Adventures in Gaming: Tokyo Game Market

As a gamer, I’m always looking for that next board game adventure. This year it was Tokyo Game Market. Travel is always a bit daunting for me but I made the jump. I arrived about 5 days before the show to do a little sightseeing with a good friend that knows Tokyo and speaks Japanese. Highlights included a bike tour of Tokyo,( be sure and keep that helmet on!) and the walking foodstand tour of Shibuyu. I also got a rockin’ good fortune at Senso-ji Temple so watch out, I expect to be winning a lot of games soon.  The day before the show I went to an International Gaming Party and got a little preview of some of the new titles from Japon Brand and TBD.

I tried Animani, a quick little filler where each player is a distinct animal with a special power and you try and eliminate the other by using attack cards on your neighbors.

I also tried Jandwich, a food themed card version with a Mah Jong mechanism. The little playing aids for scoring are bilingual.

I also played Kikkasa by the same designer of Jandwich another Mah Jong inspired little dice game. Here the there is gathering the best chrysanthemums. This one has a very high luck element but it’s also super fast and portable.

Next up was Ars Combinatorial which contained two decks and a book with 5 different games.

I also tried Numeracy: The Rainbow Unicorn, the first of a trilogy of games. This one is aimed towards the children’s market with the subsequent games having more complex mechanisms. The Rainbow Unicorn is route building and resource gathering and super cute.

Colortopia is a real time race game where players use 6 double sided cards to match patterns. Some of the cards have two primary colors with the opposite side having the resulting mixed color and other cards have single cards with the opposite color on the other side. I love these kinds of games and had a great time playing.

I tried another race bluffing game called Honest Rabbit. Normally these kind of games are not for me but we had lots of fun and since no one is really expected to be honest this totally worked for me. Players take turn drawing cards from a common display making 3 card sets of runs or the same color. When they have a set they can ask a player for a 4th card for the set and that’s where the bluff comes into play. Depending on the result you move your rabbit a certain number of spaces.

Taiwan Monster Brawl lives up to its name. The art for the spell cards is fantastic. We only got to play a short game and as expected it’s a dice feast.

Finally had a chance to play Mini Rails. This is a short train game, buy stock or build once per round for 7 rounds. Train game at a minimum from the designer of  SteamRollers.

After the show we tried Space Debris a little card game which was really placement game. This one has Looney Tune type animations and the company had an almost identical game which was ninja themed.

Also tried a tile placement game from Grounding, the company that did Machi Koryo. It’s a race to get around Tokyo. Makes a great souvenir for me since it lists all the popular tourist spots.

Finally tried Hatsuden which is a little two player card game in the vein of Lost Cities. Definitely want to try it again.

So the game market is pretty impressive. This year it was at a Tokyo Big Sight, a massive convention center. It filled one of the halls. Every little table is a stand and there are so many things to see. I love looking at all the independent productions and hand crafted items and would have bought tons more if they had English rules. I just don’t have the space for games I might not ever be able to play…

Here are most of the games (I also ordered some from TBD) and I’ll be posting more commentary as they get played and I catch up on some sleep.


About lornadune

Board game enthusiast
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4 Responses to Adventures in Gaming: Tokyo Game Market

  1. Chris Wray says:

    Great write up! I’m so jealous… I think Game Market is the top item on my gamer bucket list.

  2. Smoox Chen says:

    Wow! Lorna you are so quick at writing things up!
    It’s a total surprise to see you in Tokyo! Make me feel like being in Essen for a moment!
    You must have great fun in Game Market!

  3. Wow! Jealous too! In a rough percentage, how many of the games in the event have a decent English rulebook/manual?

    • lornadune says:

      Unfortunately very few. I asked ahead of time for English rules and usually designers with plans to sell at Essen would have some but the rest did not. I have also found that some of the designers use the description on BGG as an explanation of the rules rather than posting a separate file. Some of the designers were nice enough to run the rules through google so I didn’t have to scan them myself.

      Some additional info there were 13000 attendees. They also had several short discussions by well known designers. I didn’t hear any of the talks I was too busy oogling the games.

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