Dark Souls TRPG Deep Dive: Behind the Screen

Our deep dive into the Japanese Dark Souls TRPG continues with a look at the GM portion of the book. Part one covered the first half of the book, which focuses on player content. I’ve done my best to keep spoilers to a minimum, but I do show the data of the first enemy encountered in the tutorial scenario. The remaining three sections we’ll look at today are Scenarios, Enemies, and Charts and Sheets. After that there’s a quick look at the bonus GM screen.

Scenario Section

The scenario section begins with helpful advice for the GM and an overview of both solo and multi play. It continues with an overview of how scenarios work, mapping, treasure, and the ominous malevolence sheet. Continue reading Dark Souls TRPG Deep Dive: Behind the Screen

Dark Souls TRPG Deep Dive

We’ll begin our deep dive into the Dark Souls TRPG by looking at the player-focused first half of the book. Part two will cover the game master focused latter half. Designed by Hironori Katou and
published by Group SNE, Dark Souls TRPG is a book that has been sitting in my blog backlog since it was published. It’s a crunchy, class and level based system that seeks to evoke the feeling Dark Souls III, while also avoiding what would be tedious in an analog game. As with many Japanese TRPGs, it only uses six sided dice. Continue reading Dark Souls TRPG Deep Dive

Invictus: the King

Invictus: The King deluxe edition box cover.

After trying out NoviNovi TRPG: The Horror, I next played a few games of Invictus: the King, a two player tactical card game. I originally picked this up at Tokyo Game Market 2019 because I loved the art, but it was also fun to play. Gameplay is symmetrical, with both players building their deck from the same set of cards.

What’s in the Box

Box contents: rulebook, cards, pieces, and folding board.

The are multiple themed editions, such as Japan and Egypt, but I have the original Medieval deluxe edition. The difference between the deluxe edition and others is the inclusion of a board and wooden tokens. Contained within is a folding game board; five types of soldiers with twenty cards each; 5 king cards; 5 wooden pieces (one for each unit color); and the rulebook. Continue reading Invictus: the King

Hands on Novi Novi TRPG: The Horror

Over the holidays I finally had a chance to play Novi Novi TRPG: The Horror. I had high expectations for it being an accessible TRPG to play with my wife, but it didn’t quite work as well as I had hoped. It’s a good game, it just wasn’t a good fit for us.

NoviNovi TRPG: The Horror Box

For background, my wife’s experience with TRPGs is playing a game of Magicalogia and seeing me play games of D&D and FFG Star Wars. We’ve watched a number of zombie shows and movies together, so I thought the horror theme would be a better hook than fantasy. To my surprise, she was more engaged with Magicalogia, Continue reading Hands on Novi Novi TRPG: The Horror

Consistency in 2022

Happy New Year! I have the same thought every January: I can’t believe this blog I started in 2017 is still going. My passion for it has waxed and waned over the years, with a several month hiatus in 2021, but my passion for it has once again returned!

One of my goals for 2022 is to post here more consistently. To that end, I’m considering some shorter, incremental posts as I read longer material. I enjoy the holistic view that writing after having finished a book provides, but the immediacy of writing about what I’m reading while it’s fresh in my mind is appealing.

As always, I’m grateful for all of you taking the time to read. Wishing you all the best in 2022. Stay safe!

Sugoroku in the Wild

After learning about sugoroku, I’ve started noticing it in various places. The first was a reproduction of a 1902 game in a gift shop in Otaru. Next was at a museum gift shop in Yokohama, and again at a park gift shop. Most recently was the Edo-Tokyo Museum having several exhibits. Hunting for sugoroku has turned into a hobby of mine!

Guide to Otaru

Otaru sugoroku

The left panel is a place where they're making Ramune. The middle panel is tobacco shop.
The left panel is a place where they’re making Ramune. The middle panel is of a tobacco shop.

Otaru is a small town in Northern Hokkaido that once had a bustling financial district. This reproduction of a 1902 (Meiji 35) game Continue reading Sugoroku in the Wild

Sugoroku – Traditional Board Games

Sugoroku: Traditional Japanese Games Cover

Today we’ll take a look at sugoroku, which refers to two types of traditional Japanese board games: board sugoroku (盤双六) and art sugoroku (絵双六). The latter, though, is is what people think of when they think of sugoroku. My wife discovered a book simply titled Sugoroku: Traditional Japanese Games at a local used bookstore and kindly picked it up for me. Published in 1974 and full of lavish photos of historic games, the first half looks at the types and art of sugoroku, while the latter half explores the history. As a bonus, a famous places sugoroku was tucked away in the sleeve.

I enjoyed flipping through the book just for its pictures alone, but the essays by its three authors deepened my interest. The following is a summary and highlights of what I learned from the book. Continue reading Sugoroku – Traditional Board Games

Role & Roll TRPG Catalog

Role & Roll TRPG Catalog 2020 Cover

Today we’ll take a look at a Role & Roll TRPG catalog from 2020. A catalog? From last year? While it may sound dull on the surface, I find it interesting how a publisher classifies and presents their games.

Role & Roll is one of the major TRPG publishers in Japan, and is part of ArcLight, a major analog game company that runs Game Market. In addition to the magazine of the same name, Role & Roll publishes a variety of TRPG related books. The Role & Roll game shop in Akihabara is their physical storefront. Continue reading Role & Roll TRPG Catalog

TRPG Book Sizes

A variety of Japanese TRPGs stacked to show relative sizes. The only hardcover is the D&D 5e Player's Handbook.
The only hardcover in this image is the D&D Player’s Handbook.

The most common size for American TRPGs is 8.5″x11″, but that size is rare in Japan. In fact, it’s only really used for translated editions of western games. Instead, a variety of smaller paperback sizes are the norm here. So being a bit of a bibliophile, I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at the formats and pricing of TRPGs in Japan. Continue reading TRPG Book Sizes

Giant Robots and Relationships

A new TRPG Kousai-no-Revulture (光砕のリヴァルチャー) was just published and immediately caught my eye. Created by the same group as Silver Sword Stellar Knights (銀剣のステラナイツ), it’s a game of giant robots and relationships! One of the unique things about this game is that it’s a two player TRPG. Not just playable with two people, but the mechanics themselves are built around the relationship of the Chevalier (pilot of the Revulture robot) and their Fiancee (the navigator and game master).

Continue reading Giant Robots and Relationships