This series is released once or twice a month, covering international gaming news, trends and just plain gossip spotted online.
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Hello and welcome back again to another edition of our Global Boardgame News. “How come so soon?” you might ask. Well, because of the massive amount of new releases at the upcoming Tokyo Game Market next week May 5-6 and so that everyone can make a more informed decision on our survey about which games to bring back to NiceGameShop.
Thanks for everyone who already took the survey. If you have not already you really should as we will draw one lucky winner who receives 50€ store credit for NiceGameShop to use on all the hotness!
Let’s get going with the new games.
Zee Garcia of the Dice Tower seems to be a big fan of the games by Saashi & Saashi and with good reason: Their games have unusual themes, beautiful distinctive artwork and innovative gameplay. Their new game Let’s Make a Bus Route will be no exception and offers according to the publisher the simplest rule of any of their games yet.
Let’s Make a Bus Route
is a 2-5 player board game where players draw bus routes on a map of Kyoto. You play the role of a bus company employee tasked with making a new bus route.
To make an effective route you must fulfill the needs of visiting tourists, commuters, students, and elderly passengers, while balancing impacts on the city including road traffic. Can you build the bus route that delights the most riders? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to connect to a famous sight-seeing spot while building your requested route? When the busses start moving will you have built the route that delights the most riders?
The Lost Woods is a cooperative card sliding game by the board game circle Oui-Kai. Within a time limit of 8 minutes 1-4 players try to guide Little Red Riding Hood to the grand mother’s house without getting eaten by the big bad wolf.
In the past designers who showed their games at TGM were often self-publishing and in many cases self-assembling their games. Since they made it for the artistic aspect and not the business side of it, printruns were often as low as 100 copies and if a game was sold out it was gone.
It feels like that around 75% of the games shown at TGM are either purely card games or card games with 1 or 2 added components, mostly cubes or small components you might find at a art supplies shop. These are games you can make inexpensively and are quite fitting for the punk attitude of many publishers at TGM.
While the indie spirit is still very strong at Game Market, this is changing as board games are becoming a bigger market in Japan and Asia and publisher and visitor attendance at TGM is rising every year.
New Games Order was early to break that trend and tends to publish some of the biggest Japanese games in terms of size, scope and materials. They have published Stone Garden with spectacular stone pieces which was also released in an English version in 2014. Then they have followed up with titles like Sixth Rural Village and Patronage, which were unfortunately never translated into English.
At TGM they will be showing Glover, a Euro game for 3-5 players by Akase Yog. With over 300 components it will be definitely one of the biggest games released at the show, but up until now rules were only published in Japanese and information is scarce.
Yamato Games is showing their 6th game at Game Market and their titles are easily recognizable because they all have the same size and the same clean and fancy graphic style. After games like Cat’s Party and Animal Village they now show Green Finger, an easy cute, area control type card game for 1-4 players.
The game comes with 29 cards. 25 of them are put facedown in a 5×5 grid in the middle of the table with only the middle card face up and each player gets 1 hut card in their hand. In a turn the player takes a face down card and plays then one card from their hand in the grid where they have just taken the card. When all cards in the middle are face up the game ends and scoring happens. The hut card of each player decides how many points a player get.
They had a preorder campaign running and because more than 100 copies were sold there, each copy at TGM will include 8 promo cards. What to do with the promo cards and how does the game play? Since the English rules were already posted on BGG they know the answer:
Take charge as one of many mayors in Happiest Town to build buildings and attempt to make your city the happiest of all. The game includes more than forty types of buildings, and in the game you earn money, build stuff, earn more money from what you’ve built, and score at the end of the game with your city’s happiness being determined by a “population x happiness” formula.
The idea of Hiktorune is clever and unlike anything I have ever seen. It is a cooperative dexterity game for 1-5 players, in which you pull cards out of a vertical stack of cards. If you pull them out successfully you can trigger the effects.
Another game for which we don’t know much about the rules but just adore the components is Monster Empire by Freaky Design Inc. We saw the game in a prerelease form at TGM in December last year with wooden standees.
Now they are made out of cardboard but still look phenomenal. The back of box suggests that the game is coming with English rules so we are definitely excited to try out the game while we are in Tokyo.
Gift10Industry must be one of the most innovative companies when it comes to board games. After making games for blind people and a Virtual-Reality party game they are showing their newest creation at TGM.
Morse Karuta by Takashi Hamada is a fascinating educational app-based speed game, in which the 2-8 players can actually learn morse.
There are two different version to play the game. You can either place the cards with the morse code face up and one player taps the morse code on the smartphone and the others try to grab the right card as fast as they can or you can play the advanced rules in which the cards are with their picture side face up and one player taps the morse code while the others have morse reference cards in their hand and try to hear what the right word is and grab the picture card.
Madrick by first-time publisher Sextile Zealot is a game that could interest many people, if only you could find some information in English about it. The only gameplay explanation is blocked in a graphic, so that google translate can’t reach it, but the artwork and the tone of the game immediately drew us in and gave us strong Darkest Dungeon vibes.
We know that it is a 2-player card-driven battle board game with strong Cthulhu influences. Since the components themselves have no language on it, the only thing stopping us from trying it out is that there don’t seem to be any English rules available.
Rule of Magic by River Games is another game we hope to have English rules for one day, but since the game was released already at Osaka Game Market and there was an interesting article from Sugoroku, we know a little bit more about it.
Rule of Magic is a game for 3-6 players in which the players place tokens with a certain number and color on the seven spaces on the board and try to have certain cards in hand similar to poker to gain points.
The interesting aspect is however that rules can be proposed freely, as in every player has a sheet of paper and can write down a rule they would like to play with. Then there is a vote and if the rule reaches a certain number of points it will be integrated into the game.
Rules like “50 points for each red token on the board”, or “The player with the longest facial hair gets 1000 points” could be proposed and then voted on.
Run Metro! by Gemini Games is a tile laying game for 2-4 players. Each player starts the game with 1 tile in hand and each turn draws one tile and may play one tile which has to connect to one tile already in play.
When a station was formed at both ends of the same color line, the player completes a route section and scores points. The score is the sum of the numbers written at the station at both ends multiplied by the number of ○ in the route.
There are also landmark tiles which score points the moment they are placed. It is possible to play both tiles in hand at once thus finishing maybe a station before another player. The player with the most points wins the game.
Let’s finish this roundup with a game that comes with English rules and has just gotten a BGG treatment: Salmon Run
In Salmon Run, players want to move their salmon upstream as far as possible to lay eggs.
At the start of the round, players take turns laying down cards face down one at a time in a pyramid shape until each player has placed three cards. Then players take turns placing their salmon on a card in the first row.
Players then take turns in an action phase in which they optionally swim their salmon to a new location, jumping occupied spaces and revealing the card where they land, if it were hidden. Land on a bear and you’re out for the round unless you can counter with a bear from your hand. After moving, you can either place a card from your hand face down to add to the river or pass. Once all players pass in turn, the round ends and players then collect ikura tokens equal to their rank in the pyramid.
Stay tuned for one more games round-up before Game Market starts in one week. In the next round-up we will talk about the usual suspects like Oink Games, Okazu Brand and Manifest Destiny who all have new games to show at TGM.
If you have not already please fill out the survey to help us decide which games to bring back!