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Manage a Roman Port in Ostia, and Get Cracking on Your Stacking

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Ostia
• In 2020, Japanese publisher uchibacoya ran its first Kickstarter campaign for the enticing-looking game Aqua Garden from designer Totsuca Chuo.

Now the designer and publisher are back with a new KS project for Ostia, a 2-4 player game set in 103 CE when the Emperor Trajan oversaw the expansion of an artificial harbor in Rome to improve the nearby workings of the port Ostia.

In the game, each player has their own version of the hexagonally-shaped port that contains nine ships at the start of play. On a turn, you choose one of the six sections of your port, gain resources of the type shown in that section (wood, wheat, stone, gold, or permits) equal to the value of the ships in that section, then spread the ships mancala-style one by one around the port, then take the action of the section where the final ship was placed.

With the actions, you can build more ships, fulfill orders for food, construct buildings, move your ships on the main board, trade, or take an administrative action. (The administrative section has no resource associated with it, but when you choose that section initially, instead of taking resources, you take an action of your choice, then move ships like normal and take a second action — which could be another administrative action, after which you'll move again!)

The Kickstarter description notes that Ostia was "Inspired by Trajan", and that seems like a fair description given how tightly interwoven all your choices and actions are.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Board Game: Aqua Garden
Board Game: ザ・トリテ (The Torite)

Additionally, other uchibacoya titles are available as add-ons, including the oddball co-operative trick-taking game Bremen, in which the "deck" is a set of 52 animal tokens in four colors, and your goal in a four-player game of twelve tricks is to have one player take six tricks, another four tricks, another two tricks, and the final player zero tricks. Oh, and for each player to have a different suit left in their hand.

Another uchibacoya title is Sapporo 1876, which lacks a BGG listing but which has a few images and a short Japanese description here:


• I missed the past couple of KS campaigns from designer Mitsuo Yamamoto of Logy Games, which is a shame as his creations feature a lot of handmade components and you're unlikely to ever find his games available in retail stores — but he sometimes makes games available again in future campaigns.

In August 2021, he ran a crowdfunding campaign for Pyramiland, which seems like a generalized form of ball-stacking design as Yamamoto notes that depending on the set-up of the board, you can use the components to play Pylos, Shibumi, and Upper Hand. Here's how Yamamoto's design works:
Quote:
Your challenge in Pyramiland is to rid yourself of the balls in your collection first.

To set up, place up to sixty pegs in the holes of the wooden game board to create the field of play, and give each player the same number of wooden balls. On a turn, you place a ball on the playing area, then you can play again if you can place a ball so that it touches the ball just placed while also being on a higher level. You can continue to take extra turns so long as you can do this.

Board Game: Pyramiland

When you place on the lowest level, your ball must be supported by four wooden pegs. On the second level and higher, your ball just needs to be supported by other balls, but due to the layout of the pegs, not all of the balls will be in identical rows, so you likely won't have a clean, regular-shaped pyramid as you build to higher levels.

Whoever places their final ball first wins. If a player cannot place a ball or knocks a ball from the pyramid, including one just placed, the game ends, that player loses, and whoever has the fewest balls remaining wins.
Yamamoto also notes that you can play the game with balls of different sizes:

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Or with components that are not balls at all:

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Why am I writing about all of this if the KS campaign is over? Because the design is interesting, especially in terms of it being a model that encompasses other similar games. Maybe Yamamoto will make it available again down the road or you might be inspired to do some woodwork on your own so that you can stack random objects in the comfort of your own home.
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Tue Feb 15, 2022 4:00 pm
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Tokyo Game Market 2021 Autumn: Report from Table Games in the World

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Editor's note: Game Market took place in Tokyo on November 20-21, 2021, and Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English and who tweets about new JP games — has translated reports about this event (day one and day two) that were written by Takuya Ono, who runs the Table Games in the World blog. Mr. Ono has given permission to reprint the photos from his post. Many thanks to Saigo! —WEM

On a fairly warm autumnal day for late November with the temperature reaching as high as 19º Celsius, Tokyo Game Market 2021 Autumn took place at Tokyo Big Sight West Exhibition Halls 1 and 2.

Previously, Game Market 2021 Spring was held when the COVID-19 pre-emergency measures issued by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government were in force, resulting in limited attendance of 12,500 in two days. However, due to the drastic drop in COVID-19 in Japan cases since September, the government has lifted its emergency measure restricting the attendance to events. The 1,500 early entry tickets for the show sold out and the Game Market catalog supplied with an admission ticket also sold well. I wonder if the announced target audience of 20,000 over two days will be reached.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

This photo shows the waiting line of 1500 people who had managed to buy early entry tickets. They started lining up at around 7:00 a.m. for the few and limited sales, and waited for the doors to open at 11:00 a.m.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Early entry tickets are sold for many events to avoid crowding during the COVID-19 crisis. It was first introduced to Game Market at Tokyo Game Market 2021 Spring. By limiting the early entrance, Game Market Management Office hopes to have the visitors enjoy the show at ease without lining up so early in the morning.

Finally, the doors opened at 11:00. With the customary announcement and applause, the enthusiasts who had been waiting for this moment dispersed into the venue. By the way, there were about five groups with children among these 1,500 people. Even after that, I saw some couples, but hardly any visitors with children.

It took 25 minutes for the 1,500 people to get in because they had to enter in a line with ample space between each of them. General admission (of about 300 people at 12:00) also started at 12:00, so the early entrants who were last in line only had an advantage of approximately 30 minutes.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

By the way, the opening time had been moved one hour later to 11:00 for the latest Game Market in order to provide time for setting up block booths. Although it is possible to enter the venue for preparation from midnight on the day of the event, the organizer had announced to move the opening time one hour later because some people had difficulties in preparation even with ten hours. At SPIEL, the venue setup starts two days before the event, but doing that at Game Market will raise its exhibit fees even higher.

