games to have depth, and I want the opportunity to really dig in. But it also needs to be enjoyable at the front end too, and I feel like Yomi was designed with the assumption that we would recognize its brilliance and want to devote the necessary time on faith.

I do like the game well enough. Heck, I have a full PnP copy of the first edition. I just never play it.

Like I said, this is sort of a general problem with fighting card games like this. Of the lot I think I like last year's Exceed best, although that one also had the issue of cheesecake illustrations. At least that one was fun right away.
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Let's Talk Yomi 07 Jun 2017 22:35 #249597

I predict that the reason you were rereading a six-year-old review was because Yomi is derived from Street Fighter, an old video game which was instrumental in your formative years, and we are both kickstaring Street Masters, which is based on other old video games from your formative years. So you have old video games on the brain.

Anyway, thanks for the shoutout and the trip down memory lane. I don't own Yomi any more. I sold my 1e deluxe in anticipation of 2e coming out, then realized I didn't care about 2e. The changes made to 2e (draw on normal attack, etc.) added complexity at the cost of accessibility. I had a hard enough time getting people to play, since as the alpha gamer I am always the one buying and teaching games. Yomi made this worse: I teach it to six different people, I play six times and they play once, and I get better at six times the rate they do.

This is where character imbalances shine, because I can play the Dan of Yomi. Sirlin tried to solve this with cards that made dudes lame, but it was too late for me.

The main thing I would change from my review is to downplay the reading/guessing part of the game. Once you get good it's not about reading; it's about playing the odds. The guessing works as a pseudo-random number generator: like many AT games you don't make a mathematically perfect play, you make the play that gives you the best odds of success.

At high levels Yomi relies way too much on analyzation to be fun for me. All discards must be open. And on top of that you need to write down cards your opponent has played, in case they've been removed from the discard pile and reshuffled into the draw deck. BattleCon is probably a better encapsulation of the fighting game genre because there's no real memorization -- you know what they have in hand, and you know the board position, and that gives you plenty to analyze without having to memorize the contents of ten different 52-card decks.

Last I checked, Sirlin's fanboys weren't playing Yomi that much either. The online tourney scene has basically died. They've moved to Fantasy Strike, his video game version of Yomi. I think this is honestly a much better fit for Sirlin's sensibilities. Update when he wants without making people pay for the improvement out of pocket.

Jexik nails it with his numbered points. Sirlin is his own worst enemy when it comes to promoting his games. It's kind of tragic -- if he had gone the traditional route and gotten someone else to develop and publish his games, they'd probably be huge. But I doubt he could relinquish that kind of control.
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Let's Talk Yomi 08 Jun 2017 14:48 #249627

Having watched Colby and the Plaid Hat guys* go from a small 1-man, part-time, 5k print-run kind of operation to getting bought out by huge corporations, I can say that a big difference between Colby Dauch and David Sirlin is ego. Colby has always been willing to find other people who do something better than him and hire them to do it. Allowing Isaac Vega (designer of the bioshock game, city of remnants, ashes, the video game high school game, co-designer of Dead of Winter) to become the art director was a turning point- he's the one who found Fernanda Suarez** on Deviant Art and brought her into the fold. Even getting bought out was a sign that he was willing to relinquish the publishing side to someone who wants to do that- it has allowed him to get back into designing stuff again. This upcoming crystal clans thing sounds like Summoner Wars 2.0.

*This was also essentially the same time period. Summoner Wars released in November of 2009.
**Dead of Winter and Ashes illustrator
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Let's Talk Yomi 09 Jun 2017 09:34 #249659

The game is pretty good. I prefer it over BattleCon. It took a few games in a row to get it, but overall it was fun. However, it isn't worth $100, and the Sirlin price-fixing business model is garbage.

But as you can tell from people comments, the game suffers due to the personality of the designer. Kind of the same reason people have trouble rooting for the Dallas Mavericks. There used to be a guy from my work who was friends with Sirlin; they were both Street Fighter national champs, and had written SF strategy guides. My coworker was a bit of an ass, and got defensive when I began to rip into everything wrong with Sirlin games. He has since taken a job with Google, an moved to his $800k one bedroom condo in Santa Clara to be with the rest of his Jetta-driving, Mac-using, $8 latte, price-fixing, hipster ilk.
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Let's Talk Yomi 09 Jun 2017 12:21 #249670

SGT Dave wrote:
He has since taken a job with Google, an moved to his $800k one bedroom condo in Santa Clara to be with the rest of his Jetta-driving, Mac-using, $8 latte, price-fixing, hipster ilk.
Yeah! That'll teach him! We sure won that one!
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Let's Talk Yomi 09 Jun 2017 13:06 #249677

jeb wrote:
I played a few weeks ago with my son. The game is still fun, and it hits a lot of the notes about fighting games well. It's overly complicated for ittle gain in some parts, probably because of some "balance issues" his little cadre teased out over their obsessive plays. The whole Knockdown thing could be dropped and no one would give a shit, for example. And his obsession with making them into Poker decks is utterly lost on me. It adds nothing to the game.

I like the art/design of his games though. He may look oversaturated now, but when he was making these shit like this was around:


The bar was low.

OMG Jeb I assumed you photoshopped something ironic. But that game actually exists, and in that box. HAHA. awesome

from BGG
I should start this review by warning the reader that I was a playtester for this game
Compared to other area majority games, I personally prefer Heads of State over El Grande and Louis XIV by a large margin

hahaha yeah sure. El Grande. Right. Must be why I have NEVER HEARD of "Heads of State" and nor has anyone else outside its playtesting team I suspect. El Grande is still among the best in its line, more than 20 years old. This game is getting onto 10 years old. Has anyone ever heard of it, much less seen "Heads of State"???? I have been up around the 1000 games owned/prev owned mark before and trawled the rankings lists mercilessly all the way down to the 5 and 10000 placed games on BGG. I have honestly never heard of this game
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Let's Talk Yomi 09 Jun 2017 13:23 #249679

I've owned Yomi for several years but have never played it. It's tucked away in a drawer so I always forget I have it. I really should rectify that someday and give it a go with someone who wants to put in two or three hours to really get to know the system and try several of the characters.
Bojack wrote:
from BGG
I should start this review by warning the reader that I was a playtester for this game
Compared to other area majority games, I personally prefer Heads of State over El Grande and Louis XIV by a large margin

hahaha yeah sure. El Grande. Right. Must be why I have NEVER HEARD of "Heads of State" and nor has anyone else outside its playtesting team I suspect. El Grande is still among the best in its line, more than 20 years old. This game is getting onto 10 years old. Has anyone ever heard of it, much less seen "Heads of State"???? I have been up around the 1000 games owned/prev owned mark before and trawled the rankings lists mercilessly all the way down to the 5 and 10000 placed games on BGG. I have honestly never heard of this game

The only times I've ever seen mention of it is when its awful cover is mentioned as a joke. I only knew it as the game in which the designer used Microsoft Paint (saying Photoshop is generous) to cut and paste what I assume are his gaming buddies' faces onto a painting.
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