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A Report from Nicobodo on the 2017 Kobe Game Market

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In an attempt to bring BGG users coverage of the 2017 Kobe Game Market, which took place March 12 at the Kobe International Exhibition Hall, Saigo — who frequently translates game rules from Japanese to English and who tweets a lot about new JP games — has translated a report from JP board game journalist Nico, who runs Nicobodo. With Nico's permission, here is Saigo's translation of Nico's report from the 2017 Kobe Game Market. —WEM



Here is my brief report of my visit to the 2017 Kobe Game Market.

About the Venue



The venue for this event was the same as in 2016, the Kobe International Exhibition Hall, which is a few minutes' walk from the Shimin Hiroba (Convention Center) Station on the Port Liner.

Approximately 300 people were waiting in line by 8:00 in the morning — two hours before the fair's opening time — under the Port Liner railway viaduct.


Translation of the caption:"About 300 people wait in line at 8 o'clock for Game Market."

Inside the Venue: Board Game Shops



DDT had various rare games in stock, being a likely candidate for many visitors in line to visit their booth first.




Trick Play is the boardgame store located closest to the Game Market venue. At this Game Market, their stock of The Colonists and The Networks seemed to have gathered attention.




The manager of Gamestore Banesto poses.

Inside the Venue: Publisher Booths



Hobby Japan sold their latest games, along with expansions available only here at the show. Their game lottery also seemed well-received.




At the Oink Games booth, colored uniformly blue, they released their latest game: Startups.




At the booth of Group SNE, which is based in Kobe, some tabletop role-playing games were being promoted.

Inside the Venue: Used Game Booths

There were three booths mainly selling used games:





(Pricing note: To roughly convert from yen to U.S. dollars, take off the final two zeros, then subtract ten percent from the total, e.g., ¥2000 ~ US$18. —WEM)

Miscellaneous



The Nihon Board Game Taisho Award (Japan Boardgame Prize) was announced, with the people's choice being Codenames and the Yuumoa Award (U-more, or stores' choice) being Karuba.




Next to the Japan Boardgame Prize table was a kids' game section, where many families were playing games.




The board game "Kami no Kiseki" (Miracle) originated from the TV program "Derugeetsu" from the Hiroshima Home Television Co. The TV staff was filming the booth and table for a long time from the start. The details are expected to be aired.




The congestion peaked just before noon. The venue was just the right size, allowing one to view the entire venue.




A food court of about four stalls had many customers since there aren't many shops or restaurants nearby. Approximately fifty people lined up to wait before the kebab stall.

The gate at this section of the Exhibition Hall was left open so that people could move in and out of the hall, and the exhibitors at C booths near the gate looked cold. The exhibitor Puninokai told me to write on this blog that it was really cold, so let me emphasize that!




Lastly, let me report on the Joynt Game Factory booth. Taking advantage of their location at a corner, they used a large board to present a steampunk-ish decoding game. I was impressed by this idea, which constantly brought crowds around their booth.

What I Bought

Since my chances to play games have been declining, I bought more books than games. Still, I hope to play them soon.



Conclusion

So that's my brief report on the 2017 Kobe Game Market. I hope that the atmosphere of the show somewhat comes across though this.

This year, I visited board game shops and other places on the previous day. Having enjoyed board gaming for two days, it was a very satisfying trip.

Thanks to those of you I met during this trip to the Kansai region! I hope to make a visit next year again.

For more news and reviews on boardgames in Japan, you can visit the Nicobodo website.
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Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:05 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2017 II: Codenames Duet, The Godfather: Corleone's Empire, and A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game

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Time for another round-up of upcoming games that were on display in the BoardGameGeek booth at the 2017 GAMA Trade Show, starting with an overview of Codenames Duet, a cooperative version of Vlaada Chvátil's massive party game hit from 2015. Now two players — or more should you want to play in teams — work together to try to identify all their spies in the field. You think these guys would keep better notes by this point!

I played Codenames Duet once at PAX East 2017 with CGE's Joshua Githens, and the game presents an interesting challenge, especially since three of the spies are shared among the pair of you. This makes it impossible for you to guess only those words that don't show on your side of the card, yet you don't know which three are shared, so you're then considering everything on the board when given a clue — which is as it should be. (One word of advice: Just try to remember when you do identify a spy that's also part of your "half" of the team since that will help you narrow down choices in the future.)

