Announcement: New Translation from Kotodama Heavy Industries!

•October 1, 2012 • 1 Comment

Hey, are you going to be at Spiel Essen?

I’ll be there with Bouken/Adventure Planning Service, finally announcing the translation of a project that has been on my plate for a long time. I’ll be doing demos of a certain Japanese ninja role playing game, so if you’re in the area, please come by! I’ll be running stuff from Thursday morning to Saturday night, and I’ll be available to talk to anyone interested in JRPGs. 

temporarily out of action..

•June 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

There hasn’t been any action on this blog for a while now. In the past few months, I was transferred, moved to Atlanta, bought a house… well, I’ve been busy. I haven’t had much time for more than the occasional game of Meikyuu Kingdom or Shinobigami.

Sometime soon…ish, things will be back to normal and I’ll be posting more game reports, some interviews I’ve done, and a bunch of other things. After I can figure out this new life of mine…

D66? RoC?

•November 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So what’s with the name of my blog, anyway?

I don’t think I ever really explained what these mean, so I’ll explain here.

d66

Astute gamers know that there’s no such thing as a 66 sided dice, unless you’re playing in Rilyeh with non-euclidean dice (of which I have a dice-decahedron full of). Rolling a d66 is achieved by rolling 2d6 and interpreting the results in one of two ways:

  • Bouken (Shinobigami, etc.): The lowest dice becomes the tens digit while the highest dice becomes the ones digit. a roll of a 1 and 4 becomes 14, 3 and 2 becomes 23, and 4 and 4 becomes 44. Note that there is no 21, 31-32, 41-43, 51-54, or 61-65.
  • F.E.A.R. (Tenra Bansho, Monotone Museum, etc.): One dice is designated as the tens and the other as the singles digits. This allows for the full 36 different outcomes, but can get annoying if you don’t have 2 different types of dice.

d66 charts are usual accompanied by:

RoC

Roll or Choice. D66 RoC charts are usually life path, personality, or background charts; things that define a character and has an impact on role-playing. If a player has a strong image of a character floating in their head, they can choose the best fit option, otherwise they’ll be rolling the dice to see what character they’ll be making.

Often times, a d66 RoC chart has an option that is impossible to roll–a roll of 00, for example. In these cases, a player must choose the option, obviously, and these are usually the more difficult role-playing challenges or character types that are rare.

Bouken/Adventure Planning Service New Releases for the End of 2011

•November 6, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Today a local convention, NiGHTS, held a “guest convention,” with Saitou Takayoshi and Kawashima Toichiro from the Adventure Planning Service as the guests of honor. Saitou is the writer of Hunters Moon, and Kawashima will be known to frequent readers of my blog as the writer of Shinobigami. They each GMed a game for lucky gamers who won the raffle to get into each game, then held a Q&A session at the end of the day. Unfortunately I didn’t get to participate in either game (I GMed Dungeon World instead), but I took some notes at the Q&A and picked up some really interesting news. They revealed their line up for the next few months, including new books for most of the Saikoro Fiction line, plus more!

November:

  • A new Meikyu Kingdom “game book” (basically a choose your own adventure sort of book) of a title I forgot to write
  • A new Magicalogica supplement, with a really interesting replay that starts in the Meiji period–but each cycle represents 10 years; the entire scenario takes place over 50-60 years!

December

  • “Special Satasupe” An anniversary supplement for the 15 year old game Satasupe (Saturday Night Special). Includes lots of new rules and additions to the game.
  • “Blood Crusade” A new Saikoro Fiction game, in the vein of Hunters Moon. This time, the enemies are vampires, which will add a layer of complexity to the enemies, while making it easier to play. The weapons from Hunters Moon will be available to PCs.

January

  • “Shinobigami Ryu” A new Shinobigami supplement that takes place in another new setting: Meiji period London! This time, PCs will be facing off against vampires as well as other ninja clans both local and foreign.

I’m totally excited about these new announcements and can’t wait to throw my money at Bouken!!

Yuuyake Koyake/Golden Sky Stories translation coming soon!

•October 31, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Ewen Cluney has recently announced the translation of Yuuyake Koyake! You can read his exciting announcement here. He’s translated the title as Golden Sky Stories, which works well and keeps the gentle sunset image that graces the cover of the book.

I feel that the game is a very important part of the Japanese RPG landscape, one of the cornerstones of that Japanese style of gaming called “honobono.” In this style of gaming, there is no (or little) battle, few life or death situations, and no pillaging or murdering for treasure. Instead, these games focus on relationships between people, everyday drama and that glory feeling you get when you watch a Miyazaki film.

In this particular game, you play a “henge,” a forest animal with a few magical abilities. You also have the ability to take the form of a human in order to have an easier time fitting into human society, but unless you really focus, you’re going to have a few tell-tale signs of your animal nature.

You live in a small town surrounded by rice fields, with one or two main roads and a small community of simple humans. They live in harmony with the forest around them, and your curiosity and kind nature drives you to help them in their everyday troubles. Lost puppies, hurt feelings, and dog-eaten homework are the sorts of problems that you’ll be fretting about, and forming relationships is the basis for the game mechanics, which use no dice but a point resource that grows as you strengthen your bonds with others.