On the other hand, the closing time is still 5:00 p.m., in consideration of the exhibitors from rural areas. It results in a shorter time for visitors, who are thus forced to rush to look around the large venue.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Block booths in West Hall 1: Oink Games, GP Games

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Block booths in West Hall 2: Engames×Korokorodou, Sugorokuya

Although it does not look very crowded in this photo, people were queuing all over the venue. GP Games had a "1,000-yen lottery wheel" in which you might win CATAN: 3D Edition as the special prize. With even the lowest prize being a game worth 2,000 yen, the lottery was so popular that it finished quickly before noon despite limiting the challenges to two challenges per person.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
GP Games' 1,000-yen lottery wheel

Gamestore Banesto brought new games from SPIEL '21 in October, including Boonlake and Free Ride. Only fifty or so copies of each title were available. These games were also very popular, and the line of people queuing to buy them extended almost to the wall. The game recommended by Banesto was a Taiwanese trick-taking game
Macaron, which can also be played solo.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Mr. Nakano of Gamestore Banesto managed to bring new titles from SPIEL in time

Meanwhile, instead of the block booth area with wide aisles, there was more congestion at the standard booth area. The crowds in front of the booths obstructed the views of items on display, and it was hard even to get through them. With bags full of games bumping one another and the smell of sweat, it felt as if the Game Market of pre-COVID-19 days was back.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Good old crowding at standard booths

Hot topics at the venue also included the release of the Japanese editions of Factoria and Fast Sloths by Sunnybird, a board game café from Nagasaki Prefecture. The games made it to the Game Market in time prior to the general release in early December 2021.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Taira, the café manager of Sunnybird, is also known for his board game podcast "Oshaberi Sunnybird"

One of the new efforts at the latest Game Market was the buying of used board games at the venue by the Book-Off chain of second-hand stores. They had announced a list of 1,500 titles that they would buy and bought them on the spot based on the inspected conditions. I heard that approximately 150 people had made an advanced booking to sell their used games there. Book-Off hopes to spread board games to their chain of stores throughout Japan in order to support the distribution of board games alongside that of new book titles.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Used board games purchased by the well-known chain Book-Off

A group of nine companies set up a joint block booth specializing in murder mystery and sold a total of 70 titles, including consigned games. Along with other doujin (indie) works, it is estimated that more than 100 murder mystery titles were released at the latest Game Market.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Mr. Kawaguchi of DEAR SPIELE hosting the murder mystery booth

BakaFire Party had an old European-style room in their booth to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the release of Tragedy Looper. They have released a new expansion set.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Celebrating the tenth anniversary of Tragedy Looper in an old European-style room

At standard booths, game designers described and sold their games directly. It was nice to hear detailed descriptions of the games as the demo tables to try them out were missing at the standard booths in the current situation.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Asozan-Daifunka with his debut game Box no Kanji

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Toryo Hojo once again released a game themed on a recent scandal in time

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Seiji Kanai released a new title in collaboration with Manifest Destiny

From gallery of W Eric Martin
OKAZU Brand's Hisashi Hayashi released a reprint of Yokohama with some tweaks


•••


This is my report on the second day of Game Market 2021 Autumn, which took place at Tokyo Big Sight on November 20 and 21. Since Tokyo Game Market had been changed to a two-day event, it has struggled with attendance on the second day, but the attendance on the second day at the latest Game Market seems to have sufficiently recovered along with that on Saturday. According to the announcement by Game Market Management Office, the attendance was 10,000 on the first day and 8,000 on the second day, adding up to 18,000.

Without any early entry tickets for the second day, there was a line of approximately 1,000 people waiting before the opening. On the previous day, the formalities to let the visitors into the venue took a long time at the entrance of Big Sight, resulting in the waiting line stretching all the way to Rinkai Line's International Exhibition Center Station, but the entry was handled smoothly today. The waiting line to enter the Game Market venue was changed from previous day's one line to four lines, and this helped letting the visitors in much faster.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Waiting line at the opening time on the second day

Although standard booths were relatively fewer on the second day, many exhibitors had their stock kept for the second day, and the venue was crowded like that on the first day. As for the block booths, while it had been quite deserted at TGM 2020 Autumn last year as if the size of the area was a disadvantage, there were many people everywhere in the halls this year.

At many booths, copies of their games were in short supply from the start on the second day, and even the ones that had been kept for the second-day visitors were sold out soon. I heard many people say that the items they had planned to buy were sold out. The games that sold out at the venue included not only the doujin indie games that were available only at Game Market, but also the games available for general distribution, such as those sold by Sugorokuya, engames and Sunnybird. It has been two years since Tokyo Game Market 2019 Autumn, which was the last Game Market in the pre-COVID-19 days, and it felt as if the visitors were going on a shopping spree after undergoing the frustration of not being able to play or buy games so freely.

This frustration may also apply to the game creators. They used to have occasions to release their games two or three times a year on a regular basis, but due to cancellations and downsizing of Game Market and other such game shows, they had lost such occasions. This led to longer production periods, which I think have resulted in many high-quality games in both mechanisms and artwork. It felt as if the pent-up passions of both the creators and visitors have exploded in this occasion.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
HOY Games' Gone with the Beans, the most anticipated game in our questionnaire survey on newly-released games at Tokyo Game Market, was in short supply all the time

From gallery of W Eric Martin
4tousei's Stampede, another anticipated game, was not available for advance booking, and it is not scheduled to be reprinted

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Five titles in slim boxes were released from itten as the "Fanbrick Series"

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Bushiroad's board game brand Teriyaki Games released two titles following Tsukkomi Karuta

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Yofukashi Project is an IP board game brand formed by Konami and others

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Asobition had pre-sales of the Japanese edition of an overseas game, a remake of a Japanese game, and an overseas remake of a Japanese game

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Sugorokuya had a display to propose how to introduce a board game section in general stores

The Game Market exhibit fees were raised due to a sharp decline in visitors during the COVID-19 crisis. The exhibit fees for TGM 2020 Autumn were ¥17,600 per day for a standard booth and ¥161,700 for two days for a block booth, but the fees for the latest Game Market were raised by nearly 30%, to ¥22,000 per day for a standard booth and ¥220,000 for two days for a block booth. Due to this, some organizations that used to exhibit in block booths downgraded to standard booths. At standard booths, there are not any demo tables to try out the games, and there may not be enough space to display the components. Buying games without seeing the components and by only hearing verbal descriptions requires a lot of preliminary research.

In addition to the official Game Market website, Twitter is very helpful for my preliminary research. Game creators introduce their games with photos of components in advance, and enthusiasts spread the information on the games, which look interesting. Those who visit Game Market gather such information and form their plan to buy whatever within their budget. This has been happening for a quite a while, but it seems to have grown more active since the cancellation of Game Market last year.

