Nope, I did not go to Japan. It was my girlfriend who visited Japan last week with her mom. So when she visited Japan, I asked her to get me some original Japanese games. The reason was simple, board games in Japan has recently growth in such awesome rate, the popularity and the trends are hitting Japan in both sides. There are many various Japanese game designers and also community and publishers that take this hobby into serious business and passion. So getting some original Japanese games has it’s own values. Since she’s visiting Tokyo, I asked her to drop by Sugorokuya (a board game store in Tokyo) to look around and get me games.
First I did take some research on the topic, looking around BGG for some potential games and also contacted Sugorokuya facebook to find out which games available and which they recommend. So based on the research results I gave my girlfriend a list of games with priority order but in the end it’s up to her decision. There are 10 games on that list and I’m gonna spill them here.
1. Say Bye to The Villain
As you can see, this game was at the top of the list. I really really want this game since last year. It has good theme and yes it looks very Japanese and it was designed by Seiji Kanai. The game has dual language (Japanese – English) which I found it interesting. But rumor has it’s hard to come by, the game is out of stock. I was pushing it for this game a bit, but it’s okay since I did no harm to anyone or anything.
2. Dungeon of Mandom
Well, just read about this game recently and somehow it has some good review there on Japan. So I decided to take a look. The game dominant color is quite intimidating along with the theme, which is quite manly and not very interesting on women’ / girls’ opinion and taste. The game is quick and like most Japanese games, the core mechanics are bluffing, secret identity and such.
Masao Suganuma has been on the spotlight since he designed Machi Koro, in which the game has receiving praise and positive review by gamers around the world. And yes he designed another game called Sukimono. Don’t really know about it but the theme is about collecting precious items or antiques. The visual presentation of the game is stunning and that’s the reason I want it. Too bad it seemed the game is hard to come by.
4. Sail To India
Hisashi Hayashi is not a new designer, we all know his works and he’s also a good one at it. Sail To India is getting a wide release by AEG and while I can get the US edition, the original version does have more value for me. And more of it, the game has a very positive feedback, seems a good choice and heavier game than the rest of the games in the list.
Along with Sail to India, AEG also distributes this game also. The visual presentation really similar like Say Bye to The VIllain but with different theme. It comes in dual language so another plus.
6. Criminal Dance
I don’t really know about this game, but it looks interesting and has cool-looking hand sketch style art with colorful backgrounds.
7. Koi-Ochi Idol
Also don’t know about this, but looking at the arts, they’re cute and funny.
8. Candy Chaser
Another Maso Suganuma’s game. Well he’s pretty popular recently, thanks to Machi Koro. Candy Chaser is on of his new games, about collecting points from candies. It really involves bluffing and dice rolling. The game has this unusual dark look but cute illustration, a bit of abstract and it’s language independent.
9. Stray Thieves
This one caught my attention because the simple art with cute illustrations designed by Jun Sasaki (another potential Japanese designer) and published by Oink games. The game evolves in card bluffing with hand management. Pretty much a simple and quick party game.
I don’t say the game is original Japanese, but the Japanese version looks very cute and gorgeous. Really has good collection value and I can see people will be interesting looking and playing it.
But in the end my girlfriend bought me 2 games and 1 game for herself. The games are Sail To India, Criminal Dance and Pyjamaparty. The last game is hers. So she bought me number 4 and 6 from the list, too bad the top numbers were not available. I have the Japanese version from Gamefield of Sail to India and Criminal Dance, both of the games are in Japanese and hell I cannot read the rules. Sail to India is easy, I can check the rules from boardgamegeek.com having AEG distributed the English version does make it easier to look. But I couldn’t find anything on boardgamegeek.com for the other game, so still don’t know how to play the game. The game site is on Japanese and they only give short / brief explanation of the game play (even that’s on Japanese that I used Chrome to translate with no satisfying end).
I’ve managed to create some English paste-ups for Sail to India and sleeved all the cards, so it’s ready to be played anytime soon.