I was originally going to skip the Fall Tokyo Game Market because I haven’t played all the games I picked up last time, but in the end I found myself at Tokyo Big Sight again surrounded by analog games.
This time I went on Sunday, which is the more TRPG heavy day of the two day event. In terms of indie TRPGs, Cthulhu scenarios and supplements were again the most prevalent, but it seemed there were more indie supplements for other systems than before. Classics like Shinobigami and Kamigakari were still represented, but there were several scenarios for Stellar Knights of the Silver Sword and more recent games. One scenario book I looked at actually contained scenarios for multiple systems. There were also a number of original systems present.
The catalog was a hefty 317 pages, mostly booth listings, but like previous editions, also contains some articles about gaming lingo and how to write rulebooks.
Arclight and similar commercial booths were selling some TRPG books, but I’d say the bulk of their booths were board games. That being said, there was a large TRPG experience section and a special LARPing supply section. LARPing appears to be becoming more popular in Japan of the last few years, with more information, games, and events. My personal experience with LARPing in America was Vampire and Shadowrun, but it seems fantasy is the primary genre for it at the moment in Japan.
Ace English Matching Games
One booth that stood out for me was Ace English. Run by Michael Martinelli and his wife, they make and sell picture-matching memory games for language learning. I took a fancy to the cards and picked up the birds box, which contains 48 nicely illustrated cards on thick card stock.
I had a nice chat with the creator, an English teacher in Japan for twenty-two years, and one of the reasons for realistic art was so the cards could also be used with seniors, who would be put off by sillier art aimed for kids.
Stellar Knights supplement
Initially pulled in by the beautiful artwork, the setting of 1912 Japan for Stellar Knights of the Silver Sword made for an immediate purchase. Looking forward to reading this after the core rulebook.
Flipping through the catalog, Dragon Castle immediately caught my attention. The old school feel was neat, and the simpleness of the starter package appealing. Consisting of just a few pages and cardboard counters for 300 yen, the beginner book contains a simple scenario and rules for three classes. The advanced version contains more classes, monsters, and such for 1500 yen. Their website has the basic edition and a supplement for free.
This booth was also selling fantasy BGM music, with a sample of the music is available on Youtube:
Flyers, flyers everywhere
There are tons of flyers at the event advertising various games and services, but a few that I caught my eye were:
Quite profound, “Possible Memories” (ないはずの記憶) is a card game about remembering someone dear to us that has passed away by making up new stories of things they might have done. The expansion pack “If I happen die…” (もしも私が死んだなら) is about what people would say one’s own funeral also sounds interesting. The comments about by a Buddhist priest about loss and remembrance, and how the game is one method of remembering, is quite insightful.
Japanese game publishers finally seem to be coming on board with electronic editions. Some game books, such as Stellar Knights, have been available on Kindle and Kadokawa BookWalker, for a while, but it seems to be expanding. One flyer I got from the Arclight booth had a side for Honto having a selection of board games and game books, both print and digital. The above are for mainstream publisher books, but if you’re interested in indie books, there are also Booth.pm and Conos.
Solomon Night Raid
I don’t have any experience with historical war games, but there were a few booths dedicated to them there. One in particular, “Solomon Night Raid” caught my eye and the author’s blog is a treasure trove of historical information.
The Next Game Market
Next year is the 20th anniversary of the Tokyo Game Market, so they’re apparently planning on making some special events and goods at the Spring market. Check it out if you get a chance! If the trends are any indication, they’ll be even more booths and attendees.
There is also a collaboration between Tokyo Hands and Game Market next year, with a special event space at the Shinjuku store between 2019/1/9 and 2019/1/22.