by Miss Merc and Lorna
Recently we had the opportunity to speak with some game designers from Japan about their upcoming projects.
itten-games known for their wonderfully innovative games with fantastic 3D components such as “Tokyo Highway”, “Moon Base” and “Stonehenge and Sun”. They started crowdfunding for the new international edition of their “Funbrick Series” on Kickstarter. The Series consists of 5 games. Each game comes in a slim and portable box packed full with components. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/itten-games/funbrick-series
Two of the games were designed by Reiner Knizia. The first is “Viking See-Saw”. It is a balancing game but instead of the usual all wooden components, it has several items of various densities like metals and glass. Players need to try to be the first to rid their area of all the booty by placing it carefully onto the boat so as not to unbalance it. If the boat tips to the opposite side of the cargo placed, they need to take one of the treasure chests from the center into their hand.
The other game designed by Mr. Knizia is “Ninja Master”. Ninja Master is a dice and speed game with sophisticated rules about gathering the desired components shown on the dice. In a round, after all the dice are rolled into the Dice Dojo area, players race to grab up to 2 tokens (ninja, katana, shuriken) depending on the criteria of what is shown face-up on the dice. In this game, multiple items can be grabbed to score points, so multiple people have a chance to earn points rather than usually speed grabbing games where only 1 person can earn points in a round. As soon as a player calls out their guess for the sum of ninja icons visible on the dice, players must stop grabbing items. Scores are given or deducted on the accuracy of the token grabbed, and 1 point is scored for the first person who calls out the total ninja’s visible. When a player reaches 20 points the game ends immediately.
“3 Second Try” is an interesting game where the timer is rolling a marble down a ramp and players bid on the chance to complete different goals. One type of goal is mental challenges and the other type of goal is physical. I think you also have 3 sec to complete these goals. The first player chooses a card from either the “Brain” deck or “Action” deck and reveals it. They roll metal marble down the ramp, and players call out their bids for how well they think they can do before the marble reaches the bottom (3 seconds). The player who called out the highest attempts the challenge first. If they succeed they win the card. If they are unsuccessful the player who bid the next highest gets to try and so on. The strategy lies in when to bid high, or when to bid in the middle, and hoping those that bid high will fail the challenge so you can have a turn.
In “Stick Collection” players bid for sticks that will be of differing heights of 5 mm. You try and get a run of different heights or 4 the same size. In each round, one stick is randomly drawn from the box and placed in the center. Players in a clockwise order, take turns to bid 1-10 gold, the person that bid the highest (or 10) will get to keep the stick. Then the next player will draw the next stick, and bidding starts again. Continue revealing one stick and bidding, until either someone has 8 sticks in their hand or they have 4 sticks of the same, or someone runs out of Gold. Players that have over 22 gold on the track score 22, and players below score the number of gold they have. Then check to see the longest run of sticks that are 5mm apart from each other and score 10 points for each stick in that run. For example a run of 4 sticks that are 5mm apart, will score 40 points. The player with the highest points wins. But if a player has collected 4 of the same sticks they win the game immediately.
“Judge Domino” is a remake of Chicken Domino. You take turns setting up dominos and then vote if they will all fall or not. If someone votes ‘no they will not all fall’, the player knocks the dominos over and if they do fall, players who voted yes will score. The game is played over 3 rounds, and starting with the #6 Domino standing in the play area. In clockwise order, players take 1 of the remaining 10 domino tiles from the stock, and place it on the table in a line. The dominos can be placed in any orientation, vertical or horizontal. Players can place the dominos at the start, end, or middle of the line. If there are no more available to take, players must take a domino from the middle of the line, and place it on either end. When someone calls out “judge!”, the judging phase begins. Players simultaneously reveal their judging token with the success side or failure side face up. Then the player that was last to place the domino will start the topple by pushing the domino at either end, which has the lowest number. Players that judged correctly will earn points based on the players that judged incorrectly. If 2 players were correct and 3 were incorrect, the 2 players will get 3 points each.
With all the fun portable games from the Funbrick series hitting Kickstarter, itten also announced a new game “Nuts A GoGo!” will be featured also at the Game Market.
Charles Ward from EX1ST GAMES will be back with a new Cthulhu Coinsides which has also started crowdfunding on Kickstarter. Coinsides are a combination spinners/counters/dice that can be used in a multitude of ways in game related matters. The new Cthulhu Coinsides has all the features loved in the first version, with a lot more extra features. There are now 9 dice in 1 Coinsides, as well as a Yes, No, Maybe spinner. Players can also use it as a game or life tracker, with the ability to track up to 70 using the 3 pointed marker. Charles also designs RPG games, and added a cyphering feature on the new Cthulhu Coinsides, with letters and numbers that border the outside of the coin. It can be used as a decoder to hide secret messages for RPG games. Charles Ward is a solo indie game designer living in Japan. This will be his 3rd Kickstarter project.
Taboo Code is a card game designed by Kenta Murayama who has released a beta version with a smaller sample of cards which has been made available here in the US via Amazon. It’s a party game where each player has a rule which is known to other players but not themselves that they try to guess while other players try and get them to break the rule. Shuffle and deal out one card per player but they cannot see their own card. The cards are revealed to the other players, like in the game of Coyote. Players try to lead other players to do or say their taboo so they drop out. If a player manages to guess and announce what their own taboo is, they win because they have broken the “Taboo Code”. Each game goes for 5 minutes. Kenta’s Taboo code is actually played online by gamers from Japan.
Kenta recently finished his Kickstarter campaign of Escape Route. Kenta is a solo indie designer from Japan.
The final game presented was “Gin Crafters” designed by Mr Miyazaki from Waza Games, which is being published by Jugame Studios. Gin Crafters involve acquiring recipes and purchasing the botanicals-herbs and spices to flavor your gin. Players need to use their multiple actions to collect ingredients to make the best Gin. You can also borrow ingredients from other players. More information will be revealed on their launch page, so it will be very exciting to see more information about this game. This game will be available in English and Japanese.
A sample copy of the game was also displayed at the Game Market at the Jugame Studio & Waza Games booth.
Follow Miyazaki san’s Twitter to see more about updates on the game before launch :
Each year there are many games coming from Japan due to the inspiration of the Game Market conventions. This year in particular we have seen a lot more tabletop games, gaming accessories, and digital games from Japan launching on Kickstarter as well. It’s a very exciting time to follow these creators as they launch more games in Japan and internationally.