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A Report on the Games Scheduled to be Sold at Tokyo Game Market 2020 Spring

From gallery of W Eric Martin
[Editor's note: Game Market was scheduled to take place in Tokyo on April 25-26, 2020, but wasn't held. Even so, Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English and who tweets about new JP games — has translated three reports about games due out at this event — from May 7, May 9, and May 11 — 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]

Game Market 2020 Spring was scheduled to be held at Tokyo Big Sight on April 25-26. However, like the Osaka Game Market 2020 in March, the event was cancelled to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Under the circumstances, I acquired some titles from the official Game Market shopping website. Here is my report on playing these games.

ぬくみ温泉繁盛記 / Nukumi Onsen Hanjouki (Managing Nukumi Hot Spring Inn) (from Kudousan no Game)

This is a worker placement game to compete in expanding one's hot spring inns and making them popular. Its Japanese theme works in harmony with its Uwe Rosenberg-like system.

At the beginning, the players each start with only the reception at their inn. The players each place their three workers on action cards to collect materials and money and use them to build guest rooms and facilities, such as bathrooms, vegetable gardens, and fish tanks. You must pay your workers at the end of the round, and the action spaces are increased and upgraded each round. You can also use the helpers' special effects. The rooms and helpers provide you income and points (popularity points). You can also gain bonus points if you meet the "Individual Policy" and "Overall Policy" requirements at the end of the game.

In addition to expanding your inn and increasing your income, you can also enjoy the growth of various items, such as having eggs turn into chickens, which in turn lay eggs, and growing vegetables and fish in your vegetable gardens and fish tanks. In the action space, there are several chance spots to roll the 12-sided die. You can also use a helper to modify the die roll and take a chance. It is quite apt that the most luxurious guest room "VIP Nukumi Hall" can be acquired only on such a chance spot.

DATA
Game Design: Kudousan / Artwork: Chika Tamakawa
1-4 players / 12+ / 20-60 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

アルヴィウム / Alluvium (from Fudacoma Games)

In this flip-and-write game, multiple players/tribes work together to cultivate an unexplored land. It is another game from Fudacoma Games, who released In the Ruin in late 2019. The system to pass the sheet to the next player after drawing a piece in it creates an amusing interaction.

At the start of the game, the players each draw a Tetris shape on their sheet with their unique colored pencil. On each turn, a card is flipped. The players then draw that shape in their color in an empty area on the sheet or otherwise fill out one empty cell on the sheet and simultaneously pass the sheet to the next player in clockwise order. After the sheets are passed around and come back to their owners, the players each gain points according to the largest contiguous filled square or rectangle area on their sheet. This is repeated three to four times. By filling out the cells adjacent to the area filled out by the owner of the sheet, you can help them make a larger contiguous area and gain co-operation points for that. By gaining many co-operation points, you can also gain points from your areas on other players' sheets.

The gameplay to fill out adjacent cells to earn co-operation points while keeping gaps here and there to hinder the owner from scoring along the strategy to stay neither too close to nor too distant feels unique and fun. You can find out how your sheet has been filled out only when it has been passed around and returned to you. While your sheet is being passed around, other players might fill it mischievously to your disadvantage, so you wait for the sheet to return to you with mixed feelings.

DATA
Game Design: Yusuke Sawaguchi / Artwork: Makoto Takami
3-5 players / 8+ / 30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

ANTIQUE OR GHOST? (from POLAR POND GAMES)

In this card game, the players, as antique dealers, buy and display antique items. This is the second card game project from the members of analog lunchbox, who have produced a number of heavyweight games, such as Airship City. The values of the exhibits fluctuate according to the number of items on display and their market values.

There are six types of antique items. At the beginning, the players each place two item cards as items for sale. Then the players take turns to choose another player's item. The owner of the chosen item chooses whether to:

—Take the item into their museum's collection and let the current player use the item's effect, or
—Use the item's effect and let the current player take the item into their collection.

Each item has a different effect, such as changing or locking items' market values, increasing one's hand size, and swapping an item in one's collection with another player's item on display. Once you have five cards in your collection, you exit the game. The game ends when all players have five cards in their collections. The collections' final values are determined according to the number of the cards in the play area and market values, and the players compete to score higher points in total.

According to the GHOST cards dealt randomly to the players at the start, each player has an item that cannot be included in their museum collection. Furthermore, if that item ends up with the lowest market value, a curse will be put on them. Choosing which items to collect and which items to give to other players and use their effects require tactical handling.

DATA
Game Design: Masaki Suga / Artwork: ?
3-5 players / 14+ / 15-20 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

ゲムマイスターの選択 / Game Meister no Sentaku (Game Meister's Choice) (from Friends at Ten-gan-an Alley)

This is a game to collect doujin indie games from the Game Market according to orders stating criteria such as one's budget, playing time, and number of cards. Note, however, that you must guess these criteria from mere looks of the games without referring to the game data.

First, the order is determined and announced, like "180 cards", "playing time of 110 minutes", and "16,000 yen". Starting from the cards positioned in a loop (representing booths), roll two dice, move your player token a number of steps matching either one or both dice rolls, and take the card from the booth where you have stopped. Repeat this and go out when you think you have met the order. When all the players have gone out, the players flip their cards to check the game data in total and the player whose cards meet the order most closely wins.

The only information made public for choosing the games are their photos and titles. While you might know some of these games, there is no way you could aptly remember their number of cards and playing time. Sharing uncertain guesses and chattering like "you wouldn't use so many cards in a game with such a title" and "a licensed game of this size would take an hour or so" facilitates a fun game play like that of Fauna. The photo of the owner of the board game café Ten-gan-an with the games at the Game Market venue in 2018 and 2019 is quite impressive.

DATA
Game Design: Ringo Kobayashi
3-6 players / 10+ / 20-40 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

Chrono Collection (from luck movies)

Incorporating set collection and special abilities along with an elaborate artwork, this auction game to bid on watches provides substantial gameplay.

The current player to take a turn is always the last player on the time track. On your turn, advance your player token 1-4 steps and bid the amount matching the number of the cells you have advanced on the color of the cell you stop. Bid "1" if you advance 1 step, "3" for 2 steps, "6" for 3 steps and "10" for 4 steps. By advancing a lot at once, you can make a higher bid, but you will have to wait longer for your next turn. On the time track are "Ending Auction" bars. Each time all players have passed one of these bars, the #1 player of each color gets a card. There are Watch and Contract cards. The Watch cards are used for recording the scores, and the Contract cards are used for VIPs with special abilities. There are also Watch Set Collection bonus points.

Each time an item of a color is successfully bid, the bids from the #2 and later players remain active, but the number of remaining item cards is reduced and the bids are reset when the item cards run out. There is a choice between gradually raising bids for a certain item or widening the lead at once, causing intense maneuvering over slight differences between each bid. The game play remains competitive until the very end. The VIPs used in different combinations per game adds good flavor.

DATA
Game Design: Imai / Artwork: kis
2-4 players / 10+ / 40 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

神のツルハシ / God's Pickaxe (from SHUNROID)

This is a Machi Koro-like dice game to dig up ore with items such as a pickaxe, trolley, and dynamite, then sell the ore at a high price to build refining furnaces. You have the choice of spending money on upgrades or saving money on the bare necessities.

The players all start with the God's pickaxe. On your turn, roll the die, check the corresponding field and take ore or money accordingly. The ore price goes up each time it is taken and goes down each time it is sold. You can use this profit to buy new items, which increases what you get by the die roll. You can own up to three items, but you can use only two of them on each turn, so as the game proceeds, the players discard their God's pickaxes to replace them with better items. There are also upgrade parts to enhance specific effects. The refining furnace each costs 15 G, and the first player to build four of them wins.

Since many actions allow the players to take money from the others, it is quite risky to have cash on you. On the other hand, you can own at most three ore and their prices fluctuate wildly, so you may not make much money by selling them. With the cost of two same-colored ore, you can buy its association, which supplies you income each time that type of ore is sold. However, this association also may be taken by another player. There is a great sense of accomplishment when you manage to build the refining furnaces after surviving a fierce exchange of blows.

DATA
Game Design: SHUNROID
3-5 players / 8+ / 30-45 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

Suzie-Q (from OKAZU Brand)

In this game, the players compete to score points by writing three-digit numbers using the numbers from "1" to "9". The restriction whereby you cannot use the number you have previously used facilitates a tactical gameplay to outwit your opponents.

Meanwhile, you may use the same number multiple times in each of your three-digit numbers, such as "999" and "988". When all the players have written their three-digit numbers, they reveal these numbers all at once. The revealed three-digit numbers are then arranged in descending order. Three-digit numbers that include any number included in any other lower three-digit number presented are disqualified. You can definitely score by presenting the lowest three-digit number, but there is little to gain by doing that because you score points equal to the first digit in your three-digit number. Then the players each place an X through each number used in their three-digit number and move on to the next round. In this way, the players compete to score in total over five rounds.

When aiming to score by a higher number, it is risky to use three different numbers. It would be nice to score with "999", but such an attempt may be hindered by other players. Then how about "888"? But it may be hindered by an "8" from another player. It is safe to use the numbers already used by all the other players, but so long as any other player has not used such numbers, it is hard to predict the outcome. Furthermore, the points to score double in the final round. In this way, the excitement curve keeps rising in this game.

DATA
Game Design: Hisashi Hayashi / Artwork: Ryo Nyamo
2-5 players / 8+ / 10 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

大江戸地引網 / Edo Dragnet (from Accent Circonflexe)

This is a game to catch and collect fish by laying nets around hexagonal cells. Make sure to collect the fish adequately, or otherwise they will count as negative points.

There are fisher pieces on the central island and boat pieces in the offing. The players take turns to use three action points and perform a combination of two actions, namely placing a net piece on one side of a hexagonal cell and moving their piece to an adjacent cell. By laying the net and enclosing an area with your piece(s) in it, you can get the fish in that area. After that, the net pieces enclosing the area are removed and more fish are randomly replenished. Repeat this, and the game ends when the fish to replenish run out. You gain points for the type of fish you have collected the most of, but if you collect three or more types of fish, the types of fish other than those you have collected the most or least will count as negative points.

You can quickly catch fish by spreading communal nets with other players, but the order to choose and take the catch from the communal net is determined according to the "IKI rank". As a result, you may fail to take the fish you want and end up with unwanted types of fish forced upon you. Since you can place the net pieces freely, you can also use them to divide the areas where other players have cast their nets widely, so as to reduce their catch. Especially when the game nears its end, the players work together to chase down the top player by making them catch the types of fish that will result in negative points. The game requires strategic thinking to play with considerations not only on cooperation but also on betrayal and obstruction.

DATA
Game Design: Koyashun / Artwork: Yuhey Ishihara & Katsubayashi
3-4 players / 8+ / 40-60 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

名前はマダないワンシーン / Namae wa Mada Nai One Scene (As Yet It Has No Name: One Scene) (from Ram Clear)

This is a party game to give names to the kinds of phenomena that we frequently encounter in our daily life, such as "part of a dropped piece that is still 'okay' because the part did not touch the ground" and "staples that failed to be stapled". After the players have each pitched a name, they vote on which name to adopt. The player who has presented the most successfully-adopted names wins. Short and impressive phrases seemed to have a higher chance to be adopted.

DATA
Production Direction: Kyo Tumuki / Illustration: Ryosuke Otomo
1-(many) players / 6+ / ? min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

怪盗ルパンツ / Lupints the Phantom Thief (from Coco de Natta)

This is a game to give clues in order to make another player take a certain underwear you are aiming for from among those arranged in the play area. The player sitting across from you is an inspector, so you must not let them guess and take the correct underwear before the others. The type of clue — such as a word, Kanji character, onomatopoeia, and Senryu poem — is determined by the die roll. It is prohibited to give certain types of clues, such as those that can infer the gender, color, pattern, certain name, and type. Such high restrictions on the clues facilitate much thinking.

DATA
Game Design & Artwork: ?
4-8 players / 12+ / 20-40 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

DATTO! (from 42GAMES)

This rabbit-themed trick-taking and racing game is new from Osaka Game Market 2020.

The players must follow suit, and the player who wins the trick advances their piece the number of steps matching the number on the lowest-number card among those played following suit. If the card you play as the Leader is the last card of that color, you can announce "DATTO!" when you play it and advance with additional steps matching the number of cards in your hand. If, among the cards with the color matching that played by the Leader, you played "1" and another player played "9", you win and make the One-Nine Dash like a "Datto", which means "dashing with lightning speed like a fleeing hare" in Japanese. The Leader is the player with the fewest steps taken, so if you dash too early, you might miss an opportunity.

When to play your Nap card, which allows you to pass once during the game, is an important key to victory. If the two remaining cards of a suit are "1" and "9", there is a chance of both "DATTO Announcement" and "One-Nine Dash" to occur at the same time, leaving the players in breathless suspense over the outcome of the game until the very end.

DATA
Game Design: ? / Illustration: michibata
2-4 players / 8+ / 20 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

Micronesia (from Toydrop)

In this dice game, initially released in 2017, the players each send their tribe to 12 islands.

Roll three dice, divide them into one-die and two-dice rolls, and send your tribe pieces to the islands with corresponding numbers. On each island, place one of your tribe pieces if it is unoccupied. If it is already occupied by any number of tribe pieces, you must place one additional piece more than those present. (The tribe pieces that were occupying that island return to their owner's hand.) The number of tribe pieces to place on each island thus increases in this way. The player who runs out of their tribe pieces to place is eliminated from the game. Then the remaining players compete to score points from the islands.

Using dice rolls matching the numbers of the islands occupied by your tribe pieces, you can move your tribe pieces between the islands. Furthermore, you can change the dice rolls freely by cancelling a die roll, thus allowing you to control the luck factor.

DATA
Game Design: Toshihiro Hachisuka / Illustration: Omanazaki
3-4 players / 8+ / 25 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••
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Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:53 pm
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A Report on the Games Scheduled to be Sold at Osaka Game Market 2020

From gallery of W Eric Martin
[Editor's note: Game Market was scheduled to take place in Osaka on March 8, 2020, but wasn't held. Even so, Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English and who tweets about new JP games — has translated a report about this non-event 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]

Game Market 2020 Osaka, which was due to take place on March 8, was cancelled to prevent coronavirus infection. Thus, the board games that were supposed to be released there lost that occasion, but fortunately, the Game Market Management Office and several other organizations offered to sell those games online. Here is my report on playing some of those games:

たぬきのきんたま / Tanuki no Kintama (Tanuki's Balls) (from Narumi Factory)

Named after a famous phrase in the popular folk song "Tan Tan Tanuki", this is a go-out game to play cards and change the size of a Tanuki raccoon dog's left and right balls (called "Kintama" in Japanese).

