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

Game Mastery Magazine and Sword World

Last time we took a general look at analog game magazines in Japan, but this time we’ll dig into Game Mastery Magazine. Game Mastery Magazine is published by Group SNE and focuses on their various games. Published in March, volume 3 focuses on the history of Sword World and takes a peak at what is coming this summer with version 2.5. In addition to its Sword World coverage, it’s packed with articles about various TRPGs and board games. A4 in size, it is 162 pages and sells for 1,800 yen (roughly $18). Printed mostly in black and white, there are several full color sections. It’s available at local game shops as well as Amazon Japan

Continue reading Game Mastery Magazine and Sword World

Games at Hama-con

A question I often hear is, “what TRPGs are popular in Japan?” I recently saw a flyer for a large TRPG convention, and thought it’d be interesting to look at the games being played.

Before we jump into the specifics, “convention” can mean anything from a small monthly event with a table or two to large events with dozens of tables. They also range from general TRPG conventions to single-system-only conventions, where only one game system is played (e.g. Sword World only).

Continue reading Games at Hama-con

Babel

Continuing on the success of Pandemic: Iberia over New Years with my wife, we next tried the balance game Babel.

Babel Box

Box Contents

Babel comes in a sturdy box with a nice pulp texture to it. It can be played with 1 to 5 players and takes 15-30 minutes. The version we played was the new version that came out in 2017. The previous version came out in 2016 and had some differences with the components.

Unboxing Babel

In the box are 36 wall cards, 45 blue print cards, 10 base cards, one ceiling card, and 5 language cards, plus the instruction booklet. The components are well-made and sturdy. Appropriate to its biblical namesake, Hebrew is used as a design element on the cards.

Babel Contents

Continue reading Babel

Hands on Hanamikoji

Hanamikoji contents - 7 geisha cards and 7 types of tool cards. Victory and action tokens. Rules in multiple languages

It’s hard to believe that it’s already New Year’s Eve! I had fun playing Hanamikoji a few times with my wife the other night. Taking its name from a famous street in Kyoto, it is a beautifully illustrated game about earning the favors of geisha by giving them the tools they specialize in. While a simple and fast game to play, there’s a lot of thought and reading of the other player that goes into each round. Continue reading Hands on Hanamikoji