Sakura Arms – 桜降る代に決闘を

Box frontToday we’ll be taking a look at Sakura Arms (桜降る代に決闘を), a two player card game I picked up at a previous Tokyo Game Market. There is now a new edition and apparently a digital edition as well, but we’ll be taking a look at the previous version, which is also the base for the English version of the game.Back of the box

Coming in a sturdy box, the first thing that stands out is the beautiful artwork. The artist  Tokiame has developed quite the following with signing events at Tokyo Game Market always having long lines.

Game play is estimated to take ten to twenty minutes, including deck building. When I played with a friend, our games took a bit longer as we were still learning the rules, but even so, finished quickly.

Contents

Box contents

Included in the box are 80 cards, 7 goddess (“megami” 女神 cards), two interlocking boards, cherry blossom petal counters, a short rulebook and card list. The cards themselves have a high quality feel to them and are quite beautiful. Continue reading Sakura Arms – 桜降る代に決闘を

The Once and Future Dragon Novels

Publisher Kadokawa recently announced the rebirth of the Dragon Novels imprint for novelizations of table-talk role playing games. In addition to releasing five novels on Feb 5th, Kadokawa is also attempting to build a community. As part of that, they’re opening up the Sword World universe for writers to set their stories in, and hint at future worlds also being opened to third party stories. Call of Cthulhu is one of the TRPGs that has a novel in the first release, but they also mention Meikyuu Kingdom and future systems receiving novels. Rounding out the announcement is a contest that will take place on the online novel site Kakuyomu.

What makes this particularly interesting to me is it’s a distinct return to novels, rather than replays, which have long been the dominate literature for TRPGs in Japan. Additionally, the focus on digital as well as paper content seems progressive. Hat tip to ChuoDori on Twitter for first putting me onto this.

A Bit of History

Record of Lodoss War novels
Record of Lodoss War novels by Ryou Mizuno and illustrated by Yutaka Izubuchi by a different Kadokawa imprint

Before we look at the new offerings, let’s make a brief stop in the late eighties and early nineties, the golden age of TRPGs in Japan. The novelization of Record of Lodoss War was published Continue reading The Once and Future Dragon Novels

Game Market – Fall 2018

Tokyo Game Market ticket and map in handI finally made it back to the Tokyo Game Market on November 25th. I had fun last time I went, and this time was no different. Taking place over the course of two days, Tokyo Game Market is dedicated to all types of analog games. I had previously heard that the second day tends to have more TRPG booths, so I only attended the second day.

Taking place in the West Halls 3 & 4 at Tokyo Big Sight, it felt like there were more vendors than last time. Surrounding the entrance were the larger booths, such as Domina Games, Magic: The Gathering, Arclight, and Delight Works.

Domina Games has been consistently popular, with very beautiful games.
Domina Games has been consistently popular, with very beautiful games.

Continue reading Game Market – Fall 2018

Interview with Amy Veeres

Kamigakari: God Hunters coverAmy Veeres of Serpent Sea Games and project manager of the Kamigakari: God Hunters English translation was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Kamigakari (神我狩) is a TRPG set in modern Japan that mixes anime action with Japanese folklore and then turns it up to 11. The Kickstarter for an official English translation was funded in just 55 hours and has already met its first stretch goal of including translator notes.

The Project

Scott: How did the project first come to life?

Amy: A friend was planning on running Kamigakari for my group. While reading the original fan translation, I said to myself, “This game sounds great, Continue reading Interview with Amy Veeres

Kamigakari Kickstarter

With the Kickstarter by Serpent Sea Games funded in just 55 hours, Kamigakari is now getting an official English translation! The Kickstarter runs until the end of November, so there’s still time to get in on some god hunting action.

Kamigakari: God Hunters (神我狩) is a Japanese TRPG about beings with supernatural powers protecting an unsuspecting world from the false gods. It draws on Japanese folklore, mixing it with a heavy dose of anime action for very cool results. Check out the Kickstarter description for more details.

Cover of Kamigakari: God Hunters
Cover of Kamigakari: God Hunters

Mechanically speaking, its uses what it calls a “dice control system.” Continue reading Kamigakari Kickstarter

Dracurouge

Cover of Dracurouge, vampire knights before the red moon

Today we’ll take a look at Dracurouge, a TRPG set in an Everdark country. With the evil sun vanquished, vampire knights are now the protectors of the people.

First of all, the artwork and the ambience it creates is absolutely amazing. The style it affects through language is very immersive, but it also makes it a much harder read than most other TRPGs for me. It goes out of its way to use obscure kanji and words. The majority of the book is black and white, but the first few pages have full color illustrations. Continue reading Dracurouge

Warhammer Underworlds: Nightvault

After probably twenty years away from Games Workshop games I’ve dipped my toes in again with Warhammer Underworlds: Nightvault. For the last year or two I’ve been painting Star Wars: Imperial Assault miniatures and enjoying that, so when the Warhammer Yokohama shop opened up nearby I was tempted to pickup one of the smaller skirmish games, but managed to resist.

Freebie play mat
Freebie play mat

A week later a friend wanted to get started with Shadespire and form a group, so I decided to pickup the Magore’s Fiends warband. Cue the Nightvault release and its bonus items still being available and my wallet got a bit lighter.

Nightvault box with bonus dice and dice bag
Nightvault box with bonus dice and dice bag

Continue reading Warhammer Underworlds: Nightvault

Understanding BattleTech

After years away from the world of BattleTech, Harebrained Schemes’ new BattleTech PC game has sucked me back into the 31st century. As a kid I was a huge fan of BattleTech and devoured its novels. But despite having the base game, AeroTech, and BattleSpace, I only played a few games of it. One of the things I longed for was a double blind game, and the new game has finally given me it.

So how does this relate to analog games you might ask? Well, the original tabletop game was also released in Japan and was translated by Group SNE, the makers of Sword World. It had its own revised mech designs and some of the novels were translated, but it didn’t seem to take off as much as one might have expected.

Fantasy File Guides

I have have a soft spot for old Fantasy File Fujimi Dragon Books. Riding the TRPG renaissance of the early nineties, Continue reading Understanding BattleTech

Role and Roll Magazine

Following up on our look at Japanese TRPG magazines and then Game Mastery Magazine, we’ll next look at Role and Roll magazine. The issue I have at hand is volume 140 published in June 2016. Weighing in at 138 pages and A4 in size, there’s quite a bit of content for 1,200 Yen (~$12 USD). The majority of the content is black and white, but a few ads are in full color.

Role and Roll is published by Arclight and has been in print since 2003. It covers a variety of games, and while primarily focused on TRPGs, it also has some board game coverage as well. If you’re interested in what the very first issue was like, Continue reading Role and Roll Magazine