During play, you're both staring at the board and either of you can yell out a clue and a number, but since each of you has spies unique to your side, you can't only throw or receive; you need to do both. Sometimes, though, you're happy for the other player to give a clue as the answers might eliminate something troublesome with a clue that you wanted to give — which mimics the nature of the original Codenames.

As Josh mentions in the video, CGE is still working on the timing mechanism at this stage of their development. We played with a stack of green "found spy" tiles, along with a row of individual spy tiles. When you gave a clue, you'd pick up the stack, cover any spies guessed correctly, then place the rest of the stack on the first individual tile of the row (thus increasing the size of the stack by one). If you need to place the stack back down but no individual spies remain, then you've run out of time and you lose; if you ever place the final tile in the stack and have nothing to put back down, then you win immediately (as the gamemakers presume that you're smart enough to guess any remaining spies on a 1-1 basis at worst).





• At GTS 2017, CMON Limited announced that it had brought on designer Eric M. Lang full-time as Director of Game Design as of April 1, 2017, and we spoke with him at the show about his responsibilities for the publisher and what this entails for future designs from him. Rising Sun was on the table, so we talked about that a bit as well.





• Lang then stuck around in the BGG booth to preview The Godfather: Corleone's Empire, which will be released in July 2017, presumably to avoid the money crunch that gamers will experience at Gen Con 2017. We actually recorded an overview of this game at GTS 2016, but now the design and components are final, so you can see the game as it will hit the market.





• And there was still more from CMON Limited as Lang and Jared Miller stuck around to present an overview of plans for Michael Shinall's A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game, part of which will launch on Kickstarter in Q3 2017 and much of which will unwind in monthly batches once the initial starter set hits the market in 2018.

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Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:00 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2017 I: Dice Forge, Pyramid Poker, Dinosaur Island, Wasteland Express Delivery Service, and Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game

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BoardGameGeek was at the 2017 GAMA Trade Show for two days in mid-March 2017, and we streamed game demos over both YouTube and Twitch for nine hours one day and eight hours the next. Since you possibly don't want to sit through more than seventeen hours of video to find the overviews that interest you, I've started posting the individual game demos on YouTube (in this GTS 2017 playlist) and on the individual game pages here on BGG.

Most of the videos highlight games due for release later in 2017, and while some don't contain much more than a teaser, as with this short clip on Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game





—many of the videos show off the finished look of a game, as with this pre-production proof of Wasteland Express Delivery Service from Pandasaurus Games—





—while others sometimes show the entire game being played, as with this nine-minute video of Pyramid Poker from R&R Games.





Some folks had mentioned that the Dice Forge overview that I shot at FIJ 2017 in Cannes was unclear or didn't give them enough information about the game, so here's another take from GAMA.





As might be expected, many games currently on Kickstarter or scheduled to be funded via Kickstarter showed up at GAMA, as with Pandasaurus' Dinosaur Island. They do have a pandasuarus promo as part of the KS campaign, right? Right?!





We tried a new microphone set-up at GAMA. Instead of having wireless mics that attached to the collars of host and guest — a mic that needed to be placed onto, then removed from each guest — we instead had wireless microphones on tripods that projected over the demo table, yet out of view of the cameras. I feel the guests sound great, while I sound like I'm speaking from inside a large vase, but maybe that's just me hearing my voice outside my head.
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Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:05 pm
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Game Previews from FIJ 2017 III: Dice Forge, Jelly Squad, Mysterium: Secrets & Lies, Mafiozoo, and Seeders from Sereis: Exodus

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I'm almost through posting game demo videos recorded at the 2017 Festival International des Jeux in Cannes, France, leading off this time with a trio of games from French publisher Libellud, with Dice Forge coming from company owner Régis Bonnessée.

Dice Forge is a dice-crafting game along the lines of Rattlebones and the LEGO dice games as the faces of the dice can be changed over the course of the game to customize the dice to a player's strategy.

I hadn't realized how softly I was speaking in these three videos until I processed them. We were located in the press area on the third floor of the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès where FIJ takes place, with open space all around us and balconies that opened onto the floors below. Everything was peaceful and quiet, so without the buzz of the convention that normally takes place, I was practically whispering...





Mysterium: Secrets & Lies from Oleksandr Nevskiy and Oleg Sidorenko adds more of the same to the Mysterium base game in the form of new object, location, and characters, along with new story cards that can replace object cards to give the game a tougher challenge.





