Osaka/Tokyo Spring Game Market Previews Part 2

Osaka/Tokyo Game Market Previews from Mandy aka MissMerc and Lorna

Spring is here and one of my favorite times of year for many reasons but 2 of the best for board gamers are the Osaka and Tokyo Spring Game Markets. More information about the markets and games that will presented there can be found here: https://gamemarket.jp/

I recently had the honor of joining my good friend Mandy for some demos.

TRAPEZ (トラペーツ)

Ms. Erisa Ichidai introduces her game

Lorna: Trapez is a nifty 2 player abstract designed by Ms. Erisa and Mr. Ichidai. The game is played with bicolor hexes where one half is light and the other half dark colored. The goal is to be the first player to connect 7 pieces via your own color.

The game starts with the center hex filled then players alternate placing a new hex anywhere on the board. The hex may be placed in any orientation. When a hex is surrounded by other hexes including the edge of the board, the player whose turn it is must rotate it 60 degrees to either side. If a piece is completely surrounded by other hexes, the player can choose either the middle surrounded hex, or the hex in the 12 o’clock position of the surrounding tiles to rotate. 

It’s a nice challenging abstract.. The rotational element definitely makes it more interesting as you try and set yourself up but not too much so as your opponent may get the advantage.

Mandy: It is so great to see more female designers in the board game industry in Japan.  Trapez can be played with anyone.  Players can think play it lightheartedly or play it more strategically.  Since the game is easy to learn and fast to play, it’s easy to play the game several times in a sitting.  What’s interesting is when playing the game, players should sit next to each other so they both look at the board from the same direction.

I love how many options there are to place the hexagonal token.  Making a connected line of 7 tiles looks easy, but you need to be strategic also and think ahead.  Even though it looks like an Abstract game, it gives me the Tsuro feel, and I love Tsuro. I was so happy to have played this game.  I can see how fun this game might be at a game day to use it as a gateway game, or have multiple copies of this to make a mini tournament.

Trapez will be at the Tokyo Game Market at booth :ケ12

TrumPen (トランペン) by Kujiradama

Lorna: TrumPen is pretty cool. It’s really kind of a game system. The components include 54 whiteboard “cards” and erasable pens. Players will provide the number and suit of each card. The designers included rules for 3 common and well known card games types with the TrumPen twists – Poker, Speed and Trick taking. In our play test session, TrumPen Poker was played. Players secretly wrote numbers and suits matching poker hands and then the poker hands are called out Royal Flush, 4 of a kind, etc. If a player had that hand, they show it and if any other players have chosen duplicate cards, the person with the highest hand drops out. The last player left will earn points for their winning hand.

I think TrumPen may appeal to a lot of people, from people that love card games to those who wish to try a bit of designing. It’s a really clever game. I’d love to see people post the variations of traditional card games.

The TrumPen we played at the Tokyo Demo Day event – by Kodansha & Kickstarter Japan

Mandy:  The Kujiradama team is a wonderful wife and husband team who have created many games in the past.  TrumpPen is their newest release for 2021. Even though players are writing their chosen cards, it is a very clever spin on trick taking.  We tried out the Poker version and it was a lot of fun. The first player to 5 points was the winner, or once 9 rounds have been played the game ends.

With the Poker version, players can only use the numbers A – 7, in any suit.  Each time players must choose and write 5 cards : the number, and the suit.  There are some restrictions. E.g. The A card cannot appear twice in your hand, (you can only use the Ace once). Ace cannot be at the end of a sequence run e.g. 4,5,6,7,A is not permissible. But with the variety of trick combinations you can choose, it is a lot of fun.  

In TrumPen poker, you gain points depending on which combination of cards you win with.  I tried writing a Full house for my first couple of turns, but failed to win any points.  As a Full house is one of the tricks called out earliest in the rounds, it has a high risk, but it also has a high reward. A straight flush can earn you 7 points, whereas a 2 pair combination will only earn you 2.  Then I decided to try 2 pairs, but was also caught out.  Finally I tried a single pair, and the rest random cards. After playing it, it really left a positive impression.  Basically I wanted to play it again and tell my friends about it.

I love anything to do with erasable whiteboards, but this time it’s erasable cards! How clever. I think it’s such a fun social game.  Also for those that like trick games or games like Big 2 (deuces) you should enjoy this also.  I loved trying to make a set of cards. I had to think about what others played in previous rounds, and try to choose a set of cards that no one else would use.  This game made me laugh a lot.  Also it’s playable online, which is perfect for this new social norm.  

TrumPen will be at the Tokyo Game Market (4/10 – 4/11) at booth : カ11

Kodoku no Rondo (コドクのロンド) (Dance with the Last One)  by MadeInPocket

Lorna: Kodoku no Rondo is a fun bluffing game. In the game there are 5 magical girls each represented by a color, black, white, red, blue and green.  At the start of the game, each player receives a secret card with 2 of the magical girls differentiated by their color. The goal is to be the player whose magical girl(s) is left standing. 

On a turn, the active player rolls the dice. The highest numbered die or dice is placed on the matching color magical girl. If it was a 6 you can damage any other magical girl if it was not a 6 you may damage adjacent magical girls. If more than 1 die had the highest number you resolve all of them.The magical girls have life points of 4 or 5. If both magical girls matching the color of your secret card are eliminated so are you. You can prevent damage by giving up one of your three starting coins. The winner is the player with the card with the magical girls that remain. Another way to win is by guessing which secret card another player has left.

In the advanced game the magical girls have an additional power that can be used.

We played the base game. It’s a fun little bluffing game to try and decide when to prevent damage and which magical girls to attack.

Mandy:  The base version of the game without using the girls special abilities took us about 35 minutes for 3 players with rules explanation.  The rules were easy to understand, and the game was a lot of fun. The game can be played with 2-6 players, and can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes.  

5 magical girls (witches) are battling over a wish. Each player is a guardian and is in charge of protecting 2 of the girls. The players (guardian) interfere with the fate of the dice to make sure their girls survive. Players have a chance to save the girls lives up to 3 times, but must be strategic in who they use the saving tokens for.  In order to hide which girl they are protecting.  On your turn after rolling the colored dice, you will need to choose which girl to attack or defend.  Every time a player dictates their fate dice to attack a girl, that information is recorded with the girls life token.  Over the course of the game you can gain more information about which guardian is protecting who. But if the guardians play well they can fool others.  So players need to watch and see what moves are taken in order to try to find out the 2 girls of the opponents before it is too late.

I now have this game on my radar. I thought it was such a fun deduction game.  Even though there are dice there are lots of choices to be had.  Watching everyone use different strategies was a lot of fun.  I thought one player had the red & green girl card, but it was all a ruse.  They played so well tricking us into thinking it was those cards.  Even after the game ended, we wanted to guess what cards each other had.  You can play this game without the magical girls abilities to make the game shorter and easier.  It usually takes about 45mins with the rules explanation, but we were able to play the shorter version in about 30 minutes. This is a beautiful game I want to play again.

Kodoku no Rondo (Dance with the Last One)  will be at the 

Osaka Game Market (3/28) at booth: F02

Tokyo Game Market (4/10 – 4/11) at booth : タ37 on Sunday only

Edited post publication for corrections

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