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!

RPG Dragon Magazine

Following the look at Warlock magazine, we’ll go back to August 1994 and take a look at volume 2 of RPG Dragon (RPGドラゴン). Released as a bimonthly supplementary magazine to the monthly Dragon Magazine (ドラゴンマガジン), it sold for 800 yen at the time. I ordered it from Suruga-ya along with another magazine with a supplement about Magicalogia. Based on the insert advertising RPG Dragon, the main magazine sold for 600 Yen.

What caught my eye, was the list of games it focused on: Sword World, Battletech and Mechwarrior, Shadowrun, Monster Maker, Dragon Half, and Paradise Fleet, among others.

RPG Dragon No. 2 Cover

The page direction follows the traditional style of right to left, while modern game magazines are usually left to right. There’s a lot of content, and the order of it tends to be mixed, so rather than showcase in page order, I’ll list it by category. Continue reading RPG Dragon Magazine

Warlock Magazine

I wrote about Japanese TRPG magazines a few years ago, with deeper looks at Role & Roll and Game Mastering Magazine. At the time I didn’t have a copy of Warlock magazine, but I picked up volume five and wanted to introduce it here.

Warlock vol.5 and the bonus scenario

Group SNE publishes Warlock magazine, which primarily focuses on Advanced Fighting Fantasy and Tunnels and Trolls. I don’t play either game, but picked up this issue because of its special on Pugmire. Looking at some of the reviews on Amazon, I’m not alone in this. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Continue reading Warlock Magazine

Hands on Gundam the Game

Amuro looking at the game

Last year my wife and I became hooked on the original Gundam TV show. Surprisingly, neither of us had watched it before, so what started as a lark inspired by this Yoshinoya commercial turned us into fans.  When Arclight announced they were releasing a cooperative Gundam board game, I knew I wanted to give it, so picked it up at Tokyo Game Market.

The game is for 1-4 players and takes at least 30 minutes to play each phase. There are always four characters being played, so how many each player controls scales inversely with the number of players. Its gameplay is straight forward and simple, following the original TV show story. Like many story-based games, Continue reading Hands on Gundam the Game

From Season to Season

From Season to Season is a cute game of winning by losing. Coming in a small confectionary-sized box, the labeling and design is that of traditional Japanese sweets. The game really plays to the idea of hospitality and ometenashi, with players giving points to others, and the player with the fewest points wins.

The reference sheet, season with point tracker card, and sweets tiles
The top left card is a reference card. The bottom left card is used to track points, as well as indicate the player’s season.

Continue reading From Season to Season

Udonarium

I played in a D&D Dragon Heist online session the other day. We used discord for the audio and general chat, but rounded it out with an open source tool called Udonarium that has a neat approach to tabletop.

Toolbar, inventory, main chat, and map
Toolbar, inventory, main chat, and map. The images are the standard tutorial images.

The first thing that struck me was its approach to the map. Most software, such as roll20, provides a top down view. Udonarium, on the other hand, provides a 3D view, with the tokens “standing” on the map, giving it a feeling similar to in-person table top play. The board and tokens themselves can be rotated. A brief video showing this functionality:

Continue reading Udonarium

The New Year Makes Three

It’s hard to believe it’s almost already February and I’m just now making my first post of the year. 2020 marks the third year of this blog, which in itself is still a surprise for me at times. So what’s next for Entropic Dreams? I’m working on two more TRPG magazine posts: one on Warlock and another about an old issue of Warlock and Dragon MagazinesDragon from the ’90s. After that, I’d like to spend some time introducing some more indie TRPGs, but the Dark Souls TRPG is also on my list. Sprinkled amongst those will be some board games, such as Gundam, as well. I’m also considering working on some gaming vocabulary pages or maybe a guide.

On a Star Wars kick

Force Awakens Beginner Game and Force and Destiny

Between the new movie, the Mandalorian, and just general geekiness, I’ve been on a Star Wars binge lately. Continue reading The New Year Makes Three

Dragon Castle

Tokyo Game Market booth listing for Dragon Castle
Tokyo Game Market booth listing

I was immediately drawn to the listing for Dragon Castle TRPG as I flipped through the Game Market catalog. The old school feeling by the design and mechanics is something I really dig.

Being but a few pages, Dragon Castle was a very quick read. The rules, monsters, and character sheet are just three pages on card stock. Included looseleaf in the package is a thin cardboard battle sheet to track position during combat, a double sided FAQ sheet, and finally a card stock single page adventure.

Contents of the basic rules for Dragon Castle
Contents of the basic rules for Dragon Castle

It’s a well thought out way of packaging the beginner rules. The scenario is detached from the rules, making it easy for the DM to reference. Additional monsters are also included, and the Continue reading Dragon Castle