The players take turns to play 1 ball card from their hand and place it on either left or right pile of ball cards in the ball area. You can play a card numbered within the range of ±2 from the topmost card on either pile. Otherwise, take the topmost card of a pile. If you manage to have the ball cards "1" and "8" in the ball area, it triggers the "1-8" (hit-or-miss) attack whereby you can make any one player (possibly the top player) draw a card from the deck.

The cards numbered "1" to "8" are used, and "1" and "8" are linked. The conditions to play the cards are not very strict, so you can play this game quite loosely like the loosely swinging balls of the Tanuki in the folk song.

DATA
Game Design & Illustration: Narumi
2-4 players / Age: 7+ / 10-20 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••


The Field of the Sun (from Little Future)

This is a card game in which the players take turns to flip cards from a communal deck of cards and compete for the majority of crops.

On your turn, flip cards from the deck one by one and add them to the single row. Stop at any point and take any one card from the row. If you flip a card of the same suit as one already present, your turn ends immediately and you must take the last flipped card. The game ends when the deck is exhausted, and the player with the most cards of each suit scores positive points for that suit while all other players score negative points. Even with three special event cards, the game system is very minimal.

There are five cards of each suit, so you can win the majority if you take three cards of a suit. However, you cannot collect them so easily. If another player has a card of the same suit, should you go for the same suit to compete with them, or avoid such competition and take a card of another suit? All the cards are eventually revealed, so the dynamic competition continues until the very end.

DATA
Game Design: Yusuke Emi / Illustration: Memento Mori & Suhama Yamazaki
2-5 players / Age: 10+ / 10-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••


おばけはおまえだ! (You Are The Ghost! from GIFT10INDUSTRY)

This is a communication game using hearing. The players take turns to choose a picture card according to the sound they hear from the earphone. One player, however, is randomly assigned to play the role of the ghost, and that player must pretend that they also heard the same sound to avoid being found out.

An eerie sound is heard from the earphone. The players take turns to receive the smartphone and earphone, press the button on the smartphone to play the sound, and take the picture that they think matches the sound. They each explain briefly why they chose that picture, then simultaneously point at a player who they suspect to be the ghost from the explanation. The ghost player gains points if they manage to trick others from finding them out, and other players each gain points if they find out who the ghost is.

Giving specific explanations helps the ghost player pretend that they also heard that sound, so the players explain the sound with some vagueness, but being too vague will make one look suspicious. It was fun playing the game, with occasions, such as the ghost player providing plausible explanations from a wild guess and a non-ghost player managing to communicate that they are not the ghost without almost any clear explanation.

DATA
Game Design: Takashi Hamada / Illustration: Toshi Murase
3-6 players / Age: 10+ / 15-30 min
English rules

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••


ツリーラインアベニュー (The Tree-Lined Avenue from TACTICAL GAMES)

The players compete to score by planting five types of trees in rows and columns. It is like, what would happen if a communal board is used for Kingdomino?

Tree cards are arranged in order according to the number of players. The players then take turns to choose one card and place it to eventually form a 6×6 grid park. The Kingdomino system whereby taking a higher-numbered card forces one to pick later in the next round is applied. However, on the communal park board, the players each score from the trees in the same rows and columns as their gardener pawns. The players play both cooperatively and competitively by arranging trees to score and at the same time planting obstructive trees on the rows and columns where their gardener pawns are not present.

The park also has animals and facilities that are linked to end-of-game bonuses, and some high-number cards are equipped with advantageous actions. The players each have two gardener pawns to score from four lines in total, so most trees can be of some use. Because of this, there is little variation in the turn order, and it is difficult to move up in the turn order once you fall behind. The sheer number of choices requires a tactical handling.

DATA
Game Design: Yota Suzuki & Hayato Oshikiri / Visual Design: Yota Suzuki
2-4 players / Age: 14+ / 20-30 min (released at TGM 2019 Autumn)

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••


タイムトラップTime Trap from TACTICAL GAMES)

In this card game, the players race to get rid of their hand of cards in the seventh round. If you run out of cards by the sixth round, you will be eliminated.

There are different conditions for each round, such as "Play only odd numbers" and "Play any card, but if you play '5' or '7', your card will be snatched". The players play their cards in ascending or descending order in accordance with these conditions. At the start, the players each receive a "time trap" card that allows them to reverse the ascending/descending order. Pass if you do not have a card to play anymore. After everyone has passed, move to the next round.

While it is desirable to keep your hand of cards to avoid being eliminated by the sixth round, you must play and reduce them to some extent or else you will not be able to win in the seventh round. It is also important to assess how many cards you should make others play. Before you know it, you might lose at once.

DATA
Game Design: Hayato Oshikiri & Yota Suzuki / Visual Design: Yota Suzuki
2-4 players / Age: 14+ / 10-15 min (released at TGM 2019 Autumn)

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••


インザルーイン (In the Ruin from Fudacoma Games)

This is a flip-and-write game to use the patterns indicated on revealed cards to write routes and walls in order to bring back treasures from ancient ruins.

After the players have each written the route or wall on their sheet in the pattern indicated on the card, they move their pawn the number of steps indicated on the card. The treasure locations are indicated on the cards, and they can be acquired on a first-come-first-served basis. If you fail to connect your route to the treasure, the treasure location will turn into a wall on your sheet. Each time a treasure is taken, another treasure will appear in another location. The first half of the game ends when the deck of cards runs out. In the second half, the players must return to the starting point to escape from the ruins while collecting the remaining treasures. In addition to the treasure, you can score by forming the largest rectangular area made of roads and walls, earn bonus points for connecting specified routes, and receive a penalty for failing to draw specified patterns.

As is frequently the case in a flip-and-write game, the interaction is relatively low, but the system allows the players to be informed of other players' actions each time a treasure is found, like "I've taken Treasure B!", "Oh, no! I was almost there!" The gameplay provides a feeling of exploring in the dark.

DATA
Game Design: Yusuke Sawaguchi / Artwork: Makoto Takami
1-4 players / Age: 8+ / 30-45 min (released at TGM 2019 Autumn)

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

[Editor's note: This Osaka 2020 title was covered separately on TGIW by Mr. Ono. —WEM]

海拓者 / Kaitakusha (See Settlers)

Choosing Which Islands to Visit Despite Going Out of Course

From gallery of W Eric Martin


This is a board game to travel to your destination at the other side by a ship that cannot move forward, while visiting islands and constructing buildings along the way. This game, formerly due to be released at Osaka Game Market 2020, was selected as the grand prize winner of Board Game Selection 2020, a competition hosted by nine board game cafés and shops, where you could play the submitted games, in the Kansai region.

The players each start their ship from one of the four sides of the game board. On your turn, play a card from your hand of three cards for actions such as moving your ship; getting foods, cards and other items on the island you visit; and placing your crew member pawn on the island. Once you place your crew member pawn, you can get resources, such as bricks, iron, and stones, which can be collected over several turns and used for constructing buildings.

The hand of three cards lacks forward movement. Furthermore, when ending up with the same type of card, your ship can go off course tremendously. There are scoring chips in the center, but not only is it difficult to reach there, but even if you do, you are quickly surrounded by other players' ships, making it difficult to move away from there. In addition, the players must race to get the resources indicated on the displayed construction cards. You also need to take care to procure food or else your crew members will die from a food shortage.

The game ends when one of the players reaches the opposite side of their starting point or reaches the specified score. The players compete to score by adding up the points from construction cards, bonus points by type, gold and tiles in the center, and the points for reaching the goal. With so many elements, you need to examine your priorities according to your hand of cards. If your priorities coincide with another player, it will hamper your score, but such choice is made light due to the difficulty of handling your hand of cards.

Our game play with four players took approximately 45 minutes. A traffic jam occurred near the center, and while we waited for vacancies, Bashi-san reached their goal by making a detour. They also made good use of the resources they had gathered during the detour and managed to increase their points for construction. Despite the large element of luck in one's hand of cards, this game with diversified ways to score, instead of gradual engine-building, allows close competition by a narrow margin until the very end.

DATA
Kaitakusha (See Settlers)
Game Design & Artwork: Tadashi Koyama
2-4 players / Age: 10+ / 30-45 min
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Fri May 8, 2020 4:32 pm
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Tokyo Game Market 2019 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 23-24, 2019, 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 November 23, a rainy chilly late autumn day, Tokyo Game Market 2019 Autumn opened at Tokyo Big Sight Aumi Exhibition Hall. With 1,068 booths, over 600 newly-released board games from Japan were available at this two-day event taking place in the exhibition halls covering an area of 23,240 m² and temporarily built due to the Tokyo Olympics.

On the first day, despite the rain, a line of approximately 4,000 people waited before the opening (according to Rael-san's report). At this Game Market, a system to queue between the two halls was newly adopted so that visitors could each choose to enter either one of the halls first. Block booths and company booths were in Hall A on the left, and standard booths were in Hall B on the right.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

At the opening, the MAGI booth selling the Magical Bakery series had a long queue of people in front of them, despite having set up multiple sales counters. They again distributed reversible bags for free as they did at the previous Game Market.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Gamestore Banesto sold new games from SPIEL '19, which took place in October 2019. Especially with regard to something large like Orléans Stories (3 kg., ¥16,000), it is worth noting that they supplied the Japanese translation of each player's booklet.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Likewise, GP Games released the Japanese edition of Catan: Starfarers (2 kg., ¥13,200), which had just been released at SPIEL '19. Its large box size is comparable to Orléans Stories, but some tough visitors had queued from early morning to buy both of these games.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Suki Games sold new games from SPIEL '19, namely Terramara and Aquatica with Japanese rules. Furthermore, they released a remake of Gunter Burkhardt's Volltreffer under the title 地下迷宮と5つの部族 ("Underground Labyrinth and 5 Tribes").

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Although Ten Days Games' booth was missing for the first time in a while, they released the Japanese edition of Barrage, which had been released at SPIEL '19. The game was sold at the Yellow Submarine booth.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

At this Game Market, I saw many new murder mystery games. Small Light sold the Japanese edition of Death Wears White, which is said to have triggered the boom. At the Moaideas Game Design booth, to promote Kasoku Suru Yami ("Darkness in Acceleration"), which is designed by Yusuke Tokita and will be released in Q2 2020; the characters from the game were announced and introduced.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Subarashiki Party Joy no Sekai ("The Wonderful World of Party Joy"), written by Inunosuke Sakamoto and Office Shin-tairiku and published by Small Light, covers the 135 titles in the Party Joy game series that were sold in the 1980s and 1990s by Bandai in Japan.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Characters from Kasoku Suru Yami ("Darkness in Acceleration") and Mr. Tokita

In addition to sales, there were various exhibits and events at the booths. Man-in-do, one of Japan's leading board game printing companies, exhibited card cutting dies. Sponge is applied around its blade to make it smoother to return after cutting.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform, provided an on-site video filming service to support board game designers. They filmed with notably professional equipment.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

While exhibitors from Taiwan and Korea have steadily increased, Kozo Games sold board games from China, Taiwan and Singapore, and Grain Gear Games sold board games from Vietnam and Myanmar. There were many people from overseas not only among the exhibitors, but also among the visitors. I saw people explaining their games' rules in English at the booths.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Pingyao and Ocean (from Jingyansi Board Game) are well-received in Japan.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Hội Phố is a board game from Vietnam, and Bagan Journey is from Myanmar

At the "Bodocon!" board game contest (hosted by ボドゲーマ [Boardgamer]), board game creators pitched their games within the time limit of three minutes in front of publishing companies, and the publishing companies interested in the pitched games raised their hands.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The presenters were A.I.Lab.遊, Seisyun Koubou Shirayuri, NonPro, Studio GG, and SoLunerG. Six of the eight companies raised their hands for SoLunerG's FOGSITE, which had won the Game Market Award 2019, Grand Prize.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Publishers, from right: Arclight, Engames, Jelly Jelly Cafe, Sugorokuya, DEAR SPIELE, Ten Days Games, Hobby Japan, and Yanoman

The Jelly Jelly Cafe booth held a number of events at this Game Market again, such as a talk show by Nilgiri (from Surume Days) about the 2018 special exhibition "Is This a Game?" and a talk show by the people who had visited SPIEL '19 on recommended tourist spots.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

"Is This a Game?" #2 will be held December 7-15, 2019 at 3331 Arts Chiyoda.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Audience smiling at the tourist spots introduced by Mr. Hata (of Kleeblatt)

At the Delightworks booth, Seiji Kanai and Sho Shirasaka had a talk show about their new game Shibuya Struggle. Seiji Kanai says that it is a game with many exhilarating points to rejoice over one's achievements.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

At the food court, in partnership with Ramen Walker, two ramen shops set up stores, and pleasant smells floated in the air in the hall.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

I ate Konmen's miso ramen with spicy miso. Shichisai's Temomi Ginjo soy sauce ramen was also alluring.

•••


With the closing of the Game Market Award, we stopped making the list of newly-released games, but more than 600 new titles are estimated to have been released in light of the number of exhibitors. I could not see all the games in the limited time, but I would like to pick up and report on some of them.

Vulcanus is the first game of the "Kaiju on the Earth" series, the release of which was initially announced at Tokyo Game Market 2019 Spring. The players co-operatively work to fight off the lava scattering monster approaching Tokyo. One of the players plays the monster and can overhear all the discussions made by the human players. Furthermore, with an hourglass time limit for action selection, things do not go as planned.

At the Game Market, only the copies sold by pre-orders were available. The game's general release date was November 28. In the crowdfunding campaign that accepted pre-orders, 1,167 people funded ¥7,087,400, indicating the high attention on the game. I played the game at a pre-TGM gaming meet-up, so I will review it later.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Oink Games' new game is Fafnir. The players collect valuable jewels through simultaneous blind bidding. The jewels are also used for bidding, so the number of jewels changes. Meanwhile, their values fluctuate depending on the number of each type of jewels owned by the players. While you'd hope to get rid of the jewels that are likely to give you negative points, so do the other players. Among the games for casual gamers from Oink Games, this game has a wide range that would also cater to long-time gamers.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

In Remember Our Trip from Saashi & Saashi, the players look back on a trip to Kyoto/Singapore and together recreate a map of the city they visited. The players choose the tokens matching the number of players from among those randomly combined and place the tokens on their individual boards according to the patterns specified on their cards. When the specified number of the same type of tokens have been placed, locations are determined, then buildings and parks are placed on the central board. You can score points by the tokens in the same area as determined locations. This is a romantic game reminiscent of Old Town.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The Era of Traveling Marchant is the latest game from A.I.Lab.遊, whose previous games Discovery: The Era of Voyage and Era of Hunting have been highly regarded. Using action points, the players move on the game boards, collect items, and deliver them to the cities specified on the cards. The delivered items remain in the cities, and other players can reuse them, which allows for strategic actions. It is also notable that you can change the map by arranging the boards.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Orchard Ocean is the latest game from analog lunchbox, who has previously released games such as airship city. This game was also brought to SPIEL '19 through Japon Brand.

