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Tokyo Game Market 2022 Spring: Report from Table Games in the World

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Editor's note: Game Market took place in Tokyo on April 23-24, 2022, and Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English and who tweets about new JP games — has translated reports about this event (a day one report and four slightly more detailed game round-ups) 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

Tokyo Game Market 2022 Spring (Day 1) took place on April 23 at Tokyo Big Sight. Osaka Game Market 2022 in March had been cancelled, so this was the first Game Market after Tokyo Game Market 2021 Autumn last November.

On such a warm day, with the temperature reaching as high as 27º Celsius as if it was more like early summer than spring, many board game enthusiasts gathered. According to the official announcement, the attendance was 9,500 on the first day and 6,500 on the second day, adding up to 16,000 in total.

Soon after getting off at Tokyo Big Sight Station on the Yurikamome Line, the building with inverted pyramids comes into sight. People who had purchased early entry tickets were gathered in one place and were led in groups to the plaza in front of the venue.

The reported number of COVID-19 infection cases per day continued to exceed 5,000 in Tokyo, but it was fortunate that it had not led to the level of canceling the event like in Osaka in March when the number of infection cases had spiked from a much smaller number.

However, as in the past, strict measures were taken to prevent infection. The measures included registering contacts, taking temperatures, wearing masks, leaving some shutters open, and allowing demo tables only at block booths.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The Game Market venue is not in these inverted pyramids, but on the ground floor below them. The venue, the same as that used for the last Tokyo Game Market, is West Halls 1 and 2 with a combined exhibition area of 17,760 square meters.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Before the opening at 11:00, there was a line of 1,500 people who had purchased early entry tickets. Having learned from the trouble at the last Tokyo Game Market, the entry was made smooth and all of these people managed to enter the venue in only seven minutes.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

In the U-shape venue, the dead-end areas at the back tended to be congested. Compared to Tokyo Game Market 2021 Autumn, there were more people with children, but it seemed difficult for strollers to pass amid the congestion.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

In a prime spot near the entrance was the Jelly Jelly Games booth. They released communication party games You-Tell and Mitaina, along with the Japanese edition of the drawing game Sherlock & Picasso.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Arclight, which had announced the release of Godzilla, had a large line of people waiting to buy its games, partly due to the pre-release of the Japanese editions of some titles. (The photo shows the display area. The shopping area was behind this area to the left.)

From gallery of W Eric Martin

There was a long line of people also at the booth of Keepdry, which released Gun and Gun W SHOUT, a new standard set for the battle card game in which players each equip their gunner character with two guns available to them.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The second-hand board game store Arch Games, for the first time, released three new titles: a Japanese edition of Frank's Zoo, Storabelt, and Animanize. They had a joint booth with KANA charm, who produces custom-made board game accessories.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

At the special booth for commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of late Alex Randolph, there was a lecture by Takayuki Sasaki (from Hyakumachimori), who studies the works of Randolph, and a demoing of Randolph's games.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The other special booth, make.ctrl.Japan 2, was a joint booth to demo "analog digital games" that use everyday objects as unusual controllers. From left to right: a game to handle calls to multiple telephone sets, a game to reach the goal while covering yourself with a cardboard box, and a game to defeat insects with blowouts.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

At the GP Games booth, students from Yamagata Chuo High School presented their findings in their activity to use CATAN for community building. Having won a prize at the Japan Senior High School Design Championship, their activity is reported to have attracted attentions from the local government and shopping districts.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Susumu Kawasaki, who designed Arclight's new game Godzilla, also released the new tile placement game Connect 37 under his own Kawasaki Factory label. You can score points by connecting the number tiles on which you have placed score tokens.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Toshiki Sato, the author of Happy City (the international edition of Happiest Town), which has been well-received worldwide, released ガニメデ戦記Zero (The War Chronicles of Ganymede Zero), a two-player game in which you build robots by placing transparent part cards on top of each other and sleeving them together.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Saashi, the author of the flip-and-write game Let's Make a Bus Route, enjoys the popularity of its overseas remake Get on Board: New York & London. At the Saashi & Saashi booth, they released the Japanese edition of Get on Board: New York & London and a new card game Before the Guests Arrive.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Toryo Hojo, who has constantly released games themed on topical scandals, released two titles, namely 包装禁止 / Housou Kinshi ("Packaging Not Allowed") and 大戦争のあとしまつ / Daisensou no Atoshimatsu ("Cleaning Up the Mess After a Great War"). His games continue to fascinate us both by their satirical themes and game design with a twist.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

ClaGla, who had a joint booth with Shogakukan, presented their new game Pun University, in which players as students try to pass an entrance exam by creating puns to memorize numbers, but the printed copies of the game failed to arrive in time. There were also some other groups whose games failed to arrive in time due to the lockdown in Shanghai.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Takumi Minamibata had won the Kids Creator Award for his game TAKUMI ZOO, which he had created during his summer vacation in the first grade of elementary school.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The brothers seven-year-old Rintaro and five-year-old Ken Shirasaka released the games they had designed under the label "Rinken Games".

From gallery of W Eric Martin

At the ボドゲ神社 / Bodoge Jinja ("Board Game Shrine") booth, board game fortune slips and various board game good-luck charms were on sale. May the COVID-19 crisis end soon!

•••

Tokyo Game Market 2022 Spring Report from Table Games in the World: Report on New Games
(Links:
https://tgiw.info/2022/04/gm2022s-games-1.html
https://tgiw.info/2022/05/gm2022s-games-2.html
https://tgiw.info/2022/05/gm2022s-games-3.html
https://tgiw.info/2022/05/gm2022s-games-4.html )

Hundreds of new board game titles are estimated to have been released at Tokyo Game Market 2022 Spring, which took place at Tokyo Big Sight on April 23 and 24. From among them, I would like to report on some titles that caught my attention.

