I’ve been meaning to give a little info dump on the game for a while. Might as well get it done.
What is the game like?: Gameplay is similar to CCGs. I suppose the closest comparison would be that it’s like the Pokemon card game, with a little bit of Magic the Gathering in it (I mean, what card game doesn’t have some MtG in it). Each character has hit points and attacks, and the objective is to knock out your opponent’s characters before they knock out yours.
Is it a CCG?: It plays like one, but not really. Calling it a Battle Card Game was definitely a deliberate decision. The RWBY: BCG is what is referred to as a Living Card Game (don’t ask why, I have no clue) in that instead of being distributed in random blind packs like CCGs, LCGs have a fixed distribution method. For example, the game would be “sold” in decks. If both you and I have the team RWBY deck, then we both have the exact same deck. That’s not to say there’s no opportunity to customize you game though. Each team deck is divided into four hero decks (one for each character), you take any four hero decks, shuffle them together, and voilà, you got a team deck. So then if I had team RWBY and team JNPR (which I do, obviously), then I could play team RWBY, JNPR, RNJR, JWPY, BYNP, or whatever I like. Currently, with the five decks in the game there is a total of 4,825 unique deck combinations, however if you’d like you can just buy one deck and never have to spend another dime.
Is there a resource system?: Eh, sort of. There’s no mana, energy, or the like. I felt games that use those kind of have a slow, tactical build-up to their gameplay. Which is fine, but RWBY is anything but slow paced. Your “resource” is the actions you can perform on your turn. Each character can perform actions A, B, and C once per turn, and you can do action D once on your opponent’s turn (by default). There are certain cards or actions that can grant you additional actions or even limit what actions your opponent can use. Basically, I tried to build a game where you didn’t have to wait till round 7 before you can start doing cool stuff. I wanted you to come out of the gate swinging.
How many players?: By default, it’s 1v1, but I have played it as a three player free for all. Gameplay is pretty much the same, but there is one additional rule that limits how many times you can attack a single player. I’ve played four player MtG and the strategy always end up being three player focuses down one, then two gang up on one, then it’s just regular MtG. Strategically it makes sense, but it’s not really fun (especially if you’re on the receiving end). The added rule does make the game run a bit longer, but it balances it out better.
What characters are in the game?: Ruby, Weiss, Blake, Yang (RWBY, no surprise), Jaune, Nora, Pyrrha, Ren (JNPR), Cinder, Roman, Mercury, and Emerald (CRME) were all part of the original printing (version 1.0). Qrow, Winter, Penny, and Neo (what I’ve been calling quipping) came about in version 2.0. Just recently with the printing of version 4.0 I’ve introduced Sun, Coco, Velvet, and Gwen Darcy (of NDGO fame, because why not). The first three decks were designed to be balanced as team decks, but also for each hero deck to be able to work independently from their other teammates. The other two decks were just designed with the hero deck in mind, and not balanced to be played together (but you can if you want to).
What kind of art is in the game?: To be honest, the visuals have been scarce. They’ve certainly come a long way since version 1.0, but my main focus has been on gameplay, theme, and balance. Most cards simply have placeholder colors, but there are a few cards that have either official Rooster Teeth art, or screen shots from the show (since it follows their content usage guidelines). I know technically I could use other artist’s fan art since I’m not selling it, distributing it, or claiming it as my own, but I don’t think that would be fair to them even if this is just a prototype fan project. They worked their butts off on those pictures, I shouldn’t go copy/paste it just because I can’t art good. Sure I can ask permission, but like I said, I’ve been focused on the meat and potatoes. However, if any artists say they don’t mind me slapping there pictures on a card then I promise I shall use your work responsibly, and abide by the same guidelines as stated by Rooster Teeth.
With RWBY: Combat Ready funded, do you think there’s still a place for the RWBY Battle Card Game?: I think so (though I may be a little bias on that). Combat Ready looks to be focused more on the mission/adventure aspects from the show (“hey team, let’s go fight some bad guys”), where BCG draws inspiration from the vital festival tournament from volume 3 (“you, me, bring it on”). The real world pacing and setting also seem to be different, with Combat Ready being a game you and your buddies can all sit around the table and play for an hour or more, whereas BCG can be played by taking your deck to your local game store/skate park/malt shop (those are places people play cards right) and duking it out for 15-20 minutes. I think the longevity of the two games could potentially differ as well. While Rooster Teeth can continue Combat Ready’s life span with expansions adding more heroes, villains, objective, etc. (and I certainly hope they do), if they wanted to for some reason they could leave this game as a one off deal. BCG possibly almost necessitates a long life span, with part of its entertainment and value coming from the release of future decks. Though to be honest, both games have the potential to last six seasons and a movie or more.
Unrelated question, what are your thoughts on Combat Ready?: So far, I like what I see. It seems to have a strong focus on theme, especially with each character having their own deck (something I myself strived for). I like that the earlier stretch goals are focused on improving the quality of the material (I really want them double layered tracker scrolls). I’ve played co-op board games where what they call an “alpha gamer” starts dictating what everyone needs to do and essentially runs (or ruins) the entire game for everyone, but I think the fact that everyone can do something even if it’s not their turn should help mitigate that. A part of me hopes it doesn’t include rules for someone to play as the villain, but for selfish reasons because that would be a great idea. One of my favorite things to do is pick apart board games and find new and interesting ways to play it by adding or changing rules. I think I’m gonna have a field day with this one. July can’t get here soon enough.