RWBY: Combat Ready Review

RWBY Combat Ready review - cover

Year Published: 2018 | Number of Players: 2-5 | Game Length: 45-75 minutes

This RWBY: Combat Ready review was made after playing the game eight times (eight scenarios). We were sent a copy of this game by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


What is RWBY: Combat Ready?

RWBY: Combat Ready is a cooperative fighting game based on the popular animated web series. In this game you play through scenarios by squaring off against villains in a series of duels. You can play the game as a one-off scenario against a single villain or you can string three scenarios together in a campaign.

RWBY: Combat Ready was designed by Bryan Pope and Benjamin Pope, and it is co-published by Arcane Wonders and Rooster Teeth Games.


RWBY: Combat Ready Gameplay

In each RWBY: Combat Ready scenario, you’ll be playing through a series of duels against one of the three villains. The duels are played in a series of rounds in which one hero squares off against the villain while the other heroes (Sideline Players) get to assist in the duel. Once the duel has ended, a new hero becomes the active hero and another duel begins. This continues until either all of the heroes have been defeated or the villain has been defeated.

The three stats that matter for all characters in RWBY: Combat Ready are Speed, Damage, and Aura (health). During every round of a duel, you’ll be comparing the speed of your attacks (plus modifiers) to the speed of whoever you’re fighting and the highest speed wins that round. Whoever wins the duel deals their damage to whoever they’re fighting. Whenever a hero or enemy’s Aura is brought down to zero, they are out of the game.

Every hero has a unique deck of cards and a unique Semblance ability. At the start of each duel, players get to draw six cards from their decks and have to find a way to use those cards to win the duel. Each card has a Speed number and could also include additional abilities, such as future attack modifiers or an assist ability. The Semblance ability is a powerful ability that in most cases can only be activated once per duel.

The active hero is always fighting the villain, but the Sideline Players have four options to choose from. They can Rest to heal one Aura and draw a card; they can encounter an Objective (more on that later); they can use the assist ability on one of their cards; or they can combine the attack of one of their cards with active hero’s attack. When using a Combo attack, only the lowest Speed number counts.

You get to see what type of stance the villain is in (Subtle, Balanced, or Aggressive) before you take your actions, so you will have an idea about how fast their attack will be before you play your cards. After all of the players have chosen their actions, the villain’s card is revealed and you compare the speeds of the attacks.

The villain also has multiple Event cards. These cards usually making the villain stronger for the remainder of the scenario.

At the end of each round of a duel, the villain moves forward one space on the Fury track and the active hero will move forward one space for each point of damage they dealt. The active hero is trying to get into the Ultimate zone so they can use their Ultimate ability to win the duel. The villain is trying to get into their Bash zone as any attack that deals damage thereafter will win them the duel. The villain can also win the duel if they make it past the end of their track, but in that situation the active hero’s Ultimate ability activates (if they’re in the zone) and they win the duel.

You’ll also be dealing with one or more Objectives during each scenario. The Objectives change up the game in multiple ways, such as adding in minions you’ll need to deal with or giving you a bomb you need to diffuse.

You can gain experience points in multiple ways, such as when you deal damage or when you use certain abilities. At the end of each duel (after you’ve drawn six new cards) you can spend experience points to buy upgrade cards. When you buy one, you add it to your hand and have to get rid of one of your other cards. The upgrade cards are tiered, so you have to first upgrade to a tier two card, which can then be upgraded to a tier three card, which can then be upgraded to a tier four card.

If you beat your scenario and are playing a campaign, you can keep all of your upgrade cards and start a new scenario. The villain and the completed objectives give you additional experience points that you can use to buy more upgrade cards before you start a new scenario.

And that’s about it. You’re trying to race the villain up that Fury track so you can deal your Ultimate finishing move to them before they bash you. Ideally you’ll get into the “Gain +3 Damage” zone to do maximum damage to them before the duel ends, but what really matters is that you keep your health up while chipping away at the villain’s.

For more info on how to play RWBY: Combat Ready, check out the rulebook and the scenario book over at BGG.

RWBY Combat Ready review - cards and scroll tracker



Pros

  • RWBY: Combat Ready is definitely a unique game. Really, what you’re doing is cooperatively fighting a villain duel after duel with a little bit of deck building mixed in, a combo I’ve never seen in a co-op.
  • Everyone always feels involved in this game. Only one player is squaring off against the villain, but the other players have plenty of ways that they can help out.
  • Pulling off powerful combos is very satisfying. Often the high-speed attacks do just a little bit of damage on their own, but adding in some combo abilities and some assists can make the attack very powerful.
  • Most duels are pretty intense thanks to the hidden information on the villain’s cards and the fact that you feel like you’re racing the villain to the Ultimate and Bash zones.
  • It’s awesome that you can use your Ultimate ability at the last second to win a duel. That can definitely create some classic moments.
  • Upgrading is a very fun part of this game. All of the upgrades are great, but you need to decide if you want to go for the best card available or one that balances out your current hand. It’s also often tough to decide which cards to get rid of.
  • There are 18 Objective cards so it’s pretty easy to come up with unique scenarios to play.
  • I really like the look of RWBY: Combat Ready, specifically the card layout and the artwork.

Cons

  • My biggest issue with RWBY: Combat Ready is that games can end in blowouts for both sides. Sure, you can add in easier or tougher objectives in future games, but I have a feeling that a lot of people will give up on this game if their first experience is a blowout one way or the other.
  • It can be tough to keep track of all of the speed and damage bonuses. There are tokens for both types of bonuses, but sometimes a card will give you a bonus for a specific type of attack or you’ll need to remember to gain the bonus in a future round. A couple people in my group really struggled with keeping track of them.
  • The game doesn’t scale particularly well. Most games are easier with more players even though you do add in more objectives. I’ve played the game at the two, three, and four-player counts and the four-player games were definitely easiest since we could add in more speed and damage modifiers.
  • I don’t mind that there are only three villains in the game, but only one of them, Cinder Fall, has consistently given us close, down-to-the-wire games. Roman is very easy and Adam is extremely tough.
  • It would have been cool if at least a couple of the heroes had a card or two that allowed them to counterattack after the enemy’s card is revealed.

Final Thoughts

I’d recommend RWBY: Combat Ready to two groups of people: fans of the RWBY animated series and fans of fighting games. Fans of the series will definitely get the most out of this game because they’ll recognize the characters and their different types of attacks, making it easier to “see” the action.

If you do end up getting the game, I highly recommend looking through the villains’ cards (especially Adam’s) before you start playing. Once my group did that, we had a much better time because we knew the range of speeds each attack could have. It just felt too random before we did that.

On the overall, my group has had a good time playing RWBY: Combat Ready. All of the heroes feel unique, the artwork is great, upgrading is fun, and the simple combat system works well. It’s a solid co-op that is different than everything else I own, so it’s a keeper!


RWBY: Combat Ready Links

BoardGameGeek | Amazon | CoolStuffInc


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