Tabletop Game / Beyblade

While Beyblade was first introduced as manga, unlike other such Merchandise-Driven properties like Yu-Gi-Oh!, it was conceived as a marketing device for the actual toys from the beginning. Launched shortly after the manga series by Takara Tomy, the original Beyblade Basic System was at the time a relatively novel idea. What set it apart from other fighting top games like Spin Fighters was customization. Each Beyblade was made of several pieces that could be swapped out for other pieces, allowing players to try different strategies where old top games were little more than "whoever spins their top faster will probably win".

The initial line was an outstanding success in Japan. The anime series that followed after the manga and toys lasted 3 seasons, and was the main selling point from that point on. Each season introduced new aspects and parts to the game, but by the time it was over had seriously run its course. Toys in this series are retroactively referred to as plastic generation, though even the original Basic System used metal weight disks. Later systems included more metal parts (the basis for the second version of the toyline) and replaced or merged any number of parts with new ones, to the point where two tops could be made entirely out of mutually incompatible parts besides their Bit Chips, even requiring their own launchers. The Heavy Metal System, in particular, was a completely distinct design. Takara Tomy decided to call a hiatus while they reworked the concept.

The series was relaunched in 2009 after a 5 year hiatus under the name Metal Fight Beyblade, known in English as Beyblade: Metal Fusion. The game pieces were redesigned from the ground up, moving from the frankly schizophrenic style of the old series to a more standardized one, stargin with 4 parts and updating to 5 for each top. The first four waves released had single-piece, all metal wheels which were used in the first chapter of the manga. After that, the wheels were redesigned to use a plastic ring to hold on to the launcher, which was the version of the game released worldwide. The 4D update merged the tip and spin track while introducing multi-piece wheels, though unlike the original series the wheels could not normally swap parts. While similar merging and splitting to the orignal series occurred, all parts were still mostly compatible and required a standard face bolt to hold them together. They also only used one type of launcher across the whole series so that any special parts bought for previous toys would no be obsolete.

Immediately after Metal Fusion's run, a new line was introduced called Shogun Steel (Zero-G in Japan). The parts used in the Shogun Steel line were largely the same, other than another new wheel system and some changes to the stadiums. The plastic ring + metal wheel was reworked in a way that allowed a second metal wheel to replace the plastic one. Otherwise, the same cores, tips, 4D Bottoms, and launchers were still compatible. The Japanese name comes from the redesigned stadiums, which could rock back and forth allowing for unpredictable and exciting gameplay. This also resulted in changes to how tips were classified. Many Defense tips became Attack while Stamina became Defense. Another unique aspect was that the wheels could be attached with either the metal OR the plastic side up, which could affect how a game played out.

Shortly after Shogun Steel wrapped upnote , Japan moved into the next series, titled Beyblade: Burst. While it initially launched in Japan in July 2015, it took over a year to show up in the US, leaving a nearly 2 year drought. It goes back to square one with the new parts and launchers, designed to address issues with both its predecessors. Like the Metal Saga Beys, these tops use a simple 3-piece system with a top ring, a weight, and the main core/tip. The main gimmick is that the tops are spring-loaded and can knock each other apart, resulting in parts flying everywhere.

The game's mechanics are simple. Two players each launch a top into a bowl-shaped battle arena, and the last one left standing is the winner. Winning can either be from knocking your opponent out of the ring or making their top stop spinning. Each win gets you a point, and the first to seven points wins. Each player can have up to three tops available to them. A Burst Finish, where a Burst Beyblade flies apart when it loses, nets the winner two point.

There are 4 basic types of tops: Attack, Defense, Stamina, and Balance. Counter-intuitively, Balance means having bits of the other three types all put together, rather than having a top that's good at balancing on its tip.

  • Attack: Fast and made for hitting. Strong against Stamina, weak against Defense
  • Defense: Heavy and hard to move. Strong against Attack, outlasted by Stamina.
  • Stamina: Light, with focus on spin time. Good against Defense, but usually knocked out by Attack.
  • Balance: Hard to predict, and varies greatly based on actual parts used.

Tropes specific to the tabletop game are:

  • All There in the Manual: The names of the Burst Forge Discs and Performance Tips are not mentioned on the packaging or in the instructions, which just uses their part numbers. However, they are given their proper names in the app/mobile game, viewable while editing a Beyblade.
  • A Load of Bull:
    • Bull 125SF and Dark Bull H145D. Both have parts that are meant to resemble horns (the wheel for the former and the spin track for the latter). They're themed after the constellation Taurus.
    • Minoboros in Burst is meant to resemble a Minotaur.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Making the heaviest possible build results in the technically best possible Attack or Defense Bey possible, depending on what tip is used. However, it will most likely launch much slower than a lighter build and not last as long if your opponent doesn't ring out.
    • Making the lightest build will result in a Stamina Bey that will launch easily and spin fast, as well as being able to stay away from the low center of the stadium. The downside is that it has no defensive or offensive capability due to its low mass, making it only occasionally effective against one build - the heaviest.
    • 4D Bottoms, as a general rule, are this. As fun of a concept as Cosmic Pegasus's Final:Drive may seem, you're better off with a Flat or rubber tip, rather than one that switches modes during play. And Diablo Nemesis doesn't really benefit from being stuck with one Spin Track with an 3 position tip when the individual tips are also available.
  • Boring, but Practical: The most effective tips are the more simple ones (Sharp, Wide, Ball, Flat, etc.) compared to the more gimmicky ones (Quake, Right/Left Flat). Single-mode parts are also more reliable that those that can be flipped or rotated to change their battle properties.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • In ever series to date, a tier list has been available from day-one and updated frequently. A large part of the metagame is buying specific parts (or the set they're released in) second-hand, mainly from eBay where they can go for as much as $100 US for rare or high-demand tops and launchers.
    • Better launchers, grips, and other accessories are often what determines a match. The person with the string launcher is pretty much guaranteed to win, if both players don't have one. The short-run Rev Up launcher (Only released in the US and Hong Kong) is one of the most expensive items on eBay due to it being both incredibly rare as well as the absolute best launcher for Metal Saga and Shogun Steel Beys.
    • In the plastic era the customized 10Bistool was practically invincable, especially in tournament play. Winning basically boiled down to if you had the money to get one.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Several packaged Beyblades are built specifically for one purpose, rather then being designed to be playable. Some are specifically designed to go against another specific Beyblade. However, they are usually released this way to introduce new parts into the game rather than to be use as-is.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Not quite explosion, but the concept being Beyblade: Burst is that defeat makes your Bey fly apart.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: The Final:Drive included with Cosmic Pegasus F:D has a tip which retracts as the Beyblade looses spin. Once it fully retracts, it becomes a wide rubber flat tip meant to give one last Desperation Attack before spinning out.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Balance types. Getting juuuust the right parts is really tricky, but can have awesome results. Also, ringing out a heavy Defense build.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The first series of tops were much different than anything after them, and had the greatest variety of part types. Some were only barely compatible with previous sets, to the point that Basic series parts became unusable. The Blade Base was also held into the rest of the Beyblade by clips that slid into the sides, which was not repeated with any following series.
    • The first four waves of starter sets of Metal Fight Beyblade had used a single Metal Wheel rather than the Energy Ring/Fusion Wheel combo that came after them. They got replaced to add more variety to the game and also to address launchers having their prongs broken off.
  • Eastern Zodiac: The original series and Shogun Steel both have Beys based the Four Symbols.
  • Elemental Powers: Shogun Steel get Crystal/Element wheels that show through the metal wheel as an "Element orb". The concept carries over into Burst, though downplayed to the primary color of the Energy Layer and the tip type.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry:
    • The Shogun Steel wheels were never fully symmetrical. This was specifically so that none of them would be "overbalanced" to the point that they couldn't be knocked over. The hole and peg in each wheel guaranteed that no perfectly symmetrical designs could be made.
    • The Valtryek Energy Layer and its upgrade V2 both have a left-facing Vakkyrie with three spikes on the edge of the wheel. Most other Burst Energy Layers have minor details that are different on one side than the other.
  • Fragile Speedster: Attack builds can move very quickly, but a heavy Defense type can stop it or ring it out just as quickly. Especially light ones, which improve their speed and power, have much higher knock-back as a result and tend to send themselves flying after hitting a heavy opponent.
  • Fusion Dance: One of the gimmicks of Shogun Steel: two metal wheels can be placed together to form a Synchrome Beyblade.
  • Gratuitous English: Most of the tops have English names in Japan.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Occasionally happens with the English names, like Bakushin Susano-o.
  • Hellhound:
    • Cerberus is a common motif. Kerbecs in Metal Fusion and Kerbeus in Burst. In fact, the first one was released as the Hades Kerbecs build just to drive the theme home.
    • The Wolf series of parts is based on the constellation Lupus. In the anime it's owned by one of the main antagonists and treated as The Dreaded.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: Both are present in Shogun Steel.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Twisted Fusion Wheel combined with a low Spin Track, and a variation of the Flat Tip creates a frightfully fast and heavy Balance type Bey with little recoil capable of Smash Attacks.
  • Metagame: Boy howdy. Most types of wheels aren't even considered in the Metal Fusion tournaments, being severly outclassed. A tier list of all parts can be found here. There's even a whole website dedicated to the meta, the World Beyblade Organization.
