I’ve been totally impressed with the Doujin TRPG Catalog 2023 (同人TRPGカタログ2023) edited by Suguru Cioya. It’s a follow up to the previous catalog (同人TRPGカタログ201X) published in 2020. That version contained 175 entries, while the new edition has expanded to 283! Well, 246 are in the main book, and another 37 are in a separate book dedicated to derivative works whose relation to copyright may be questionable. While both are available in print, the latter is also freely available on Booth.
Coming back to the main book and its 104 black and white pages, there are twelve half-page articles by guest contributors; an order-based index; the entries themselves; and an alphabetical index in the back.
While short, the guests columns are interesting, covering their thoughts on TRPGs, trends, and how they approach making a game. The column by the shop manager of the Yellow Submarine Akihabara RPG shop gives a business perspective and points to the 2016 Japan Game Convention as a turning point for indie TRPGs in popularity. There’s also a small column by the editor at the end of the book. There they give advice for those wanting to create a game of their own. Speaking from their personal experience of starting, but not finishing games, their advice is to first set a deadline. It’s easy to constantly refine a game, so having a firm deadline for when to present it to the world’s important. As someone who has started, but not finished, games in the past, this rang all too true.
Entries are categorized by game type into one of “Fantasy”, “Modern Society”, “SF”, “Non-violent / Daily Life”, and “General, omnibus, misc.” There are three entries per page, each getting equal spacing. Entries have a title; details about its formats; number of players; and play time; as well as a cover image if available. The details are then divided into two sections: “Setting and Player Objectives” and “System Features”. Finally, a slim line of publication details (year, cost at events, availability) are listed.
I often find myself referencing the catalog when I hear about an indie TRPG and want to get the gist of it. While information can often be found online, I appreciate the consistent and consolidated format. It’s easy to get an idea of what the game is about without digging too deep, not to mention it’s just plain fun to flip through and see all the creativity!
The main volume is available from local hobby shops as well as Conos. The separate volume containing derivative works is also available from hobby shops, and the digital version can be downloaded from Booth. The creator’s website has more details, both of the catalog and their other works.