At the latest Game Market, I noticed three trends, namely "two-player", "pen-and-paper", and "trick-taking" games. While I can presume that the spread of two-player and pen-and-paper games are due to the demand for playing games even during the COVID-19 crisis, I am not sure why so many trick-taking games are being released. I wonder if the popularity of trick-taking games in Japan has increased to the level of that in Germany. I would like to write about such games in a later article.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Domina Games' Lemures is a board game for 1-2 players

On my way home, I stopped by the food court in front of the venue and saw groups of people playing at some tables the board games they had just bought. It seems to have been a day for many people to spend plenty of time to enjoy board games. The upcoming Game Markets will be held on February 6 (Sun) at Intex Osaka and on April 23 (Sat) and 24 (Sun) at Tokyo Big Sight. I hope that the infection rate will stay low to enjoy these upcoming shows as well.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Ref: Tokyo Game Market 2021 Autumn reports from other Japanese websites you may
want to read:

https://www.4gamer.net/games/999/G999905/20211123001/
https://www.4gamer.net/games/999/G999905/20211126085/
https://www.famitsu.com/news/202111/24241917.html
https://xbusiness.jp/post/364
https://kai-you.net/article/82112
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iLEjsVm7ibM
http://horabodo.seesaa.net/article/484559686.html

•••


Report on New Games
(posted on Nov. 18, 2021 on TGiW)

Approximately 500 new titles are estimated to have been released at Tokyo Game Market 2021 Autumn. Let me introduce some of them by genre. While the games released in a small number of copies are already hard to acquire, some are still available online, so try searching for the ones that catch your attention.

Trick-Taking Games

Trick-taking games have long been popular at Game Market. In our questionnaire survey on newly-released games at Osaka Game Market 2021 and Tokyo Game Market 2021 Spring, trick-taking game titles, such as Luz, Trick Quest, and Hii Fuu!! were ranked high. The number of new trick-taking game titles exceeds even that from SPIEL. Card games can be produced with relatively less cost, and there is at least the fun of trick-taking itself. This may be why they are picked by many people. With many Japanese editions of overseas titles also being released, it seems that there is still rich source of ideas in this genre.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

HAMELN CAVE (YUTRIO)

In this two-player co-operative trick-taking game, the players try to escape from a cave by controlling the ship that moves toward the winner of each trick. Without consulting each other, you need to follow suit to meet the other player's intention, which you try to guess by the cards they play. In addition to moving the ship, you also need to get rid of the ghosts that have entered the deck.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Backhander (Hugame)

In this trick-taking game, the suits to follow are revealed in line as the "suit lane" in advance. It is also possible to play cards from the tricks you have won to change the suit lane. The second-place player wins at the end, so you need to adjust the number of tricks to win by changing the lane.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Lambdice / ΛICE (Asobi Dust)

In this trick-taking game, you can change the suit of your card by placing a die on it. In such a case, the rank of the card is determined by the dice roll, so you may win (or lose) unexpectedly.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Interspace Conference on Earth (Suteki na Yama)

In this trick-taking game, special abilities are activated depending on the tricks you win. Points are scored in sets, but you lose points for having too many cards of the same suit.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

ULTIA (Xuhs Scobog)

In this three-player trick-taking game, each player first looks at the cards dealt to them and announces the hand they aim to form as their victory condition. The player who sets the highest condition wins the right to meet that condition, and the other two players try to stop that player. There is even a certain difficult hand with which you can immediately win the game if you manage to form it.

Pen-and-Paper Games

Pen-and-paper games that can be played by any number of people remain popular during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to roll-and-write and flip-and-write games, many new mechanisms have been developed both in and out of Japan.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Gone with the Beans (Hoy Games)

This flip-and-write game follows the style of Terra Mystica. Resources created from the facilities on flipped cards are used to build and develop new facilities. The ruler travels from country to country. The cost to build the facilities is less when the ruler is in or near your province, so it is important to patiently prepare for that. It feels great when you manage to prepare the resources just in time. The game contains four different game sheets, each with a different set-up.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Era of Voyage: In Search of the Golden Country (A.I.Lab.遊)

Players create sea routes by putting stickers according to the routes indicated on the flipped cards and try to gain resources and points with a single-stroke move. It is also possible to make changes by putting stickers on top of one another. I was told that there is an advantage of using stickers over tile placement because you can keep track of each game this way.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Hexa Ruins (Melobodo)

Using the resources gained from roll-and-write, the players head for the ruins. You may stop along the way depending on the resources. What is indicated by the dice roll changes depending on the date and time.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Animism (Fudacoma Games)

Each player simultaneously fills in a space on the sheet they receive, then passes it to the next player in order to connect routes to gain resources and points. At the end of the game, add up the points gained from your routes filled on each sheet. Using the polyominoes purchased with resources, fill in the sheets with your color. Dice rolls are used only for special actions.

Two-Player Games

Two-player games also remain popular during the COVID-19 crisis. They can be played casually with close friends or family members when many people cannot gather. Although this genre has been largely dominated by abstract games, many new titles incorporate various elements such as luck and dexterity so as to appeal to a wide range of players.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

VICKE (Peanuts Design)

The players each explore their opponent's islands with their ship and race to find the two treasure islands (concealed from them). By placing sea route tokens, you can increase your movement speed and block your opponent's ship.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Savannah Rush (Iopy Games)

Players use their animal tokens for area majority and combo bonuses. The difference in the value, number of tokens and special abilities between each animal and the rules that allow you to also place your opponent's tokens make the game highly strategic.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

You Be Aim (Protocraft)

In this two-player flick-and-move game, players flick shots from a special launcher to defeat enemies and advance. You can play a different game on each side of the double-sided game board.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Bossa (Bossa)

This is a two-player game to place tiles on both sides of each of two dice, one with black dots and one with white dots, in ascending order with a difference of one. The first player to place and use up all the tiles in their hand wins.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Kansenshou: Yonshu Kongou ("Lord of Infection: Mix-and-Match") (N&I Research Creation)

Four viruses fight as humans to infect, spread, and damage each other.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

LINKCARNATION (piyopiyo-gaming)

Players compete for points by placing cards in links in ways to cancel or strengthen each other's effects. There are decks of five tribes. Each player chooses two tribes for a two-player game and one tribe for a three-player game.