Ewen has said on his page over here that he’s going to be putting up a kickstarter project, so I hope you’ll take some time to check it out and see if this game is something that you’ll be interested in. Fans of games like Ryuutama should definitely take a look. It’s not for everyone (I don’t know if it’s possible to power-game) but it’s a great game for those who are sick of wanton destruction and hack n’ slash (or at least want to take a break!).

Ryuutama – New Rules for Roles

•October 15, 2011 • 1 Comment

A couple of months ago, an article appeared in Role and Roll magazine with some nifty new rules for Ryuutama. They add another layer to character creation beyond class and type: roles. There are already some informal rules in the text, giving advice for each member of the party to take up a role within the party to help play run smoothly.  These new rules codifies these, giving new abilities and bonuses. Characters can now be categorized by class/type/role, such as hunter/skill/mapper, or farmer/magic/sub-leader.  There are some simple guidelines for the rules, as follows:

  • Roles can be chosen during character creation or anytime during a scenario.  Characters that wish to change their roles can do so in-between sessions.
  • Unless there are 7 or more players, two characters may not be the same role.
  • As long as two characters don’t have the same role, characters may take on more than 1 role at a time.

Okada-san and Tabletalk Cafe ~Daydream~

•September 27, 2011 • 2 Comments

Okada Atsuhiro, writer of Ryuutama, image by ITmedia

Now that I’m home and finished with my American wedding, I can take a short breather before we need to start tackling the Japanese one.  FInally I get to talk about my meeting with Okada-san at the Tabletalk Cafe ~Daydream~!

Continue reading ‘Okada-san and Tabletalk Cafe ~Daydream~’

Hit Manga and Cat and Chocolate

•September 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Just in time for my trip home, I got the package that I was waiting for!  I opened it up, and inside were two small boxes, about the size of playing card packs.  They were the two new editions of the game Hit Manga.

I didn’t know anything about the game until Andy K pointed it out to me, but it started off as a cool little karuta/hyaku isshu variant.  Basically, in the original game, there are 100 different cards that have a picture and the 2nd half of an ancient poem.  Someone reads a poem from a deck of random cards, and the players have to grab the card that finishes off the poem before everyone else.  It get’s pretty intense; kids bicker and grown ups use fans to smack the card and anyone’s hands that are in the way.

In this game, however, there are a ton of panels that are typically found in manga.  The original game was just generic manga, but they’ve just come out with the sci-fi and school versions.  In this game, the players take turns grabbing a card from the deck.  Each card is exactly the same panel as a card that’s laid out on the table, complete with empty word bubbles.  The person “reads” the card by acting out the voice of the characters or what-have-you, and the players try to grab the right card.  Getting it right first nabs you a point, but getting it wrong means you have to sit out for the next round.  If nobody gets it right, the reader takes a penalty card.  It’s a simple game and it sounds like a ton of fun.

After all the karuta I did while teaching kids English, I never thought I’d want to play again, but there you go.  You can check out this blog entry here for a video of it being played.  It reminds me of another card game I got somewhat recently, Cat and Chocolate.

I picked this up a couple of months ago, but when I went back the other day to get some more copies for friends, they were totally sold out.  I guess it’s super popular.  It did have its own, sold out, panel at JGC…

Anyway, in this game, there are two decks of cards: one deck consists of dangerous situations you might find yourself in while in a haunted house.  For example, you’re falling asleep but you can feel someone coming behind you, or the walls are closing in on you.  The second deck is full of items–some mundane, some useful, and many whacky.  You can find mirrors, flower bouquets, lighters, and the like.  The object is to come up with a way to save yourself using the items you’ve got in your hand (1-3 cards at a time), while the others judge whether or not you’ve succeeded.

The example given in the book shows us a player who has pulled a danger card that tells him that the doors down the hall has opened, and blood is filling the hall.  He’s got to do something before he drowns.  Unfortunately, he only has the titular Cat and Chocolate cards.  So he lures the cat using the chocolate, and as he sinks under the blood, he grabs the cat and sucks the oxygen out of its lungs to keep from drowning.  Of course, the other players tell him that, Sorry, it’s not going to work.

Both games look like a lot of fun with the right group, and both are small, easy to carry, have little set up.  Perfect to take with me to the US.  Let’s see if I can get someone to play!

Downtime

•September 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It was pretty frustrating to have the momentum that I was trying to build up a couple of weeks ago on this blog cut short.  Unfortunately, I have nowhere near as much time as I’d like to work on the number of projects that I’m trying to get done at the same time.

That being said, Andy K and I conducted an interview with a couple of really interesting people that I’ll be posting soonish… though it’s in Japanese.  I’ll be posting the interesting points sometime around then.

We’re also working on an article about TRPGs to be included in a magazine from the UK.

Unfortunately, at the moment the big thing that’s been taking all of my time is my imminent trip home to LA and my wedding!  We’re finally knocking the ceremony off the list of things to do, so my wife and I are going to be in the states for a week or so.  Hopefully when we get back things will slow down (hah!) but I’ll do my best to update this thing as often as possible!

Happy 15th Anniversary: Satasupe!

•August 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Satasupe: The Asian Punk RPG, a game published by Bouken Keikakukyoku/the Adventure Planning Service and written by, among others, Kawashima Toichiro, the man behind Shinobigami.  As one of Kawashima-sensei’s first games, its streamlined rules and sharp focus have kept it in print and has spawned several supplements, such as the awesome Dead Man Walking.

Continue reading ‘Happy 15th Anniversary: Satasupe!’