With the fantasy theme of creating an orchard atop man-made islands in the sea, this is a relentless tiling game with various ways to gain score. The players take turns to take island tiles stating factors such as the turn order, tile orientation, and orchard type, then place the island tiles on their individual boards. The fruits and fish produced on the production island tiles can be sold to earn income by placing store tiles adjacent to them. Meanwhile, you also need to seek ways to link multiple production and store islands as well as ways to allocate workers.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

SCOUT! from One More Game! is arguably the most talked-about game at this Game Market. It had become a hot topic of conversation at VORSPIEL 2019 Autumn, a pre-TGM event held in early November where many game designers who would participate in TGM Autumn had demoed their upcoming games and had been later featured by the major board game podcast "Horabodo!" The goal of the game is to quickly use up one's hand. Like Krass Kariert, you cannot change the order of the cards in your hand. On the other hand, the number on each card changes according to the card orientation and you can choose to "scout" and add one of the cards played by the previous player.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Shibuya Struggle, the latest game from Delightworks, was produced with the supervision of Seiji Kanai and Sho Shirasaka. The players place gangsters on the tiles in line to acquire areas, use their special effects to reinforce the gang, and challenge the Big Four. If they win, they will further reinforce the gang and enter the showdown against the "KING".

From gallery of W Eric Martin

4tousei is a group of game designers who have released prominent games in the Eurogame genre. Their latest game Porte Saint Denis is a four-player, engine-building, worker placement game. The players compete to score points by increasing their influence at the Arch of Triumph in Paris and constructing buildings.

Their other game REFINERY is a three-player resource management in which the players, as oil kings, use building effects to refine oil and compete for wealth.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Planet Plant from Surume Days is a card-combo game to grow mysterious flowers on small planets. The players buy seedlings, water them over three turns, and can use the flowers' effects if they bloom. You need to carefully count this time difference to combine the flowers effectively and score points.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Subete ga Tome ni Naru ("Everything Will Become Tome") is a new game from Yuruart, which made their international debut with The Queen of Hansa. It is an area control game themed on the great merger of municipalities in the Heisei period. The power relationships change by merging areas.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

BLAUMARE from Otemachi Spin is a communication game to form pairs by conveying the image of each picture through means such as onomatopoeia and diagram. There is a hidden traitor who hinders other players from forming pairs. You need to find this traitor quickly.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

1 mm Kankaku ("Sensing 1 mm") from Chottozutsu Chigau (Slightly Different) is a game to find a card that is larger by 1 mm from your current card from among the cards differing in size in scales of 1 mm. Iro Kankaku ("Sensing Color") is a game to identify cards differing by percentage.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Dream, which has produced various creative products, released Gulala, a balancing game to stack blocks specified by dice rolls on a wobbly stand. The player who makes it collapse loses.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

FUSAF SUCCESS (from Accent irconflexe) is a game to communicate the topic by Fallen Hair cards. As might be expected from fallen hair, the number of cards gradually decreases, thus increasing the difficulty to communicate the topic.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Soukaikan ("Refreshing Feeling") (from Pilgrime) is a simultaneous blind-bidding game to flush poops down the toilet. If you manage to flush, flip the card to reveal a word. You can score by forming a set of "超" (super), "爽" (refreshing), "快" (fine) and "感" (feeling). On the other hand, you lose points for "不" (non), "快" (fine) and "感" (feeling).

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Unko kato Omotta ("I thought it was a poop") (from Morikawa Seminar, Hokkaido Information University) is a game to flip poop-like item cards to determine whether they are poops or not.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The Game Market Award announced just before this Game Market that 2019 would be the last Game Market Award. Regarding the winners, FOGSITE, which won the Grand Prize, and Polarich, which won the Kids' Game of the Year, sold out quickly at the venue. Yokohama Duel, which won the Expert Game of the Year, is currently out of stock, but its English edition is scheduled to be released through Kickstarter.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Tenka Meidou (Rumble Nation), which had won the 2018 Grand Prize, was published from Hobby Japan and was being demoed at the venue.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Lastly, I would like to refer to the memorable talk by Mr. Yoshida of New Games Order/B2FGames, upon releasing the Japanese edition of Senators.

Mr. Yoshida says that they released the Japanese edition of Senators, a medium weight game (45-60 min) without prominent awards because he believes that "there must be a reason for the long game length" in light of the recent trend toward long games. In terms of a deep gaming experience, it can be felt also in light games, while you cannot experience it even in a long game if all you do is just follow the rules. When you think about it, being able to have a deep gaming experience within a reasonable playing time means a lot. Many of the games released even at this Game Market could provide such a deep gaming experience, so the rest is up to the players to see how to enjoy the games.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

Postscript: Tokyo Game Market 2019 Autumn: Attendance of 29,300
(original article)

Game Market Management Office has announced that a total of 29,300 people attended Tokyo Game Market 2019 Autumn, which was held on November 23 (Sat) and 24 (Sun) at Tokyo Big Sight Aumi Exhibition Hall. It was 17% higher than the attendance of 25,000 at Tokyo Game Market 2019 Spring.

On the first day, 769 groups participated, an estimated 4,000 people lined up before the opening, and the attendance was 16,300. On the second day, the number of participants was 652 groups and the number of people queueing before the opening was 2,000 people (according to Rael-san's report), and the overall attendance was 13,000. The percentage of the numbers on the second day to the first days is 85% in the number of groups and 80% in the attendance, which are almost the same as in TGM 2019 Spring.

Since Tokyo Game Market was expanded to a two-day event starting in Tokyo Game Market 2017 Autumn, the attendance has increased from 18,500 to 20,000 to 22,000 to 25,000 to 29,300. The growth rate at the current Game Market is remarkably high. The number is certain to exceed 30,000 at the next Game Market.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Final Game Market Award Ceremony on the second day

After ending the Game Market Award, "Game Market Selection" has started from this Game Market. By entering the number on one's admission ticket on the special voting website, the Game Market visitors can each vote for one game they like, thus designed to prevent multiple voting. Voting is being accepted for the 482 titles that made entries.

Among the upcoming events, Osaka Game Market 2020 will be held on March 8 at Intex Osaka. Tokyo Game Market 2020 Spring will be held on April 25 and 26, and Tokyo Game Market 2020 Autumn will be held on November 14 and 15 at Tokyo Big Sight Aumi Exhibition Hall.
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Mon Dec 16, 2019 4:00 pm
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Tokyo Game Market 2019 Spring: Report from Table Games in the World

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Editor's note: Game Market took place in Tokyo on May 25-26, 2019, 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

Game Market 2019 Spring, Japan's largest tabletop game event, was held on May 25, when the temperature rose above 30°C for the first time this year.


From gallery of W Eric Martin



Tokyo Big Sight, which was used as the venue up to the last Tokyo Game Market, is currently under construction to be used as the International Broadcasting Center and Main Press Center for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Under the circumstances, the Tokyo Game Market took place for the first time at the Tokyo Big Sight Aumi temporary exhibition halls. Comprised of two halls, the building has the total capacity of 23,240m², which is approximately double the size of the venue used for Tokyo Game Market 2018 Autumn. In addition to being large, the air conditioning was sufficient to keep the venue fairly cool.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


There was a line of approximately four thousand people waiting before the opening (according to Rael-san's report). An area for the visitors to wait in line before the opening was provided at the corner of the hall, but the queue still extended to outside. Tokyo Game Market 2018 Autumn had an attendance of 22,000 over two days, but this Game Market had even more attendance. Tabletop gamers formed an orderly queue to buy the items they were eyeing.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Standard booths


After the opening at 10:00 a.m., the crowds spread into the two halls. Still, with the wide aisles, the standard booth area did not feel confined. On the other hand, there were long queues of people for a long time in front of some block booths, such as those of BakaFire Party (of Sakura Arms), MAGI (of Magical Patisserie) and Domina Games (of Blade Rondo).


From gallery of W Eric Martin


The area provided for the visitors to wait in line was later used as a food court with kitchen cars. Since there are not many eateries near the Aumi exhibition hall, people lined up and the dishes from the kitchen cars became sold out one after another. Some people who did not have much time to spare brought snacks they had bought elsewhere such as at a convenience store.

At this Game Market, talk shows, tournaments and many other mini-events were organized. There were so many of them that I almost missed the time to check the new games.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


At the Sugorokuya booth, to celebrate the board game manga Houkago Saikoro Club (Afterschool Dice Club) being made into an anime, its author Hiroo Nakamichi had a talk show with some voice actors, who would voice the main characters in the anime, namely Marika Kouno (who would voice the character Aya), Saki Miyashita (Miki), and Miyu Tomita (Midori).

After showing the program's teaser for the first time, they talked about their recommended board games and the appeal of board games. Miyashita from Nara Prefecture and Tomita from Saitama Prefecture both mentioned the difficulty in expressing the nuances of the Kyoto dialect used by their characters. It has been announced that the board game store manager, another main character, will be voiced by Takaya Kuroda.



From gallery of W Eric Martin


At the Arclight booth, they announced the production of a new series of board games: KAIJU ON THE EARTH. In this project, multiple game designers will design middle- to heavyweight board games all themed on Kaiju, a globally popular content that had originated from Japan. These games will be produced with an eye on both domestic and international markets.

According to the plan, the first game, designed by Masato Uesugi (of I Was Game) will be released this autumn. This will be followed by the release of the second game by Yuji Kaneko (of Kaboheru) in the spring of 2020 and the third game by Hisashi Hayashi (of OKAZU Brand) in the autumn of 2020. Many notable people will be involved in the production, such as Drosselmeyer & Co. Ltd. in charge of the general direction, Koji Nakakita on the Kaiju design, Yuji Sekita on the image visual, Eiko Usami on the graphic design, and Giant Hobby on the figure modeling.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


At Training Game Lab, Mahito Mukai (of Puninokai), a Zen temple deputy chief priest, who has also designed a number of temple-themed board games, delivered a "board game sermon". By referring to the Four Dharma Seals, which form the foundation ideology of Buddhism, he preached the "board game training" to respect both the games and the people with whom you play.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


At the DELiGHT WORKS booth, Seiji Kanai talked about his game The Last Brave along with its newly released three-card expansion.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


At the Jelly Jelly Cafe booth, the podcast "Horabodo!" hosted a public recording event. In this talk show, the game designers, who had their doujin games published for general distribution from Jelly Jelly Cafe, talked on the stage on the topic "a step from self-produced games to general distribution". These talks can later be heard on the podcast.

While I think that the style to personally produce and sell some copies not only puts a lot of burdens on the individuals but also runs the risk of delivering underdeveloped games to the users, there is also the merit of creating diverse games with fresh ideas. Meanwhile, there is a growing trend whereby printing offices and board game cafés support such creative activities to produce works that could be played widely around the world.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


At the joint booth of Ten Days Games and Mobius Games, the two hosts of the podcast "Board Game Oppai" organized a mini-event they called "Real Life Unusual Suspects", whereby they invited six people from the audience as "suspects" and narrowed down the "suspect" to one of them though interrogations. The changing expressions of the participants, compared to the illustrated faces in the original game, provided a different kind of fun, and the audience had good laughs at the hosts' witty talks.

•••


On May 25 and 26, Tokyo Game Market 2019 Spring was held at Tokyo Big Sight Aumi Exhibition Hall. The number of new board games from Japan released at this event amounts to 525 titles (provisional count as of this date). This figure is higher that of Tokyo Game Market 2018 Spring by 80%, and with this figure, the potential nominees for this year's Game Market Award (selected from those released at Tokyo Game Market 2018 Autumn, Osaka Game Market 2019 and Tokyo Game Market 2019 Spring) has reached 1,250 titles, the first time this total has exceeded 1,000 titles. If you add to this figure the new games from overseas, TRPG, TCG, and SLG, the number of new games amounts to more than the 1,400 titles released at SPIEL '18.

Meanwhile, many of these newly-released games are so-called doujin games, which are produced with one hundred copies or so by individuals and their friends and sold on the tables each covering the footprint of less than 1m². Some of them are produced with fewer than ten copies, and many of them can be bought only at the Game Market. Since they are released without being developed by publishers, they may be unrefined, but they can fascinate you by directly putting into practice the fresh ideas of the people who produced them.

I have noticed quite a few overseas publishers regularly visiting the show in search of interesting games. To them, the Game Market may seem like a treasure trove of new ideas. There is the Japon Brand project to recruit applicants and sell their games at a collectively-established booth at SPIEL, but some overseas publishers wish to seek even more and thus visit the Game Market. Many doujin games have been picked up and released in such a way by overseas publishers, with some of them being imported "back" to Japan. In this report, I would like to introduce some of these 525 titles that received attention.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Across the United States (from OKAZU Brand) is a railway game set in the 19th century USA. The players extend the railway lines, connect routes, transport commodities, and collect stocks and gold bullion to gain wealth and become millionaires. The playing time is 60 minutes. The station types vary from game to game according to the tile placement.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Traders (from 4tousei) is an engine-building game to move around on action spaces and efficiently trade copper and silver. You can acquire powerful cards on the way, but you have to circle the "rondel" before you can have the cards you have played return to your hand. As you raise your parameters, such as your contributions to the Queen, King and Bishop and your technical strength, you can take more actions and develop strategies. The playing time is 40 to 60 minutes.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


HYAKKATEN (from NSG Create) is a game of inviting tenants on each floor of a department store and entice customers shop a lot. The playing time is 60 to 90 minutes.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


"Shobai" All Right (from OKAZU Brand) is a resource management game to expand your stores and business in the fictitious commercial city of Zoosaka. Trade the cards from your hand to gain more powerful allies, produce and deliver items to your clients to meet their requests, and gain power by making offerings to the emperor, with the overall objective of competing for fame. This is a middleweight game with the playing time of 30 to 45 minutes.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Epic of Hegemonia (from Studium Mundi) is an area majority game to lead five unique tribes in order to collect resources and build strongholds. Each tribe has their characteristics, such as the all-round Human, powerful but few Dragon, and Slime that grows stronger when they are combined with each other. Try to make use of such characteristics to your advantage. This is a middleweight game with the playing time of 30 to 45 minutes.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Mitsuhama (from Tarte Games) is an auction game set in the port town of Mitsuhama in Ehime Prefecture. The players, as fish wholesalers, bid on fresh fish, including the Sea Perch, Filefish, Swordfish and Sea Bream, at the fish market and supply them to local restaurants. While the fish catches are determined by dice rolls, there are limitations to the amount that can be auctioned, and you need to have a warehouse keeper to buy the fish. The playing time is 30 to 40 minutes.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Moon Base (from itten) is a two-player abstract game to place ring modules on moon craters and thereupon build the moon base. Some craters overlap on each other, and this naturally leads to a competitive game play whereby the players try to stack the rings in a way that their colors will gain the upper hand.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