Communication Games

Although struggling with the COVID-19 crisis, multi-player communication games are still prominent at Game Market. Some of them come with rules to play the game online across long distances.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Ojisan Message (Doya Games)

Players compete to combine cards to create an old man's unintentionally improper online message in order to get blocked at once. It is more of a dirty joke game than I thought.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Silhuettia (JOLDEENO)

Players put transparent cards on top of each other to indicate the topic to guess. With an element of set collection, you may sometimes need to try a difficult topic

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The Defeat of Medusa (Zoemooi)

As the people who were turned to stone by Medusa, players each strike a pose to depict the answer, which is Medusa's weakness, to the hero. Meanwhile, the Medusa player tries to guess the answer or who the hero is hiding among the people frozen as statues. It is fun to have the players hold the pose.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Warattewa Ikenai Ondoku ("Read Aloud without Laughing") (Non Product Production)

Players read aloud in turns, in units of paragraphs, the story of a famous Japanese folklore Momotaro, The Peach Boy. Each paragraph is read according to the style stated on the order card drawn from the deck. If anyone laughs while reading or listening, that player receives a chalk token as a penalty. Just reading some order cards made me chuckle.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

A Momentary Masterpiece or an Unconscious Awakening (Eokaku)

The painter draws the painting within ten seconds using only the shapes indicated on the flipped style card, then presents it so that other players can guess their chosen motif. The paintings inevitably tend to be abstract due to the shape and time limitations. The painter gains fewer points if everyone correctly guess the motif, so it's better to be vague to some extent.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Navi-Rabbi (Rock and Games)

This is a 2-vs-2 team game in which a player in each team collects the item ordered by their Commander to escape from the moon. You do not know who your Commander is at first, but you can guess who it is from the orders given after each of your moves, such as orders that keep leading you to the same direction.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Bistro Flip (Banana Moon)

The Chef players combine their chosen ingredients and Chef's Style, present them to tell how they would deliciously meet the Diner player's request, then flip the dish card to see what they have made. The final step to flip the dish card leads all the effort to recklessly topsy-turvy gourmet dishes.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Word Radar Tantango (Kakugari Books)

This is a co-operative game to indicate the answer with two co-ordinate axes. The keywords written by the players are used as references on vertical and horizontal axes. Then each player places a co-ordinate token where they think most matches the answer. It is a good idea to have both flexible and specific keywords available.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

BL Made by Everyone: The Reaction (Bodoman)

The players each combine the face cards in their hand, devise and say a line to match the given situation, and vote for the best player.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Banjo na Kanjo ("Banjo Emotion") (SUNABA.inc)

After shuffle-playing banjo music, each player plays a facial expression card which they think most fits the mood of the banjo music, then vote in the Dixit style for the card which they guess was played by the leader. The facial expression cards have a banjo player's photos on them.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

WOLFUME (aaa Games)

In this social deduction game with nine types of aroma available, players try to identify a person who has received a different aroma from the rest. If you sense that your aroma differs, conceal it by playing along with other players' comments.

Gamers' Games

While most of the indie doujin games at Game Market have a playing time of 15 minutes or so, there are some gamers' games that can take as long as 90 minutes. They are sold at higher prices with many components, but some game creators have gained trust by releasing such games on a regular basis.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Orchard Plan (luck movies)

Players each grow and harvest fruits on their player board by placing workers in the central 20-square action space, then sell the fruits through set collection. The players who take weaker action spaces move up in turn order instead.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

ACADEMIC SOCIETY (analog lunchbox)

Players compete to earn prestige as scholars through worker placement and use their accomplished studies for engine building. You can increase the number of your workers by making the scholars regular employees, but this on the other hand reduces their prestige.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

EETenki: The Queen Himiko Chronicles (Accent Circonflexe)

Players predict the weather that will be revealed next, grow rice crops into jade beads, and ship them to China and get items. There are four types of weather, namely sunny, rainy, cloudy, and thunder. You can also perform card counting as well as an action to take a sneak peek at an upcoming face-down weather card.

Racing Games

Roll-and-move games form the basics of board gaming, but mere roll-and-move games would fail to attract attention. In addition to dice rolling, many games also incorporate card plays and action points as the ways to advance player pieces along with a wide variety of ideas on themes.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Demolition Racing 2055 (BrainBrainGames)

In this racing game, which partly follows the style of a traditional Japanese gambling game Tehonbiki, players take turns to choose how many squares to move. If you step on the bomb trap set up by the dealer, you cannot advance and you take damage instead. The dealer must take the last remaining choice, so they may end up exploding by the bomb trap they have set up. Strategic materials vary between each course and machine, facilitating a tactical gameplay to outwit your opponents. If a player takes damage and their HP drops to 0, they are eliminated from the race.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Arukuma (ASJ)

In this one-against-many game, people try to escape from a forest where a bear chases them. The people lose if any one of them is caught by the bear. Barricades are built to block the paths. The turn order for the bear and people is determined by a coin toss.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Obon Derby (Azb.Studio)

This is a racing game to create Shouryouma and advance with card effects. Shouryouma are "spirit horses" made of cucumber and eggplant with chopsticks or skewer legs during the traditional Japanese Bon Festival holidays. You can create and enjoy funny horse figures and names, like in SocraTesla and Shark-mageddon, the games created by the same author.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

HAKONE (Paix GUILD)

Players draft runners in this game themed on Hakone Ekiden inter-college long-distance relay road race. Each college team has its characteristics. Moves are made in the Royal Turf style with different corrections applied in each section.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Norun (Norun)

Players advance their pieces through simultaneous blind bidding, and the player who manages to go out at the closest spot from the black hole, which approaches them from the other end, wins. In the style following Mahe, if one piece lands on another, the bottom piece carries the top one when it next moves, making the moves quite unpredictable.

Auction Games & Drafting Games

While auctions are not used as often as before for distributing resources, they remain popular as means for facilitating tactical gameplays to outwit opponents. Drafting is also a popular alternative to auctions.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Stampede (4tousei)

Players each hold as many dice as they like and roll them all at once. Each player's total dice rolls (pips) indicate the amount to pay. The highest bidder wins the item but the price paid is the second-highest bid, in the style of a Vickrey auction, and this induces inflation.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Suroboruos (Kentaiki)

In this auction game, the items you bid on will be worth points only if you bid the amounts shown on these items and place chips to complete them in subsequent bids. You can earn the chips to use as your funds by having your items sold at auctions or by completing cards.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The Wicked Labyrinth (TACTICAL GAMES)

In this set-collection game, players reveal the items in their hands in simultaneous blind bidding to win and collect "soul fragments" and upgrade them for scoring points. You can also reveal "the witch's sign" to have the winner of the bid lose points. You need to carefully allocate your limited items over the five bids because the items will not return to your hand, even if you lose each bid.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Natsu Matsuri ("Nostalgic Festival") (Element Creators)

