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Japanese Game Round-up: Drop Eggs, Drip Water, Make Colors, Avoid Traps, and Admire Fluff

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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• Time for another round-up of Japanese games that came into existence while most of us weren't looking in that direction, starting with いろかるた (Color Karuta), a 2-5 player game from publisher Kino.Q in which players stack transparent cards in five colors (CMYK and white) in order to recreate a color presented to them by an opponent or a color on an object in real life. The order in which you stack the cards matters, so build with care!

The publisher, which specializes in items related to stationery, has an English-language website should you care to order a copy.

空中都市アーレア (The Sky City of ALEA) is a dice-rolling game for 3-5 players from designers Kujiradama Zero and Nagisa Kujira and publisher KUJIRADAMA that debuted at Tokyo Game Market in November 2019. An overview of the game's setting:
Several hundreds years have passed since the skycity of ALEA, a place that used to be known as "the center of Civilization", perished with countless hidden treasures and booby traps. Seeking unknown treasures, many reckless adventurers still make attempts to visit ALEA these days.
Each player has five dice, and at the start of each round a booby trap card is declared, then all players simultaneously declare how many dice they want to roll, with them trying to avoid setting off the trap. Whichever player (or players) declared the lowest number rolls that many dice, and if they don't set off the trap by rolling whatever they shouldn't, e.g. two pairs or dice that sum to at least 20, then they score points equal to the number of dice they rolled and their dice stay in play; those die results are considered when the next person rolls, thereby increasing the likelihood of a player triggering the trap.

If someone does set off the trap, they re-roll all the dice on the table and either they set it off again, ending the round, or they don't, in which case they score points equal to however many dice they rolled originally. As soon as someone hits a point threshold, the game ends after the next round.

• Another new release at the Nov. 2019 TGM was Nice Egg! (ナイスエッグ!) by Naotaka Shimamoto and itten, with the game concept coming from Hideki Tanaka at ASOBI.dept.

Here's a short description from the publisher: "Nice Egg! is a yolk-dropping action game in which players are challenged to drop yolks one by one each round, with a feeling of play reminiscent of curling. Can you be a fried egg master?"

• A second itten/ASOBI.dept collaboration was released at TGM in Nov. 2019 in itten's new tiny cube box line: Kappa Bros! (カッパ兄弟), with Naotaka Shimamoto reworking Itsuka Tanaka's KAPPA-TAN.

The quick take on the game: "Depending on the roll of the fish dice, each turn in Kappa Bros!, you either add more water to the plate, move the plate to another Kappa, or do both! Whoever breaks the surface tension and spills any water loses."

• This game provoked a brief "Wait, what?" response before I shifted into "Sure, why not?" mode:

どうぶつのおしりCARD, a.k.a. Animal Tail Cards is from Banana Moon Studio, and it's a simple hand-shedding game for players aged 4 and up. The game itself doesn't look too interesting, but where else will you find heart-butt cards featuring fluffy animal posteriors explained over blippy earworms? Where?!

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