Strategy Games

Godzilla (from Arclight)

This is the first game of the Kaiju on the Earth LEGENDS series. It is a one-against-many game in which Godzilla lands on Tokyo's Shibaura waterfront and lays the city to waste while the humans set up evacuation routes and have the residents escape as much as possible.

The Godzilla player scores points based on the evacuation routes and residents they destroy, while the human players score points based on the evacuated residents and news reports. The Godzilla player announces the route they will take and rolls the dice. By rolling same-number or consecutive dice rolls, they can take actions, such as moving and firing the heat ray. As the Godzilla grows more powerful by acquiring more dice and chances to reroll them, risk management becomes the key factor for the human players.

Game Design: Susumu Kawasaki (Kawasaki Factory) / Illustration: Yuji Kaida and Takeshi Nakamura
2-5 players / 10+ / 50-70 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Tevsphere (from Shakushi Heiki)

In this planetary exploration game, each card can be used in four different ways. Players each acquire cards by consuming time and oxygen and place them on their player board. There are four spots to place the cards. Depending on where you place them, you may gain materials or use permanent effects. Oxygen that gradually runs out must be replenished by returning to the mother ship. At the end of the game, players compete to score points based on the rarity of the cards placed on their player boards.

Game Design: Rail Amasaki / Illustration: Sania
1-4 players / 8+ / 60-90 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Connect 37 (from Kawasaki Factory)

In this tile-placement game, you score points by connecting sets of four or more numbers. On your turn, you can place either one of the two hex tiles from your hand on the board. You may also place a score token on the tile placed. At the end of the game, you score points by your score tokens placed on four or more consecutive number tiles in line. Some tiles are removed before the game, so not all number tiles may be connected. Attempts to monopolize the points are hampered by other players, so it is necessary to co-operate with other players to some degree.

Game Design: Susumu Kawasaki / Illustration: Sai Beppu
2-4 players / 8+ / 15 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

解脱RTA / Gedatsu RTA ("Deliverance RTA") (from Megalomaniac Game)

In this game, players in a world of endless suffering and strife practice and accumulate virtue in order to attain deliverance from worldly attachments before anyone else. The players place vitality tokens on the "battle grounds" in snowfields and wildernesses, and when a certain number of player tokens are placed on each battle ground, the players with dominance over the area receive virtues. There are various actions depending on the order of placement, and special actions can be performed with "blessings" to change the battle situation. If you die (run out of vitality tokens) after reaching 16 virtues, you win for having attained deliverance.

Game Design: Party Taro / Illustration: Osamu Yamazaki
3-4 players / 14+ / 25-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Potion Market (from POLAR POND GAMES / analog lunchbox)

The players' actions involve playing mancala by moving six materials in their cauldron player board, extracting essence from the materials, and combining the extracts to acquire potions and familiar spirits. The familiar spirits and potions are lined up in the play area, and how the game proceeds varies depending on whether you choose to acquire familiar spirits with various special effects or potions with bonus actions.

Game Design: Masaki Suga / Illustration: Saori Shibata
2-4 players / 14+ / 20-60 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Different World Merchant (from Wablues)

The players, in a fantasy world, aim to make the mPotion Marketost profits by trading with other players while changing the values of items, such as the armor, food, magic potions, and gems. Initially, each player knows the value of only one type of item. After performing worker-placement actions that involve taking a peek at the values of other items and swapping the values, players carry out one-to-one trading between them. Finally, the values of all items are disclosed, then the players convert the items in their hands into money. You need to guess the concealed values of items from other players' actions.

Game Design: Fei / Illustration: Namiki
2-4 players / 10+ / 20-45 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Fairy Factory (from DeDen)

In this game, fairies produce, transport, and sell gems. The combinations of gems that can be sold are determined by demand cards, but only the gems produced in previous turns can be transported and sold. You need to make a sales plans based on this time lag along with your opponents' progress in production.

Game Design & Illustration: DeDen
4 players / 8+ / 45 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Umbradeco (from KUJIRADAMA)

This is a tile-placement game in which players place hex tiles in the way that no tiles of the same color are adjacent to each other. Meanwhile, they score points from non-adjacent same-color tiles in the same row. You can also push other tiles out or place tiles on top of each other. Points are earned through several different scoring patterns.

Game Design: Emi Kuji / Illustration: Poko
2-4 players / 8+ / 20-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Umizushi (from Umeruma Games)

This is a set-collection game in which players take turns picking the sea slugs lined up in the play area, feed them, and arrange them on the board. The higher the number (points to earn) on the sea slug you pick, the later you are in the turn order to get its food with the risk of being unable to place it. The sea slugs must be placed in specified patterns according to the numbers on them, and you score points from the sea slugs on each orthogonal row filled. The points you score are doubled if you manage to fill each row with same-color sea slugs.

Game Design: Umeruma Games / Illustration: nano
2-4 players / 8+ / 30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Monslaught in Halloween (from COLON ARC)

At the start of this "deck-building game with the joy of unpacking a package in every game play", players each draw three cards from the deck, keep one of them as their hand, and play it. Using the power of the cards in your hand, you can acquire the cards in the play area to improve your deck and prepare for the battle with the final boss. The cute illustration by a popular artist is also worth noting.

Game Design: Taiga Takeura (Tareruya) / Illustration: HAL10WEEN
2-4 players / 10+ / 45 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Trick-Taking Games

アメノキリフダ / Ame no Kirifuda ("Heavenly Trump") (from Mow Mow Games)

Players must follow suit of four seasons. The next season is the trump suit. Each time you win a trick, place on the board a stone in a square of the season you have played. At the end of the game, you score points for the number of stones placed times the number of stones in a row. However, only three or four stones are available, and if you win a trick when a stone is not available, it incurs the wrath of the goddess, and all the stones on the board must be removed. You need to win tricks by the target season while being careful not to win too much. It is possible to push other players' stones out of the squares and even use special cards to score points by filling the squares according to specified patterns, requiring a highly strategic game play.