In Front of the Elevators (from Saashi & Saashi) is a card game in which you compete to get more of the family members of your color in the front of the elevator line at the department store so that they can get onto the next elevator. Using the "Cut In Line" and "Lost Child" abilities along with the café rule whereby three friends meeting each other all head to the café, help your family members somehow squeeze into the elevator.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Dungeon Market (from spiel.jp) is a card game of flipping cards from the deck to venture into the dungeon, then sell the arms and protectors you have discovered to other players by offering the prices. Since the items to collect vary between the players, you may take advantage of other players when offering the prices.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Photome's (from Dear Spiele and Bodogeema) won the grand prize in Board Game Grand Prix, a contest to design board games themed on housing. It is a co-operative game whereby the players each place 3D building tiles while making sure that the animals specified on the topic card remain visible from the current player's view and the mole is concealed from the views of all the players.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Zimbabweee Trick (from Kentaiki) is a trick-taking game in which bills of increasing denominations are formed like what once happened to Zimbabwean dollars in the time of hyperinflation. The number of figures increase as the cards played are placed on top of one another, eventually forming bills with 12-digit numbers, which amount to hundreds of billions of dollars.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Nine Tiles Panic (from Oink Games) is a sequel to Nine Tiles and was again designed by Jean-Claude Pellin (from Luxembourg) and Jens Merkl (from Germany). According to the criteria specified on the revealed scoring cards, race to flip and arrange your set of nine double-side tiles so as to form a 3×3 town visited by hamburger-loving aliens.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Bungaku Game Zenshu (meaning "the collections of games based on classical literature") is a series of tabletop games themed on classical literature. A total of fifteen titles was released at this Game Market. Among them, Hashiru Melos Tachi (meaning "Running Meloses"), a road race trick-taking game designed by Kazunari Yonemitsu and themed on the short story "Run, Melos!" written by Osamu Dazai, received much attention. In addition to the games themed on Japanese literary works, there are also games themed on the works by great writers of overseas, such as Victor Hugo and William Shakespeare.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


UNKO! (from IndiesCrown) is a card game to supply the appropriate amount of food to the customers in order to help them discharge the perfect poop. Try to guess from the face-down cards the appropriate amount of food to supply. Be careful not to supply too much food and upset the customer's stomach.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Omokaji Ippai! (meaning "Steer household chores!") (from Karakuri Cube) is a light card game, with the playing time of 10 minutes or so, to pass troublesome household chores on to other players.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Nai Hazu no Kioku (meaning "memoirs of non-existing events") (from Daienjo Seisaku Iinkai) is a game in which you draw topic cards and, according to them, create new episodes about a deceased person who is known to all the players. Then compare the episodes and choose which one of them sounds most befitting to the deceased person. The players can reminisce in the good memories of the deceased. There is also the expansion pack Moshimo Watashi ga Shinda Nara (meaning "If I die").


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Our Records (from Surume Days) is a game in which you write your memorial event on a piece of paper and put it in a capsule toy vending machine, which was located in front of the Surume Days booth at the Game Market. In return, you get to use the vending machine and draw a capsule toy containing a piece of paper from another player. Then the players were instructed to tweet on June 1 about what was written on the piece of paper they received. Its author Nilgiri will hold the special exhibition IS THIS A GAME? Vol.2 in December 2019.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Mitsudan (meaning "confidential talk") (from Under Heart Look Look) is a game to plot how to approach the girl you like by arranging cards and trying to guess the cards plotted by other players along with the order they were plotted. This game was first released at Osaka Game Market 2019.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Small Light released the Japanese edition of New Tactical Games with Dice and Cards written by Reiner Knizia. This book was originally published in German in 1990, and the publication of its Japanese edition has followed that of Dice Games Properly Explained, another book written by Reiner Knizia.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


In addition to the games, I also encountered many accessories at the venue. The accessory studio Colon, Yuran released "meeples floating in the sea", following the "meeples drifting in the sky" and "meeples lying in the field", which they released last autumn.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Majo no Jikkenshitsu sold meeple accessories made with resin containing garden flowers. The production of these accessories takes substantial time and trouble, so it is uncertain if they might be available again.

The Game Market Management Office will soon start the questionnaire survey on the newly-released games, and the results will be updated in real time. The winners of the Game Market Award will be announced at Tokyo Game Market 2019 Autumn, which will be held on November 23 and 24. In the selection process, the nominees will also be announced. I hope that this will provide a good opportunity for many people to encounter some board games they like.

•••

Postscript: Tokyo Game Market 2019 Spring: Attendance of 25,000 (original article)

The Game Market Management Office has announced that a total of 25,000 people attended Tokyo Game Market 2019 Spring, which was held on May 25 (Sat) and 26 (Sun) at Tokyo Big Sight Aumi Exhibition Hall. It was 14% higher than the attendance of 22,000 at Tokyo Game Market 2018 Autumn.

On the first day, 641 groups participated, with an estimated 4,000 people lined up before the opening, and the attendance was 14,000. On the second day, the number of participants was fewer, namely 536 groups and the number of people queueing before the opening declined by half to 1,900 people (according to Rael-san's report), but the overall attendance was 11,000.

Since Tokyo Game Market was first expanded to a two-day event starting with Tokyo Game Market 2017 Autumn, the attendance has steadily increased by approximately 10% from 18,500 to 20,000 to 22,000 to 25,000. If the attendance will keep increasing at this pace, it is expected to exceed 30,000 at the Tokyo Game Market that will be held after the next one.

The Game Market Management Office is carrying out an online questionnaire survey on the show. The questionnaire survey on newly-released games is also scheduled to start soon. Among the upcoming events, Tokyo Game Market 2019 Autumn on November 23 and 24, Tokyo Game Market 2020 Spring on April 25 and 26, and Tokyo Game Market 2020 Autumn on November 14 and 15 will all be held on Saturdays and Sundays at Tokyo Big Sight Aumi Exhibition Hall. Osaka Game Market 2020 is scheduled to be held on March 8 (Sun) at Intex Osaka. The call for participants will start later.
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Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:00 pm
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Osaka Game Market 2019: Report from Table Games in the World

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Editor's note: Game Market took place in Osaka on March 10, 2019, and Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English and who tweets about new JP games — has translated a report about this event that was 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 March 10 (Sun), Osaka Game Market 2019 was held at Intex Osaka in cold rainy weather. It was the eighth Game Market in the Kansai region since it started taking place there in 2012. With steady growth of the show, 395 booths exhibited in the hall covering an area of 6729 m², and the attendance was 6,900 according to the official announcement by the Game Market Management Office.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


While the venue has become larger by 30%, long queues and congestion were still witnessed in front of popular booths.

Osaka's daytime temperature was approximately 14° C on this day. At Intex Osaka, the facilities other than the halls are located outside, so the outside air kept flowing in and brought chilliness into the hall. This chilliness must have been felt quite severely especially by the people who began queuing two hours before the opening to buy the limited copies of some board games. Nonetheless, as the crowd of people queuing surged in at the opening, I felt as if the temperature in the venue rose by 1-2° C.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
I encountered a meeple cosplayer again this year


Mattel, a company that sells games such as Blokus and UNO throughout Japan, had their booth. It was their first time participating as an exhibitor in a Game Market, including both Tokyo and Osaka. Their main target is the mass market. A move by such a company to participate in Game Market suggests the growth of this event. Mattel says that their person in charge decided to participate after seeing a Tokyo Game Market in 2018. Many people stopped by their booth, and their games sold well.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Mattel booth


A sample of the Mobile Suit Gundam co-operative game, which has gathered many fans' attention, was on display prior to its release at the end of March 2019. The growth of the market opens the way to the release of licensed board games, which used to be quite difficult in the past.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Mobile Suit Gundam co-operative game


I would never have thought I could play a prototype of a game from overseas at Game Market, but even before the launching of the Kickstarter project to release Glen More II: Chronicles, its prototype was being displayed and demoed by Engames. Visitors could play the prototype with how-to-play instructions. Engames plans to release its Japanese edition jointly with the original publisher near the end of 2019.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Prototype of Glen More II: Chronicles


The number of newly-released board games from Japan at this year's Osaka Game Market was approximately 164 titles. If you add to this the number of board games from overseas, TRPG, TCG, escape game books, traditional games, and puzzle games, the number would easily exceed 200 titles.

Pentaland is a medium-weight board game produced by Neugier, a student group from Kyoto University. Select a cell from the pentagonal action space and perform the action using the workers indicated there. While you are required to collect resources and construct buildings, the limited workers and spaces to place the resources call for management skills. The effects of some buildings may help your management, while some may impose restrictions in exchange for high scoring points.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Pentagonal Pentaland


KOBE (from luck movies) is a game about making profits by loading various trading items onto your ships. You can make higher profits by collecting fewer types of items, so try to minimize the types of items you have through means such as adjusting your hand and buying items from other players. The rule that allows you to buy items from other players facilitates a tactical gameplay.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Language-independent KOBE with beautiful illustration


Fuji 99 (from sangenya) is a race game to descend to the 99th basement floor of Mt. Fuji by drawing cubes from your bag and advancing your player pieces. Depending on the color of the cubes you have drawn, you may use some cards' special abilities or you may end up overdrawing. The game comes with story books (with multiple endings), and only the winner can read a backstory explaining why they were heading to the basement floor of Mt. Fuji.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Fuji 99 with a bizarre mystery


Colorful Pyramid (from Kocchiya) is a card placement game to tap the stones forming your pyramid in order to acquire more stones and stack them by placing those with matching colors and values on top of each other. You may also use divine special abilities to handle trouble.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
A placed stone must match the color or value of the two stones directly below


Mr. Face is a new game from Oink Games, which has regularly participated in Game Market with a block booth. It is a game of conveying the situation stated on the chosen card to other players by placing and arranging facial parts on a blank face, like Fukuwarai (or "Lucky Laugh", a traditional Japanese game played around the Lunar New Year).


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Surprisingly expressive with so few parts


"TAGPLAN" is a tool to facilitate the counting of children's activities, such as homework and household chores, by weekly calendar and sticky notes.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Just before this Game Market, nine board game cafés in the local Kansai region announced the "Board Game Selection". New and recently-released games sent for the selection were played at these cafes, and the most recommendable and best games were announced.

The selected games, such as Era of Hunting, which received the Best Game Award, were on display along with the trophy and leaflets at the venue. I hope that this event will be held again next year.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Lastly, I would like to mention some notable accessories. Pieces that may be used for TRPG and board games (from Suekichi Koubou) were being displayed on the Agricola board.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


These wood-burned tags have messages such as "I'm off to the loo", "You're welcome at this table", and "Help me reduce my unplayed games", and they would be useful for situations frequented at board game gatherings.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


The next events will be Game Market 2019 Spring (May 25 [Sat] - 26 [Sun]), Game Market 2019 Autumn (November 23 [Sat] - 24 [Sun]), and Osaka Game Market 2020 (March 8 [Sun]).
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Fri Mar 22, 2019 3:39 pm
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Tokyo Game Market 2018 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 24-25, 2018, 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


From gallery of W Eric Martin

Tokyo Game Market 2018 Autumn took place at Tokyo Big Sight (West Halls 3 and 4) for two days starting on November 24, 2018. Here is my report on its first day.

Approximately three thousand people were queuing before the opening of the show at 10:00 a.m. (according to Rael-san's report). The total attendance over the two days is expected to be 22,000 by the Game Market Management Office and approximately 23,000 by Rael-san.


Caption: "Game Market has opened."


Shortly after the opening, a greater number of booths than normal had many people queuing in front of them. This is likely due to an increase in the number of both participants and attendees. As a result, the aisles were congested here and there, requiring more time to move in the venue.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

At the BakaFire Party booth, in addition to the people queuing to buy the games, fans crowded around the stage.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

The Little Future booth also had many people queuing for the second edition of Tokyo Sidekick and its expansion. Different cosplay characters appeared there each day.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Antoine Bauza, who now visits Tokyo Game Market quite regularly, was seen visiting booths and actively trying out games. Furthermore, his autograph session took place to celebrate the release of the Japanese edition of Attack on Titan: The Last Stand. [Editor's note: Cocktail Games' Matthieu d'Epenoux is seen at right. —WEM]

Here are some games that attracted people's attention:



From gallery of W Eric Martin

SINGULARITY is a tower defense and worker placement game from Head Quarter Simulation Game Club, whose previous game Improvement of POLIS released last autumn, is one of the finalists for the Game Market Award. It sold out quickly.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Duetti Pantiino (from UNiCORN) is a card game about placing one's ideal panties in line according to the player's fetish. It sold out quickly.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Mamey (from Hoy Games) is a card game about collecting cards from bean fields and selling them in sets to the market. There are three fields where cards accumulate if they are not selected. There is an upper limit to the number of cards you can keep in your hand, requiring tactical handling.


From gallery of W Eric Martin

TOKYO✖CROSSING, released on trial from Hanayama, is a game about making your way through the busy pedestrian scramble of Shibuya, Tokyo. The character pieces move differently according to their types: ninja, otaku, and high school girl.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Jelly Jelly Games released the Japanese edition of Shifty Eyed Spies, in which you wink at the player indicated on the card and try to determine the location on the table where that player is casting their glance. Meanwhile, you can challenge other players if you catch them winking.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Nage×Nage Portside YOKOHAMA (from KenBill) is a game in which you take turns playing cards. As soon as the icons on the cards played meet the criteria, throw your record disc into the turntable box in the center of the table. You need to throw in your record disc quickly without missing the box.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Psychic Pizza Deliverers Go to the Ghost Town (from One Draw) is a game that involves taking notes to deduce the positions of the pawns moved behind the screen by the game master.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Masala Magic (from natriumlamp games) uses scents of various spices for the gameplay. Nice scents were wafting around their table.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Saashi & Saashi had arranged with the Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau to produce and release the Kyoto City Bus 90th Anniversary Edition of Let's Make a Bus Route. This edition has been sold at various stores in Kyoto, such as Yellow Submarine, Tokyu Hands, and Bricks, as well as at the Kyoto City Train and Bus Fan Fair.

I see more and more board game accessories at recent Game Markets. Here are some notable new items on display. They are reasonably priced and quite alluring.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Rasen Works brought a rich variety of dice trays of diverse sizes and patterns.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Hot Games, using a 3D printer, produced board game accessories, such as poo tokens for Who Did It? and tile holders for The Castles of Burgundy.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Colon Yuran's accessories and card cases included meeples lying in the field.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Nicobodo had a magnet label saying "Board Gamer in Car" and a 2019 calendar with beautiful photos of board games.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

In this board game workbook from Dilettante, you can keep a log of the board games you have played.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Itayama Shoukai had a variety of wooden pieces.

