W. Eric Martin
• Not all of the publishers with new games scheduled to be at Tokyo Game Market — which next takes place May 14, 2017 — are from Japan. Many Taiwanese publishers show up with new games as well, sometimes with those games having Japanese editions on the market before editions in any other language!
One such title debuting at TGM is Mark Gerrits' Mini Rails from Moaideas Game Design. The current game description is the briefest of takes, but ideally I can record an overview video while at the show since this title will undoubtedly be available at SPIEL 2017 as well.
Mini Rails distills the essence of the stock-buying and track-laying game genre into a tight experience that can be finished under an hour.
The game includes only two types of actions — "Buy Shares" and "Build Tracks — and you must carefully decide how to best use them. You must do each action exactly once per round, and which company you choose affects the turn order on the next round.
• Oink Games first released Masato Uesugi's Dungeon of Mandom in 2013, with this game being a sort of press-your-luck dungeon delve in which players essentially boast about tackling a dungeon with less and less equipment (learning about some of creatures lurking inside the dungeon while doing so) until finally only one person remains standing — then this chump sets off into the dungeon to see whether they survive or not. If you don't make it, you're wounded, and a second wound eliminates you from play. Be the last player standing or successfully navigate the dungeon twice, and you win.
French publisher IELLO licensed the design and released Welcome to the Dungeon in 2015, with this game including four heroes and more pieces of equipment to give players more variety. They followed this title in 2016 with Welcome Back to the Dungeon, with Antoine Bauza serving as co-designer to add another four heroes and yet more equipment and monsters to the game.
Now with Dungeon of Mandom VIII, which debuts at TGM in mid-May, Oink Games is putting everything in one box with new artwork. I imagine that this title won't receive distribution in the U.S. and Europe due to the licensing deal with IELLO, but that's something I hope to find out.
• Tetsuya Iida from Yamato Games typically includes English rules with purchases at TGM — assuming that you ask for English rules, that is — but right now only the Japanese rules are available for Animal Village, so I've cobbled together this short description for now:
Animal Village is a worker-placement style game played solely with cards in which players try to cultivate both crops and sheep to score points.