I’m not familiar with the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise, which rose to popularity in North America when a young adult.
Battle cards are a huge obsession… just not for me….
And for the uninitiated, Yu-Gi-Oh Bam! is a battle/card game. It is based off of the live card game which is notoriously expensive and has many complex layers for players to incorporate. Yu-Gi-Oh Bam! on Facebook, however, is meant to be more accessible by operating as a mostly free game without quite as many complex frills.
It’s not necessarily the most original concept – playing several “monster” cards against your opponent and applying various power-ups to defeat them, which is very reminiscent of role-playing games (RPGs) or Pokémon cards.
Yu-Gi-Oh BAM! - OVERVIEW
The game is split into different “battle” formats. You and your opponent begin with a deck of twelve cards and a set amount of health. You can play up to three cards at a time, and they can call into three columns and two rows. The column closest to the centre is where monsters go. The outside column is where spells or power-ups go. Each monster has a different amount of power – usually increments of 100. The monster you play must be more powerful than the monster directly against it in the opponent’s hands.
The more powerful monster will remove the difference from the player’s health points. For example, playing a 700-point monster against a 500-point monster will destroy the 500-point monster card and then remove 200 points from the player. Evenly-matched monsters (a 300-point monster versus another 300-point monster) will destroy both of the cards.
After the three cards are played, the cards which have not been destroyed will stay in their place, and the players will be given another three cards that they can choose to play and choose the location of. As the levels advance, monster cards are not the only card that can be played. Power-ups can also be played. Some affect the monster they are adjacent to, some affect the opposing monster, and some affect the opponent him or herself. You are given an energy metre with 100 points and automatically replenishes one point per minute.
Each game costs energy (usually 15 points), and the random treasure chests opened along the way also cost energy, so if you burn through very quickly, you could be frozen out of the game for up to 15 minutes.
It’s still, however, a simple game to learn that offers enough challenge and opportunity for strategy that the 15 minutes are well worth the wait.
Yu-Gi-Oh BAM! - STRATEGY
While more conservative players may hesitate to play extra-powerful monsters (such as a 900-point monster), a huge advantage is that cards which are not defeated stay in play (in the same zone) and actually cannot move. This way, it can continue to dominate throughout the round – provided the opponent does not apply spells.
Spells are introduced in the second level and are a key to success. Though it is theoretically possible to win without a spell, they add an interesting element to the game. They are mixed in with your twelve cards, so in some cases you may draw two monsters and one spell, three spells, etc. Spells can increase the adjacent monster’s power, decrease the adjacent opposing monster’s power, destroy it all together or even remove HP from the player.
As with most card games, you never know that the player is going to play until it’s revealed in the battle, so it’s not only a risk when you’re placing your monsters into play, but it’s exceptionally risky with spells, because they almost always are disposed immediately after being played (as opposed to monsters, which stay in play if they are not outmatched in power). However, the effects of the spell are long-lasting – for example, if you play a 300-point monster and a spell which lowers the opponent’s monster from 900 to 400, your monster will get destroyed for being weaker, but the other monster will still stay at 400 points, which puts you at an advantage for the next round!
More useful than spells are power-ups, which are almighty gems which cast overarching moves that can make you pretty hard to overtake – such as powering up all of your monsters to 2500 points. However, power-ups are at a premium, and cannot be replenished, so throwing them around in situations that aren’t exactly desperate is not wise.
Yu-Gi-Oh BAM! - TIPS, HINTS & CHEATS
Once you get to upper levels and are at a higher skill level, one of the best spells to keep in the deck is “fissure,” which destroys a monster entirely. The more uncomplicated spells one sticks to, the better. While there are many amazing spell cards which have grave effects on the opposing monsters, the cards often come with a price, such as lowering your HP slightly.
Another good tip, especially if you are confident in your deck as a whole, is to play every card that you can when you draw it in order to finish the game faster and get access to more cards. Of course, there will always be some cases where holding onto a card is a wise strategy, but for the most part playing your best cards at once will actually be most beneficial.
Involve your friends in gameplay – friends, as opposed to strangers on the other side of the Internet, can help you learn the best strategies. It also helps open you up for gifts, which are free to give. Gifts can include power-ups, which are your most valuable piece to play.
Overall, it is quite easy to “get into” Yu-Gi-Oh Bam! and it is a fun enough game, and because there are fewer restrictions than your average Facebook game, the fun doesn’t stop as often.
Its shortcomings are that it’s not the most complex game (though the graphic interface certainly makes it seem that way) with as many layers as one would expect, so serious gamers may become bored.