Players reveal the items in their hands in simultaneous blind bidding to win and collect Fond Memory and Satisfaction points in four sections. While collecting points in each section normally helps to gain points, the points gained from Firework may become less, even if you collect more.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Koumon de Kataru Jinsei ("Life Told through the Anus") (Toydrop)

Players each play a combination of two number cards to bid on an "offering". The combined numbers are written on a whiteboard, and the player with the highest number in total at the end is eliminated. Note that any anus does not appear in the game, though "Koumon-sama" (Mr. Anus), who resembles the Japanese comedian "HG", does.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Mask Village Poker (COLON ARC)

The players each receive one card at a time and draft it (take it or pass it to the neighboring player) to form their "village" hand to compete and score points.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Doraneko ("Alley Cats") (Mirror House)

Players line up the cards in their decks in real time to create routes in order to get items and score points. The cards are added by drafting for deck building.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Guild Build (Hakuroku)

Players hire adventurers through action drafting and score points by defeating enemies and through set collection. The adventurers are all bird characters.

Gambling Games

These gambling games are also arranged in a variety of ways to facilitate tactical gameplay and strategic thinking.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Patron Hold'em (KogeKogeDo)

Players each receive two adventurer cards. After checking their abilities, players bet on whether their adventurers can accomplish each quest. The player whose adventurers have accomplished the most receives the money (pot) contributed by all the players. Adventurers' abilities may be increased by item cards, so it might be worth making a bet on them even if they cannot accomplish the quest with their current abilities.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Aruchin (Aruchin)

Players roll dice in a rice bowl to form a hand. There are six special cards to change the dice rolls or snatch them from other players.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Infinity Casino (Genge Games)

The players each write any amount on their chips and place bets. If you correctly bet on the outcome of the dice roll, you win the payout based on the amount. The highest and lowest bets are cancelled, but there are no limits otherwise, so it is not unusual to bet billions and trillions. The score table lists the points corresponding to bets of up to the immeasurably large number.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Over Potion (Tachiai Games)

In this push-your-luck game, players pour potions into glasses and lose if they overflow. You can roughly estimate how much each player would pour by referring to the back of the cards, but some glasses may not have been filled as much as you expect.

Euro-Style Games

These games have combined mechanisms, such as tile placement and set collection. Some ambitious games have incorporated engine building as well.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Fujiyama (Nanatsumu)

Players place hex tiles in such a way that the same color parts are connected to each other, and place animal tokens to score points. The players each draw tiles and pass one of them to each neighboring player on their sides. Then each player takes and places one of the tiles passed to them.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Shikigami Kaidou (Shakushi Heiki)

Players collect resources and acquire Shikigami spirits in the Splendor style. Each player's two tokens are moved to indicate their Yin-Yang Master points, which influence the turn order and points to score.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Good Night Fantasy (USAPAGAMES)

Players collectively play their cards in ascending order into the center of the table without speaking to each other, like in The Mind. Meanwhile, you can also play some cards with special effects to overcome difficulties as well as to buy new cards to make the deck easier to clear the game.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Through the Woods (Board Game Mill)

Players collect tiles in the Tokaido style, replenish them in the bear's store, and score points in each season. The winner's player piece can ride on the swing hanging below the tree house.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Nana Card Game (MoB+)

Players take turns to try revealing a set of three cards with the same number, each from the hand of any player, including themselves, or the play area. While any cards in the play area can be flipped and revealed, only the cards with the highest or lowest number can be revealed from each player's hand of cards, which are arranged in ascending order from left to right. If you manage to reveal a set of three 7's (the number in the middle and "nana" in Japanese), you win immediately.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

My Best Chef (Smart Ape Games)

This is an engine-building game to collect employees with resources, then use those employees' abilities to gain more resources. The employee cards are almost entirely unique in their effects and illustrations.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Da Mafia (Wablues)

Players place their workers in any of the six locations and resolve the cards one by one to gain rewards and new workers. If different players' workers turn out to be in the same location, assassinations and other such events may occur as the card effects are resolved in order.

Others

Many innovative games that do not fit into the genres listed above were also released. It is a delight to encounter games with such unique themes at Game Market.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Maboroshi no Nantoka Bunmei ("Illusory Something Something Civilization") (Mahoroba)

Players try to decode the words presented by mysterious symbols, which each represent a combination of a consonant and vowel, by asking questions to the Answerer. The pattern changes every time, but the "n" consonant along with voiced and semi-voiced sound marks, which are constantly used in the same way, are useful for decoding the words.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Gomi Yashiki Card Game ("Garbage-Filled House Card Game") (Maewabi Sen-etsu)

The players each use their characters' abilities to fill every room in their house with garbage. Its initial edition was sold out last autumn, and its brushed-up reprint is now available via crowdfunding.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• Suiren to Suiren (Macoto Nakamura)

This is a memory game to distinguish the subtle differences in Claude Monet's many paintings of "Waterlilies".

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Linear Motor Car wo Kue! ("Eat a Maglev!") (Bughouse)

Players, as monsters with concealed identities, have a yaminabe ("hot pot in the dark") party in which they put all sorts of bizarre ingredients into the pot. The victory and scoring conditions vary between the monsters, so the players choose what ingredients to put into the pot according to their guesses.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Oheya de Undoukai ("Sports Day in the Room") (Class 1-1 Laboratory, Department of Games)

This is a collection of games that can be played in the room with light physical activities for all ages.

Thus, I have listed 58 titles that caught my eye as I browsed around all the booths, but they are only some of the games brought to the Game Market and I did not even have an opportunity to play them. We will conduct a questionnaire survey on newly-released games on this website to receive comments from those who have played these games and plan to announce the results in January 2022.
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Wed Dec 29, 2021 1:00 pm
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Attack Opponents with Tiles, Build More Bean Farms, and Watch Cats and Chocolates Proliferate

W. Eric Martin
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I constantly send myself links to Japanese games that I see in passing or leave tweets open in a browser for months with the unstated promise that I'll investigate the featured game. This post finally resolves some of those open loops.

• Designer Kentaro Yazawa of Hoy Games was inspired by his love of Bohnanza to produce his own games, and following the releases of Tanemaki (2013) and MAMEY (2018), Yazawa added a third bean-related game to his catalog in 2021 with the release of Gone with the Beans (豆と共にあれ) — which was supposedly influenced by Terra Mystica.