Game Design: Sencha / Illustration: warmtail
3-4 players / 10+ / 15 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

敗者の権利 / Haisha no Kenri ("Losers' Rights") (from Senpatsu Hyakuchu)

In this game in which you must follow suit and with no trumps, the winner of the trick chooses two of the cards from the trick they won and place them in the play area, while the losers of the trick can bid on them by placing money tokens next to the cards. The cards are eventually arranged in a 5×5 grid, and you score points from the cards won by area majority. The winner of the trick can choose the lead player of the next trick, reverse the strength of the number cards, or move one of their money tokens, so winning the trick is not always a disadvantage.

Game Design: Suzuki / Illustration: Suzu
3-5 players / 10+ / 30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

不知火 / Shiranui ("Unknown Fire") (from TanTan)

In this game in which you must follow suit, the player who has followed suit with the lowest-value card scores points equal to the difference from the next lowest-value card played in the trick. The color with the highest value in total becomes the suit to follow, so a color other than that of the lead suit may become the suit to follow. In addition to this, players each draw a gem token from the bag at the start and can place the gem token on a previously-played card of the same color to increase the value. This helps increasing both the points you score and the power of the suit, but it is hard to decide when to use it to outsmart other players.

Game Design: Zagurasu / Illustration: Studio Turbine
3-5 players / 10+ / 40 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

いやどす / Iyadosu ("I Refuse") (from Mashikamaru)

In this press-your-luck trick-taking game, players each hold the cards as originally dealt, without rearranging them, and divide these cards in their hand by the insert card. Cards to the left of the insert card are the "normal" cards that must follow suit. On the other hand, cards to the right of the insert card count as "Iyadosu" ("I refuse") cards. Iyadosu cards can be played when a player can follow suit with their "normal" cards but refuses to do so. If a player runs out of "normal" cards to play, they are eliminated from the round. You can score points if you survive until the end of the round. The more "normal" cards you have, the less likely you are to be eliminated, but then you have fewer "Iyadosu" cards to spare. If you run out of "Iyadosu" cards, your score drops and you may end up with zero points.

Game Design: Mashikamaru / Illustration: Studio Turbine, Oimo3, Rabbin
3-5 players / 12+ / 30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Two Seesaws (from ORUCAgames)

In this trick-taking game in which you must follow suit, depending on the winning suit in the previous trick, the power of the values on the cards switches between ascending and descending order and the type of trick switches between "SEE trick" (in portrait orientation) and "SAW trick" (in landscape orientation). You earn 2 points for each pair of "SEE" and "SAW" tricks and lose 1 point for each of either trick not in a pair.

Game Design by: Sotogamo Nakiku / Illustration: Moyy
1-5 players / 14+ / 30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

魔女の一撃宅配便 / Majo no Ichigeki Takkyuubin ("Witch's Shot Delivery Service") (from Nekoyanagi Daikinnboshi)

In this trick-taking game with bidding, players each check the cards in their hand and announce the number of packages they can carry as their "quota". The package of your acquired tricks counts as "the package you have delivered", but if you deliver more than you can at once, you get a strained lower back, which is called "Hexenschuss" (witch's shot) in German.

Game Design: Nama Nekoyanagi / Illustration: Tasuke
3-4 players / 7+ / 20-40 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Dice Games

Monster Colosseum (from Laugh Games)

In this survival dice action game, players roll their monster dice into the colosseum surrounded by walls and compete with their dice rolls in total. You can also roll your dice to hit your opponents' dice in order to change their dice rolls or drop them into the holes in the colosseum, making it a tough survival for them.

Game Design: Mukai / Illustration: Japan Anime & Manga College
3-4 players / 6+ / 30-40 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Nozoku Dice (from Kanazawa Kodatsuno Games)

Players pick dice rolls from the play area and play action cards to change the dice rolls in order to form the most same-number dice rolls of higher numbers. The cards indicate the sides of the dice placed on them. Use them in good combinations to increase and match dice rolls.

Game Design: Tora Kuji / Illustration: Sai Beppu
1-4 players / 12+ / 20-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Ninja Master (from itten)

The prototype of Ninja Master (Fun Brick Series 07), which will be released in mid-2022, was being demoed. It is a pattern recognition and reaction game to roll dice, count the number of ninja on the dice rolls, and race to grab the corresponding ninja or sword.

Game Design: Reiner Knizia

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Two-Player Games

Corsaire (from Fudacoma Games)

This is a two-player game from Fudacoma Games, who have produced a series of well-received pen-and-paper games. In the first half of the game, players place cards in an inverted-pyramid form to create the resource conversion route. In the second half, they collect the cards in turn to form their hands and play them to acquire areas in the style of Battle Line. The cards need to be placed with consideration to both the conversion route in the first half and the order in which they are collected in the second half of the game.

Game Design: Yusuke Sawaguchi, Illustration: Makoto Takami
2 players / 12+ / 30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Sarauabaku (from Kengo Otsuka)

This is a social deduction game between a detective and thief over treasure. The detective player knows which of the three treasure chests contains the treasure, while the thief player knows which of the six suspects is the thief. The players take turns to place a character next to a card and try to deduce whereabouts of the treasure and thief from where the characters are placed. The production team includes the character designer and scenario writer of the video game Ace Attorney series, and the game is supplied with a novel.

