Yomi: The Best Card Game You’ve Never Played

product showcase of yomi set

Have you ever been inside someone’s mind so deep you feel like you are reading their soul? Do you want to try? Play ten Yomi games against the same opponent in a row, and the two of you will develop a bond like none you have ever had. That is how powerful this card game is.

product showcase of yomi set

Imagine rock-paper-scissors, poker, and a fighting game all rolled into one. That might be the best way to describe Yomi. Doesn’t it sound great? Yomi is a fighting game (like Street Fighter, Tekken, or Soul Calibur) except in card game form, printed on multiple standard 54 card decks of playing cards (52 cards and 2 jokers). The reason I say “decks” is because each deck is a separate character, and each card is a “move” that character can perform. The standard shipping of Yomi comes with 10 decks, or 10 characters, although only two are required to actually play the game. The rock-paper-scissors is translated in this game to attack, throw and block/dodge with attacks beating throws, throws beating block/dodge and block/dodge beating attack. The beauty of the usually boring RPS crapshoot is the fact that outcomes of the clashes are asymmetrical. Meaning sometimes it’s better to play certain moves, and sometimes it’s better for your opponent to play certain moves. The simple fact that you must deal damage to your opponent to win the game, and block/dodge doesn’t deal any damage is enough to throw the RPS triangle out of whack!

degrey move card from yomi card game

How It Works

You choose a character and draw 7 cards. Each card has 2 sides featuring different actions. Some are block/attack, others dodge/throw. You can play either side of the card, so really your 7 card hand is more like a 14 card hand because each card has two options. Both you and your opponent play a card face down, and then both reveal. You played attack and he played block? Well he wins, and in this case, he gets to draw a card (more options) and he gets to take the block back to his hand (no card disadvantage), you on the other hand must discard your attack and do 0 damage. Both played a throw? Each character has a speed, and the faster throw will win dealing damage. Furthermore, each character has a different distribution of attack-throw-block cards, special ability cards and innate abilities making them all require a radically different style of play. You would think with 10 characters all with different moves and styles the game would quickly degenerate into a unbalanced slugfest where only several characters can compete. Lucky for us David Sirlin has a fetish for asymmetrical game balance and he really shows off with Yomi. No matter what the match up, no characters is hugely favored. It’s possible to get frustrated and feel like you are being steamrolled by some kind of beastly character but more likely you are just getting out-played.

What Makes Yomi Better than Other Card Games?

Firstly, Yomi is a self-contained game. You never make your deck any better, and you will never need to update it. You only need to buy the game once and it’s ready to play forever. So this game isn’t a major investment, but more like a board game that you can bust out every now and then. You don’t need to commit to buying expensive rare cards to give yourself a fighting chance.

Secondly, this is a strategy card game. From my experience, despite being printed on a poker deck, Yomi is probably only 10% luck. Because your opening hand has ~14 options it’s very unlikely that you will be in the “unlucky” position of not having the particular kind of move you feel like you should play. Of course it CAN happen, but it’s never happened to me yet! If you find yourself in a draw “X” or die situation in Yomi it isn’t a matter of bad luck, but a set of mistakes you made earlier in the game. This is a true psychological strategy game. Who can be the better mind-reader. The game has all the math, reading and bluffing elements of poker but without the river-suckouts. And the best part is, the more you play it with the same person the more intense the games get. You start getting reads on them, you can begin baiting them and setting traps while at the same time avoiding getting caught in one of your tricks. It gets my head spinning just thinking about it. This game really is mental combat distilled.

Just Buy It

If you have friends, and you like board games, card games, or poker (and have time to do something other than play poker.) then just buy this. I will give you my word that you will enjoy it thoroughly. I mean the game is just awesome. The characters are all interesting and different, the art is worth looking at, the gameplay is deep and compelling. There is NOTHING BAD ABOUT IT! Also for added bonus you can even play it online for free!!! http://www.fantasystrike.com/dev/

THIS CARD GAME is 10x better than the last game you played. Card game, video game or anything else. Go try it out!!! Then you can buy it from Sirlin’s store http://www.sirlingames.com/ and write me a thank you note for exposing you to this masterpiece. Is it expensive? Yeah it is at about $100 HOWEVER that is probably cheaper than most games you compare it to considering what you get. If you buy ten magic the gathering reconstructed decks it will cast you $100 and you won’t even get to awesome playmats.

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  1. […] least one of you might remember my original Yomi review from years ago when I first got the game. I loved it then and I still love it now. The game […]

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