Board Game: Gone with the Beans

An overview:
Quote:
Gone with the Beans is a flip-and-write game in which players take on the role of bean farmers who are acquiring and managing their resources while trying to grow their farm. The game includes fifty copies each of four different game boards, each with different set-ups, although the base system is the same. Players start in different provinces with different special abilities, and on each of of the game's fifteen turns, a character wanders the board, affecting where players can do what. Each turn, players gain some income, then have a number of actions from which to choose, such as building facilities or achieving milestones.
• At Tokyo Game Market in November 2021, a new/old title appeared that is a co-publication of Oink Games, Arclight, and Switch Games. That title is Tiger & Dragon from designer Hashimoto Atsushi, and this 2-5 player game is based on the traditional Japanese partnership game GOITA.

Here's how to play:
Quote:
Players in Tiger & Dragon play tiles from their hand to participate in waves of attack and defense. Be the first player to empty your hand to score points based on whichever one of ten scoring cards are in use this round.

Board Game: Tiger & Dragon

The game contains 38 tiles: 36 numbered tiles with one 1, two 2s, etc. up to eight 8s, along with a tiger and a dragon. Shuffle the tiles face down, then each player takes tiles based on the player count, with the round's starting player taking one additional tile. With four players, for example, the starting player draw ten tiles and all other players nine. At least one tile will remain out of play.

The start player attacks by playing a tile from their hand. The next player can either pass or defend the attack by playing the same tile. Note that the dragon defends against any odd-numbered tile and the tiger against any even-numbered tile. After defending, place a tile of your own to attack. If a player passes, the next player either passes or defends. If all other players pass on your attack, place a tile from your hand face down, then choose a new tile to attack again. If you attack with the dragon or tiger, a player can defend with any odd- or even-numbered tile, respectively.

Board Game: Tiger & Dragon

The first player to empty their hand wins the round and scores points based on the last tile that they played and the specific scoring card for that round. They score 1 bonus point for each time an attack of theirs went undefended. At the end of a round, if a player has scored 10+ points, they win.

Tiger & Dragon can be played with team rules like GOITA. Teammates sit across from one another, and the first team to collectively score 15+ points wins.
Board Game: Suroboruos
Suroboruos, an auction game from designer Taiki Shinzawa and publisher 倦怠期 (Kentaiki), was another TGM debut in Nov. 2021, with this being an auction game for 3-4 players.

Here's a summary of the gameplay from JP game fan James Nathan:
Quote:
Suroborous is an auction game in which the items you bid on will be worth points only if you bid the amounts shown on these items in future auctions — that is, a card may be worth 10 points, but it will show two circles on it, say 30 and 50. The card will not be worth 10 points unless you bid 30 and 50 in future auctions.

The economy is relatively closed with winning bids going to the auctioneer, and the auctioneer's bids going to the bank; however, if any player bids an amount shown on the card up for auction, that card receives a coin from the bank, covering that number.

Board Game: Suroboruos

When the game ends, players earn points for their completed cards, purple cards with special scoring criteria, star symbols on cards, and a bit for leftover money. Of note, players without at least one star symbol are eliminated. Otherwise, the player with the most points wins.
Board Game: Cat & Chocolate
• Have you ever played Cat & Chocolate, a party game from Ryo Kawakami and Qvinta Essentia that debuted in 2010? If not, here's an overview of the setting and gameplay:
Quote:
Cat & Chocolate is a card game set in a haunted mansion. Each turn, the active player must use 1-3 items in hand to avoid threats, such as a crumbling floor, erupting flames, or attacks by ghosts and the living dead. How can you use a cat and a piece of chocolate to defend yourself? How can a bankroll of money and rope help you escape unscathed? You tell me!

After you tell everyone the story of how you used various tools to ward off the threat, everyone votes on whether or not you succeeded. If a majority backs you, you keep the threat card; otherwise, you don't. Each player secretly belongs to either the Secret Society or the Cult, and you naturally want to vote for the players on your team, but no one knows who is on which team.

After a certain number of threats, the game ends, players reveal which group they belong to, and each group tallies the number of threats that their members escaped. Whichever side avoided more threats wins!
Since your team membership is secret until the reveal at game's end, you tend to evaluate honestly the stories told: "Why, no, I don't believe that you could have escaped a hedge maze by using oil and a tuxedo in the manner described."

The game system provides a solid shell that can be covered with characters, situations, and items of all types, and multiple editions of the game have been released, such as Cat & Chocolate: Business Is Business in which the stories all take place in the corporate world; Cat & Chocolate: Blooming Days, with stories set in Japanese schools; Cat & Chocolate: Nichijou Arc, which has everyday situations such as encountering a long line for the bathroom; and...Texas Zombies, which was a version created for release in the U.S. because apparently that's what life is like here.

Board Game: Cat & Chocolate: Business Is Business
Board Game: Cat & Chocolate: Blooming Days
Board Game: Cat & Chocolate: Nichijou Arc
Board Game: Texas Zombies

Anyway, I've now run across a different Japanese publisher, SlowCurve, that's released three licensed versions of the game: キャット&チョコレート: Gachapin x Mukku, based on characters in children's television shows; Yuru Camp x Cat & Chocolate in 2020, based on the Yuru Camp (or "Laid-Back Camp") anime; and Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion x Cat & Chocolate in 2021, based on one of many Code Geass anime.

Board Game: キャット&チョコレート: Gachapin x Mukku (Cat & Chocolate: Gachapin Challenge Edition)
Board Game: Yuru Camp x Cat & Chocolate
Board Game: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion x Cat & Chocolate

Is it important that you know about these hard-to-find, Japanese-only versions of a game you might not have known about in the first place? Probably not, but I like highlighting how a game design can have a long, yet invisible life, with the creators ideally continuing to be supported for their work as it spreads to new audiences.
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Thu Dec 16, 2021 1:00 pm
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Japanese Game Round-up: Publish Dissertations, Hoard Books, and Find Balance in Black and White

W. Eric Martin
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I haven't done a round-up of Japanese games in a while, so let's survey a few of the games that I've had open in browser tabs for far too long:

• Japanese publisher 双子のライオン堂 — a.k.a. Twins Lion Do Books — is crowdfunding (KS link) new editions of two games from designer Taiki Shinzawa, one of which is the well-known, yet seldom seen outside of Japan game American Bookshop. Here's how to play:
Quote:
In the trick-taking game American Bookshop, players must follow suit when possible, there is no trump, and the highest card of the lead suit wins the trick. However, if the sum of the cards played to a trick exceeds a certain value — 14-17, depending on the player count — the trick ends immediately, and whoever played the last card claims the trick. As such, players may not have equal hand sizes.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

