How to play TRPGs in Japan – Part 3: Convention Report

The final installment of a short series of posts where I extoll the virtues of playing role-playing games in Japan, in Japanese.

Part 1 is here, part 2 is here.

This past Saturday, I spent the better part of the day in Nagoya’s Showa ward.  The monthly convention “NiGHTS” was happening that day, so I went down to try it out.  I’d never attended NiGHTS before, but I ended up having a lot of fun.

First, I’ll explain my preparation.   I always like to have a game ready to master, just in case I need to rely on my old trick of GMing in order to keep control.  I didn’t bring a lot of English games with me, but I did bring a Trail of Cthulhu scenario book.  My fiancee and I spent a little time the night before translating the character sheet, and I printed the directions to the cultural center where the event was going to take place.

The next day, I woke up early and took the train, arriving at the center pretty early.  I made a mistake about which room it was, so I sort of walked around for like 20 minutes before I realized my mistake and walked into the correct room.  As soon as I entered, someone asked if I was running Cthulhutech.  Heh, sorry, not anymore!  I made it just in time for the introduction of each game, which was made by each GM that had arrived earlier and wrote their game up on the blackboard.  The games being run that day were: Night Wizard 2nd, board games, and Hunter’s Moon.  I ended up joining the Hunter’s Moon group.

Since I’d read through the replay, I sort of knew what was going on, and there was a complete rookie to the game, so it really helped out when I was playing the game.  At the beginning, the GM declared, “Hunter’s Moon is a horror game, but I don’t really do the horror thing.  Just more of a monster hunting affair!”  We created our characters and talked about the system and were ready in about an hour.  We then went through the first introduction phase and the first pursuit phase, then took a break for lunch.

During lunch I sat with some guys in the event room and talked about interesting games on either side of the Pacific, about which ones we really wanted to play and which ones would make good exports and imports.  Once everyone else came back from lunch, we sat back down to play.

Actually, the first game of Hunter’s Moon ended about an hour after that.  We completely tore about the monobeast–in the very first combat.  It was barely after 2, so we talked the GM into running it again with another monobeast.  We beat that one within 2 hours, too. 

Actually, the 2nd game was kind of strange.  Though we were destroying the monobeast like crazy, all of a sudden one of the players decided he needed his character to die.  It actually took a while, and I didn’t realize what was going on until he actually did die, then people explained to me (and the new guy) that him dying was good for the team, and that it was possible using some strange rules and, well, that was a confusing game. 

Since it was still 4, we started playing a card gamed called Barbarossa.  It’s a game in the same style as Thunderstone or Dominion, except that all the cards are scantily clad anime girls dressed in the outfits of the 3rd Reich.  Basically you’re trying to build up your army to crush Russia.  If it weren’t for the motif and the art, it would have been a really awesome game that I’d probably pick up.  Oh, you Japanese.

We had even more time after that, so we played Bluff and then this short card gamed called Kakumei Banzai a bunch of times.  About that time it was finally getting to about 7, so we wound things down for the night.

So that’s it, really.  I had fun, and I’m looking forward to attending again.  In May, they’re having a Guest Con, where a big name in the (Japanese) gaming industry is going to come and probably GM some games.  Last time I went to one of these, I met Tanaka Ten, a writer for FEAR, and he was really interesting.

I leave Japan in a couple days, but I’ll be back in April.  You can probably expect more con reports then.


~ by mattgsanchez on February 28, 2011.

4 Responses to “How to play TRPGs in Japan – Part 3: Convention Report”

  1. I’m curious to know, is there a trend for Japanese players of TRPG’s to also play certain videogames or read certain manga, watch certain anime? Have you noticed anything like that? Like say that Hunter’s Moon GM who doesn’t do the horror thing but loves the hunting, is he a Monster Hunter player? That kind of correlation

    • I haven’t really noticed much difference between what TRPG players watch/read as opposed to “normal” otaku, except that TRPG players might lug around artbooks by Brom or be more fantasy oriented, I suppose. There’s quite the variety in fandom even in RPG circles, at least as far as games/manga/anime go. That being said, I think that what people read are influencing what they play. So yeah, the hunting over horror guy is probably a Monster Hunter player, heh.

  2. A very nice series of posts, and just what I was looking for. I’m living in Nagoya and thinking of getting back into gaming after a long hiatus. The language is no problem, so I figured I’d try to infiltrate the Nagoya gaming scene. Maybe I’ll see you around!

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