• Antonin Boccara's Jelly Squad is a frantic dice-rolling game with players trying to collect jelly from the monster that attacked the city so that they can crow about doing more to save people than anyone else. Hold that jelly high, champion!





Mafiozoo is a new version of Rüdiger Dorn's Louix XIV with publisher Super Meeple working the endgame scoring, the power gained during the game, and the setting.





Seeders from Sereis: Exodus is an oddity for publisher Sweet Games, which normally releases tiny boxed games with relatively short playing times. The game originates from a future history derived from Serge Macasdar and Charbel Fourel, one that has the human species traveling to the stars over thousands of years, modifying itself in multiple ways, and encountering others along the way.

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Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:00 pm
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Game Previews from FIJ 2017 II: Secrets, Unlock!, Go Cuckoo!, Oh Captain!, and Not Alone: Exploration and Sanctuary

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• Let's check out more upcoming games that were previewed — or in some cases released — at the 2017 Festival International des Jeux in Cannes, France, starting with Secrets from Repos Production. Co-designer Eric M. Lang is on the minds of many gamers due to the Kickstarter launch of Rising Sun, but that title's more than a year from being released whereas Lang has six titles scheduled to debut at Gen Con 2017, this being one of them. That's not necessarily ideal as at some point I would think that Lang fans would pick and choose, leading to some releases being overlooked, but those release decisions are made by publishers, not him. Of course the potential audience for, say, The Godfather: Corleone's Empire is likely going to differ from that of Secrets, so maybe all will go well for everybody. We'll see.

In any case, Lang and co-designer Bruno Faidutti showed up at FIJ to talk about Secrets —and many other titles, of course, some in the design stage, others nearing publication, and I missed getting Faidutti talking about Fearz! due to overlapping appointments and Detectives due to me not checking Geekmail for a week! In any case, here's an overview of the hidden team game Secrets, and I'm curious as to whether anyone else is also feeling the American Flagg vibe.





Not Alone was a big hit at SPIEL 2016, and now designer Ghislain Masson and publisher Geek Attitude Games have two expansions in the works for release in 2017, with Not Alone: Exploration adding more of the same for variety and Not Alone: Sanctuary adding creature mutation and other new elements.





• The As d'Or — France's game of the year awards — were announced the night before FIJ opened, and designers Josep M. Allué and Víktor Bautista i Roca won the best game for children's prize with Go Cuckoo!, which is published by HABA under the title "Kikou le coucou" in France. They talked with me about the game's origin and development, specifically its transition from a game for adults to a game for children — despite it still being a game for adults in the end — while also demonstrating how to play.





• Another As d'Or winner was Unlock!, the escape room game series from Space Cowboys, with this title selling like gangbusters in France while still awaiting release in most other places in the world. Cyril Demaegd designed one of the scenarios in Unlock!, which will be sold individually in the U.S. instead of as a trilogy, and he talked about the game's reception and what else is in the works.





• To round out this handful of videos with designers talking about their creations, here's Florian Sirieix on one of two games that he has coming out in 2017: Oh Captain! from Ludonaute, with this being the launch title for the publisher's Legends of Luma world.

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Game Previews from FIJ 2017 I: Batman: The Boardgame, Otys, Booo!, Princess Jing, and Captain Sonar: Upgrade 1

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• Didn't I just finish posting game preview videos from Spielwarenmesse 2017 the other day? Yes, yes I did. I have a lot of preview videos in the can, though, so here's another batch for you, this time recorded on the shores of Cannes, France at the 2017 Festival International des Jeux, which took place February 24-26.

Let's start with an overview of Batman: The Boardgame, which was probably second only to Cities of Splendor in terms of breathless excitement generated from those monitoring FIJ from home. Batman: The Boardgame is based on the design of Conan, both being from Frédéric Henry and Monolith, with the game system at the heart of the design being mostly finished while everything else is still in the works. No release date yet as Monolith wants to move everything to the finish line first in order to avoid Conan-like delays upon completion of the inevitable Kickstarter.





Roberto Fraga, co-designer of Captain Sonar with Yohan Lemonnier, gave an overview of what to expect in Captain Sonar: Upgrade 1, which wasn't on hand to try out at FIJ 2017 in the Matagot booth.





• Fraga also showed off Princess Jing, a two-player game being published by Matagot that he designed eighteen years ago. Yes, this design predates the third millennium on the Gregorian calendar. Fraga told me only after we stopped recording that the inspiration for this game came from a Michael Jackson video in which characters hid from one another behind columns in a labyrinth of some sort. Perhaps someone can link the video below as this one doesn't ring a bell for me...





