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).
Moving from the US to Japan was a chance to shed a lot of material possessions and start fresh. One thing I do regret getting rid of is some of my old AD&D 2nd edition books. I recently decided to pick up a few of the books again and was surprised to discover some Japanese editions at my local gaming shop.
It seems appropriate that the first Japanese RPG I write about was also one of the first made in Japanー Sword World (ソード・ワールド). Sword World first caught my eye a few years ago, but I never had a chance to play it until I mentioned my interest to a friend and he offered to run a session.
My friend hadn’t played it in a long time, so he graciously picked up the Sword World 2.0 Starter Set (Japanese) and gathered together four additional players. We ran through the entire box set in an afternoon at a games play space in Ikebukuro called Naruneko House (Japanese).
I’ve been regularly attending weekly D&D sessions at one of the local game shops Role & Roll (Japanese) in Akihabara. These week day sessions run for two hours from 7pm to 9pm, but they also occasionally host events on the weekend, which usually run from 12pm to 8pm, at the latest.
These Adventurers League games are sponsored by the Japanese publisher of D&D Hobby Japan (Japanese). Interestingly, only the free basic rules (Japanese) have been officially translated. This leads to a mix of Japanese and English source materials at the table, both paper and digital.