BakaFire Party was not the only one to hold lively events in their block booth.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Sugorokuya invited guests to hold a participatory event to play pen-and-paper games and the giant-sized edition of Rhino Hero.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Masashi Kawaguchi of DEAR SPIELE, Azumi Date of Asobi Cafe, and Sho Shirasaka of Jelly Jelly Cafe speak during the board game café owner panel session hosted by Jelly Jelly Cafe.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Kengo Otsuka, Yoshihiko Koriyama, and Kazunari Yoshimitsu talk at the board game designer panel session hosted by Jelly Jelly Cafe.

I am looking forward to seeing many more events tomorrow.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


•••


Here is my report on the second day of Tokyo Game Market 2018 Autumn. The number of people queuing before the opening amounted to 1,700, almost half of that from yesterday (according to Rael-san's report), but the board game flea market, which opened one hour later, was much more crowded.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

More than 1,300 items were brought to this flea market managed by the Asakusa Board Game Flea Market Management Office, and the congestion was handled by issuing numbered tickets to the visitors.

On the second day, I had to check only the new games not present on the previous day, so I had relatively more time to spare, which I spent visiting demo tables and chatting with people. Such time to spare reminds me of the earlier days of Game Market when it was held in Asakusa. As the booths grew in number, our time to spare decreased and that led to the demand to expand Tokyo Game Market to a two-day event. Among the people I met, there were people I met for the first time, friends of friends, friends to meet after a long time, friends from my local region... It is always fun to meet and chat with such people at the Game Market.

It is worth noting that at this Game Market, there were more block booths where they held panel sessions and mini-game events on both days. Along with this, I witnessed many people watching not only such events but also many demo tables without playing the games. Thus, starting from an event to buy games, Game Market has expanded to new dimensions, to an event to play games and further to an event also to watch games.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

At the Jelly Jelly Cafe booth, rakugo storyteller Sanyutei Rakuten performed his TRPG-themed rakugo story titled "Innsmouth Nagaya" ("Innsmouth Tenement House") in front of an audience of more than one hundred people, who enjoyed the performance with laughter.

At 1:00 p.m., the ceremony for the Game Market Award took place for the designers of the five finalists (and winners of the Award of Excellence), namely Improvement of the POLIS, Instant Propose, Tenka Meidou, Tokyo Sidekick, and Tricks and the Phantom. The award ceremony was held in front of a large audience.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
The designers of the five games that won the Award of Excellence stand in line


First, the Expert Game of the Year, which was won by The Founders of ENDE in 2017, was won this year by Improvement of the POLIS (from Head Quarter Simulation Game Club). Improvement of the POLIS is a gamer's game in which you develop the city-states of ancient Greece by utilizing the characteristics of each city-state. It is presently out of stock, but it has been announced that this game will be published and distributed widely.



From gallery of W Eric Martin
Improvement of the POLIS (from Head Quarter Simulation Game Club)


After it was announced that there was no game to receive this year's Kids' Game of the Year, the Best Game of the Year was announced. With the sound of a drum roll, a decorated paper ball was broke in a traditional style to reveal the name of the winner, which was Tenka Meidou (from 77spiele). Tenka Meidou (which means "World Rumbling") is themed on the battles during the Sengoku period (the period of warring states). The chief juror Jun Kusaba commented that the game's flow to conquer small castles, then send reinforcement to larger castles reminded him of the famous warlord Oda Nobunaga, while the system to choose the areas to move one's troops by combining three dice rolls has a beauty like that of Reiner Knizia's games. There was also a comment mentioning that this third game from 77spiele is made with minimal components, such as the board being printed in black and white while the pieces were bought from 100-yen shops, demonstrating that the game's appeal can come through even without a fascinating appearance.

The game designer Shinichi Yogi, upon receiving the award, commented that he adores the works of Sid Sackson and Reiner Knizia and was very pleased that such designer's name was mentioned by the chief juror Jun Kusaba. He has not released any game after this third game, but I hope that receiving the award will prompt him to design more new games.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Tenka Meidou (from 77spiele) [Editor's note: This article's author, Takuya Ono, stands at right. —WEM]

The award ceremony venue was then transformed into an area to demo and try out the award winners: Improvement of the POLIS and Tenka Meidou. I noticed some staff members there teaching with remarkable skills how to play the games. I became curious and asked about them, and found out they were members of an organization called Analog Game Eventers, who were there by the request of the Game Market Management Office to teach how to play a number of board games as well as to work as game masters of some TRPG. In addition to their love for the games, they had studied in advance the rules of the games they were to teach in addition to making other efforts to prepare, such as devising short-game variants to demo long games. Game Market is being supported by such labor in the background.

Here are some board games I played and some that gathered attention on the second day:



From gallery of W Eric Martin

A new edition of Tricks and the Phantom, which received the Game Market Award of Excellence, was published from Oink Games with renewed artwork for wide distribution.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

5×5 City (from OKAZU Brand) is a tile-placement game to develop your city in accordance with the effects of building and blocks.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Candiabury (from Northgame) is a game to determine the whereabouts of the candy marbles dropped from the top of the board (which represents the night sky). Players choose one of the pockets to collect their marbles. Northgame has consistently released games with beautiful hand-made components in a small number of copies.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Noblesse Wallet (from ChagaChaga Games) is a game in which you draw coins from a bag and use them to shop, whereby you can increase usable special effects and the source of scoring. The players all share one bag, and this makes the game quite interactive and lively, prompting the players to shout things like, "Try to go for one more coin!" on another's turn.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

No Hand (from 758 Board Game Circle) has the subtitle "trick-taker without cards in your hand". After partly sharing the available information about the trump, how to follow suit, and ranks, some cards are placed in line and the players bid for the card they wish to play. Later, the players' applied rules are disclosed, then they check which color has won the trick.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

I Don't Wanna Leave Kotatsu (from Shime Shime Games) is a game about choosing whether or not to stay under the warm kotatsu-blanketed table on a cold day. The players secretly check their household chore cards and place orange tokens on the kotatsu table. Then they simultaneously choose to stay in the kotatsu or to move out of it to do their chore. Lastly, the oranges are divided among the people in the applicable groups according to the choices they made.



From gallery of W Eric Martin

Donou no Kai, which specializes in two-player abstract strategy games, was joined by the president of the publisher nestorgames (as shown) from Spain. They sold 33 games at their booth. Ken Shoda, who usually accompanies some guests as their interpreter/guide at Game Market, was also at the Donou no Kai booth as one of nestorgames' game designers.

Game Market Management Office has started the questionnaire surveys on the show and newly-released games. Your responses will be appreciated.

The upcoming events are Osaka Game Market 2019, which will be held on March 10 (Sun) at Intex Osaka, Tokyo Game Market 2019 Spring in May 25 (Sat) and 26 (Sun) at Tokyo Big Sight (Aumi), and Tokyo Game Market 2019 Autumn in November 23 (Sat) and 24 (Sun) at Tokyo Big Sight (Aumi). The maximum capacity of the Tokyo Big Sight Aumi Hall is twice as large as the present West Halls 3 and 4, so it is expected to sufficiently accommodate the increasing number of participants.

•••


Follow-up article: Tokyo Game Market 2018 Autumn: Attendance of 22,000 over Two Days (original post)

Game Market Management Office has announced that a total of 20,000 people attended Tokyo Game Market 2018 Autumn, Japan's largest analog game event, which was held on November 24 (Sat) and 25 (Sun) at Tokyo Big Sight. The attendance was 12,000 on the first day and 10,000 on the second day. In total, it was 2,000 people more and 10% larger than that of Tokyo Game Market 2018 Spring (May 2018).

Since Game Market expanded to a two-day event, the attendance has steadily increased from 18,500 to 20,000 to 22,000. Over the past three Game Markets, the number of exhibitors has changed from 730 to 692 to 779 and the number of newly-released games from Japan has changed from 495 to 301 to 564. Thus, both of them have reached the highest number at this Game Market.

The questionnaire survey on newly-released games, including original games, imported games, Japanese editions, TRPG and SLG, has started. An autocomplete widget, which displays the applicable game names after you enter the first few characters, has been newly adopted for higher ease of rating. If you have played any of these games, please submit your rating on them.
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Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:00 pm
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Tokyo Game Market 2018 Spring: Report from Table Games in the World

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Editor's note: Game Market took place in Tokyo on May 5-6, 2018, and Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English and who tweets about new JP games — has translated his reports about the event (day one and day two) from 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 Children's Day on May 5, the first day of Tokyo Game Market 2018 Spring was held at Tokyo Big Sight. The number of visitors has not been announced yet. However, according to an announcement by the Game Market Management Office, attendance reached over 10,000 people by the afternoon, so it seems certain that this show topped the attendance of the first day of Game Market 2017 Autumn.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Approximately 2,700 people were queuing before the opening at 10:00 a.m. (according to Rael-san's report). And they dispersed each to the booths of their destination as the show opened. The venue, joining two halls, was L-shaped and had many blind spots, so it is difficult to determine which booths had especially long queues in front of them.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
After waiting for four hours, people tend to walk hurriedly.


Still, the overwhelmingly number of people queuing to buy the new Sakura Arms game from BakaFire Party was quite remarkable. BakaFire Party had a block booth with a large stage in their area to hold a talk show to which the people who bought their games were preferentially invited.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
BakaFire Party talk show


There were eight block booths of varied colors, such as the blue Oink Games, red GP Games, orange Sugorokuya, and black DEAR SPIELE booths. Such block booths each covering an abundant space with many demo tables reminded me of the atmosphere of SPIEL in Essen.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Blue Oink Games

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Giant Ubongo 3-D at the GP Games booth

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Enter the gate into the Sugorokuya booth


Perhaps DEAR SPIELE's wall-covered Privacy demo room suggested a dazzling world awaiting the visitors as they walked through the split curtain with the R-18 icon on it?


From gallery of W Eric Martin
R-18!


I felt a SPIEL-like atmosphere not only from the use of the space. With an increase of participation and attendance from overseas, I frequently heard foreign languages, such as English and Chinese, at the venue. The number of exhibitors from Korea and Taiwan have also increased. Antoine Bauza, the designer of Hanabi and 7 Wonders, was playing Taiwanese board games with his friends. (An exhibitor's ability to teach how to play their games in English is very useful, especially for demoing their games to visitors from overseas.) BoardGameGeek, the world's largest board game database website, also had a booth at a corner of the venue to interview people and film their games.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Antoine Bauza at a demo table

From gallery of W Eric Martin
BGG interviews and filming assisted by Ken Shoda as an interpreter


My Japanese translation of the book "Leitfaden fur Spieleerfinder und solche, die es werden wollen. Ein praktischer Ratgeber" (by Tom Werneck) was released at the show before its official publication. Titled "ボードゲームデザイナーガイドブック" (which would translate as "Board Game Designer's Guide Book: A Practical Guide to Those Who Aim to Become One") (from Small Light), this pre-sale of 250 copies was well-received and sold out. I heard that many of those who bought the book had exhibitor tags on them. I hope that the book will be useful for their game production in the future.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Board Game Designer's Guide Book


The first issue of the analog game magazine "ALL Gamers!" was released. It includes many notable articles, such as the talk between Ginichiro Suzuki and his son Kazunari Suzuki, as well as a report on the Board Game Café Award to select the best games through the voting by board game cafés and shops.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
ALL Gamers!


After checking the newly released games at the venue in about four hours, I managed to try some games and talk to some people. Let me report the games I tried along with those that gathered attention.

In From Batavia (from COLON ARC), the players collect spice cards and load them on their ships. Depending on the spice cards, you can trigger special effects to improve the efficiency. The rule to hand the cards used for paying the cost to the player on the left leads to interesting gameplay.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Patisserie Trickcake (from KogeKogeDo) is a trick-taking game in which you must follow suit and supply tasty cakes to your customers. Even if you cannot win the trick, you can still keep your used cards as items on sale and play them collectively, so it is also possible to lose deliberately to save up such cards as a strategy.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Moneybags (from Oink Games) is a bluffing game to take coins from others' bags "to make them even" while trying to gain more money unnoticed. The sound produced when shaking each bag provides the clue.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Trap of Love (from TUKAPON) is a card game to form melds by your hand and use them to gamble. Some cards revealed from other players' hands provide clues for gambling, but they might turn out to be bluffing.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


In Alpenzian (from Fukuroudou), the players each build their village by choosing dice rolls and drawing pictures on their player sheet.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Glover (from New Games Order) is a negotiation game that won the Tokyo German Game Award.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Marché de France (from Head Quarter Simulation Game Club) is another heavy game from this group after Improvement of the POLIS.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Motto Watashi no Sekai no Mikata (from Ten Days Games) is the publisher's original expansion set to its Japanese edition of Wie ich die Welt sehe....


From gallery of W Eric Martin


In Saikoro New Town (from IOP Games), the players roll many dice, then create lands and buildings by combining the dice rolls.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


HIKTORUNE (from Koguma Koubou) is a cooperative game to pull out vertically-erected magic cards without toppling them.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Happiest Town (from Sato Familie) is a town-building game from Toshiki Sato, whose previous game (8bit MockUp) won Game Market Award's Best Game of the Year.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


In Savannah Smile (from Bodogeimu), the players try to assess the animals' movement in order to place their smartphones in the spots to take the best shots.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


In Renkin (Alchemy) (from ruri ruri games), the players use beads to connect high-scoring materials. This group has constantly produced games with gorgeous components and few copies.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Tsumigei Quiz ("Quiz on Unplayed Games on Your Shelf") (from Saikikaku) is a quiz game to present the names of games from their first and last letters.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Tokyo Sidekick (from Little Future) is a cooperative game in which superheroes and their sidekicks work together to fight against villains.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


•••


Here is my report on the second day of Tokyo Game Market 2018 Spring, which was held at Tokyo Big Sight. The number of people queuing before the opening amounted to approximately 40% of the number from yesterday (according to Rael-san's report). Lower attendance may have been tough for some exhibitors with regard to their sales (some exhibitors had wished to participate on Saturday but ended up on Sunday by lottery), but the visitors on the other hand could take seats at demo tables as well as engage in conversation with the exhibitors more easily.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


I noticed some people visiting the Game Market after other shows at Tokyo Big Sight. Regarding the changes to the kind of people visiting Game Market, increases in female visitors, couples, and families has long been mentioned. Furthermore, an increase in overseas visitors and specific game players was remarkable.

It has been a while since we began seeing visitors from overseas publishers, such as AEG, Cocktail Games, Asmodee, and Hans im Gluck, coming to Tokyo Game Market in search of games to scout, but I also felt a strong presence of exhibitors from overseas at the current show. Furthermore, a BoardGameGeek crew was filming interviews and videos to introduce many games. Some overseas visitors were negotiating at the Oink Games booth to buy games in bulk. French game designer Antoine Bauza was visiting the show with his friends. I heard many people talking in foreign languages at this Game Market. If this trend goes on, the exhibitors might as well consider getting staff members who can explain their games' rules in English just like at SPIEL.