Game Design: Kengo Otsuka / Graphic Design: Tsutomu Dejima / Character Design: Tatsuro Iwamoto / Novel Writing: Takeshi Yamazaki
2 players / 8+ / 10-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Rhombus (from Game NOWA)

In this abstract game, players place tiles each with two triangles on them and score points for connecting an even number of same-color triangles. The tiles to place also include the triangles of your opponent's color, so players each try to form groups of an even number of triangles of their color while trying to form groups of an odd number of their opponent's color. The advanced rules involve patterns in addition to color. The game on the left in the photo is Shinigami Preschool ("Reaper Preschool"), a new trick-taking game from the same author, in which players can score points by collecting an even number of same-color cards.

Game Design and Artwork: Kenichi Kabuki
2 players / 8+ / 20 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Ham's Sandwich Shop (from Graphic335)

Players move the hamster chef in the style of Patchwork around the cards positioned in a loop to place toppings on their bread, and they announce when they think the sandwich is finished according to the recipe. Meanwhile, the recipe changes according to the toppings in front of the hamster token as it moves around. Each time the hamster chef jumps over a seed, you can insert your hamster tile from your hand to add secret toppings. However, some hamsters may snack on the toppings underneath them.

Game Design: Kengo Otsuka / Illustration: Graphic335
2-3 players / 8+ / 30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Word Games

Poemo (B-Cafe)
After the initial phrase card is determined, players play from their hands a poetic and emotional ("po-emo") phrase card that follows it, then they vote for the best one. A poem is completed by linking four cards of such phrases. The first player to gain the specified score wins. The game contains 200 "po-emo" phrases.

Game Design: Shogo Kuroda / Illustration: Chupami
3-8 players / 12+ / 5-10 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

4コマンガ / Yonkomanga ("Four-Panel Comic") (from Shogakukan)

Players take turns to play a panel tile for one of multiple four-panel comic strips in production. After all the comic strips are complete, the reader player chooses which is "most popular" and which is the least popular one "to be cancelled". You score points for your panels in the most popular strip and lose points for your panels in the strip to be cancelled. The points to score or lose are higher for later panels.

Game Design and Graphic Design: Daipo (ClaGla) / Illustration: Kokonasu☆Rumba
3-6 players / 8+ / 20 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

がんばれ!AIueo / Ganbare! AIueo (from MILLION PERCENT)

Each letter from the "topic word" is assigned in turn to a player, who composes a sentence starting with that letter. In the style of Telestrations, each player can read only the sentence written by the player before them. Without determining the winner, the game is designed to simply enjoy the presentation at the end.

Game Design: mizumizu / Illustration: Piu
3-6 players / 10+ / 15-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

エビフライエフェクト / Ebi Fry Effect (from Mugen Infinity ∞)

Players take turns being the storyteller, who plays a story card face down from their hand and tells a made-up story that connects the face-up card in the play area and the card they have just played. Other players try to guess from the story whether the card played includes the word "Ebi Fry" (Japanese fried shrimp) and race to take the supplied Ebi Fry replica in the center of the table if they think that Ebi Fry is included. The Story Teller can score points if everyone fails to take the Ebi Fry for a card containing "Ebi Fry" or if a player takes the Ebi Fry for a card not containing "Ebi Fry".

Game Design: Mugen Infinity ∞ / Illustration: Yui Metal
2-8 players / 10+ / 20 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

ムジュンゴ / Mujungo (Azb.Studio)

Cards are revealed one by one from the deck, and if an animal on another player's card is revealed, race to shout out the player's name before they do. Factors such as calling other players by their chosen animal names and associating multiple animals with each card by inserting it into a transparent card sleeve with different animal names make the games a quirky brain burner.

Game Design and Illustration: Azb.Studio
2-6 players / 6+ / 15 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Other New Games

Planepita (from SzpiLAB)

Players flick their discs in three concentric circles and compete for majority in each area. Each disc contains a magnet. If flipped to the other side, it sticks to the board and becomes harder to be moved away. The areas closer to the center can earn you a higher score, but the competition is also higher in these areas.

Game Design: Eisuke Fujinawa and Kazunori Hori / Artwork: Mitsuki Toyama
2-4 players / 6+ / 20-30 min.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Before the Guests Arrive (from Saashi & Saashi)

Players take turns taking an orthogonal row of cards from the play area and scoring points per set of family cards and their corresponding stuff cards. Any number of same-type cards can be collected to score points at once, but collecting too many cards incurs the risk of losing many points when the game-ending card is drawn from the deck.

Game Design: Saashi / Illustration: Takako Takarai
2-4 players / 7+ / 15 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Dungeon in Memory (from Okabodo Seisakubu)

Tiles for connecting the dungeon path are played, but instead of placing them next to each other, they are piled on top of each other, with each player picturing the possible connected dungeon path in their head. If a player guesses that the tiles can no longer be placed to extend the path, they announce "Lost" at that point. To check whether the guess is correct, the tiles in the dungeon are connected in order at the end. The game play requires spatial perception rather than memory.

Game Design: locogame / Artwork: TOPECONHEROES Daryama
1-5 players / 10+ / 10-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Annasi! (from Puninokai)

This is a co-operative game in which players try to guess the numbers "1" to "6" assigned to each of them, using specified actions, mimicry, and comments as clues. The clues, which change from game to game, include ones such as everyone concurrently clapping their hands the number of times matching their numbers, everyone concurrently reciting the chant "Namu Amida Butsu" likewise, and talking about what they did during the month or time of their numbers.

Game Design: Mahito Mukai / Illustration: Ryoya Furukawa
1-6 players / 6+ / 15 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Judge Domino (from itten)

This is a remake of Chicken Domino, which was released from Yokke Tei at Tokyo Game Market 2021 Autumn. Players take turns adding a domino to the line or moving a domino in the line. If you think that it is not possible to knock over all the dominoes in the line, challenge the player who has placed the last domino. The player pushes the domino at the end of the line to see whether all the dominoes can be knocked over. This is scheduled to be released in mid-2022.