A round ends when one player is out of cards; the remaining players then simultaneously choose and reveal which cards still in hand they want to add to their collection. Each card a player takes is worth -1 point, but if a player has collected more cards of a suit than each other player, they instead earn +1 point per card in this suit. After as many rounds as the number of players, whoever has the most points wins.
Board Game: Cinderella's Dance
First edition
• The partner game in this Kickstarter project is the two-player game Cinderella's Dance, which was originally released in 2019 under the name Count Up 21 at an event titled "Is this a trick-taking game?" Here's how it works:
Quote:
The game consists of a deck of cards (numbered 1-21) and two optional scoring cards. To set up a round, shuffle the cards, remove five from play, then deal each player eight cards. The starting player plays any card, then the next player either plays a card at most three higher than the previous card — so on a play of 5, the next player could play 6, 7, or 8 — or passes. When a player passes, the previous player collects the played cards, stacks them as a scored trick, then leads a card. When a player is out of cards, you resolve the current trick, then the player who has collected more tricks wins the round; in case of a tie, the player who collected the last trick wins.

The first player to win three rounds wins the game.
Board Game: すべてがちょっとずつ優しい世界 (A World Where Everything Is a Little Kinder)
• In that Kickstarter project, publisher Twins Lion Do is offering two previously released titles: A Kindly World (covered here) and Pastiche: The Birth of a Masterpiece, which was first released as ラミネートラミー (Laminate Rummy) in 2016 by designer Rikkati. In this rummy card game, you need to publish dissertations, then have your work peer-reviewed in order to score...although sometimes the peer will be yourself!

I was initially attracted to Pastiche because the deck structure is the same as in Muneyuki Yokouchi's excellent trick-taking game 7 Symbols, and 7 Nations, which is available on the U.S. market from Ninja Star Games as Yokai Septet, and that deck structure is a fascinating thing: 49 cards in seven suits, with one suit going from 1-7, the next 2-8, and so on up to the final suit of 7-13 — but then I read the designer's original rules, and once I finally processed how cards flow in the game, I was hooked. Here's how it works:
Quote:
Aside from the card deck, the game includes dissertation cards that show various combinations of cards: numerical straights of length 5, 7, 9, and 11; three pairs; four pairs; three- or five-of-a-kind; and so on, with multiple copies of some dissertations. Players are dealt 3-5 cards based on player order, with everyone then discarding down to three cards in hand.

On a turn, take one of three possible actions:

Research: Either draw two cards, add one to your hand, then discard the other; or add the top card of the discard pile to your hand.
Present a dissertation: Take cards from your hand that satisfy the requirements of a dissertation, then place those cards on display in front of you, placing the dissertation on top. You can claim a specific dissertation at most once.
Conduct a peer review: Select a published dissertation (from any player) that has two or more cards underneath it, then add one of the cards to your hand. If a dissertation has only one card underneath it, the paper has been accepted and (1) it is now worth points for its author and (2) it can be cited by future dissertations.

Board Game: Pastiche: The Birth of a Masterpiece

How do you cite an accepted dissertation? You present a new dissertation and pretend that the card under the accepted dissertation is one of the cards that you played; you can cite multiple cards in a dissertation, but you must play at least one card from your hand. For example, you can play two pairs of cards from your hand, say 3s and 8s, then "cite" a 6 from one of your accepted dissertations and a different 6 from another player's dissertation. You'd then claim the "three pairs" dissertation and place only the 3s and 8s underneath it. When you cite another player's dissertation, you must give them a card from your hand — ideally something useless! — as a thank you for their previous work.

Accepted dissertations are worth 1-9 points, and when a player has 15+ points, the end of the game is signaled. If this player has any cards in hand, they claim the "end flag" dissertation that's worth 1 point, then place one card from their hand underneath it. (If they have no cards, the game end is still triggered; they just miss out on the bonus point.) Continue play until each other player has completed two turns and the person who triggered the ending has completed one turn. The player with the most points from accepted dissertations wins; in the event of a tie, the tied player with the fewest accepted dissertations wins.
The card flow seems reminiscent of Abluxxen or ReCURRRing, with you playing sets of cards, then having them removed, although here the sets are stripped away only one card at a time — and ideally you can strip mine your own sets since (1) your dissertations score only when they're reduced to a single card and (2) you don't have to give away cards from your hand to cite your own work.

Okay, I've gone on at length about this one game that I have played only in mind (and backed on KS), so let me now move on to something else.

Board Game: 白と黒でトリテ (Trick-Taking in Black and White)
白と黒でトリテ (Trick-Taking in Black and White) is a 2-4 player card game from Tsutomu Dejima of Decoct Design that was released at Tokyo Game Market in the first half of 2021. I have no idea whether copies are available today, but regardless the concept is a cool one, so here it is:
Quote:
Each of the 36 cards has two suits — black and white — and the numbers on a card always add up to 37, e.g., 11 black and 26 white.

At the start of a round, deal the deck evenly to all players. Whoever leads the round plays a card from their hand and chooses either black or white as the suit. All other players play a card of their choice, then whoever played the highest number in the chosen suit collects the trick (recording in some manner whether the trick was white or black), then leads the next trick.

Once all the cards have been played, players score their collected tricks. If you have taken an equal number of black tricks and white tricks, then you score positive points equal to the number of tricks collected; if not, you score negative points equal to the number of tricks collected. After a certain number of rounds, whoever has the highest score wins.
The cover of this game should obviously have pandas on it, not "regular" bears. Maybe in the second edition...
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Sat Dec 4, 2021 1:00 pm
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Japanese Game Round-up: Predict the Future, Create Your Own Cards, and Discover a Kindly World

W. Eric Martin
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• Japanese creators continue to make in-roads on Kickstarter to introduce their creations to audiences far outside the limits of Game Market, as with KUJIRADAMA's first crowdfunded project on KS (link) for the 3-6 player game Milhouette from designer Emi Kuji. Here's how it works:
Quote:
Using three cards with silhouettes on them, players discuss their predictions and make conclusions.

