Hi, my name is Ro Sato and I'm Japanese born and raised in Japan. Unlike normal Japanese, thanks to my hippie parents, I was put into International School from kindergarten and up. So I had American education instead of Japanese. Then, I studied Film /Video at School of Visual Arts in New York. I wanted to be a film director, but in two of my attempts to direct, my lead actresses ran out on me while in production! That was enough for me to give up on that carrier and I move on to be computer graphics animator instead. Computer characters listen to me well and I’ve had absolutely no problem since then.
Because of my background, my boardgame history is not much different from Shawn’s, I’ve played Sorry, Clue, Monopoly and Risk during my youth. There are not many good Japanese boardgame. We have the Japanese version of Monopoly or The Game of Life, just like rest of the world. I am pretty good playing Shogi, a Japanese chess. I use to play with my grandfather and he taught me how to play. Funny thing was, I never beat my grandfather, but then he later confessed that he had been cheating since I became good at it! Throughout high school and college, I haven’t really played boardgame. May be some Mah-Jongg and Uno occasionally, but I’ve encountered my first German boardgame, Scotland Yard. At the time, I didn’t know it was German, but it gave me quite an impression. Since then, I’ve been following European boardgame scene. There were not much information at the beginning and the shops were more limited, like just 1 or 2 shops around in entire Japan! All this started improving since the release of Settlers of Catan in Japan. I also found BoardGameGeek that solved most of my problems and needs for getting information about boardgames. Not only that, I’ve made friends with fellow geek like, Ken Shoda, Rick Heli, Hans Persson, William Tan, Shawn Low and more friends from all over the world, which is very exciting. I was so fond of the BoardGameGeek, I decide to create Japanese boardgame database myself. It’s called play:game database and it’s been running like 3 years now. My database of course runs in much smaller scale in terms of number of user and functionality, but I have good example to follow.
Last year was pretty exciting year for me. I was commissioned to translate boardgame rules from English to Japanese and I’d been successfully doing that throughout last year. I also participated in project “Japon Brand”, a first large attempt to promote Japanese games and designers in Essen, Germany. Although I was unable to attend in it, I heard it created good buzz and helped people recognize some of Japanese finest gems. Hopefully we will be introducing more new games from Japan this year too. And midst of doing all this simultaneously, I also worked on Guenter Cornett and Michael Uhlemann’s new game “Greentown”, doing graphics for the masters. This was my first time doing graphics for commercial boardgame. I was pretty lucky to work with Guenter. He is such a nice person and he is also very easy to work with. He gave me lots of freedom in terms of creativity without sacrificing too much of the actual game content. Designing graphics for boardgame is one of the hardest !
tasks for graphic designer, since there are so many restrictions. You just can’t sacrifice the functionality in the game and yet it has to look good. Looking at the people’s comments on BGG about Greentown, lots of people suggested that it would have been better if “Train” theme was chosen instead of Tourist touring in a rural city. And they are probably right, but me and Guenter both figured there were enough train games around, besides we were pressured by deadline, so I couldn’t do a different theme. After all, there is nothing like having the actual copy of Greentown with me in hand! The game looked good and at least I enjoy playing it.
So that’s about all I want to tell about myself. I hope there is something interesting to read.
play:game database - http://www.gamers-jp.com/playgame/db_newsa.php
Japon Brand - http://japonbrand.gamers-jp.com/index-j.html
Greentown - http://www.bambusspiele.de/ http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/24122
1.Hooked on playing Texas Hold'em Poker.
2.Addicted to Sports Betting.
3.Big sports buff, my religion is football(Soccer).