Two Days in Tokyo: The Lead Up to TGM Spring 2023

I few years ago, I made a list of conventions I wanted to attend, games I wanted to play, and other gaming “bucket list” items. The only item list I had not checked off was going to Tokyo Game Market. The pandemic got in the way, then work. But tomorrow morning, I’ll be at the convention. I suppose it is time to make a new list.

There are three Game Market events in Japan each year, and two of them are in Tokyo. My understanding is that the fall event is bigger, but I’m only here partially for the convention — I also want to see the sights of Tokyo — so coming this spring felt as good a time as any. I’ll do a wrap up post after the convention here for OG, then I’m doing a broader piece for Tabletop Spirit Magazine.

Below are some photos and thoughts from my first two days, a sort of lead in to my convention reports.

I arrived on Wednesday night, but gaming activities did not start for me until Thursday night. I spent the daytime on Thursday at Tokyo Disneyland.

Thursday Night – Flowchart Bar

Flowchart is a small bar in Tokyo where several trick taking designers are known to hang out. I went there on Thursday night for dinner, drinks, and games.

We played The Green Fivura, Twins, a trick-taking-polyominoes prototype, and an engine-building trick-taker. From across the ocean, it was me, Opinionated Gamer James Nathan, and Age of Steam designer Joshua Acosta. From Japan, there was Flowchart (who was a great host!), Hiro, Sugech, Kumagoro, Taiki Shinzawa, and Mashiu. As you can see in the photos below, the bar has one of the best card game collections in the world!

Trick taking was discussed. So was Age of Steam. It was a great time. At the end of the night, I gave everybody there a copy of my newest trick-taking game, Magic Trick. And James Nathan gave Taiki the final copy of T8.

Friday – Used Game Shopping

I love shopping used game stands. It is one of my favorite parts of going to Essen, and I wish it was part of our game scene in America.

But compared to my Essen adventures, Japan was a treasure trove. I’m posting detailed pictures below so readers can see how Japanese game stores look. New games are mixed a bit with the old. I’m emphasizing card games here — on the non card game front, the markets are pretty similar — but I hope you enjoy it.

Up first is a Surugaya shop:

Then I went to a Yellow Submarine shop:

After that, I went to a different neighborhood and visited another Surugaya and Yellow Submarine. Then I visited Jelly Jelly Cafe. Meanwhile, as I moved across Tokyo, I was visiting record/music stores and tourist attractions. (The Tower Records location near Shibuya Crossing is the best music store I’ve ever been in, even beating out Amoeba Records in LA!)

So how was the shopping? I started today with Seven Prophecies being my “grail” game. After I played it back in January, I had to have a copy (although New Mill is reprinting it). I found it at the first Surugaya. So then, my grail game probably became Shock! Knights with Poison (which I had also told a friend I’d try to find him, so I needed two copies). But I found two copies of it at the first Yellow Submarine, resulting in the shortest grail quest of my time in gaming! (I currently do not have a grail game, I think. Maybe Bruges? I’ve been trying to trade for that for like a year.)

The other big find was a copy of Tezuma Master, which is excellent and (at least I think) hard to come by. (Fun Fact: I bought several copies when it first came out. A lot of the copies floating around the US were imported by me and then gifted away! And now another copy will be!)

Here is my haul from the day. Most of these are for friends (I own a few of these titles of them).

Onward to TGM!

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3 Responses to Two Days in Tokyo: The Lead Up to TGM Spring 2023

  1. Dale Yu says:

    Wow – looks like a great trip so far… and you haven’t even started the actual show!

  2. MeepleMaven says:

    Really *LOVE* seeing the photos!!

  3. NoNamington says:

    Feels I went there myself. Thank you for the photos.

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