Game Design: Tsukii Yosuke

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Magicalligraphy Luxury Edition (from Koguma Koubou)

This is a social deduction game in which players together try to draw the specified symbol using the feather quill connected with thin wires to the ring on each player's finger and attempt to guess which, if any, of the players were attempting to draw a different symbol than the others. Originally released at Tokyo Game Market 2021 Spring, this luxury edition was produced with the handcraft by Northgame. Only ten copies were available via preorder lottery for 12,000 yen each.

Game Design: Masakazu Takizawa / Artwork: Northgame
2-4 players / 6+ / 15-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

めぐるめぐみ / Meguru Megumi ("Nature's Blessings Circulate") (from Carrying Water Project)

In this co-operative game, players play cards to circulate water. They discuss with each other in order to prevent sewage from overflowing or running out of water, and treat the sewage so that it can be returned to nature and used again.

Game Design: Carrying Water Project+66
2-4 players / 8+ / 30 min

Board Game: めぐるめぐみ (Meguru Megumi)

王宮の飾り絵師 / Oukyuu no Kazarieshi ("Painter in the Royal Palace") (from Saikoro Juku)

Players blind bid on the color and number of areas they want to paint. Biddings on the same color as those bid on by players who bid on fewer areas are cancelled. Otherwise, you can paint on your player sheet the color you have successfully bid on. Players compete for points by their painted areas and by meeting the requirements specified on the "Royalty's Request Card" which changes for each game.

Game Design: Kosuke Zaitsu / Illustration: Misuzu
3-6 players / 8+ / 15-20 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The opening time had been moved one hour later from the last Tokyo Game Market. As a result, visitors have only five hours a day for regular entry and six hours even for early entry. On the other hand, there are 608 exhibitor booths. If you wish to visit and check all of them, you can spend only 30-40 seconds per booth by rough estimate. Once again, I visited all the booths, but there must be many items that I missed. On the TGIW website, we currently conduct a questionnaire survey on the games released at Tokyo Game Market. We would like to refer to the results of the survey and other information to catch up with the titles we have missed.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Mr. Ono ricochets around Game Market
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Tokyo Game Market 2021 Autumn: Report from Table Games in the World

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

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

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

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

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


•••


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

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

•••


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

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

Trick-Taking Games

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

HAMELN CAVE (YUTRIO)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Backhander (Hugame)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Lambdice / ΛICE (Asobi Dust)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Interspace Conference on Earth (Suteki na Yama)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

ULTIA (Xuhs Scobog)

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

Pen-and-Paper Games

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Gone with the Beans (Hoy Games)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Hexa Ruins (Melobodo)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Animism (Fudacoma Games)

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

Two-Player Games

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

VICKE (Peanuts Design)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Savannah Rush (Iopy Games)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

You Be Aim (Protocraft)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Bossa (Bossa)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

LINKCARNATION (piyopiyo-gaming)

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

Communication Games

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Ojisan Message (Doya Games)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Silhuettia (JOLDEENO)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The Defeat of Medusa (Zoemooi)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

A Momentary Masterpiece or an Unconscious Awakening (Eokaku)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Navi-Rabbi (Rock and Games)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Bistro Flip (Banana Moon)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Word Radar Tantango (Kakugari Books)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

BL Made by Everyone: The Reaction (Bodoman)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

WOLFUME (aaa Games)

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

Gamers' Games

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Orchard Plan (luck movies)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

ACADEMIC SOCIETY (analog lunchbox)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

EETenki: The Queen Himiko Chronicles (Accent Circonflexe)

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

Racing Games

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Demolition Racing 2055 (BrainBrainGames)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Arukuma (ASJ)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Obon Derby (Azb.Studio)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

HAKONE (Paix GUILD)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Norun (Norun)

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

Auction Games & Drafting Games

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Stampede (4tousei)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Suroboruos (Kentaiki)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The Wicked Labyrinth (TACTICAL GAMES)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Mask Village Poker (COLON ARC)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Doraneko ("Alley Cats") (Mirror House)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Guild Build (Hakuroku)

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

Gambling Games

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Patron Hold'em (KogeKogeDo)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Aruchin (Aruchin)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Infinity Casino (Genge Games)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Over Potion (Tachiai Games)

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

Euro-Style Games

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Fujiyama (Nanatsumu)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Shikigami Kaidou (Shakushi Heiki)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Good Night Fantasy (USAPAGAMES)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Through the Woods (Board Game Mill)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Nana Card Game (MoB+)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

My Best Chef (Smart Ape Games)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Da Mafia (Wablues)

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

Others

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• Suiren to Suiren (Macoto Nakamura)

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

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

Thus, I have listed 58 titles that caught my eye as I browsed around all the booths, but they are only some of the games brought to the Game Market and I did not even have an opportunity to play them. We will conduct a questionnaire survey on newly-released games on this website to receive comments from those who have played these games and plan to announce the results in January 2022.
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Tokyo Game Market 2020 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 14-15, 2020, and Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English and who tweets about new JP games — has translated reports about this event (day one and day two) that were written by Takuya Ono, who runs the Table Games in the World blog. Mr. Ono has given permission to reprint the photos from his post. Many thanks to Saigo! —WEM

On a warm autumnal day, with the temperature reaching as high as 20º Celsius as if it were still October, the first day of Tokyo Game Market 2020 Autumn took place at Tokyo Big Sight Aumi Exhibition Hall. This first Game Market after an interval of one year was held with strict infection control measures in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Hall A with the block booths of various companies was fairly deserted due to the admission restrictions

Due to the spread of the new coronavirus, Osaka Game Market 2020 and Tokyo Game Market 2020 Spring, formerly scheduled to be held in March and April, had been cancelled one after another, so this was the first Game Market to take place after Tokyo Game Market 2019 Autumn. While that show had 29,300 visitors, as an infection prevention measure the number was limited this year by introducing admission time slots and corresponding advance admission ticket sales.

