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New Game Round-up: Serve Ramen, Cook on a Hibachi, and Fight to the End with Seiji Kanai

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game Publisher: Japanime Games
• U.S. publisher Japanime Games has announced a trio of titles that feature a Japanese designer, a Japanese meal, and a Japanese media franchise.

The first game in this batch is The Last Brave, a Seiji Kanai design for 3-7 players that was first released in 2018 by Japanese publisher DELiGHTWORKS. Here's an overview of this November 2020 release that will retail for US$10:
A group of heroes battle to the last — can you survive?

The Last Brave comes with two rule sets, one that's a team game with a focus on hidden identities and the other that's a battle royale with more focus on combat. In both games, the core rules are largely the same: You are a champion who must fight for your nation and defeat all of your opponents. Each champion has three attributes: a class, an element, and a type of arms, all imbued with incredible power. When one champion is attacked by another, the damage they take exposes the nature of their attributes, revealing the weakened champion's true form to the other players. However, once these attributes have been revealed, the champion who wields them can start to benefit from their abilities.

Board Game: The Last Brave

In order to win, you have to reveal the right card at the right time while not giving your opponents the opportunity to do the same. In the team match you also have to figure out who your allies are before the other teams do. Be the last one standing — or the only team still in the game — to win.
Ramen! Ramen! is the first published design from Brendan Hansen and the sixth game about ramen in the BGG database since the first ones were added in 2018. Not necessarily the hottest trend out there, but certainly the savoriest...

Here's a summary of this 1-4 player design due out in November 2020 for US$15:
You've landed a spot on the line at one of the best ramen shops in the world — at least to the locals. It's a cozy three-seat where the ramen better be worth the wait, so you need to work quickly and carefully to send bowls flying.

But there's a catch: You've agreed with your fellow line cooks that whoever serves the most (and the best) bowls of ramen gets to walk away with all of the day's tips. Now it's time to fire up the noodle boilers and get to work on crafting the most delicious ramen possible — and engage in a bit of soup-subversion while you're at it!

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Each turn in Ramen! Ramen!, players add ingredients to the ramen bowls waiting to be served, trying to build the highest point count before serving, while trying to avoid giving their opponent an opportunity to steal the points! Once the draw pile is empty, players rush to finish bowls, then count up points to see who is the best ramen chef.
• The third game from Japanime is the first title in a new game system created in partnership with Lynnvander Studios, a system titled "Japanime Tactics". From the press release:
Japanime Tactics was inspired by a love of Final Fantasy Tactics and other turn-based tactical JRPGs that helped to make such a great, creative game style. To capture that essence, Japanime Tactics needed to be less of a game in its own right, but rather a system with which other IPs could neatly rest and be used to combat an opponent.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Japanime Tactics will feature a robust 1v1 skirmish-style gameplay centered around modular terrain boards and a set of basic objectives. Each player will field up to four characters per team to see which team comes out on top! In the near future, these teams could even be comprised of characters from multiple IPs to make your own personal dream team!
Japanime Tactics will feature modular terrain boards, acrylic character standees, and gameplay centered around hand management with cards associated with anime characters. The game system will launch with two distinct character sets from Granblue Fantasy by Cygames, Inc., with twelve expansion characters being available in booster box displays; each booster box will contain twelve unique characters, so buying a single booster box gets you all those characters at once. Characters from other anime IPs will be added to the product line as they're approved.

Board Game: Safranito
• To stay on theme, let's take a quick look at Hibachi, which Australian publisher Grail Games will Kickstart in November 2020 ahead of a retail release in 2021.

Hibachi is a new edition of Marco Teubner's dexterity game Safranito, which Zoch Verlag published in 2010, and while that game has players competing for spices at a market booth in India, in Hibachi you are fighting to get goods onto the grill. Here's an overview of this 2-4 player game:
Throw the egg! Grab the pepper! Being a teppanyaki chef over a hot hibachi grill sure looks entertaining — but could you be one?

In Hibachi, players are Japanese teppanyaki chefs who must use their hibachi grill to please hungry customers. To do this, players take turns each round throwing discs (poker chips) onto the board. Where the chips land determines which ingredients the chefs can buy or sell and which special actions they might be able to take. One at a time, the locations on the board are resolved as the chips are turned over to show their hidden values.

Board Game: Hibachi

You must collect the correct ingredients to cook the required dishes, and if you're the first to complete three orders from customers, you win!
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