Back from the Spring 2017 Tokyo Game Market at Tokyo Big Sight and my wallet is a bit lighter. I had a blast at my second Tokyo Game Market even without participating in any organized play. It was really fun to just walk around and check out the various booths. I couldn’t resist all the temptations, though, and ended up picking up four games; a spiffy game bag; and an Imperial Assault villain pack that I found in a remainder bin at the Shosen booth.
Last year I went towards the end of the market and some items were sold out, so this year I went around noon and stayed until around 4pm. Going even earlier would be good if you want to check out some of the special clearance or used game booths, and a few new games were already sold out when I got there.
The market was packed like last year, but a larger venue made it feel a bit more spread out and open. There was no line when I went, so I was able to walk right in. You can apparently start lining up at 8am, but I’m not sure how long the queue was before the market opened.
Now for the games!
Shinobi Empire (シノビエンパイア)
The first game I picked up was Shinobi Empire. Each card is a unique scene and very pretty. One of the neat aspects is that the cards are played so that they form a building that resembles traditional panel art (but with ninjas!)
A game for 2-5 players, each game takes about 20 minutes to play. The rules are short and clearly explained with ample diagrams and looks to be easy for new players to pick up. The gist is that players place their cards on the table to construct a building. Each floor can contain multiple rooms, with largest room being the one that players can place their ninja tokens in. The first player to place seven tokens wins.
Sakura Arms (桜降る代に決闘を)
This game originally caught my eye at last Fall’s Game Market, but it was sold out by the time I got there. Thankfully, this year they had plenty in stock and I finally picked up a copy. They also had the artist signing cards, but the line was extremely long so I decided to skip the signing session.
This is a two player card game that takes 10-20 minutes to play. The artwork is a beautiful, and the ambiance the boards create is wonderful. I haven’t read the rules yet, but each player selects two characters and then builds their deck of cards based on these choices. This seems like it will lend a lot of variety to each game and keep it fresh. The number of cards used in a match is fairly small, so building the deck shouldn’t be too daunting and can be done fairly quickly.
I still have a soft spot for religions studies, so the banner with “GOD x TCG” immediately caught my attention, as did the amazing cosplayer. I picked up a new in-beta board game about gods vying for power to unite the world, but they also sell beautiful Japanese, Greek, and Traditional tarot cards.
The game was sold in both uncut (¥1,000) and pre-cut (¥3,000) versions, but the pre-cut was already sold out. It’s a game for 3-6 players and a play time of 1-2 hours. In addition to the game itself, it states you need 2D6 dice, a cutter, utility knife, and scissors (to prepare the cards and pieces).
The game itself consists of the players competing with each other to get to the shrine in the center of the map. I’ve only skimmed the rules, but there appears to be some complexity to them with a number of diagrams to illustrate examples. The artwork is absolutely wonderful.
Shinkikyoumei: Core Connection (神機共鳴 コア・コネクション)
A deck building card game for 2-4 players that takes 45-60 minutes, the players fight against monsters and collect energy for each monster they best. The first to 20 points is the winner. There are pilots, robots, attachments, story, and monster cards. Pilots have a specific robot that they are strongest with, but can pilot any of them. An interesting twist is that the pilot cards have two sides- normal and injured. The injured side is where they summon their inner strength and push on.
I like the artwork and it is very evocative of this genre. Most of the monsters are fairly serious, but there are a couple cute monsters like the “Lucky Armadillo” that actually have beneficial effects like allowing players to equip attachments when attacked.
I’ll write up more details about each of these games as I get a chance to read them in more detail and play them.