W. Eric Martin
Lincoln Damerst and I are heading to Tokyo Game Market on May 5-6, 2018 to record game overviews of titles new at that show and titles that will likely be available at SPIEL '18 in October. To prepare for that show, I've been searching for titles to cover on the Game Market website, looking for games with rules in English or from familiar designers and publishers. Our Tokyo Game Market May 2018 Preview now has a whopping 35 titles on it, probably less than a tenth of what will be shown on a single day at Game Market. So much to research!
Here are a few of the games we expect to see, only one of which originates in Japan:
• Taiwan Boardgame Design has a presence at every Game Market, often previewing upcoming titles from members of this design collective in special Chinese/English/Japanese editions created for this show. Homosapiens Lab, for example, is releasing an international edition of Lord of the Die-angler, a dice-based fishing game that first appeared from Satoru Nakamura and March Hare Games in 2016.
Homosapiens Lab will also have two new releases, one of them being Sick Boardgame of Karma, a game for which I have only the rules and the cover, so I don't know the designer, player count, or anything else at the moment. As with many Game Market releases, you grab on to whatever you can and worry about other details later! An overview:
Try to survive in Sick Boardgame of Karma! Each player starts with a hand of two karma cards, along with a character card that bears a unique power. Two karma cards start face up in play next to the deck.
On a turn, either reveal a card from the deck and place it next to any other face-up cards or take a face-up card into your hand. When you flip a card, if this type of card isn't already in play, then carry out the effect on the card; if another copy of this card is face up, take both cards into your hand. Karma explosion! If you have six or more cards in hand, you're eliminated from the game!
When you draw and reveal a Maheśvara's Judgment card, choose the player to your left or right, then draw a card from their hand and place it on the table. If that card is already visible, then both cards are discarded from play and that player is eliminated from the game! If that card isn't present, then the player now has a smaller hand size and has escaped judgment.
One of the effects on the karma cards is to grant a player Maheśvara's blessing. If a player collects three of these tokens, they win the game instantly! Otherwise the last player still in the game wins.
• Galaxy Wrestling Federation is a dueling card game from Homosapiens Lab for 2-5 players, which might seem like an odd player count for a game with duels, but you can effectively tag-team to jump into a match that otherwise doesn't involve you:
In Galaxy Wrestling Federation, you need to overcome opponents so that you can win championship belts and win the entire event, but you have only a small hand of moves that you can make, so manage them well!
Each player receives a hand of ten wrestling cards and one victory card; each wrestling card has a strength value on it as well as an opposing value that it overcomes. On a player's turn, they choose an opponent who doesn't have the most cards on the table in front of them and challenges them to a bout of either strength or speed. Each player chooses a card in hand, then reveals them simultaneously. If your card overcomes the value that your opponent played, then you win the bout automatically — unless you each overcame the other's number, in which case the bout is a tie.
If no one overcame the other, then you compare the values of the cards themselves. In a strength bout, whoever played the higher value wins; in a speed bout, the lower value wins; in a tie, the bout is a tie. If a single player played their victory card, then they automatically win — unless the other player did the same, in which case you tie.
The winner of the bout returns their victorious card to hand (except for the victory card, which is a one-shot effect), while the loser places their card face up on the table in front of them. The winner receives a championship belt token, then the next player in clockwise order chooses an opponent.
In a bout, before both players reveal their cards, they count to three, and while they're doing this, a third player can interrupt by playing one card against one of the cards in the bout. If the interrupting player overcomes that player's card, they win the bout and receive a championship belt token, returning that card to hand. If they don't overcome the card, they place their card face up on the table, then the bout resumes.
When one player has three pairs of card values face up in front of themselves (e.g., 1/1/2/2/3/3), then the game ends. This player loses, and whoever has the most championship belt tokens wins!
• Bono Light's Chivalry is a Eurogame from Taiwanese publisher TRANSit, and I've noticed that a larger percentage of the titles coming to TGM are larger games, games that you might expect to see from European publishers in terms of their components, if not necessarily due to their setting or gameplay mechanisms. New Games Order has the title Glover from Akase Yog, for example, but all I know about that title is that it's a German-style game. That's it!
As for Chivalry, we have this overview:
Set in the Middle Ages, Chivalry is a family game in which you can play as a knight apprentice who strives to get a higher rank and honor his family. By visiting every corner around the kingdom, you will gather knight spirits to enhance yourself and make yourself well-prepared for future challenges. In the end, the player with the most knight virtue will be the knight exemplar and bathe in the praise and applause of the crowds.
Briefly speaking, there are three actions players take in Chivalry: Rest, Patrol, and Promote. Rest is the phase for knights to stay and prepare their equipment and supplies, while Patrol is the phase to gather everything you need in the kingdom, or go to castle to get reward from the King. The most important phase is Promote, which symbolized your conquering of the trials and earn yourself knight virtues to elevate in the knight rank. Whenever a knight being promoted, there will be extra bonus for him to manifest the nobility. The game ends when any player collects the designated number of knight virtues, and the one with most virtues wins this game.
• Ideastorm is a party/word game from Sky Huang and TRANSit that seems to fit into the What Were You Thinking? genre, but it's sometimes hard to know whether I've gotten all the details correct while working with non-English blurbs. In general, all errors are mine in descriptions like these, and our knowledge will stay unclear until someone gets the game on the table and updates whatever I wrote, which in this case is the following:
Ideastorm is a game full of crazy inspirations and imaginations! Players are given plenty of vocabulary, then use their creativity to connect them to one another to create new words or phrases. However, they should always be aware of what other players are thinking, trying to get the same answers as them to win the game. This may sound easy, but Ideastorm is not really that simple!
To play the game, players use the three words writen on each of the two cards in the middle pile to figure out a different word or phrase, then write it down on their own whiteboard. If any player writes the same answer as another, both of them score points. The two cards with words change every turn, so the playing experience is full of surprises and never repeats. Once a player has 25 points or more, the game is over. Whoever has the most points wins.
• Oink Games debuted Zogen at the Game Market in Osaka at the start of April 2018, and it will debut Moneybags from Jun Sasaki and Yoshiteru Shinohara at this May 2018 event. The current description of this game is vague, but we expect to film an overview and Lincoln and I are both Oink fanboys, so we'll be able to give a better description than this in the future:
In ふくろと金貨 (Moneybags), players try to have the most gold coins, with each player having their own bag filled with some number of brass coins. If you think you have the most coins, you might want to exit the round to keep them as others will try to transfer coins from your bag to theirs!