Can you introduce yourself and your company?
My company name is COLON ARC. The word literally means a colon in the body, but the meaning is different in our company.
In our mind, it’s a smile 🙂 combining : (COLON) and ) (ARC).
I started the company in May 2015. Before then, I was part of design group Takamagahara as a small hobby-publisher. The members of Takamagahara are my friends – the name refers to a special area in Japanese mythology.
The logo is made by my friend Wato. She taught me many technique for the design, so she is my sensei (teacher). It’s very cute, right?
Now I release about 4 games per year in Japan. I create new games and sometimes, when I find an excellent game from Japanese designers, I will release it with our development.
COLON ARC publishes various games – children’s, party, strategy, and so on. That means I don’t fix the category now. You can buy them from NiceGameShop!
How did it happen that you run two companies, both Takamagahara and COLON ARC?
In fact, Takamagahara is not a company – just a group.
Do you know the Japanese designer Peke? She is in Takamagahara and releases 4-5 games per year. Of course, she enjoys design as a hobby – like gardening.
I also join Takamagahara as a hobby. So some special game will be released without the sales. (Aha.)
Publishing circles seem to be a unique thing to Japan. Could you explain how they work and what it is to people that may not know?
Do you know the term Dojin? You may know it as something referring to Japanese subcultures in manga, anime and so on. But it’s not limited to them.
Many Japanese like to create, make or build something as a hobby.
The biggest event, Comic Market, is in Tokyo – 550,000 people joined the event in Winter 2016.
The self-producing people are named a Dojin. In board game publishing, we can see many Dojin groups – more than 500. The Takamagahara is one of them.
(In the manga area, there could be more than 100,000 in Japan.)
Almost all have another job. For example: teacher, salesman, professional job, doctor and more. That’s how they earn money, so the Dojin is just their hobby.
You have released many different games. Any favorites?
Every time, the newest game is my favorite! But I also enjoy the older games.
I try to push my game design with the newest technique, but this is not the only parameter. In game design, we have many parameters and a lot of elements in the design. So the newest game is the newest in one element, and the older is the newest in another element.
My newest game (Nubia: Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile) is re-created from Guild, released by Takamagahara. It’s enjoyed by many gamers, especially as it was the first game a German company contacted us about.
As you know, it was not released. However, I remember the special experience favorably.
What would be your advice for people starting their own board game company?
Do you like a good story or a bad story?
In a bad story, this business is very difficult compared to others – especially in Japan. The market is too small in Japan, with total sales of 5 billion (JPY). In this situation, it’s very dangerous if you don’t know the business.
However, please don’t worry. I stand in here. I know boardgames, and a few business experiences from my previous job.
I have made many friends and connections with any companies. Just now, I meet with NiceGameShop! Also I meet the Taiwan company EmperorS4. They publish Hanamikoji – sold by COLON ARC in Japan because the designer is a member of Takamagahara. I supported them in their contract.
Starting a company involves many, many tasks in sales, production, development, advertisement and accounting. If you keep good motivation for them and boardgames, start your board game company immediately! You can do it!
I guarantee new experiences and hard work.
Any new games on the horizon?
Yes, I have some ideas.
In December 2017 I will release a new game by another author.
The theme is color selection, and it’s a cooperative game. It’s a very fun party game for ages 6 years and up. So is it a children’s game? No – if you are a very serious board gamer, it’s hard to win the game! It will be stocked in NiceGameShop.
Others are still just my ideas or in development now. Every year, I create twice or three times as many games as those that are released.
If you have any interest in our games, I’m very happy! Then I can continue making new games.
Thank you very much.