Cafe Subbox

Storefront with white calls and blue highlights.
I almost walked by the store at night, but the meeples told me I was at the right place.

I was in Nagano a while back and stopped by a small board game store and cafe called Cafe Subbox. It’s about a 12 minute walk from the station and 20 minute from the gates of Zenkoji. Easy to miss from the outside, the inside is has a warm, welcoming vibe. There was a family playing a board game at the table near the door, and the owner was behind the counter. They had a sale going on, and a nice selection of games for sale as well as play in the store.

View of the shop from the entry. A narrow entry leads to space that widens with more tables and shelves of games.
View from the entry way. A family was playing a board game to the right of the photo.

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Table Game Cafe Sirocco

Storefront at night. Large glass windows.I’ve become a fan of Table Game Care Sirocco in Kamakura near Ofuna station. Opening May 1st, 2023, it combines two interests of mine: analog games and delicious drinks. Tea, coffee, and beer, along with soft drinks and juices, are all on offer.

Coffee beans and tea leaves samples in metal cans with clear lids.
The coffee and teas lined up for inspection.

The owner has puts a lot of effort into his drinks, occasionally adding new concoctions to the menu. The “Underdark” beer cocktail (Guinness beer and expresso) a new addition that I’m looking forward to trying next time I’m there. Coffee is from a shop in Northern Kamakura, and the tea is also local or from a shop in Yokohama. Continue reading Table Game Cafe Sirocco

New Location for the Yellow Submarine Akihabara RPG Shop

After years in their previous location, the Yellow Submarine Akihabara RPG shop moved to a new location close to Suehirocho station. Curious to check out the new location, I dropped by for their grand opening on October 28th.View of the shop from the entry way showing a table with sale items and shelves of games in the background.
Entryway to the building. The Yellow Submarine sign is on the far left.

While partly due to familiarity, the old location felt easier to find, but it depends on the direction you’re coming from. From Suehirocho station, another large sign hides the Yellow Submarine sign, but coming the opposite direction, from Akihabara station, it’s easy to see.

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Board Game Shop Kazamidori

Photo showing the storefront of Kazamidori.

My wife and I stopped by a nice board game shop on our way through the city of Mishima called Kazamidori (風見鶏). Kazamidori means weathercock, which forms part of the logo. While the focus of the store is card and board games, they also have sell TRPGs and Warhammer, with both featured prominently. The play space takes up the area nearest the counter, with shelves of games ringing. The play space games are towards the back, with the games for sale everywhere else. I was there Friday late afternoon, and there were two groups playing games and a couple of customers browsing games.

Table with green felt in the foreground and shelves of board games in the background. A drink fridge is to the right of the table.
The shelves to the left are games for sale, those to the right are store copies for the play space.

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TRPG Digital Delve

The last few years have seen a proliferation of digital editions of TRPG books and related tools in Japan. While many books are still physical only, there’s a growing number of both indie and commercial games with digital editions available.

While several sites focus on games and fan made content, many that originally focused on digital comics have extended their selection to include TRPGs. The sites focused on gaming products tend to have more categorization and filtering specific to games. They also usually provide the content as PDFs and/or zip files of contents instead of EPUBs with DRM or browser/app based viewing.

There are a lot of options, but I usually start my search at Booth and Conos, and then branch out to other services if they don’t have the content I’m looking for.  Many publishers list on multiple sites, and while the pricing is uniform, their offerings will sometimes differ.

In terms of pricing, physical and digital editions of commercial games are often the same price or only a slight discount provided. As an example, the Japanese edition of Cyberpunk RED costs ¥7,200 for either physical or digital, while the English edition costs $60 for physical and $30 for digital. Indie games often have a bit of a discount. The indie game Praise for Angels, for example, costs ¥1,800 for the PDF and ¥2,900 for the print edition. Some services provide point systems, often with sales that increase the points received for a purchase while leaving the purchase price unchanged.

A word of warning for those hoping to use built in dictionaries: from what I’ve seen, text is not selectable in most rulebooks except those sold as PDFs. Replays formatted like a novel that I’ve read on Kindle have had selectable text and the dictionary worked, but I haven’t tested replays on other services. PDFs generally don’t have this problem, though sometimes text selection can be odd. Continue reading TRPG Digital Delve

Jinbocho Adventure

I finally got the chance to drop by Jinbocho again over the weekend. Known for its numerous book stores, it’s easy to spend hours there if you’re a bibliophile.


Sign for Sugorokuya Jinbocho

There’s now a Sugorokuya branch on the seventh floor of the Kanda Kosho Center. Brightly lit and clean, it has a number of well organized board games. The staff appeared both friendly and knowledgeable. I was looking for TRPGs, though, so headed off to Shosen Grande.

Shosen Grande

Jinbocho, facing Shosen Grande. The big blue sign at top reads "Hobby Bookstore" and the smaller one below it "Shosen".
Jinbocho, facing Shosen Grande. The big blue sign at top reads “Hobby Bookstore” and the smaller one below it “Shosen”.

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Hilo Gam3Escape

I went to Hawaii in October and stopped by the game store Gam3Escape in Hilo. Previously in Pahoa, they moved to a larger space in Hilo about three months ago. The staff and owner were very friendly and knowledgeable.

This unassuming door leads to loads of fun.The shop was spacious with an emphasis on play space, easily accommodating the thirty-five players that attend its weekly D&D Adventurers League. There were two games of Gaslands going on while I was there, and a few customers shuffling through TCG cards. The main product categories appeared to be D&D, Magic: The Gathering, and Games Workshop products. Continue reading Hilo Gam3Escape

Warhammer Yokohama

A new Warhammer store just opened up in Yokohama Chinatown! A short walk from the station, it’s a small shop with lots of warmth and a wide selection of GW products in both English and Japanese.


The limited edition Space Marine Terminator Captain is only available on the opening days September 15th and 16th! You still have a chance to pick one up Sunday the 16th!

Collectors Edition Space Marine Terminator Captain
Limited to September 15th and 16th!

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