By the term "specific game players", I am referring to people such as the players of Sakura Arms and Magic: The Gathering, people who mostly play TRPG and live-action role-playing games (LARP) as well as Escape Room game players. They tend to visit only a single section of the venue without walking around to check various booths. While the attendance has been rising, we might as well question the proportion of people visiting the show to see doujin (indie) board games. Besides, such board games at the show have become quite diverse, ranging from light party games to heavy ones, making it difficult to report about them all together.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Tokyo Game Market shortly after its opening


After checking newly released board games, I tried some games just like I did on the previous day. I limited the games that I'd buy only to those with original themes or systems, those with some degree of reliability on the designers' skills (according to their previous works and game description), and those I could not try at the venue. I did not reserve any game. Instead, I saw the games while visiting booths to check newly-released games and chose which ones to buy after hearing the game descriptions. I managed to visit all the booths before noon on both Saturday and Sunday, and I bought most of the games I chose before they became sold out.

In our board game community, there is a wise saying: "It is better to regret buying a game than it is to regret not buying it." I agree with this, but if I bought a game and left it unplayed, I would feel sorry for the people who produced it. Thus, I bought only enough games to play in one month after the show.

Under the circumstances, it was easier to buy books than board games at the show. I bought the first issue of "ALL Gamers!" (from AHC), Spiel Stern 2018 (from COLON ARC), Board Game Quiz Extended (from Banjiro), Gamer Tsuma no Yuutsu ("The Melancholy of a Gamer's Wife") (from Horiba Koubou), and Board Game Café Path (from Bodotte Iitomo!) and read some of them during the trip.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Board Game Café Path sold out. Its second issue is scheduled to be released in Autumn. I also had some time to spend outside the venue, so I had lunch at the kitchen car area. I tried the food tasting of yogurt and pudding supplied by Pal System food home delivery service, then ate a plate of kebab. It was windy but the weather was fine and felt good. The sunshine was so dazzling.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Kitchen cars, all looking nice


The next Game Market will be held on November 24 (Sat) and 25 (Sun) at Tokyo Big Sight. Due to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, it will be difficult to reserve a venue in the Tokyo Metropolitan area starting in 2019, but I hear that the Game Market Management Office is presently on the move to secure one.

Here are some games that I tried and some that caught my eye at the venue.

Suzume-Jong (from Sugorokuya), a mahjong game with minimized mahjong tiles, sold a lot at the show. There was also a section to try mahjong along with many books on mahjong. The booths exhibiting Goita-related products were also popular, indicating the power of such traditional games.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Stock hold'em (from OKAZU Brand) is a stock trading game in which the players place their cards face down and the stock prices are eventually determined according to poker hands. Hot stocks have high prices, so you would hope to buy stocks when they are low-priced and sell them as their prices rise. However, if you keep buying the same stock, other players would hinder you. According to OKAZU Brand, their sales (at a single event) was an all-time high.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


SMART 500 Games released four titles, namely Stray Cat, Negotiator, Starry Swear, and Stationeries. They have firmly revived the 500-yen game project, which has long continued in some way or other as a kind of tradition at Game Market. Their games, sharing the same box art, stimulates one's desire to completely collect such games.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


In Kokikoki Station (from EVIL Team), the players put the cargo pieces in their hands onto containers. The objective is to have the fewest cargo pieces in your hand when all the containers are filled, but you drop out if you run out of your cargo pieces before that.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


The tricktaking game Ubergang des Barocks ("Transition of Baroque") and trivia game BodoCa (from Colorful Spiele) were both designed by Aya Matsunaga, an administrator of the board game data base ボドゲーマ (Boardgamer).


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Kani no Koushin ("Marching of Crabs") (from Azb.Studio) is a cooperative game to guide and help crabs. Its Styrofoam box contains gorgeous components.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


In Morse Karuta (from GIFT10INDUSTRY), the players try to identify a card according to the Morse code tapping produced with the game app downloaded to a smartphone. Various audio versions of the Morse code are available.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Yuusha ga Ichigeki de Yarareta! ("Our Hero Was Defeated at a Single Blow!") is a one-against-many game in which the warrior, wizard, and priest try to escape from Satan in its castle. With a point system, you might also get to survive by sacrificing others.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


The questionnaire survey on newly-released games will soon begin. Even after buying games at the venue, until you have shared your comments on such games with others and answered the survey, Game Market 2018 Spring will still continue...
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Tue May 22, 2018 4:31 pm
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Osaka Game Market 2018: Report from Table Games in the World

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Editor's note: Game Market took place in Osaka on April 1, 2018, and Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English and who tweets about new JP games — has translated this report about the event from 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 for translating this! —WEM

On April 1, as cherry blossoms were in full bloom, Osaka Game Market 2018 was held at Intex Osaka in Suminoe Ward, Osaka City. After holding Game Markets in Kobe for two years, the Game Market in the Kansai region returned to Osaka this year, and the attendance has grown from 4,700 at 2017's Kobe Game Market to 6,000 (according to the announcement by the Game Market Management Office).

Although I did not notice many games becoming a topic of conversation on Twitter before the show, there was the usual long line of people waiting before the opening. As the show opened at 10:00 a.m., they rushed into the venue. Many people queued to buy games, such as GANGSTER PARADISE Requiem (from Kaishin Games), which had drawn attention through crowdfunding, and Liqueur the GAME (from B-CAFE and Butagoya).


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Oink Games released its new game Zogen, which was designed by Anja Wrede and Christoph Cantzler, who have produced games such as Shark Alarm!!! They had brought the game idea to the Oink Games booth at the 2018 Spielwarenmesse Toy Fair in Nürnberg, Germany in February and it was quickly made into a product. While the game title comes from the Japanese word "zogen" (ゾーゲン), which means "increase and decrease", it also sounds a little German. The Oink Games booth was also selling the Deep Sea Adventure T-shirt.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Zogen is a real-time pattern recognition game in which each player tries to play the cards from their hand to the center of the table and race to get rid of them until a player has only three cards in hand. Try to find a card that differs from the previously-placed card by exactly one pattern (micro-organism) and lay down that card while saying the pattern's name.

Meanwhile, other players can challenge your judgment by calling out "Zogen!" and if your judgment turns out to be wrong, you must receive the cards laid down on the table until that point. The game continues unless anyone calls out "Zogen!", and the players are all busy checking the cards in their hands, so even sloppy judgments may go unnoticed. Thus, even players with sharp judgment do not necessarily win the game.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Tricks and the Phantom (from Brain Brain Games) is a minimal deduction game that provides incredibly strategic gameplay with very few cards. It was initially released with English and Japanese text, and now a Korean edition has been released after a South Korean board game café showed an interest in the game. At Osaka Game Market, this game's variant rules for different number of players were distributed for free.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


I encountered a meeple cosplayer with a haiku-like phrase on its body that reads:

Quote:
Though we have proclaimed
It's tough to proceed with / The way of board games
Our long road ahead / May extend to infinity
However, the venue was too crowded for him to walk around, so he stayed at the entrance/exit to see people off. The meeple costume can be put on like a stand-in cutout.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


At 3:00 p.m., there was a talk show with the French board game designer Bruno Faidutti along with Seiji Kanai (Kanai Factory) and Hisashi Hayashi (OKAZU Brand). The show was hosted by Nobuaki Takerube. Izobretenik provided help as the interpreter. In response to Seiji Kanai's question on good games that have been played, Bruno Faidutti referred to the timing of their publication, commenting that Citadels would not have sold this much if it was published recently.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


At this Game Market, board game accessories were quite prominent. The groups selling such products were located in D row, where various creative accessories were on display. Here are some dice towers and card stands produced by Cygnus.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Mr. and Mrs. Takahashi, who run the second-hand board game shop Schatzi in Amagasaki, had a booth under the name "MeepRing!!" where they sold meeple-patterned microfiber cloths. There could be a high demand for such a cloth among us board gamers with a relatively high proportion of people wearing glasses.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Koma no Toki had necklaces using Agricola pieces at their booth. Furthermore, there were many other charming items, such as meeple buttons (from Taka-Meeple), Darekara dice (from Hako no Soto), and tote bags (from Northgame).


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Among the Kansai region's local game designers, Toryo Hojo of Loser Dogs released his new satirical game Heisei Shuuryou no Oshirase (Announcing the End of Heisei Era). It is a word game to nominate new names for the upcoming era by combining kanji characters. As a satirical game valuing the news, the game also comes with the data showing how often each kanji character has been used in the names of previous eras.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


OKAZU Brand released its latest game MetroX. In this game, using the numbers revealed by drawing cards, all players fill up their subway map with ◯s in the station spaces to create subway networks. It is another paper-and-pencil game by OKAZU Brand following Rolling Japan. The rules whereby the players can fill up only adjoining stations with ◯s combined with the subway's interwoven system create a nice and tough dilemma for the players. With the maps for the Osaka Municipal Subway, which was renamed to "Osaka Metro" on April 1, and that for Tokyo Metro, this game is also good for studying subways.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


I also managed to try out Tribes, a trick-taking game created by Beginners, a first-time exhibitor from Osaka. The game is comprised of three phases, whereby the players first play a card from their hand (you may follow suit), take one of the cards laid out and use it to gain their resource, then use the resource in combinations to earn victory points. Even if you play a card to gain a certain resource, it may be taken by another player, thus requiring a tactical gameplay.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Rezest, a social network game production company from Kansai, created a board game based on their browser game and released it with the title JOLLYROGER 〜大海の覇権〜 (Jolly Roger: Ocean Supremacy). Digital game companies moving into the board game market is also a recent trend.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


In Game Markets in Kansai, the cosplay by Chim, the store manager of BOARDGAME.Lab!DDT, has also become a well-known practice.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Lastly, here is another cosplay to promote the game Rule of Magic (from River Games).


From gallery of W Eric Martin


So that is my leisurely report provided along with photos. While both the venue and attendance have grown larger, Osaka Game Market is still relatively small compared to Tokyo Game Market and I consequently had ample time to enjoy the show. In Tokyo, on the other hand, I would be too busy checking newly released games. In Osaka, it was good to meet, talk, and have a relaxing time with many people, such as the people who participated in the Adult Board Game Festival on the day before the Game Market, the people I had previously known only over the Internet, and the people I met again after a long while. I hope to see you people again next year!
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Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:00 pm
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Tokyo Game Market, Autumn 2017 — Report from Table Games in the World

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Editor's note: I missed out on Tokyo Game Market in December 2017, but Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English (hire him!) and who tweets about new JP games — has translated reports about the event from Takuya Ono, who runs the Table Games in the World blog. Mr. Ono has given permission to reprint the photos from his posts, and I've linked to each post in the section title. Many thanks to Saigo for translating these reports! —WEM

Day 1 (original report in Japanese)

On December 2, the first day of the Autumn 2017 Tokyo Game Market took place at Tokyo Big Sight. Game Market was initially launched in 2000, and the 34th Game Market has expanded to a two-day show for the first time because one-day events are no longer sufficient to serve the increasing number of participants and attendees by merely expanding the size of the venue. As a result of shifting to a two-day show, the number of participating exhibitors (when compared to the Autumn 2016 Game Market) increased by 35% to 730 groups, and the number of new games released at this event increased by 35% to 466 titles (provisional figure).


From gallery of W Eric Martin
From the entrance, Catan's red and Oink Game's blue colors look prominent


When the event opened at 10:00 a.m., the people who had been queuing since before 6:00 a.m. rushed in at once. The venue, which covers an area of 11,680 square meters, did not feel overcrowded, but people formed long queues in front of some booths to buy limited items and expansion sets of popular games. A reported four hundred people queued in front of the BakaFire Party booth to buy the latest expansion set for Sakura Arms. There was a line of almost two thousand people waiting before Game Market opened (according to Rael-san's report), so one in five people among them are estimated to have queued for Sakura Arms.

After the crowd rushed in at the opening, I walked around to visit each booth and check the newly-released games. The Game Market management office has gathered information on newly-released games through its questionnaire survey, but the information gathered so far is still not complete, which might affect choices in the Game Market Award selection, so I decided to visit each booth to view everything first-hand.

It took me almost all day until closing time, but eventually I managed to visit and check all the booths, except for some that left early. Quite a few people may have noticed me walking around with a laptop in one hand. It was a hard work, but it allowed me to talk with many people and also make some lucky finds, so I think it was worth it.

At this Game Market, I heard some people mention the presence of many overseas visitors and couples. Many of the people from overseas were apparently Chinese. I asked Game Market participants from China about this, and they said that such visitors probably included many people studying in Japan as well as board gamers who came all the way from China, Taiwan, etc. Many people from Western countries were also seen in the venue.

The attendance on the first day is estimated to be approximately 11,000 people. With some booths having sold out their stock for this day, I have high hopes also for the attendance on the second day.

I managed to try out two games this day.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


In Laurel Crown, designed by Seiji Kanai, the players collect fighters through drafting and battle in tournaments. The fighter cards, whose ranks range from from C (lowest) to S (highest), each have a different ability. These fighter cards are lined up, and the players take them one by one.

Five tournaments then take place according to various regulations (such as battles between S-rank fighters and those between male fighters). The players send fighter cards from their hand to the battle and reveal them at the same time. The fighters' powers are determined by dice rolls combined with special powers. The players, in descending power order, gain honor points, then move on to the next tournament. In this way, the player with the most honor points wins. The fighters' powers are hugely influenced by dice rolls. I also enjoyed the occasional surprises, such as a C-rank fighter defeating an S-rank fighter. (2-4 players / 14+ / 20-40 min.)


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Troika from Oink Games is a tile-flipping game to gather jewels and fuel from a planet and return to the home planet. Tiles numbered 1 to 15 are placed face down in the play area. On your turn, flip a tile and choose to take a tile (whether face-up or face-down) or return an unwanted tile to the play area. The tiles transform into a gem when you assemble a straight of three tiles and serve as fuel when you assemble a three-of- a-kind; you lose points based on the remaining tiles not used.

Each round ends when all the tiles have been flipped, and among those who have fuel, the players with more valuable jewels gain more points. After three rounds, the player with the most overall points wins. The quantity of each numbered tile is open information, so you can assess which tiles to take according to other players' acquired tiles. There are relatively many 7s that are useful for both scoring and forming the fuel, which increases the competition for them. This is a fairly light game with a clever twist. (2-5 players / 7+ / 20 min.)


