TRPGs in Japan are still very much a paper affair, and that in particular can be seen in the number of print magazines dedicated to them. A few specific to TRPGs are:
I’d like to take this Mother’s Day to thank my mother for always being supportive. We played a variety board and card games when I was young, and while we didn’t play any role-playing games, she always supported this hobby of mine.
I first encountered role-playing games when I was nine or ten and a friend (Hey D!) at an after school program introduced me to a home made game Space Pirates. This in turn led to AD&D and a host of other games as we grew up. This was in the early 90’s, so the D&D-leads-to-diablerie craze had subsided, but its effects were still lingering. One of the teachers, for instance, forbade D&D by name, but allowed other RPGs. I recall my friend and I once going to the library to covertly “study” Dungeons and Dragons. Continue reading Mother’s Day
A question I often hear is, “what TRPGs are popular in Japan?” I recently saw a flyer for a large TRPG convention, and thought it’d be interesting to look at the games being played.
Before we jump into the specifics, “convention” can mean anything from a small monthly event with a table or two to large events with dozens of tables. They also range from general TRPG conventions to single-system-only conventions, where only one game system is played (e.g. Sword World only).
Continuing on the success of Pandemic: Iberia over New Years with my wife, we next tried the balance game Babel.
Babel comes in a sturdy box with a nice pulp texture to it. It can be played with 1 to 5 players and takes 15-30 minutes. The version we played was the new version that came out in 2017. The previous version came out in 2016 and had some differences with the components.
In the box are 36 wall cards, 45 blue print cards, 10 base cards, one ceiling card, and 5 language cards, plus the instruction booklet. The components are well-made and sturdy. Appropriate to its biblical namesake, Hebrew is used as a design element on the cards.
My wife expressed interest in trying out a board game over the New Years holiday, so we went to the local game store together and picked out two games: Pandemic: Iberia and the card game Babel.
As I mentioned last post, I’ll be moving to Yokohama soon. Curious what my gaming options would look like, we decided to swing by some game shops and cafes after checking out apartments. I’ll add a list of Yokohama shops, similar to my Tokyo list, once I get to know the area a bit better. Now to the shops!
It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year since I started blogging. I’ve learned a lot in the process, and am very thankful for all of you who take the time to read it. One of the highlights for me last year was learning that one of the players in the weekly Adventurer’s League game I attend found it because of this site.
January and February will be very busy for me, but I hope to start going through my backlog of games once things calm down a bit. In addition to some board and card games, there’s a number of TRPGs I’ve been hankering to introduce here. It’s funny to think that I was worried about finding topics to write about; it’s more a matter of finding the time to research and write.
The new year already brings some change- namely an impending move from Tokyo to Yokohama. After checking out apartments there, we dropped by a few game shops and cafes. I’ll write about that trip and gaming over the New Years holiday soon.
It’s hard to believe that it’s already New Year’s Eve! I had fun playing Hanamikoji a few times with my wife the other night. Taking its name from a famous street in Kyoto, it is a beautifully illustrated game about earning the favors of geisha by giving them the tools they specialize in. While a simple and fast game to play, there’s a lot of thought and reading of the other player that goes into each round. Continue reading Hands on Hanamikoji
I had the pleasure of discussing analog gaming and design over dinner with veteran Japanese game designer Yoshiyuki Arai. Among his various accomplishments, his game Fantasy Defense had a very successful Kickstarter.
Scott: How did you get started gaming and what were your first games?
Arai: As a child in the early ’80s there was a board game boom with lots of TV program toy tie-ins. After that, Bandai’s Party Joy
(Japanese blog post about the SD Gundam version) board game series took off, with each game costing 1,000 yen each. I couldn’t afford it with my allowance, so I’d play at a friend’s place. They included an A4 size board, rubber figures, and dice. Over ten years there were over 300 types of games and it was a big hit at the time.
A long time ago, Japan was a major player in the board game market. Sorry, I’m starting with some board game history. Avalon Hill games were imported and sold in department stores. I never played them, but gamers born before the 70’s most likely have. In fact, I’d say that most gamers now in their 50’s got started with Avalon Hill games. Continue reading Interview with Game Designer Yoshiyuki Arai