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

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Scouting Yokohama Shops and Cafes

As I mentioned last post, I’ll be moving to Yokohama soon. Curious what my gaming options would look like, we decided to swing by some game shops and cafes after checking out apartments. I’ll add a list of Yokohama shops, similar to my Tokyo list, once I get to know the area a bit better. Now to the shops!

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A Day at the DAC 2017

DAC 2017 Sign on whiteboard
This way to the 2017 DAC!

The Dungeons & Dragons Annual Convention (DAC) usually falls at a busy time of year for me, so I haven’t been able to participate until this year. The convention consists of two days of D&D-related gaming, with each player participating in one game for the entire day.

I only attended the Saturday session, but it was packed. Reception started at 9:30 am and was followed by the opening ceremony at 10am where they introduced the DMs for the day. Gaming started at 10:30am and continued until 7pm with a few breaks decided by the table. After that, closing comments, announcements, and a raffle with tons of prizes. Continue reading A Day at the DAC 2017

Friday Night Adventurers

With the Japanese edition of Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition coming out this Autumn, there has been an increased interest in D&D. We’ve had a number of new players, or those returning from older editions, stop by the Wednesday night Adventurer’s League as well.

The cast
The cast of Friday Night Adventurers

There’s a Japanese language stream of D&D on Friday nights that just recently restarted after a hiatus called Friday Night Adventurers (金曜夜は冒険者). It’s structured in a way that also teaches a bit of the system. There is a natural feel to it, like we’re just joining in and watching a group play instead of watching a more theatric performance. While enjoyable to watch for veteran players, I imagine this style is especially helpful for beginners and those who have an interest in seeing how a real game plays out. Hopefully this and the Japanese edition will increase the number of players in Japan. Continue reading Friday Night Adventurers

Rise of the Game Cafe

I was a bit surprised by this article on the growing popularity of board game cafes in America and Canada. Board game cafes have become popular in Japan as well, but that’s partly by necessity since most people don’t have the space to play at home.

In the time that I’ve been gaming here, I’ve actually never played at a friend’s house. I have played at game stores, game spaces, business conference rooms, community centers, and cafes, but no homes. On the other hand, in America I played exclusively at someone’s house or online. While it’s partly space related, there’s also a cultural element about entertaining others outside the home. Continue reading Rise of the Game Cafe

Hands on Shinobi Empire

I finally had a chance to play Shinobi Empire, one of the games I got at the last Game Market. I found it to be an easy to pick up and lighthearted game that was fun to play. One of the coolest things about this game is the cards themselves. Each card has a unique image, a mix of cute and cool, and they form a neat multi-storied castle as you play.

Instructions, 35 tokens, and 54 cards
Instructions, 35 tokens, and 54 cards

Players choose a set of seven colored tokens that correspond to the color of the ninjas they receive points for. Each player is dealt a hand of five cards. The player who is wearing the simplest clothes (most ninja-like) goes first, with play proceeding clockwise. A turn consists of a player drawing a card from the deck and then placing one card.

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Sword World 2.0 Starter Set

Sword World Starter Set Box
Sword World Starter Set Box

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).

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Tokyo D&D Adventurers League

Reserved for D&D Adventurers League
Reserved for D&D Adventurers League

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.

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