From gallery of W Eric Martin
The cloth game board and shiny checkers of Graffiti Gammon (from HAPPY GAMES)


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Appetizing German beer cards of Willkommen, Bierfest! (from 10-Shiki Gameworks)


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Raid on Taihoku (from Mizo) is a serious game from Taiwan


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Wooden Domemo (from Chronos) sold as an alternative to the recently released cardboard version


From gallery of W Eric Martin
In SAN_GE SHAKA (from ADGGames), place flowers on a wire netting via magnets to form patterns


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Darekara Dice (from Hakonosoto) is a communicative item to determine the start player


From gallery of W Eric Martin
New Board Game Party exhibited various versions of TimeBomb published in different languages


From gallery of W Eric Martin
An untitled prototype by Northgame — it is pure beauty


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Exhibiting various accessories, such as meeple buttons and dice trays


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Vol. 2 of the manga "Bodoge de Asobuyo!!" (Come to Play Board Games!!), which appears serially on this website (TGiW) was released;
Ojisama Hige Atsume (Dandy Beard Collection), the imaginary card game that appeared in this manga, was also sold as a real card game


•••


Day 2 (original report in Japanese)

Continuing from yesterday, here is my report on the second day of the Autumn 2017 Tokyo Game Market. The turnout is slow compared to the first day, with approximately 1,200 to 1,300 people queuing before the opening (according to the Rael-san's report). Nonetheless, there was much attendance after the opening, and it was a lively event until the end.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Who will win the Best Game of the Year?


After checking the booths exhibiting only on the second day (Sunday), I participated in the awarding ceremony for the Game Market Award. The ceremony was held at the farthest corner of the venue, but nearly eighty people gathered at the ceremony, perhaps partly due to it being the only special event held in the venue at this Game Market. The ceremony was hosted by Tetsuya Ikeda, who was assisted by Rameru Suzuno (from Spiel Yuenchi).

First, the Awards of Excellence, which had been announced on November 4, were given to the people who had produced these five games. Following that were announcements for Kids' Game of the Year, Expert Game of the Year, Special Award, and Best Game of the Year.

Game Market Award 2017
• Best Game of the Year: 8bit MockUp (from Sato Familie)
• Kids' Game of the Year: Kittys (from Little Future)
• Expert Game of the Year: The Founders of ENDE (from imagine GAMES)
• Award for Excellence: Path to Yaaru (from Fukuroudou)
• Award for Excellence: Bob Jiten (from TUKAPON)
• Special Award: - KUFU - (from ruri ruri games)


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Jun Kusaba, chairman of the awards committee, hands the award certificate and shield to Tori Hasegawa, illustrator of 8bit MockUp, which won the Best Game of the Year


Toshiki Sato, who designed 8bit MockUp, could not attend the ceremony and was apparently on his way to Hokkaido. Mr. Hasegawa commented, "Neither of us can drink, but I would like to go for a drink to celebrate this with Mr. Sato and the people who helped us", to which the host Mr. Ikeda replied, "Then you can celebrate with milk or something."




Since we couldn't hear from him at Game Market, I interviewed Mr. Sato by email. I heard that, from the game design idea of using oblique lines on the tiles, Mr. Hasegawa came up with the idea of applying 8-bit game artwork, seeking a feel of video games such as Populous, Dragon Quest, and Xevious.

TGiW: Please tell us about the process of this game's creation.

Sato: After building the game system in the winter of 2016, we worked on deciding the theme and adjusting some details. Actually, I was hesitating whether to actually release such a game. Its mechanisms are similar to Carcassonne and Karuba, so I was not sure if it was worth releasing a game without much innovation. When I first talked to Mr. Hasegawa about it, he said, "How about an 8-bit game?" and that inspired me. The production of this game owes much to our desire to create an 8-bit world, regardless of it being innovative or not.

TGiW: What point did you think and work out the most?

Sato: We had its rulebook proofread and refined quite a lot. Around the time of the Autumn 2016 Tokyo Game Market, there was much discussion about doujin game rulebooks, so we worked on this game's rulebook carefully, hoping that it could be a good example.

TGiW: Please comment on receiving the award.

Sato: I am truly grateful for this fortune whereby we can create games with so many people's help. Please keep watching us as we will keep creating new games.

TGiW: What are your future plans?

Sato: We have sold out the second edition of 8bit MockUp at this Game Market, so please wait for a while before we print more copies. We are planning to release a new game at the Spring 2018 Tokyo Game Market, so please try it when it comes out.


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Five people receiving the awards. Congratulations!


I met and talked with G. Benassar, the Licensing & New Business Director of Asmodee (France), at the venue. Here is my summary of his comments. He said that after encountering the board games that initially debuted at Game Market and were later introduced to Western countries — games such as Machi Koro and Love Letter — he began visiting Game Market starting in May 2017. Mr. Benassar said that at Game Market, he was impressed by the amount of passion put into the games as well as the unique graphics and fresh ideas. Hoping to extend such ideas more professionally, he said that they were considering the distribution of some titles.

In addition to its office in France, Asmodee has offices in countries such as Germany, USA, and China, and it sold 34 million copies of analog games globally in 2016. It distributes games through labels such as Fantasy Flight Games, Days of Wonder, What's Your Game?, and Pearl Games. If the games that initially debuted at Game Market were to be distributed from Asmodee, Mr. Benassar said that the game circles' names would be kept likewise as labels, so it seems that the names of more doujin circles will be known globally sooner or later.

I managed to play three games on this day.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Rattaneer from OKAZU Brand is a middleweight game with a playing time of less than one hour. From ten area tiles arranged in a row, each player chooses two tiles as their destinations, then all the players reveal their choices simultaneously. You can earn money, hire pirates, loot boats, then convert that loot to victory points according to your chosen areas. Starting from Area 1, check whether there are any empty (unconnected) area tiles. The actions stated on the areas after the empty area do not take effect. Aiming for a destination that's farther away brings you a higher risk of having your chosen action negated paired with the outside chance of monopolizing an area and gaining more reward. I enjoyed the gameplay whereby you try to lead and predict other players' actions to have their tokens placed up to your destinations. (2-5 players / 10+ / 30-45 min.)


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Sly Knight Seekers from COLON ARC is a card game in which the players seek a robber by team play. Play your card to identify and take a card at an end of the hand of your opponent, who is holding their cards in ascending order. Using the cards you have exchanged with your teammate and what you have heard as clues, try to guess the whereabouts of each card by counting. It is also possible to take a chance on simultaneous investigation to take many cards at once, so you had better stay on your guard at all time. (2-5 players / 10+ / 30 min.)


From gallery of W Eric Martin


The Queen of the Hansa from Yuruart is a board game in which the players, as Hanseatic traders, compete for trade supremacy. On your turn, play one card from your hand of two cards, then replenish your hand with a card from the area of the matching color. Settle accounts regularly after playing five cards. The players who have played cards with more trade goods per each color gain more points. The points gained from each area fluctuates.

Along with the set collection of important figures and competition for majority in Lubeck City (with cards being played face down and revealed at the end), this game requires thoughtful decisions despite the simple choice between two options on each turn. (2-4 players / 10+ / 30-45 min.)

Fumie no Tame ni, meaning "For Fumie", is a two-player deduction game designed by Seiji Kanai and published by One Draw that also gathered attention. I could not play it at the venue, but it is worth mentioning.

The game takes place in a world where a high school girl named Fumie met a mysterious death. The players travel back in time to a few days before her death and try to save her. Fumie no Tame ni contains a secret whereby some cards' effects are gradually revealed during the gameplay. Demoing by playing the game was not available at the venue, but it is not a game with a legacy system. You can play it to the end and play it again. I also heard that its illustration by Noboru Sugiura, who did the artwork of the initial Love Letter, also drew attention, and many of the people who bought this game were female visitors. According to Hayato Kisaragi, who runs One Draw, Fumie no Tame ni is a very unique game and the people's opinions on it would be divided. I could not play it, so instead, here is a photo of Hayato Kisaragi and Seiji Kanai.


From gallery of W Eric Martin



From gallery of W Eric Martin
According to Keiji Kariya, general manager of the Game Market Management Office, there were slightly more exhibitors on Saturday and the advance tickets for Saturday sold more. However, many people attended the event on Sunday with a day ticket and Mr. Kariya guesses that many of them were families who came by casually. With regard to that, opening the kids' game section on Sunday worked out well.

Among the 730 groups who participated in exhibiting, 42% of them exhibited on both days, 33% did only on Saturday, and 25% did only on Sunday. Mr. Kariya said that he had not expected that the Saturday and Sunday shows would be so well-balanced.

•••


Attendance Figures (original post in Japanese)

The Game Market Management Office has announced that a total of 18,500 people attended the Autumn 2017 Tokyo Game Market, Japan's largest analog game event. The attendance was 10,000 on the first day and 8,500 on the second day. In total, this number was 5,500 people and 42% higher than the 13,000 attendance figure for the Spring 2017 Tokyo Game Market in May.

In recent years, the attendance at Tokyo Game Market, which is held semiannually, has increased by approximately one thousand people at each show: 5000→6500→7200→8500→9500→11000→12000→13000. At this pace, the current Game Market would have had an attendance of approximately 14,000, but even more attendance was expected by expanding to a two-day event for the first time. The attendance did not double from the previous one, but it nonetheless increased significantly.

The dispersing of attendees over two days reduced congestion and also brought some advantages, such as ease of moving in the venue and joining demo tables. On Sunday, I noticed people who had participated on the previous day as exhibitors were now visiting other booths, and I saw an aspect of this event where people can enjoy and communicate interactively as both exhibitors and visitors.

The upcoming events are the 2018 Osaka Game Market, which will be held on Sunday, April 1 at Intex Osaka; the Spring 2018 Tokyo Game Market, which will be held on Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6 at Tokyo Big Sight; and the Autumn 2018 Tokyo Game Market in November, which will also be a two-day event.
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Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:00 pm
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Kobe Game Market 2017 Report from Table Games in the World

To follow up the translation of Nicobodo's report on the 2017 Kobe Game Market, Saigo — who frequently translates game rules from Japanese to English and who tweets a lot about new JP games — has translated several reports from Takuya Ono, who runs the excellent Table Games in the World blog. Mr. Ono has also given permission to reprint the photos from his posts, and I've linked to each post in the section title. My great thanks to Saigo for the effort involved in getting permission and translating these reports! —WEM

Kobe Game Market 2017 Report (original post in Japanese)

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The event took place in the same venue (Building No. 3) as in 2016;
the booth layout was not narrow, but it was quite congested in many areas


On Sunday, March 12, 2017, Kobe Game Market 2017 took place at Kobe International Exhibition Hall (Chuo Ward, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture). This was the sixth Game Market in the Kansai region and the second Game Market after the event moved from Osaka to Kobe. The 198 groups of participants — including board game publishers, board game stores, and doujin game circles — sold and displayed doujin board games (including 84 new titles), imported games, used games, books, and other board-game-related items; the attendance was later announced at 4,700 people.


From gallery of W Eric Martin

A line of people waiting under the Port Liner railway viaduct before the opening,
with a passion for board games to beat the cold!


Over one thousand people waited in line before the opening for the limited number of items sold at the event. This year's Kobe Game Market was held approximately one month later than in 2016, with the weather showing some signs of spring. Still, it was below 10º Celsius in the morning. When the venue opened at 10:00 a.m., many people rushed to board game stores DDT and Trickplay. Both of these stores sell unique games imported through their original routes. Many attendees rush to imported games before doujin games. This may be a notable characteristic of the Game Market in the Kansai region.


From gallery of W Eric Martin

Chim, the store manager of BOARDGAME.Lab!DDT, cosplaying as a phantom thief;
DDT's feature item is Gangsi, which is a Chinese-themed reimplementation of Fluch der Mumie (Pyramid)


On the other hand, doujin games are gathering attention as well. Many booths were constantly crowded until late afternoon with many games becoming sold out. With people crowding in front of booths, it's become vital to plan in advance to visit some booths. Otherwise, it would be difficult to simply wander around and casually seek games that may interest you.

Still, with fewer participants compared to Tokyo Game Market, I had relatively ample time to have a look at the games. The venue was open for seven hours, the same as at Tokyo Game Market — but compared to TGM in late 2016 in which 539 groups participated, I could, at a rough estimate, spend more than twice the time at each booth. I heard both participants and attendees saying, "This is just the right size." At the venue, I tried out quite a few games, nine titles in total. I hope to report about them separately.

At TGM in late 2016, Oink Games set up a large booth like those seen at the SPIEL game fair in Essen, Germany. They recently established a German branch — Oink Games GmbH — to spread their games farther in Europe. I heard that the female German staff member who helped the Oink Games booth at SPIEL will be the branch manager to market their games. I was also told that Oink Games is considering participation next year in fairs like Gen Con (USA) and the Cannes International Games Festival (France). Such activities would open up a new field for Japanese board games, which so far have been introduced overseas through license contracts with overseas publishers.


From gallery of W Eric Martin

Oink Games released Startups at this Game Market;
their recent release The Pyramid's Deadline is also getting off to a good start, already having sold 3,000 copies


At the venue, some news was also announced, such as that of the Osaka-based Kiwi Games board game store opening their second store in late April near Shin-Osaka Station and Kobe-based Group SNE planning to start publishing an analog game magazine, Game Mastery, in August. Let me also note that Toryo Hojo, a Kansai-based satirical game designer, released two new games, namely Oden no Shukusai (A Feel for Oden) and a free-distributed game Trump Wall.

As I did in 2016, in Kobe I attended a gathering on the previous day of the Game Market as well as a gathering held right after the Game Market. There, I met and talked with the people sharing the hobby, both local people of the Kansai region and people from distant regions, such as Kyushu. On both days, after the gatherings, I visited Trickplay where I had long talks until 11:00 p.m., some of which were recorded for the board game podcast "Buta no Nakigoe". With the attendance to the Game Market having increased by one thousand from last year, it's difficult to stay at "the right size". Meanwhile, it was still a cozy event with a feel of "knowing each other's face", a feel that we may be losing rapidly at Tokyo Game Market.

•••


Kobe Game Market 2017: Attended by 4,700 People (original post)

Arclight, the organizer of Kobe Game Market 2017, held at Kobe International Exhibition Hall on March 12, 2017, announced that 4,700 people attended the event. From Kobe Game Market 2016 (with 3,700 attendees), attendance increased by 1,000 people, approximately 30%.

In 2017, the number of participants was 198 groups, five groups fewer than last year. (The second-round application was not launched so as to keep some space in the venue.) The number of new games released at this event was 84 titles, which is 17 titles more than last year. Along with them, many previously-released games, imported games, used games, accessories, and self-published books were displayed for sale.

Tokyo Game Market 2017 Spring will be held two months later in Sunday, May 14 at Tokyo Big Sight. The attendance at Tokyo Game Market has constantly increased by approximately 1,000 people at each event, having reached 12,000 attendees at Tokyo Game Market 2016 Autumn [in December]. It seems that the attendance in the Kansai region is increasing at the same pace.