  • Mighty Glacier: Defense Beyblades. They're heavy and ponderous, but designed to last against strong attacks. Their mass lets them turn an Attack Bey's momentum against it, as well as helping them stay near the bottom of the stadium. If something manages to move them from their spot (either the opposing Bey or a high-mobility tip), the return trip packs a solid punch.
  • Mutual Kill:
    • Double Ring-outs.
    • Double Burst Finishes in Burst.
    • Also possible but stupendously rare are double spin-outs, where both Beyblades stop spinning at the same time. This almost never happens because the fight ends when one of them stops spinning; rolling around on its edge is still considered active. So if, for example, two are at the point of edge rolling and bump into each other just right that they stop moving at the same time, it's considered a tie.
  • Nerf: Occasionally done when localizing new Beyblades outside of Japan.
    • Very common in Metal Fusion. Both of the top tier L-Drago wheels got a significant weight reduction when Hasbro licensed them.
    • Burst takes the cake. The Japanese version has small grooves cut into the bottom of the Layers to accommodate the tabs on the Drivers. This made it a bit harder to Burst the Beyblade, while also adding some strategy to the game. The Hasbro version omits them entirely, using a nearly identical sloped surface on all Layers instead. This cuts both ways though: Doomscyther was so overpowered in Japan that it had to be banned; Doomscizor is a great but not perfect Layer more prone to bursting but still among the best for Attack.
    • In general, the shooters (AKA launchers) are weakened somewhat in the American release.
      • Hasbro never introduced the updated Light Launcher 2. It also skipped the String Launcher L in America, mostly because left spinners have an advantage over right-spinners already.
      • Burst's American launchers are technically more powerful due to getting more rotations from the same length of ripcord, but were made much more simple out of two parts with no ratchet. This results in a slightly weaker launch due to the tops staying on the prongs longer as they lose a bit of speed. They're also looser, resulting in more "misfires".
  • New Season, New Name: 'Metal Fusion became Metal Fusion then Metal Masters. The original became V-Force and later G-Revolution''.
  • Ninja: An Element Wheel available in Shogun Steel is called this.
  • Not Quite Dead: Zombie builds. They keep spinning even when knocked over, which counts as still being in the game.
  • Not the Intended Use: Happens quite a bit with modders. Some have designed custom parts that let you omit Spin Tracks or allowing right spin tops to spin left.
  • Orochi: A Warrior Wheel in Shogun Steel.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: They spin left! They're also usually a cross between Eastern and Western style dragons.
    • Dragoon in the original series could spin in either direction depending on the specific set. It looks mostly like an Eastern dragon but with huge claws and a stockier, more Western body.
    • Metal Fusion has a two. L-Drago's series all have three heads detailed into them. Omega Dragonis is the odd one out in that it is a right spinner and is themed on a Western dragon.
    • Ronin Dragoon in Shogun Steel at first appears to be a new version of L-Drago (including its counterclockwise spin), but has wings and Fashionable Asymmetry.
    • The Wyvern Wheel in Shogun Steel and Wyvron Layers in Burst are both based on the two-legged dragon variety, and both are right-spinning.
    • Luinor L2 appears to be an Eastern Dragon, with a lion-like mane and long body. It also has bat-like wings and a horned crest on its forehead. It's also one of the few Dual Layers that didn't have a single-layer Energy Layer equivalent.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Beyblades with the spin-steal ability, like L-Drago Absorb. Beyblades that spin the opposite direction as their opponents tend to equalize spin, gaining speed when contacting a faster Beyblade. This means during the initial few clashes, a slower left-spinner will drain a right-spinner's stamina while speeding up and gaining balance. Those with soft rubber parts are better at it.
  • Pegasus: The Pegasus series Metal Fusion and Shogun Steel.
  • The Power of the Sun: The Sol Fusion Wheel and Blaze Energy Ring are themed after the Sun, with the shape paricularly inspired by prominences.
  • Rage Helm:
    • VariAres, Gravity Destroyer/Perseus, and Fusion Hades/Fusefire Darkhelm have this as their Face Bolt motif.
    • Gigant Gaia/Gaianon G2 has two of these on it's Energy Layer.
  • Samurai: Another Element Wheel.
  • Serial Escalation: Each new version adds more weight to the tops. Shogun Steel even allow twice the amount of metal per top, making some of the heaviest builds possible.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: Rapidity. Made by a company called Hongyi, they contain toxic chemicals that can leak acrid gas when heated. Like if left in a car on a hot day, which no child has ever done. They break faster too.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: The Slide Shot, where a Beyblade is launched while moving the launcher in a specific direction above the stadium. When done right, it causes Beyblades Attack type tips to move in a flower pattern, while Defense or Stamina tips will circle the outer stadium or Tornado Ridge more easily before spiraling into the center. Learning to do it isn't difficult, to the point that more players than not use it frequently.
  • So Last Season: Several former top tier parts are now barely used except in really esoteric builds. Libra was so common in the initial Metal metagame that Takara banned it from tournament play, but by the time Twisted Tempo came out was so outclassed that it was useless.
  • Spin-Off:
    • BeyWheelz, which rolled the tops along their edges instead of their tips. Based on the special ability of the Running Core of the original series. Like Metal Fusion, the wheels are made up of several parts bolted together.
    • BeyWarriors, which used action figures with gyroscopic tops built into their bases. Like the other series, they could swap parts to create customized fighters but doing so had little effect on gameplay.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Attack < Defense < Stamina < Attack, in general. Balance types are harder to place.
  • Unicorn:
    • The Striker (Ray, Blitz, etc.) series in Metal Fusion. It represents the constellation Monoceros.
    • The Unicrest series in Burst.
  • Western Zodiac: Most of the Metal Fusion tops are based on Western constellations.
  • World Tree: The Yegdrion Layers are based on Yggdrasil.