Monday, June 23, 2014

What is Buddyfight?

Future Card Buddyfight Logo

Future Card Buddyfight is a trading card game created by Bushiroad. The game was released in the beginning of 2014 concurrently with an anime series (that's actually better than the Vanguard series) as one of the very first ever ventures Bushiroad has done in regards to SIMULTANEOUS INTERNATIONAL RELEASES. Holy crap. Japan and America on the same page? Is this heaven?

Bushiroad is already extremely well known for fielding both the ever-popular Cardfight!! Vanguard series and the ever-niche Weiss Schwarz series, which are both, may I add, excellent card games to get into.

As both a Vanguard and a Weiss player, and having plenty of experience with Yugioh and Pokemon previously, coming to Buddyfight was...a breath of fresh air, to be honest. As a newly established game, Buddyfight has the potential to be something amazing and so far, Bushiroad is not far from the track.

When compared to other card games, Buddyfight resembles Weiss Schwarz the most with elements of Yugioh incorporated. In fact, if you are coming to Buddyfight from Weiss then you're probably going to feel like you're playing a supremely dumbed-down version of the game, minus your waifu army, replaced by dragons and mutated creatures with weapons sticking out of their sides. And this is true, because Buddyfight's skill requirements to play is near zero. In fact, Buddyfight may be just the easiest card game to play in the world. Next to Old Maid.

Buddyfight Playmat
Buddyfight adopts the standard 3-attacking zones of Weiss, minus the entire backrows of Vanguard and Weiss. Which means no boosting/Assist, which means less math and overall effects. Buddyfight also plays without Clock or Damage, which means that you don't have to worry about the cost-benefit analysis of taking essentially permanent damage for immediate and necessary gains. Instead, Buddyfight runs of the most basic of principles: HP, Power, Defense, Critical. That's IT. There's no triggering of effects when attacked, there's no damage canceling or strange effects. This reduces the chance-sack nature of the game (which is what I love about Buddyfight), but it really takes away a LOT of the skill-oriented nature of playing the game. The first and foremost way to separate the good Weiss players and the bad Weiss players is by how they manage their Stock and Clock so that they Level correctly, how well they manage their Climaxes and compress their deck right upon refresh, and how well they can control Soul triggers so that exact damage can be dealt. It's a ridiculously complicated game that allows for so many game-changing playstyles.

In Buddyfight, all you do is draw and play monsters. Like, there's seriously nothing incredible you can do. No miracle heals or cancels, no skill-based chance. Tutoring isn't even that big of a thing yet. All you can do is hope for that top-deck.

It gets ever easier. There's no real such thing as "subgames" in Buddyfight. Other games like Vanguard and Weiss have very distinct phases of a match, usually dictated by the Grade/Level of the player but also by the dominant goal of each phase (early is building resources, mid is gaining pressure and control, late game is winning the game). I'm just going to subtly refer to this wonderful article on subgame theory for those of you who are curious. And also please note that this applies to Buddyfight like, not at all. From your very first draw, every turn is the midgame. You start with 2 gauge. And you basically balance around 2 gauge for the entirety of the game, charging some and then saving some. You don't have a luxury period of gaining resources when someone could potential kill you T2. You need to start gaining a foothold on the tempo of the game, the control of the field, and start pressuring your opponent for the kill immediately. For Weiss and Vanguard players who are unfamiliar with this world of eternal midgame, this is literally what Yugioh is like.

This means that 80% of the skill in Buddyfight is in deckbuilding. If you can't really do anything during the game to change your fate, you're going to have to predestine yourself to win from the very moment you put your deck together. Which is why it's oh-so important to understand card advantage and build a deck that can generate this advantage over time. Buddyfight doesn't have Twin Drive or Clock and Draw 2 to gain hand advantage. You literally just get 1 card every turn. There's no tutoring on-call like in Yugioh, no ridiculous hand-refreshes like in Pokemon. 1 card. That's all you get. You're going to end up losing WAY more than just 1 card every turn. Buddyfight is a game of attrition, and the longer you last the better you'll do.

But when all is said and done, Buddyfight is actually a very fun and well-balanced game. Games don't go on for too long, and losses are generally from "not drawing into the right cards" or from "getting owned by my opponent's perfect hand" and not from "ohmaigawdiguardedfor2passandhejustpushedalltriggersontohisvanguardandgotadoublecrit" or "where the hell did my climaxes go *reveals next card* $#@!". The art is decent and the concepts are pretty good. Most importantly, the potential for the game is limitless. It's just beginning, and it's incredibly exciting to see which direction this game will head.

I, for one, and proud to be a Buddyfighter.

All images used obtained from the official Bushiroad website and used here solely for reference purposes. Future Card Buddyfight!, logos, and respective content belong to Bushiroad. Large images belong to the Buddyfight! Wikia. Picture credits to katsuragikamui and mori.m

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