•••



Kobe Game Market 2017 Game Report: Mask of Moai, Bon Voyage: Weather vs Navigator, Garimpeiro (original post)

At a Game Market venue, I try to play as many games as possible without spending too much time on buying games or talking. It's partly for gathering information for the Game Market Award and personally due to the fact that buying the games tends to result in leaving them unplayed while many other new games are released almost daily these days. Furthermore, after hearing a request from overseas asking for information on new games, this time I played games at the venue more actively. Most of the booths have only one demo table, so you often wait until the previous group is over. On the other hand, it was a lot of fun to play the games with the playful gamers of Kansai. I'd like to thank the staff who explained the rules and the people who played the games with me.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Mask of Moai (Publisher: GIFT10INDUSTRY)

Following Mask of Anubis, Mask of Moai also uses the smartphone for a cooperative game incorporating virtual reality (VR). First, attach a smartphone with the supplied application installed into the paper VR goggles. Then describe what you see to your team members, who try to create a map of a temple by arranging tiles and pieces based on your information. The goggle-wearing player's position in the temple changes each time the players change their turn. Combine the information from each player to create a large map.

Certified by Mu, a magazine about paranormal phenomena, the game is set in a unique world with a moai statue at the bottom of the sea. Using clay to create the shape of extraterrestrial strange creatures named Rapa Rapas, the players win by helping the Rapa Rapas reach the landing place of their spaceship.

The map and the shape of Rapa Rapas are automatically generated at each game with approximately one million variations. Exploring the fun factors of a board game, there is also a variant with additional puzzle elements along with communication restrictions using yes-no questions and onomatopoeia.

First, describe the landscape above the water, then dive into the water and describe what you see inside the submarine temple. Your communication skills are challenged by a time limit. Furthermore, if you encounter a Rapa Rapa, remember its shape so as to reproduce it with clay after removing the goggles. Getting totally absorbed in the game made me feel somewhat like wandering into the submarine temple.

Mask of Moai
Designer: Takashi Hamada
Artist: Haruka Kajikawa, Toshi Murase, Masashi Sato
Publisher: GIFT10INDUSTRY
(2017)
2-6 Players / 10+ / 30-60 Min / 4,600¥

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From gallery of W Eric Martin


Bon Voyage: Weather vs Navigator (Publisher: COLON ARC)

This voyage card game is a remake of Koukai no Hibi (Days of Voyage), which was released by Jiyu Rakka as a 500-yen game at Tokyo Game Market 2012 Spring. It's a light game from COLON ARC, following To Unlimited, and Beyond and Sly Knight Robbery.

The players hold their crew chips in their hands and disclose them at once. After that, flip the current event card and pay or receive chips in order from the first place. Mostly, being first is advantageous with less payment, but it may occasionally lead to a loss depending on the event, thus making you wonder how much you should hold in your hand.

You keep flipping the event cards until the "Touching Land" card is flipped. This provides some ideas to assess the cards that haven't been flipped with some elements of counting. The game ends when the crew chips of one of the players are used up, and the player with the most crew chips wins.

There is also an additional set of rules to use special event cards with drastic effects for a more dynamic game. The variety of events, some of which imposing a penalty for holding too few crew chips, also led to lively conversation, like "That card would come out soon", "No, no, it's still early".

Bon Voyage: Weather vs Navigator
Designer & Artist: Yusuke Soraji
Publisher: COLON ARC
(2017)
2-6 Players / 8+ / 15 min / 1,800¥

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From gallery of W Eric Martin


Garimpeiro (Publisher: Group SNE)

In this board game, the players compete in gold mining at the Amazon river. A game which received an honorable mention at the first Group SNE Board/Card Game Contest was developed into this game. With this, all the games which won prizes at the said contest have been made into products: two games which won the awards, namely Space Ninja and Gambler × Gamble!, and three games which received the honorable mention, namely Animal Mind, Demon Worker, and Garimpeiro.

In this game, the players first put out planning cards all at once, disclose their cards one by one in order, then replenish their hand with money or workers along with raising their workers' status. Since you cannot choose the same item as the player before you, select your planning card while considering what other players are likely to play.

After replenishing your hand, place workers in descending order of their status and take action. To perform an action already chosen by another player, more workers are required.

While various actions, such as buying victory point cards to gain special abilities and carrying over your money to the next year, are available, the main action lies in what to do with the gold mine. In this phase, you draw special dice from the bag according to the number of workers you've placed and roll these dice. You gain points according to the number of gold nuggets on the dice roll. The special dice vary in probability, ranging from the white die to get gold with a one-sixth chance to the purple die to get gold with a half chance. It was exciting to both draw and roll such dice.

In the long run, you cannot win by the simple gambling of sending more workers to the gold mine. The special abilities of the victory point cards also become increasingly effective. This is a gamer's game designed precisely down to details.

Garimpeiro
Designer: Kazuto Masukawa
Artist: Kouji Ogata
Publisher: cosaic
(2017)
3-4 Players / 12+ / 45-60 min / 4,500¥

•••


Kobe Game Market 2017 Game Report: Wild Gold, Putzroboter, Across the Universe (original post)

Here is my second report of the games that I played at Kobe Game Market 2017 on March 12.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Wild Gold (Publisher: 6jizo [Rokujizo])

In this card game, the players create tools from cards and use them to dig a gold mine. It's the first time for this circle to participate in a Game Market. The name of the circle 6jizo (Rokujizo) comes from Rokujizo Station in Kyoto. This game was quickly sold out at the venue and its reissue is to be waited.

At the start, each player has a "small axe" made of one stone card and one wood card. Using the small axe, you can draw one card from the play area. In the play area, there are item cards — wood, stone, iron, and fire — and treasure cards. As you collect item cards in your hand, you can assemble various tools, such as a "big axe", "small pickaxe", "spear", and "wood bomb".

I found it interesting to assemble each tool by placing the item cards in the shape of the tool. By this rule, it's easily recognizable what you can do in your turn. With the "small axe", you can draw one card from the play area. With the "big axe", you can draw two cards. With the "small pickaxe", you can choose and take one card from the discard pile. With the "spear", you can draw one card from another player's hand and snatch it if it's a treasure card. With the powerful "wood bomb", you can choose to draw four cards from the play area or draw one card from each player's hand and snatch the cards if they're treasure cards. The tools' effects vary, but their easily recognizable shapes were helpful to play the game.

Initially, I thought it would be advantageous for the start player to make more tools than others, but such an advantage is nullified by the rule to "check the upper limit". According to this rule, the active player can have only up to seven items in total of the cards in their hand and their tools. Because of this, the player may have to discard some tools or treasure cards in their hand. You can win the moment you gain 10 points through treasure cards, but because of the upper limit, we often encountered cases where you stop at 9 points and have your cards snatched from other players before your next turn, resulting in a seesaw battle.

I managed to win narrowly by making two "swords", each of which allows you to announce a type of card in another player's hand and snatch it if it's there; I snatched gold (2 points) cards from other players. It's a game with depth in which you need to change your tools flexibly according to the situation.

Wild Gold
Designer: Narasen
Artist: Junta Kamura
Publisher: 6jizo (Rokujizo)
(2017)
3-4 players / +8 / 30 min

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From gallery of W Eric Martin


Putzroboter (Publisher: Butagoya)

In this game, you slide the robot vacuum cleaner "Putzroboter" to collect only the paper clips of your color. It was designed by Mr. Otsubo, a.k.a. "Attack". Mr. Otsubo is the manager of B-CAFE, a board game cafe in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture. Putzroboter's robotic movement is fun.

First, spread all the players' paper clips, then launch Putzroboter from a distance. Putzroboter is a simple structure made of a bowl covering a magnet ball. If you launch it while spinning, it makes a sharp turn. Then remove the paper clips that are pulled to Putzroboter by the magnetic force. The first player to have Putzroboter remove all the paper clips of their color wins.

Since the paper clips of all the players are mixed, it's difficult to remove only the clips of your color, as in Bellz! Along with the luck factor, this game would also require dexterity skills, especially near the end, when only a few paper clips remain, to move Putzroboter to the clips of your color.

Putzroboter
Designer & Artist: Attack
Publisher: Butagoya
(2017)
2-4 players / +6 / 10 min

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From gallery of W Eric Martin


Across the Universe (Publisher: Spieldisorder)

This game was made as a homage to the British musician David Bowie, who died in 2016. In the first new game from Spieldisorder in two years (its prototype was demoed at Game Markets in 2016), the players collect stars through bidding and link them to help "the man who fell to Earth" return to his home planet.

In each round, the star cards are placed in a row of four seasons. The players plot their cards face down to bid on each of the star cards in spring, summer, fall, and winter. After all the players have placed their cards, they bid four times, starting with the star card in spring.

The player who bid by the card of the highest number receives the star card (with points) in each season and discards the card played. Meanwhile, other players, in turn, choose what to do with their card played, from among the following actions:

(1) Carry it over to the next bidding,
(2) Return it to their hand, or
(3) Add it to the card pool in front of them.

If you carry over your played card to the next bidding, you can add its value to the next card you play for bidding.

Adding the played card to your card pool is an important action in this game because at the end of the game you can score only up to the total points of the cards in your pool. If the total points of the star cards you've gained through bidding is higher than that of the cards in your pool, you must discard the star cards until their total points fall below that of the cards in your pool. Furthermore, the number of cards in your hand is less than the number of auctions, so you're required to lose some biddings, to add some cards to your pool, and to return some cards to your hand. It's very tactical to carry out this adjustment along with simultaneous bidding.

The star cards also have various marks on them as bonus set-collection and majority points. It's interesting also to take such factors into consideration when you assess the value to bid for the star cards.

Across the Universe
Designer: hi-life
Publisher: Spieldisorder
(2017)
3-4 players / +10 / 38 min

•••


Kobe Game Market 2017 Game Report: Long Long Line in HELL, Kikka-Sai, Startups (original post)

Here is my third report of the games that I played at Kobe Game Market 2017 on March 12.



From gallery of W Eric Martin


Long Long Line in HELL (Publisher: March Hare Games)

In Long Long Line in HELL, ogres queue at supply stations for beautiful gems. It's another dice game from March Hare Games following the fishing-themed dice game Lord of the Die-Angler (2016).

First, each player rolls their 15 ogre dice. There are big and small ogre dice. At the start, you can only use big ogre dice. Small ogre dice are placed on each player's sleep card. To use them, you need to wake them up by rolling big ogre dice.

In your turn, as in Las Vegas, roll your dice and place all dice of one number on one of the three supply stations. Each supply station has a capacity, and when it becomes full, gems are distributed in ascending order of the rank of players who placed dice on it. The ranking is determined according to the number, size, and roll results of each player's dice placed on the supply station. There are not many big ogre dice, so you need to promptly wake up small ogre dice as reinforcements.

You can wake up small ogre dice only by rolling one big ogre die and achieving the dice roll matching that of some small ogre dice. You can re-roll the die, but one big ogre die is consumed for that, too. Used big ogre dice rest for one turn, after which they can be used again.

When a supply station is nearly full, you can choose in your turn whether to place a die in order to rise in the ranking, or instead increase the number of your dice so as to gamble more on your next turn. Even if you choose to increase the number of your dice, your dice rolls are still uncertain, leading to dramatic outcomes.

The game ends when two of the supply stations become full. Calculate your score according to the gems you've collected. You can score more by collecting the same type of gems. Thus, the players collect the gems tactically, like "I don't need this very much, but I can't allow that player to take this." With the dice rolls' unpredictability and careful calculation for the area control, this game is rich in variety.

Long Long Line in HELL
Designer: Satoru Nakamura
Artist: Mamiko Taguchi
Publisher: March Hare Games
(2017)
3-4 players / 12+ /30-40 min

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From gallery of W Eric Martin


Kikka-Sai (Shinojo)

Kikka-Sai is a two-player game in which you try to meld three chrysanthemum dice to win at a chrysanthemum show. It's the latest game by Shinojo, which has published simplified mahjong card games ALL GREEN and Yaochu! This game, also called "a two-player dice mahjong game", has a flavor of mahjong, but it's a quite distinctive game along with the theme of a chrysanthemum show. At the Game Market venue, its demo booth was constantly busy with people such as couples and pairs of female visitors playing the game.

There are three types of chrysanthemum dice, namely white, yellow, and orange. You're required to collect three dice, a sequence or triplet, of the same color or all different colors. The game starts with each player drawing two dice from the bag and rolling them behind their screen.

On your turn, draw a die from the bag and choose to swap it with one of the dice behind your screen, discard it, or add it to your two other dice to win a hand (tsumo). You can also win by claiming a discard (ron). After one of the players wins, calculate the score. There is a predetermined dice roll in trend (dora). If you win by its matching color or value, you gain an additional score.

According to your score, your opponent's "point die" value (starting with 6) is reduced. If it falls down to 0 or below, you win.

I played a game with Mr. Ikeda, the manager of the Foyer Pikkorino board game café in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture. Right from the start, Mr. Ikeda melded chrysanthemum dice in trend to achieve a high score. Aiming for a come-from-behind victory, I tried to collect the dice roll in trend, but he melded again while I was still struggling. The scoring points varies depending on whether or not you have the dice roll in trend, leading to an enjoyable dynamic play.

Kikka-Sai
Designer: Takahiro Shinozaki
Artist: Kotori Neiko
Publisher: Shinojo
(2017)
2 players / 8+ / 15 min

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From gallery of W Eric Martin


Startups (Publisher: Oink Games)

In this card game, the players invest in six companies to make profits as top shareholders. This reimplementation of Rights (2015), supporting more players along with a Knizia-esque dilemma and tasteful company logos, is quite intriguing.

On your turn, all you do is draw a card and play a card from your hand. Basically, you play cards in front of you. At the end of the game, the player who has played the highest number of cards of each company (i.e., invested in it) receives payment from other players who invested in the same company.

Naturally, you don't wish to play the cards with which you're unlikely to become the top shareholder. In this case, in Rights you pass such a card to the player to your left; in Startups, you place such a card in the play area ("market") in the center of the table. The next player can choose whether to take that card from the play area or draw a card from the draw pile. When drawing a card from the draw pile, the player must pay money and place it on the card in the play area. The player who takes the card in the play area also takes the money on it. If taking the card can make you a top shareholder, it's a timely offer, though it could be a trap.

Furthermore, the antimonopoly chips make the game even more exciting. These chips are initially given to the first player to take each company's card, then move to the current top shareholders during the game. Having these chips makes it difficult to take cards from the play area, thus preventing the current top shareholder from taking a strong lead. It might be wise to stay in second place and achieve a come-from-behind victory at the end, but can you really do that?

In the end, the players also reveal their hand, so you won't really know who'll eventually become the top shareholder. The top shareholder receives money from other shareholders according to the number of cards each shareholder invested in each company, and the player who has earned the most money wins. During the payment, each one money paid is flipped and becomes three money when received. Thus, it would be wise not to give up early and instead extend your investments for a chance.

At the demo table, I enjoyed an exciting game of five players in which the winner was unpredictable until the very end. Compared to Rights, which supports up to five players, Startups can be played with up to seven players. The gameplay would also vary according to the number of players.

Startups
Designer & Artist: Jun Sasaki
Publisher: Oink Games
(2017)
3-7 players /10+ / 20 min
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