As the reported number of infection cases per day kept reaching a record high nationwide, the Game Market was featured on the day before on the national public broadcast NHK News as "a weekend amidst the surge of the 'third wave'". To prevent infection, more space was provided between the booths, the waiting line was split into five locations, the hall was ventilated, and all participants were requested to take their temperature, disinfect their hands and wear masks. Furthermore, hand sanitizers were installed at the booths.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Entrance split into five locations, 300 people each

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Wash basins installed in the venue

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Vending machine at the Oink Games booth

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Gamestore Banesto's manager Mr. Nakano wearing a face guard and portable voice amplifier

Despite the difficulty of holding the show in these circumstances, I think it turned out to be a sociable event in which many participants enjoyed reunions in the not-too-crowded spacious venue. On the first day, I mainly walked around in Hall A with the block booths from mostly corporate organizations. I met friends and acquaintances here and there, and the morning passed quickly as we greeted each other with "It's been a while."

Even though the number of visitors was limited, there were still lines at popular booths. In Hall A, people formed a long queue at the Yellow Submarine booth to buy Geminoa, a new game from Domina Games, who was not present at the venue. There were long queues also at the booths of Hobby Japan and Arclight Games, who had pre-sales of imported games, and another queue for Are You Telling Me This Genius Scientist Can't Get First Place?, a new game designed by BakaFire, the author of Sakura Arms, and published by DELiGHTWORKS.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Geminoa is a deck-refining game designed by Pawn, the author of Shephy

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Are You Telling Me This Genius Scientist Can't Get First Place? is a worker placement game to unlock abilities

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Pre-sales of the new games from SPIEL.digital 2020 sent in by air freight at the Hobby Japan booth

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Sugorokuya had their Japanese remake of Be My Valentine on display; they also hosted an in-venue deduction game event to celebrate the release of their Japanese edition of The Key

From gallery of W Eric Martin
For those who could not come to the venue, there were live-streaming programs on Game Market Live from the satellite studio at the venue


Now, let me refer to some of the games that attracted people's attention in Hall A.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Tangleweed (from EJP Games) is a game about making money by planting and growing tumbleweeds rolling in the wind. Buy tiles or seeds, and place them on the board. When the wind blows in the direction of the dice roll, the tumbleweeds roll and drop seeds on their paths. You can create valuable tumbleweeds by combining multiple colors, so it is also important to choose which colors to plant.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Crash Octopus (from itten) is a flicking game to collect cargo floating on the table of ocean. The collected items are placed on the ship unstably, and the giant octopus gets in the way everywhere thanks to its tentacles.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The Wicked Forest (from Tactical Games) takes place in a scene after the Incan Gold-like adventure. Each time you flip a card, you choose to advance or turn back, and you can then use the collected crystals to acquire special abilities and victory points.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Perfumery (from Tactical Games) is an engine-building worker placement game to collect ingredients and make perfumes. The more cards you stack, the more essences you can extract from them to make high-grade perfumes.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Beer Hex (from BrainBrainGames) is a connection game to place beer bottle cap tokens of your color as concealed troops on the board in order to link your territories by them. The rule that allows you to announce and reveal three successive tokens of your opponent and remove them if they all turn out to be the opponent's troops makes it a clever mind game to read each other's thoughts.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

In どっちぼーい /Docchi Boy (from ClaGla), one of the players answers yes/no
questions, and the other players bet on the final destination of where the answers lead to. The farther the destination you bet on, the harder it is to guess correctly, so the points you gain from it grows higher.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

uZito (from Xaquinel) is a Villa Paletti-like balancing game using strange-shaped pieces. The pieces of varying weights provide odd stability. The heaviest pillars are made of brass. The clatter of the collapse is quite loud.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

In Savannah Territory (from Banso Inc.), the players each try to place as many animals as possible from their hand, while making sure that the same animals are not placed adjacent to each other.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Schadenfreude (from Studio Turbine) and マチナミトリテ / "Machinami Torite" (Townscape Trick-taker) (from Kuondou) are both trick-taking games. In Schadenfreude, with a rule to go bust when exceeding the upper limit, the players try to force their cards upon one another. In "Machinami Torite", the players each play set collection using the back of the cards.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Lastly, here is Ken Shoda holding the Japanese edition of Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design: An Encyclopedia of Mechanisms (not sold at the TGM venue), saying "Let me also recommend this."

(Translator's note: The Japanese edition of Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design: An Encyclopedia of Mechanisms was recently published with the translation by Takuya Ono, who writes these Table Games in the World (TGiW) articles.)

•••

This is my second report on the Game Market, which was held after an interval of one year, during which Game Market had been cancelled twice due to the coronavirus outbreak.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
The show took place at Tokyo Big Sight Aumi Exhibition Hall; the main hall was still unavailable due to the postponement of Tokyo Olympics


Game Market Management Office has announced that the attendance was 8,100 on the first day and 5,200 on the second day, which add up to 13,300 in total. This is 55% lower than that of the previous Game Market. The total number of booths in the two days has also dropped by 36% to 683. Initially, more groups had applied for the booths, but since free cancellations had been accepted due to the late announcement of admission restrictions after the call for exhibitors had been closed, the eventual number of booths had dropped by more than 10%. In the current situation with the coronavirus outbreak risk, I suppose that we might as well be happy that the show at least managed to take place at all.

