New Game Round-up: Place Animals, Collect Mana, Deliver Pizzas, Keep the Peace, and Provoke Your Girlfriend

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by W. Eric Martin

• Let’s check out more teasers for games that will debut at the Tokyo Game Market in May 2019, as well as games that have appeared from independent Japanese designer/publishers in the past year.

Three Magic, for example, is a card game from Kei Tsukahara and Mahoroba that’s designed solely for three players. Here’s all that I know about the game so far: “Your goal in Three Magic, a.k.a. スリーマジック, is to collect three cards of mana (the power of the nature) in order to create a spell; create three spells to complete your magic. Do this first, and you win.”

If you speak Japanese, you can visit the publisher’s blog on the Game Market website and probably get more out of what’s posted there than I can. Artist Makoto Takami has also tweeted background info on the card illustrations and design.

Joraku designer Iori Tsukinami won first prize in the Board Game Grand Prix design competition for “Bird Watching”, winning ¥20,000 (approx. US$200) and publication of the design by the competition organizers, online retailer Bodoge and brick-and-mortar retailer DEAR SPIELE. The design will debut at TGM in May 2019 under the name Photome’s, with players now looking for cats instead of birds. An overview:

Photome’s, a.k.a. フォトムズ, is a co-operative game in which you place animals to be visible — or place 3D buildings to hide certain animals — to create your ideal city. Use your smartphone to check whether your ideal city is being built properly.
Games in the competition had to have a theme based on housing, and in the award announcement, the designer notes that this game was inspired by a favorite children’s “search” picture book: “…it was conceived from the thought that I want you to create a three-dimensional cityscape and enjoy it from 360º”. To do this, you fold two-dimensional cards to create that 3D city in which the animals live, whether seen or unseen depending on the game conditions.

• Although One Draw debuted Hayato Kisaragi‘s Psychic Pizza Deliverers Go to the Ghost Town debuted at the November 2018 TGM, the game is still new and unknown by most people, but to rectify that situation James Nathan has published an excellent introduction and overview of the game on Opinionated Gamers.

To sum up, one player is mayor of the town, creating its layout or using one of the pre-created layouts, while everyone else is a pizza deliverer who cannot see where they’re going and must learn where things are by stumbling around and paying attention to what other players are doing. On a turn, a player can move one space orthogonally, attack orthogonally to attempt to banish a ghost, or use a psychic power. The mayor then resolves the action, tells the player the location of any barriers adjacent to the player, and whether or not the player senses any ghosts/pizzas/houses in any of the eight spaces surrounding the player. The players have only twenty turns to locate a pizza and deliver it to the matching house, and the first deliverer to do so wins.

にゃんこパイレーツ (Nyanko Pirates) is the second title from the father-and-daughter design team of らなとパパ (Lana&Papa), and the 2-5 pussycat pirates in this dice-based game journey along the shores of multiple islands where danger and treasures await. In the designer’s words: “Will you dare fight for treasures by yourself, or will you take someone else with you? Two adventurers’ worth of shields and swords might be of great help to succeed in beating the danger, but it also means sharing everything you find!” The game will have English rules on BGG at the time of its debut at TGM.

• To travel a bit in southeast Asia, I’ll point out 花式自殺, a February 2019 release from Hong Kong publisher TIME2PLAY GAMES with a title that translates to something like “Fancy Suicide”. The game bears the subtitle “十萬個激嬲女友的理由”, which could be translated as “1001 Ways to Provoke Your Girlfriend”, and someone pointed out to me that this subtitle belongs to a Facebook group “that posts dialogues of guys angering their SO with bad jokes or innocent things (to a guy)”. The cover image makes so much more sense in light of this information.

As for what the game is about, well, I’ll just say this is one way to provoke the BGG News audience…

• Let’s close with the first title from INTELLIGENT MONKEY, a new publisher founded by someone from Taiwan Boardgame Design who would (as best as I can understand it) set up Japanese information on the TBD website ahead of that group’s appearance at Game Markets in Japan. That individual has now founded a design circle with both Taiwanese and Japanese members, and its first release will be Zoomate, with the title currently undergoing funding on the Japanese crowdfunding site Campfire. Here’s an overview of this game for 4-7 players:

In Zoomate, the country of fire and the country of water — rivals who recently conducted a worldwide conflict — are in an uneasy peace thanks to a neutral third party that wants to wield power in order to maintain that peace.

Unfortunately, the central power plant has been hacked, and now all three parties are grabbing for whatever power they can in order to bring victory to their side or (in the case of the third party) lock in a permanent stalemate between fire and water. If fire or water gain control of three or more power switches by the end of the fifth turn, then they win; if neither does by game’s end, then the neutral party has preserved peace and won.

Read more: boardgamegeek.com

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