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Osaka Game Market 2018: Report from Table Games in the World

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Editor's note: Game Market took place in Osaka on April 1, 2018, and Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English and who tweets about new JP games — has translated this report about the event 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 for translating this! —WEM

On April 1, as cherry blossoms were in full bloom, Osaka Game Market 2018 was held at Intex Osaka in Suminoe Ward, Osaka City. After holding Game Markets in Kobe for two years, the Game Market in the Kansai region returned to Osaka this year, and the attendance has grown from 4,700 at 2017's Kobe Game Market to 6,000 (according to the announcement by the Game Market Management Office).

Although I did not notice many games becoming a topic of conversation on Twitter before the show, there was the usual long line of people waiting before the opening. As the show opened at 10:00 a.m., they rushed into the venue. Many people queued to buy games, such as GANGSTER PARADISE Requiem (from Kaishin Games), which had drawn attention through crowdfunding, and Liqueur the GAME (from B-CAFE and Butagoya).


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Oink Games released its new game Zogen, which was designed by Anja Wrede and Christoph Cantzler, who have produced games such as Shark Alarm!!! They had brought the game idea to the Oink Games booth at the 2018 Spielwarenmesse Toy Fair in Nürnberg, Germany in February and it was quickly made into a product. While the game title comes from the Japanese word "zogen" (ゾーゲン), which means "increase and decrease", it also sounds a little German. The Oink Games booth was also selling the Deep Sea Adventure T-shirt.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Zogen is a real-time pattern recognition game in which each player tries to play the cards from their hand to the center of the table and race to get rid of them until a player has only three cards in hand. Try to find a card that differs from the previously-placed card by exactly one pattern (micro-organism) and lay down that card while saying the pattern's name.

Meanwhile, other players can challenge your judgment by calling out "Zogen!" and if your judgment turns out to be wrong, you must receive the cards laid down on the table until that point. The game continues unless anyone calls out "Zogen!", and the players are all busy checking the cards in their hands, so even sloppy judgments may go unnoticed. Thus, even players with sharp judgment do not necessarily win the game.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Tricks and the Phantom (from Brain Brain Games) is a minimal deduction game that provides incredibly strategic gameplay with very few cards. It was initially released with English and Japanese text, and now a Korean edition has been released after a South Korean board game café showed an interest in the game. At Osaka Game Market, this game's variant rules for different number of players were distributed for free.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


I encountered a meeple cosplayer with a haiku-like phrase on its body that reads:

Quote:
Though we have proclaimed
It's tough to proceed with / The way of board games
Our long road ahead / May extend to infinity
However, the venue was too crowded for him to walk around, so he stayed at the entrance/exit to see people off. The meeple costume can be put on like a stand-in cutout.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


At 3:00 p.m., there was a talk show with the French board game designer Bruno Faidutti along with Seiji Kanai (Kanai Factory) and Hisashi Hayashi (OKAZU Brand). The show was hosted by Nobuaki Takerube. Izobretenik provided help as the interpreter. In response to Seiji Kanai's question on good games that have been played, Bruno Faidutti referred to the timing of their publication, commenting that Citadels would not have sold this much if it was published recently.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


At this Game Market, board game accessories were quite prominent. The groups selling such products were located in D row, where various creative accessories were on display. Here are some dice towers and card stands produced by Cygnus.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Mr. and Mrs. Takahashi, who run the second-hand board game shop Schatzi in Amagasaki, had a booth under the name "MeepRing!!" where they sold meeple-patterned microfiber cloths. There could be a high demand for such a cloth among us board gamers with a relatively high proportion of people wearing glasses.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Koma no Toki had necklaces using Agricola pieces at their booth. Furthermore, there were many other charming items, such as meeple buttons (from Taka-Meeple), Darekara dice (from Hako no Soto), and tote bags (from Northgame).


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Among the Kansai region's local game designers, Toryo Hojo of Loser Dogs released his new satirical game Heisei Shuuryou no Oshirase (Announcing the End of Heisei Era). It is a word game to nominate new names for the upcoming era by combining kanji characters. As a satirical game valuing the news, the game also comes with the data showing how often each kanji character has been used in the names of previous eras.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


OKAZU Brand released its latest game MetroX. In this game, using the numbers revealed by drawing cards, all players fill up their subway map with ◯s in the station spaces to create subway networks. It is another paper-and-pencil game by OKAZU Brand following Rolling Japan. The rules whereby the players can fill up only adjoining stations with ◯s combined with the subway's interwoven system create a nice and tough dilemma for the players. With the maps for the Osaka Municipal Subway, which was renamed to "Osaka Metro" on April 1, and that for Tokyo Metro, this game is also good for studying subways.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


I also managed to try out Tribes, a trick-taking game created by Beginners, a first-time exhibitor from Osaka. The game is comprised of three phases, whereby the players first play a card from their hand (you may follow suit), take one of the cards laid out and use it to gain their resource, then use the resource in combinations to earn victory points. Even if you play a card to gain a certain resource, it may be taken by another player, thus requiring a tactical gameplay.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Rezest, a social network game production company from Kansai, created a board game based on their browser game and released it with the title JOLLYROGER 〜大海の覇権〜 (Jolly Roger: Ocean Supremacy). Digital game companies moving into the board game market is also a recent trend.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


In Game Markets in Kansai, the cosplay by Chim, the store manager of BOARDGAME.Lab!DDT, has also become a well-known practice.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Lastly, here is another cosplay to promote the game Rule of Magic (from River Games).


From gallery of W Eric Martin


So that is my leisurely report provided along with photos. While both the venue and attendance have grown larger, Osaka Game Market is still relatively small compared to Tokyo Game Market and I consequently had ample time to enjoy the show. In Tokyo, on the other hand, I would be too busy checking newly released games. In Osaka, it was good to meet, talk, and have a relaxing time with many people, such as the people who participated in the Adult Board Game Festival on the day before the Game Market, the people I had previously known only over the Internet, and the people I met again after a long while. I hope to see you people again next year!
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