Board Game: Milhouette (ミルエット)

In more detail, the fortune-seeking player tells everyone what they want to know, e.g., "What does my future hold?" or "Will I find a divine pet?" or "Who is my true love?", then draws and reveals one card, with the fortune-telling players drawing two cards each. The fortune tellers then use their two cards and the seeker's one card to make their divinations. The seeker then nominates the player whose fortune telling touched them the most, with that fortune teller scoring a point.
• KUJIRADAMA's previous release in 2021 was TrumPen from designer Nagisa Kujira, with this being more of a game system than a single game.

TrumPen consists of a deck of 54 dry-erase cards and six dry-erase marks, and it includes rules for versions of poker, blackjack, trick-taking, and a Dutch Blitz-style speed game. You can find English rules for all of the games here.

Board Game: TrumPen

In the poker game, for example, each of the 3-6 players writes a hand of five cards, with cards ranging in value from A-9 with six players and with four suits being in play, then you call out card hands from high value to low: straight flush, four-of-a-kind, full house, etc. If no one has created a hand, you move on to the next lower one; if someone has created such a hand, they reveal it. If another player has used one of the revealed cards in their own hand, then the player who revealed their hand is out. Players can eliminate one another if they both have, say, full houses and they each used one or more cards that the other player did. Eventually one player will win the round or everyone will be eliminated.

The better your winning hand, the more points you score, so you're encouraged to take chances, and the game ends when someone has scored 5 points or nine rounds have been completed.

HIZURU is a game / art project on Kickstarter (link) that started as an event during Game Market Live in July 2021 during which the creators — working under the name "ボードゲームヒーローズ" (Board Game Heroes) — came up with the game idea and started developing it during a 48-hour interactive livestream, with the artists drawing pictures in response.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Draft cover art

The Kickstarter project page is almost entirely in Japanese, and Miss Merc (who writes a lot about JP games) notes that the KS project is also designed to help other creators learn how to run a Kickstarter, which means that the crowdfunding project is evolving along with the game itself. As of this writing, the project has another 28 days to go, so its timeline is longer than most, and ideally more details will come to light — especially since the project has opened a hundred English-language copies of the game. It would be good to know what you're getting unless you like the idea of diving into the unknown to see what ¥4,000 gets you!

• In May 2021, I wrote about すべてがちょっとずつ優しい世界 (A World Where Everything Is a Little Kinder), a press-your-luck card game from designer Taiki Shinzawa and publisher 双子のライオン堂 (Twins Lion Do). Through the end of August 2021, the publisher is Kickstarting a new printing of the game that will include rules in English.

Board Game: すべてがちょっとずつ優しい世界 (A World Where Everything Is a Little Kinder)
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Sun Aug 1, 2021 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Cats Control the Weather, Reverse Scoring, and Explore Dungeons

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Board Game: Major Arcana: The Tarot Game
• Time for another round-up of game creations from Japan, starting with Major Arcana: The Tarot Game, which appears to be a straightforward memory game from Kenichi Tanabe of COLON ARC.

The game includes the 22 major arcana cards from a tarot deck — all bearing fetching cat illustrations by Nekoya Houjyudou — and to set up, you deal the cards out evenly among the 3-6 players. (Games with two players have special rules.) On a turn, you name a number, and whoever has that card (if anyone) places it face down in the center of the table. If you have only one card in hand, you may give two consecutive numbers instead of a single number, and both of those cards are discarded. If you run out of cards, you're out of the game, and whoever last has cards in hand wins.

That's it! Is there more to playing than remembering which numbers have been called? I don't know as I haven't played, but I love the cover art, so I wanted to highlight the game anyway.

Board Game: あ~した天気にニャ~れ!! (Wishing for Fine Weather!!)
あ~した天気にニャ~れ!! (Wishing for Fine Weather!!), which debuted at the Tokyo Game Market in November 2019 from designer Dice-K and publisher ビストロ怪談倶楽部 (Bistro Kaidan Club), is a trick-taking game in which the players are cat gods who get to play with rain, snow, and other weather conditions. Some details:
Quote:
The game consists of a deck of fifty cards, with five suits of cards each numbered 1-10. Lightning is the trump suit, except that when snow (normally a losing suit) is played with lightning, then snow trumps lightning.

At the start of each of the three rounds, players reveal one of the eight scoring conditions to determine how many points positive or negative each card of a suit is worth in this particular round (-3 to +3). Players then play out the round, trying to collect tricks — or dodge them! — to maximize their score.
Board Game: Pandora Cat
Pandora Cat is, as far as I know, the first release from designer わけん (Reason) and publisher Nukenin合同会社, with the members of this group previously designing smartphone app games. This title was scheduled to debut at the Osaka Game Market in March 2020, but since that show was cancelled, the game is instead available through the Arclight shop set up to make doujin games available to a wider audience. (Note that this shop does not ship outside of Japan.)

Here's an overview of this 3-6 player card game:
Quote:
In Pandora Cat, a.k.a. パンドラの猫, you're racing to reach a points threshold before any other player can, but in each round you never know whether you want to score high or low until it's almost over.

Each round, each player is dealt four cards from the 24-card deck. Each of the eight types of cards has a value on it as well as a special ability. Each player chooses one card from their hand, then they reveal these cards in clockwise order from the starting player. Players then do this again two more times, leaving them with one card in hand.

Board Game: Pandora Cat

Your score for the round is the sum of the value of the card in your hand and the value of the cards you played. Normally the player with the highest score earns 5 points, with the players in second and third earning 3 and 1 points respectively — but if a player has played two "Pandora Cat" cards, then the player with the lowest score earns 5 points! If two players have each played two "Pandora Cat" cards, then scoring is normal, whereas three players having done this reverses the score once again.

Rotate the start player position each round, and complete multiple rounds until a player has scored at least 12, 14, or 16 points in a three-player, four-player, or five- or six-player game.
Board Game: Scaredy Cat Dungeon
• This entry is a cheat in this themed news item, but I'm running with it anyway. Scaredy Cat Dungeon from designer npckc and publisher yuzu labo is a press-your-luck game for 2-5 players in which you try to grab as much treasure as possible at the risk of losing it all. In more detail:
Quote:
There are two dungeon piles, and from the back of the cards you can tell which dungeon level they belong to. The deeper the level, the more treasures there are but also the more monsters there are. Each turn you decide whether to draw a card or go home. If you draw the third monster in a round, then everyone runs home and you lose all you collected this round, while other players who haven't gone home yet lose only one treasure.

Can you make it home with piles of loot, or will you just be another scaredy cat?
Board Game: Scaredy Cat Dungeon
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Thu May 14, 2020 1:00 pm
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