For those who don’t know, what is Sugoroku Kozo’s Board Game Wandering about?
I’m just a board gamer enjoying board games since 2008.
When deciding to go to Spiel this autumn, I thought it is not enough to just bring overseas board games to Japan and decided to introduce Japanese board games abroad, so I began publishing my English blog. That is Sugoroku Kozo’s Board Game Wondering.
At the same time, I started working on English translation of Japanese board games Hako Onna and Dangerous Board Game. Although I could not introduce these in Essen, when I handed the English translation of Dangerous Board Game to the designer Kyosuke Kagami, he was pleased.
I’m surprised and disappointed that my blog got the attention of Sweet Lemon Publishing. Because it means that only a few people in Japan introduce Japanese board games to the world.
Anyway, I will continue to disseminate information about Japanese board game world in my way.
The Tokyo Game Market is developing a reputation for the high volume and ‘quirky’ style of games published. Why do you think the independent tabletop scene is flourishing in Japan?
Some people say it is related to Japanese doujin culture, but I’m not sure. I think that it is the result of extraordinary enthusiasm and dedication of Jun Kusaba, the founder of the Game Market and his colleagues.
In addition, I think that Japanese board gamers had a kind of “hunger”. About ten years ago, board games coming into Japan from abroad were extremely few and there are few board gamers in Japan. I think that ‘hunger’ for overseas board games and envy for them raised the passion of Japanese board gamers and encouraged unity among board gamers.
I was very intrigued by the dexterity element you described in Hako Onna – a great example of the playful streak in Japanese titles. What are some of the more unique concepts or mechanics you’ve witnessed?
From an older work, there is Yousei-san Pose (2010). It is a game that communicates subjects to other player with the doll’s posture.
Kappa Tan (2012) is also unique. The Kappa is an imaginary creature in Japan. Everyone pours water on the head of Kappa, and the player who spills or overflows the water loses.
Finger Werewolf (おさわり人狼) in 2014 was a strange work. While everyone is closing their eyes, the “Werewolf” touches the fingers of other players, who have to guess the Werewolf based on that feeling. The derivative work Princess and Dragon Werewolf（姫とドラゴン人狼）will be released at Tokyo Game Market 2017 Autumn.
The board game “Valley Mask” introducing VR was also innovative. This is described in detail in BoardGameGeek.
Your post about Sturgeon’s Law and the Tokyo Game Market was very interesting, but what do you consider a ‘good’ game? What do you look for, and what instantly turns you off?
I am not good at explaining logically my judgment criteria of good games.
When evaluating a game, I actually play it and attach importance to my instinct whether I feel the game is fun. Play a lot of games and increase the number of attempts, that’s my way. Now I am participating frequently in meetings where I can experience new games that will be released at the Tokyo Game Market.
However, this method is inefficient. I can not recommend this method unless you are a strange person who can enjoy even encounters with trashy works like me.
Finally, what release are you most excited or curious about at the upcoming Tokyo Game Market?
It’s a difficult question. I played several games that will be released at the next Game Market, but I have not met the masterpieces that I think may remain in game history.
In each round, the leader play a card first, and the rest of players play cards after seeing that card. Depending on the cards played, the best friend is decided. After that, the leader and the best friend distribute cards played current round and ones carried over from previous round. There are two ways to distribute cards.
- The leader distributes the cards and the best friend chooses to agree or decline. If the best friend declines, the cards will carried over next round.
- The best friend divides the cards into two, the leader chooses one of them and the best friend takes the rest.
The second one is classic cake-cutting problem. Already San Marco etc. has introduced this mechanism.
However, the first one is interesting. The leader will probably propose a favorable distribution to himself. The best friend faces a dilemma of getting a little profit with patience of unfair distribution, or refusing the proposal by giving up profits.
On the other hand, the leader must make proposal that maximizes his profit and is not refused by the best friend. The designer of this game Nakiku Sotogamo has come up with this mechanism from the ultimatum game.
You can read more at SUGOROKU-KOZO’S BOARD GAME WANDERING.