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Game Overview: ButaBabel, or Rising to the Occasion

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Since I'm on my way to Japan at the moment to cover Tokyo Game Market, I thought it appropriate to cover one of the three games that I managed to acquire from the Kobe Game Market that took place in February 2016.

ButaBabel is a card game for 3-5 players from designer Yuo and design circle Kocchiya that consists of only a few rules and plays in only a few minutes. I'm fascinated by Japanese game design minimalism — not that all Japanese game designers exhibit this trait in their creations, mind you, but many do. The games feel like cotton candy in your mouth, almost disappearing as you play them — yet you know something's there, so you try them again and again, curious to find out how the thing works.

I know that a lot of people put an emphasis on playing games for fun, but I lean toward playing games to discover what designers have created. Fun is a good thing, sure, but my concept of fun and yours might not overlap, and in many cases I find fun in the exploration of the game as an artistic object more than an activity. The possibilities of what a game can be are huge, and I love exploring them!

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