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

Jinbocho Adventure

I finally got the chance to drop by Jinbocho again over the weekend. Known for its numerous book stores, it’s easy to spend hours there if you’re a bibliophile.

Sugorokuya

Sign for Sugorokuya Jinbocho

There’s now a Sugorokuya branch on the seventh floor of the Kanda Kosho Center. Brightly lit and clean, it has a number of well organized board games. The staff appeared both friendly and knowledgeable. I was looking for TRPGs, though, so headed off to Shosen Grande.

Shosen Grande

Jinbocho, facing Shosen Grande. The big blue sign at top reads "Hobby Bookstore" and the smaller one below it "Shosen".
Jinbocho, facing Shosen Grande. The big blue sign at top reads “Hobby Bookstore” and the smaller one below it “Shosen”.

Continue reading Jinbocho Adventure

Sanity in the Taisho Era

Being one of the most popular TRPGs in Japan, Call of Cthulhu has a plethora of official and unofficial supplements. Given its popularity, it’s about time we take a look at one of them. Entitled Our Lady of Kanzashi (かんざしの聖母【マリア】) it is a scenario book for Call of Cthulhu.

Front and back covers

Containing three scenarios ranging between 1924 and 1950, its cover channels the Taisho and early Showa era aesthetic. Kanzashi, which the girl on the right is holding and involves the third scenario, is an ornate hairpin that comes in a variety of styles.

We’ll take a brief detour and discuss the aesthetic of the cover and the period it references. The first scenario takes place in 1924, two years before the end of Taisho, and the last scenario in 1928, two years after the end. Continue reading Sanity in the Taisho Era

Into 2021 and Beyond

This January marks the 4th anniversary of Entropic Dreams. I’ve been remiss in posting the last few months, but I hope to rectify that soon. A few people have reached out to check on me, which I really appreciated.  I am thankfully doing well and my silence here was due to my hobby time being directed elsewhere.

Speaking of which, my Star Wars obsession continues into the New Year, and I’m proud to announce a project I’ve been working on over the last month. After Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) announced that they were going to close their community forums, I decided to supplement the various efforts to save the content with one of my ownー an archive of the entire forum. Work on it is starting to wind down, so I’ll be revisiting Entropic Dreams and adding new content, with an eye on TRPGs, in the near future.

Thank you all again for your concern. Your messages have definitely been an inspiration. I hope 2021 treats you all well. Stay safe!