There were demo tables set up only in some of the block booths, but the visitors had a time limit of only three hours to stay in the venue, so people were rarely seen playing at the demo tables. In these circumstances, Hall A with block booths was fairly deserted like "a weekday department store" (as said by karoku-san), but Hall B with individual booths seemed relatively crowded.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Hall B with individual booths

On the second day, there was a booth by Yusuke Inoue of the popular comedy duo NON STYLE. There, he sold the communication games he produced on his YouTube channel. He said that he was especially interested in the murder mystery games sold in the venue.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

おもいをひとつにイッチッチ / Omoi wo Hitotsu ni Icchicchi (Match What's On Your Mind) produced by Yusuke Inoue of NON STYLE is a communication game in which players try to give the same answer to questions, such as "What's the second best high-end sushi restaurant for you?"

Now, here is my round-up of the 36 titles that attracted attention in Hall B:

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Idle Hands (from Fukuroudou) is a trick-taking game to force negative point cards upon one another. The game adopts a unique "must lead" system in which you must lead suit based on the color of the cards in front of you.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Cat in the Box (from Ayatsurare Ningyoukan) is trick-taking in which you bid on the number of tricks you will win. Each time the lead player leads suit with a colorless number card from their hand, they declare its color (suit). Each set of color and number are recorded onto the communal research board. All cards played out must be unique; otherwise a paradox is formed, ending the round.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Rise of the Metro (from NANAWARI) is a route-building game without the element of luck in which each player tries to extend the lines of their color to connect to larger stations. You cannot connect the routes between two stations already connected by someone else.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

ONE STORY (from scultur-at) is a tile-placement game to attract tenants by arranging room tiles. Each room tile comes in an envelope, and you do not know how it is shaped until you open the envelope.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Netacalaie (from Surume Days) is a word game of adding letters one by one to the topic word, then trying to guess the topic word from the final string of letters.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Daidara (from Hanami Gorilla) is a tile-placement game in which dwarfs work together to defeat the giant enemy Daidara. The dwarfs must prepare themselves to attack Daidara before it emerges.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Lemmings' Frontier (from Crittinia) is a co-operative game in which lemmings work together to explore a new wild land. You can use the resources to create tools and expand facilities.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Department Store Builder (from Sato Familie) is a card placement game in which you set up and arrange shops in a department store and attract customers. You're constantly faced with the choice between expanding your sales floors further and opening your department store before the others.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

WORMS is a game about growing your worm longer while avoiding contact with other worms. If your worm bumps into another worm or itself, it will turn into an obstructive ghost.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Dragon Scary-go-round (from Popipopo Games) is a co-operative game in which the players try to defeat the dragon while avoiding getting caught by ghosts. You also need to watch out for the dragon's fire.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Gaming Spice (from Hanshakaijin Circle) is a social deduction game in which the players really taste eight kinds of spices, then each use a combination of word cards to create a menu item name for the spice they have tasted. The players then discuss to determine the spies who actually have not tasted the spice.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Toryo Hojo, disguised as the virtual board game designer "Yumeshima Kokon", released his new game Trump Recount!!. The game was distributed for free at the venue, and its rules were later revealed online.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Louloudic (from Northgame) is a flicking game using mini sticks on a wood-burned board, was sold for 80,000 yen, and was already sold out by reservation.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Le Torri di San Gimignano (from Tarte Games) is a two-player game in which players compete to build the highest tower by playing the same number cards or number cards in descending order. Since the number on each card matches the available number of the card, like one "1" and two "2"s, it becomes harder the higher you go.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Rosarium (from L.A.G. Craft) is a two-player area-majority game to move your gardeners and plant more roses than your opponent in each flower bed. There is also an expansion for 3-4 players.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

In 滅茸 / Metzutake (from インベード. / Invade.), the players place various mushroom tiles in rows secretly and choose which rows to take. Beware of poisonous mushrooms!

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Sushi-Trick! (from Game NOWA) is a trick-taking game in which you may follow suit and try to take just the right amount of sushi. You can also gain points by playing the highest number card among the consecutive number trump cards in the same trick.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

不謹慎王 / Fukinshin-Ou (Outrageous King) (from Kakugari Books) is a communication game whereby the players compete to give outrageous answers as agony aunts and uncles.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Yura Yura Penguin (from Yabuchi Ryoko) is a Rhino Hero-like balancing game to play cards of the same color or icon and have the next player stack pieces, such as icebergs, penguins and rock ice cubes.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Herbarium (from DYNAGOOON FACTORY) is a set-collection game to collect ingredient tokens from the play area and form hands. While the tiles you take without using them count as negative points, you might still want to venture to take them in order to aim for a higher score.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

LINKAGE (from MAGNET) is a non-contact action game in which the players try to balance sticks between their fingers according to the instructions on the cards.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

EETenki: The Queen Himiko Chronicles (from Accent Circonflexe) is a strategy game in which the players, each as a priestess-king who can master sorcery, control the weather and manage farming and trading. Its second edition will be released in 2021 via Kickstarter.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Hollywood Sensation (from Suki Games) is a two-player trick-taking game with a dilemma to handle the tricks you want and the tricks you do not want. This game was designed by Shibu, who sells board games at his supermarket in Tsumagoi Village in Gunma Prefecture, and its illustration was done by Natsuki Sakamoto, who runs a design company in the same village (and readily accepts board game artwork orders)!