Pearl Games is collaborating with Libellud on its 2017 release Otys, with Pearl providing the gameplay and Libellud the world-building. Sébastien Dujardin presents an overview of this game about diving in a post-apocalyptic world, noting that it should be available for previewing at Gen Con 2017 ahead of its scheduled release at SPIEL.





• Christophe Gonthier's Booo! from Blackrock Games falls into the category of "staring games" — games in which players stare at a board, seemingly petrified, until someone finally notices a way to do whatever it is they're supposed to do.

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Mon Mar 6, 2017 6:30 pm
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Videos from NY Toy Fair 2017: Emerson Matsuuchi on Century: Spice Road and a Walkthrough of the Javits Center

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As I explain at the beginning of the walkthrough video below, I don't normally record videos at NY Toy Fair. The event doesn't have an overwhelming amount of game announcements — at least not for the typically BGG user — and we've just recorded a hundred game overview videos at Spielwarenmesse in Nürnberg, Germany, some of which will be "new" at NYTF for that audience. Thus, I go to the Javits Center on my own, race around taking notes and pictures for 1.5 days, then fly home wondering when I'll be able to publish everything, which was even more the case this year since I headed to France three days after NYTF in order to record videos at the Festival International des Jeux. Such heartwrenching problems, I know.

Despite those protestations, I inevitably bring the videocamera with me anyway. In 2016, I recorded a trio of awkward videos with Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold Games. In 2017, I needed it for one scheduled game overview video that I didn't want to pass up — see below — but I didn't want to leave it that, so with ten minutes remaining before I needed to head to the airport, I opened up the camera, walked through the three aisles devoted to games, then kept walking. Hope you enjoy this peek into what NY Toy Fair is like!





• At Spielwarenmesse 2017, I played a game of Century: Spice Road with Plan B Games owner Sophie Gravel and cameraperson John K, then wrote up a game preview here on BGG News. Only afterward did I discover that I could meet designer Emerson Matsuuchi in NYC to record an overview of the game there.

So I did.

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Sun Mar 5, 2017 2:50 pm
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Game Previews from Spielwarenmesse VII: AXIO, Torres, Legacy of Pirates, Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time, and a Hall 12 Walkthrough

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• After a brief interlude caused by me attending two other conventions, I've finally finished posting all the game overview videos that BGG shot at Spielwarenmesse 2017, the annual toy and game fair in Nürnberg, Germany, which took place Feb. 1-6, 2017. Thankfully few of these games are out yet, so these videos can still serve as previews of what's coming, such as this overview of Reiner Knizia's AXIO, a new iteration of the Ingenious tile-laying system from Pegasus Spiele that was announced at the end of January 2017.





• Not surprisingly, I ran into Reiner Knizia during Spielwarenmesse — several times actually, including a scheduled meeting to talk about what life is like for a game designer at such a convention. If you plan to make a living as a game designer, you don't necessarily need to attend such shows, but you'll be doing yourself a favor if you do so that you can survey in one location much of what's happening in the game industry around the world.





• The Spiel des Jahres-winning Torres from Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer is coming back into print courtesy of HUCH! & friends. If you're already familiar with the game, you can now check out the new (old) components, and if not, you can learn the basics of gameplay.





Cranio Creations has a big legacy-style co-op coming from designers Asger Harding Granerud, Daniel Skjold Pedersen, and Daniele Tascini, with Legacy of Pirates giving you ten linked scenarios and a huge 3D pirate ship that serves as the game board.





• I already wrote up the co-op game Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time from Matthew Dunstan, Brett J. Gilbert, and Funforge after getting an overview at Spielwarenmesse 2017, but for those who want to see the game in action, you can now check out this preview video.




• To finish off our coverage of Spielwarenmesse 2017, here's a nearly seven-minute walk through half of Hall 12. Man, that hall is massive! We just walked up and down the aisles shooting things without stopping and still saw very little of it. Maybe this video will be of interest simply to show some of the hundreds of other products at the toy fair aside from the games on which we've been focusing.

Outside of the few dozen game overview videos I've featured in BGG News posts over the past month, we have many dozen more on the individual game pages, with all 101 videos in a Spielwarenmesse 2017 playlist on our YouTube channel. So many games are coming, not to mention those I saw at NY Toy Fair 2017 and the 30-40 games we recorded previews of at FIJ 2017. Ideally I can post all of those videos before heading to PAX East on March 9, 2017 to see yet more games coming in the months ahead...

