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Pics from Tokyo Game Market, December 2016 I

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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I missed out on the Tokyo Game Market that took place December 11, 2016 due to family obligations, but BGG adminion Jon Power — who has been overseeing the addition of Japanese games to the BGG database for the past eighteen months — did attend the show, taking hundreds of pics in the eight hours that he was there. The show itself lasts only seven hours, mind you, seven hours in which you can barely acknowledge the more than 550 exhibitors present never mind actually seeing the games and figuring out what they might be, but BGG was able to get a press badge for Jon, thereby granting him 14% more time in which to race around snapping pictures. Here are a few shots from among the hundreds that he took, with more to come in the week ahead.

As usual, Tokyo Game Market took place at Tokyo Big Sight, the largest convention and exhibition center in Japan, which is located on the northwest shore of Tokyo Bay. Multiple events take place here during each TGM (and probably most other days as well, but I haven't visited outside of fair days), and each show occupies more and more space inside Big Sight given the constant increase in exhibitors.

Most exhibitors have a small selling area approximately five feet wide on a long table that's shared by multiple exhibitors, and you can see one such table in the middle of this image. Many of them decorate their space with cloths and signs, then use racks to give them vertical space in which to display games or a poster that gives the basics of gameplay.

Separately, these exhibitors might have a demo table, and these tables are in the foreground of the image. Even with the short duration of the game fair, these tables see a fair amount of use, but because most games exhibited at TGM last thirty minutes or less, turnover is quick. You don't have time for a two-hour game when that would consume almost a third of the entire show!

Companies on the periphery of the exhibit halls tend to have a larger demo space, as with Yamato Games, which debuted Sweets! (I bought Yamato's intro-level deck-builder Bird of Happiness in May 2016 and have played it solo a few times. Need to play it with others, then film an overview. So much to do!)

Here's an experience you encounter again and again at TGM: A relatively new publisher (グランドアゲームズ / Grand Door Games, which I believe first released a title in May 2016) with a professional-looking game that draws you in closer until, alas, you see Japanese text on the cards with no English rulebook in sight. What could this be? What's happening in Captain Dice? No time — move on, move on!

Booth displays at TGM are mostly non-existent, even for an established publisher such as New Games Order. Again, the show lasts only seven hours on a single day, so for the most part you think of this as a pop-up convention, dropping the cloth on the table, fitting as many games as possible on the available surface area, then filling holes from the boxes behind the table until it's time to pack up and come home.

New Games Order had new versions of both Basari and Can't Stop, with the latter having a foldable board that allows for a small box size. Shelf space seems to be precious in Japanese homes, so everyone aims to have the smallest box possible.

More to come...
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