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Janken No Border (from Ponkotsu Farm) is a card game to play rock-paper-scissors with cards that are still uncertain which among "rock", "paper" and "scissors" they fall into when you play them. Then the cards eventually remaining in the players' hands will determine what range of cards actually count as "scissors" for each player.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Bomb Squad (from OKAZU Brand) is a co-operative deduction game to locate the cards arranged in ascending order in each other's hand in order to complete a series of missions.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Return Home (from COLON ARC) is an action-programming cooperative game to control rovers moving from a spaceship, which crash-landed on an asteroid, to collect the scattered parts and return to Earth. One of the players monitors disaster events and if any rover player plays an action shown on the event card, their action is cancelled.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Last Boss (from Shoma Cafe) is a co-operative game in which the players prepare to fight against the approaching boss enemy in their homeland. The boss enemy gets infuriated and grows stronger by the battle, so the key to victory lies in how far you can wait and postpone the battle.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

まちビルド / Machi Build (from The Trading City Kenkyuukai) is a game to build a city by
drawing blocks from the box and stacking them. This game, produced by a group of first-class registered architects, lets you experience and enjoy authentic building restrictions and urban planning.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

ラビットストリーム / Rabbit Stream (from RABI) is a racing game to help your rabbit
advance by creating your rabbit cheering squad formation. Ascending to higher levels will allow you to form even more powerful formations.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

タイムボム・レガシー / TimeBomb Legacy (from New Board Game Party) has additional story elements to the original TimeBomb, which has been published internationally.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Paku Paku Park (from Kawasaki Factory), a two-player game to gather animals by feeding them, was reissued after an interval of five years.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Monken (Monster Exploration Association) (from 4tousei) is a worker placement game with a memory element to flip cards in order to catch and collect monsters.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Izayoi (from nanatsumu) is a game to collect wakomono items, such as Kanzashi hairpins and folding fans, by exchanging recommendation cards while taking care not to exceed the score of your "master" so that they will not lose face.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

In パタルタ / Pataruta (from Todonotsumari), the players race to take cards according to
the revealed Venn diagrams made up of the patterns matching the patterns on a combination of cards.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

国分町酔生夢死 / Kokubuncho Suiseimushi (from Veronica Persica) is a tile-placement game set in the nightlife district of Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Sprinkle (from Kogumayan) is an area-control game in which the players, as forest trees, with the help from flying squirrels, try to have their seeds moved to the lands with rain and sunlight in order to expand their habitat.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

At the booth of Sengoku ZiPANG Portable (from Engine ID, Ltd.), a card game launched via Kickstarter, the game was being promoted and sold by people in shrine maiden and warlord cosplays.

There were many new games, including those initially scheduled to be released at the two cancelled Game Markets. Also, with a long interval of one year after the last Game Market, I encountered many high-quality games produced with time and care. On the other hand, the sales seemed to struggle at many booths due to the admission restriction. There are certainly many people who could not visit the show but who want to acquire the games released there, so I hope that these games will soon be available online.

The next Game Market is scheduled to take place on March 28 (Sunday) at Intex Osaka, and the next Tokyo Game Market is scheduled to be held two weeks after that on April 10 (Sat) and 11 (Sun) at Tokyo Big Sight. Although the situation concerning the coronavirus still remains unpredictable, I hope that the know-hows learned by holding the current Game Market will be used effectively to hold the upcoming shows successfully as well.

•••

Arclight Games Award 2020 — Grand Prize Won by Dokitto! Ice
(posted on Nov. 16, 2020 on TGiW)

Board Game: ドキッと!アイス (Dokitto! Ice)
On the first day of Tokyo Game Market 2020 Autumn on December 14, Arclight Games announced the winners of Arclight Games Award 2020, with the grand prize being awarded to ドキッと!アイス (Dokitto! Ice).

Arclight Games has started hosting this award to evaluate the games released or scheduled to be released in the last three Game Markets (two of which were cancelled) and announce the award on Tokyo Game Market Autumn with plans to publish the games that receive the award. The games are screened and selected by the Arclight Games production department staff according to criteria, such as "fun experience", "replayability", "appeal that makes one want to introduce the game to others", "appeal to the people who watches the game being played", "general appeal over the time", and "suitability to the current trend". Generally, the game that receives the grand prize will be published from Arclight Games within a year upon agreement.

The announcement, hosted by Tomohiro Kaneko of Arclight Games, was made at the GameMarket.live studio in the Tokyo Game Market venue at 12:00. The award winners promptly announced it at their booths to help promote their games.

At this first Arclight Games Award, ドキッと!アイス (Dokitto! Ice) was selected as the grand prize winner. In this trick-taking game released by Lana&Papa for Tokyo Game Market 2020 Spring (cancelled), you can acquire ice cream tiles by winning the tricks, but there is the risk of dropping out by taking too many ice creams. Mr. Kaneko commented on the game, saying "The balance of its flavor and artwork makes it nicely fit to play lightly", "The shifting between the instances to push or pull according to the situation is fun, and there is always a chance with whatever hand you may have as the game proceeds", and "Stacking too many ice creams resulting in busting and dropping them and then dropping
out is visually persuasive".

The winner of the excellence award was そこまで絞るにはねむれない夜もあっただろ /
Soko Made Shiboru Niwa Nemurenai Yoru Mo Attadaro (You must have had sleepless nights to tighten your body so much), a card game to cheer bodybuilders. Then eight titles were announced as honorable mentions.

• Grand Prize: ドキッと!アイス (Dokitto! Ice) (from Lana&Papa)

• Excellence Award: そこまで絞るにはねむれない夜もあっただろ / Soko Made Shiboru
Niwa Nemurenai Yoru Mo Attadaro
(You must have had sleepless nights to tighten your
body so much
) (from Wit Mashimashi)

• Honorable Mentions:
3ターンだけ君が好き / I Like You for Only 3 Turns (from Mott Game)
SCOUT! (from One More Game!)
エスペライゼーション / Esperaization (from treehoppergames)
ガムトーク / Gum Talk (from Kakugari Books)
マネーフェイカー / Money Faker (from Patisserie Dilemma)
The Era of Traveling Merchant (from A.I.Lab. You)
四畳半ペーパー賽系 / Yojouhan Paper Saikei (from Hallelujah Rockboy)
宝石がいっぱい / Lot of Gems (from Lifetime Games)
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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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