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Game Previews from Spielwarenmesse VI: El Dorado, Photosynthesis, Kero, Donner Dinner Party & Catan: Seafarers 20th Anniversary Edition

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• The most eye-catching cover at Spielwarenmesse 2017 might also have been the most serene, that being Blue Orange's Photosynthesis from Hjalmar Hach. This title isn't due out until SPIEL 2017, but Hach was on hand in Nürnberg and willing to present the game, so I wasn't about to turn him down. In case you're not familiar with photosynthesis, you can now learn in the most abstract manner possible how the sun helps plants grow and how those plants then cut off access to the sun to shorter, less fortunate plants.





• Reiner Knizia's El Dorado from Ravensburger has inspired lots of "Could it be? Is this possible?" talk along the lines of Knizia returning to his more complex games of old. I wouldn't go that far, but in this design Knizia has put his own spin on deck-building, with the game including exploration and racing elements as you quest to discover El Dorado.





• Klaus Teuber's Catan celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2015, and now two years later German publisher KOSMOS is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Seafarers expansion with a special 20 Jahre Jubiläums-Edition that includes four new scenarios that link together to tell "the legend of the sea robber".

KOSMOS will release this item both as a complete expansion (Seafarers, plus new "Sea Robber" scenarios) as well as an expansion for an expansion with only the new stuff. Morgan Dontanville at Catan Studio told me during the 2017 NY Toy Fair that the U.S. will likely see only the expansion-for-an-expansion release.





• Swiss publisher Hurrican has changed the focus of its output somewhat, with owner Yves Menu telling me in Nürnberg that he's releasing only two-player games from now on. This isn't a huge change for Hurrican given that it's best known for the two-player game Mr. Jack and its many spin-offs and expansions, but don't expect to see another Augustus anytime soon.

As part of this reorientation, Hurrican will rerelease the Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc title Madame Ching as a two-player-only design with almost no changes to the rules. Menu thinks the game is best with that player count and feels it's been overlooked because people mostly play with three or four players, so he wants to give it another push in a new format.



Hurrican also has the two-player post-apocalyptic game Kero coming from Forrest-Pruzan Creative. I had no idea what to expect when I showed up to film this overview, and now you get to discover the game just as I did.





• Feed others or feed on others? That's the dilemma that awaits in Donner Dinner Party, a hidden role game coming in August 2017 from Forrest-Pruzan Creative and Chronicle Books in which you either try to knock off the pioneers one dish at a time or else survive seven weeks in the wilds until help arrives.

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Game Previews from Spielwarenmesse V: The Hunt for the Ring, Rhino Hero: Super Battle, Frogriders, Mistkäfer, and Monster-Pups

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• Time for another round of preview videos from the Spielwarenmesse 2017 fair in Nürnberg, Germany, starting with one of the titles that brought the most cries of excitement when announced: Rhino Hero: Super Battle from Scott Frisco, Steven Strumpf, and HABA.

Yes, Rhino Hero has lots of fans, and now each of the players will have their own hero to raise high in the city skyline, with construction of that skyline having new complications.





• Another species awaits your attention in Frogriders from Asger Granerud, Daniel Skjold Pedersen, and eggertspiele, with players thankfully not trying to ride the frogs but jump them in order to remove them from the board, score points, and take advantage of their special powers.





• Even smaller critters await in Mistkäfer from Klaus-Jürgen Wrede and Schmidt Spiele, with "Mistkäfer" being German for "dung beetles". Yes, this is the German poop-themed game for early 2017, with players rolling dice and collecting them in ascending order (possibly stealing dice from others while doing so) in order to claim tokens that might bring you a wealth of dung — if you're lucky.





• Wait, another German poop-themed game? Yes, Monster-Pups — which is pronounced as "poops" — from Ravensburger has you trying to help your monster use the bathroom and clean up after itself more quickly than any other beast.





• Designers Marco Maggi and Francesco Nepitello are well-known for their handling of hobbits and other creatures in War of the Ring, and now they're partnering with Gabriele Mari — well-known for hidden movement games such as Garibaldi and Letters from Whitechapel — on The Hunt for the Ring, a hidden movement game featuring Frodo and companions traveling from the Shire to Rivendell that's coming from Ares Games.

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Thu Mar 2, 2017 8:02 pm
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