Tokyo Game Market Preview

ナナイロアジサイ (Nana Iroi Ajisai = The English name is still in the works)


Ajisai is a beautiful 2-3 player game. It plays in 15 min or so. The game is based on the colorful Hydrangea, a popular flowering shrub in Japan, well known for its delightful color and blooms during the rainy season. As the flowers change color a feeling of movement is instilled and the designer tried to capture that in his game.

In a 2 player game each player controls 3 flowers. The goal is to have the most flowers in one color. The game makes use of a “color rotation system.” 

Players take turns playing flower tiles onto the board.  A placed tile must result in a color change unless a white flower is placed. Each color can change the color of adjacent tiles to itself if the adjacent tile is the next color on the rotation system. For example if you place a purple tile next to blue flowers, the blue flowers will be replaced with purple flowers. In addition like in Othello, if you place a flower tile on the end of a line that matches the other end, you flip all the flower colors in between to match the end.

The game provides a longer version using the whole board and a short version where only the inner portion of the board is utilized. There is also a variant where player colors are secret.

We played a short two player game. In some ways the game is very peaceful as you place your flowers but also there is a tricky battle going on with trying to decide how best to gain advantage with your placement. I’d love to play it again.


Ajisai is such a beautiful game.  Also easy to play but has so much depth.  I think this game will appeal to many gamers.  Since this game has similarities to Othello it’s definitely a game I can teach my husband.  He will only play Othello.  I also love how this game mimics the changing colors in the flowers.  Being able to use more than one color piece makes the game really interesting, even though it’s an abstract game I didn’t get that feel when I played it.  Which makes it easier for me to introduce this game to those who prefer less abstract games.

Evolution to add (カキタス進化論) by Mashiu


Evolution to add is another fine addition for your party games. The game provides cards with different evolutionary adaptations. On the back of the card are your basic animal outlines. These adaptations may include things like “living underground” or “being smelly” or looking beautiful”. On a turn you will choose 2 of the available adaptations and then draw on your creature clues for the other players to guess your evolutionary changes.

I love drawing games and this is a fun one with lots of opportunity for creativity! It was fun to guess what the designer was drawing.


This cute game is really fun.  We played 2 demo rounds of the game and I was impressed.  Usually a lot of the drawing games are very similar in nature, but this one felt really different.  Players can either guess 2 of the features out of a list of 9, or for a more advanced version they can guess 3 of the features.  The basic images are really cute. Also the feature description list is really interesting and allow the illustrator and the guessers to have a lot of creativity e.g. “Be thought of as good luck”.  I want this game.

Eamal – From Totenbrett (-アマロン-From Totenbrett-) by Hugames


Eamal is a shogi style game with an interesting twist. The theme is loosely based on the Egyptian “Book of the Dead.

In Eamal players move their pieces similarly to Shogi. Captured pieces, however, are returned to their owner. Instead of moving,  players may choose to take an “Amaron” or extra energy which may be used on a subsequent turn to gain an extra action. In addition, on a player’s turn they may Curse their opponent if they have one of their pieces orthogonally adjacent to an opponent’s piece. A curse action means they give up a returned piece to the graveyard and give their opponent an Amaron cube. Why would you give your opponent an Amaron? because if a player accumulates 3 Amarons the power of the underworld overtakes them and they lose the game immediately. 

This makes for very tense decisions as taking Amarons gives rewards with extra actions but also carries a lot of risk as does getting too close to the opponent if they have returned pieces as your opponent may curse them. I am a fan of 2 player abstracts and Eamal would make a great addition to the collection.


This game was great because I loved how closed the board was.  It made it easy to interact with the other player as well as making the game the perfect play length.  There were a lot of options I could choose in the game.  Whether to give an opponent another Amaron or take one for myself. But if you time it incorrectly you can easily let the opponent have an advantage.  I wanted to play this game again because I felt it’s a game that you can gain more strategies and learn more each time you play.  I love the cute pieces also!

5 Gems by Tanax


5 Gems is a pure trading game. Players compete to try and control the most gems of each color for the win. When you trade everyone will know the color of the gems taken but the values are hidden. Ties are broken by gold symbols on the cards. 

5 gems is easy to learn with pretty basic trading concepts but it was a lot of fun to play. It’s one of those games where you want to play it again to try and be more efficient with your trades. Definitely some luck involved but I felt like I had a good chance with my strategy and I did manage a win!


I enjoy a lot of trading games like Jaipur and Splendor. This gave me the same feel.  I liked how you started off with a limited amount of gems (only 2 colors), and then with clever planning you could build more or gain more colors.  This is a game you need to collect more gems of various colours instead of sticking to your initial 2 colors.  It’s a great fast game which I want to play again.

Magicalligraphy by Masakazu Takizawa


Twitter link for images :

Magicalligraphy looks fantastic! Masakazu Takizawa has come up with a dexterity deduction game. It’s not only innovative but it looks fantastic with a hand made wooden box. The game comes with a “magic” quill, ink jar, grimoires for each player and special reusable paper.  Please check the link above to see the video!

Each player has a grimoire with magical runes. Players use a ring and a string to simultaneously control the magic quill and try to write a rune. Sometimes one player will have a different rune. The other players must try and deduce who has a different rune through the way they control the magical quill! 

I would love to own this game, but due to the handmade components it will be extremely limited!


Magicalligraphy looks so fun.  Plus the components are indie yet very unique.  In this game there is an element of Japanese culture included in the game.  In Japan children are taught in school how to write calligraphy for kanji characters or phrases using ink.  This game uses the same concept with the ink and the special calligraphy paper that is used in Japan.  This game will be very rare due to the game being hand-made.  It might only be sold at the Game Market in Japan.

Mr Takizawa also created a game called Babel in Japan. 

About lornadune

Board game enthusiast
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2 Responses to Tokyo Game Market Preview

  1. Jeff says:

    Nanairo Ajisai means “Seven Colors of Hydrangeas” in Japanese. Thx for the report, Lorna

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