Happy 15th Anniversary: Satasupe!

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.

Setting

The world of Satasupe (which is short for Saturday Night Special; the gun, not the tv show) takes place in an alternate universe in which Osaka is the capital of Japan.  The law has little hold over much of the city, and often times you’re better off trusting your loan shark(s) than the policeman signaling you to pull over.  The game is heavily inspired by yakuza films like Miike Takashi’s Dead or Alive series, films like Snatch and other wild crime flicks.

Rules

Satasupe is a game that was ahead of its time, and one can see clear similarities between Satasupe and Meikyuu Kingdom.  Simply put, Satasupe is not a game where you can “do anything.”  Instead, it has a clear and singular focus: over the top stories in the vein of “Asian Punk” (yakuza, kung fu opera, etc.).  Each scenario starts out with the introduction phase, followed by an investigation phase, whereupon the chase phase is performed, and ending with the ending phase.

Character creation is accomplished by the choosing of “classes” that represent different roles in the party; the muscle, the guy with connections, the ‘manager’, etc.  One of the more important stats allows a character to form a certain number of bonds with NPCs, giving yourself lovers, underlings, bodyguards, etc.  Each character also randomly rolls a number of interests equal to another stat.  These interests are then used during the investigation phase, as players go around town, trying to make connections using their interests in order to open up more lanes of information and connections, which are then followed up on with characters with relevant interests.

If it sounds random, yes, it is.  But it’s lots of fun, and it fits the genre perfectly.  What other game has an entire phase devoted to the chase scene?

My Thoughts

The art alone is reason enough to own the book, which is gorgeously illustrated on every page.  Schoolgirls with guns and yakuza of every color and stripe festoon the entire book.  The entire package is easy to understand, with each skill and item given its own area on the page similar to Meikyu Kingdom’s cards.  This makes it super easy to photocopy the appropriate page and cut out what you need.

Deadman Walking, the supplement that lets players become undead inhabitants of the same world brings a bit more zany and even more awesome to Neo Osaka.  The game has been supported in magazines like Role and Roll, too, as a testament to its staying power and popularity.

If you are the type of person who enjoys quality cinema such as Miike Takashi’s excellent yakuza trilogy Dead or Alive, Zebraman, City of Lost Souls, etc., Kitamura Ryuhei’s Versus, or really any of the other “Asian Punk” films that I watched when I was in college, you’ll probably enjoy this game.

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~ by mattgsanchez on August 24, 2011.

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