5 Japanese Themed Tabletop Games
Do you love Japanese culture as much as we do well here are 5 games that will make you feel like you are in Japan?
In Tokaido, each player is a traveler crossing the “East sea road”, one of the most magnificent roads of Japan. While traveling, you will meet people, taste fine meals, collect beautiful items, discover great panoramas, and visit temples and wild places but at the end of the day, when everyone has arrived at the end of the road you’ll have to be the most initiated traveler – which means that you’ll have to be the one who discovered the most interesting and varied things.
The potential action spaces in Tokaido are laid out on a linear track, with players advancing down this track to take actions. The player who is currently last on the track takes a turn by advancing forward on the track to their desired action and taking that action, so players must choose whether to advance slowly in order to get more turns, or to travel more rapidly to beat other players to their desired action spaces.
In war-torn feudal Japan, the soldiers are restless. The endless battles, betrayals, and broken promises have the soldiers questioning where their loyalties lie. Meanwhile, the daimyo are strategizing, marshaling their troops, and erecting strongholds to bolster the strength of their armies, all in pursuit of honor and ultimate victory.
In Gunkimono, players take on the roles of these daimyo, plotting their military advances across the countryside. Each new squad of troops yields victory points, but you may decide to forgo these points and save up for your stronghold instead. All the while, you need to keep an eye on your opponents so that their forces do not grow too large and expand at your expense.
A long time ago at the Japanese Imperial court, the Chinese Emperor offered a giant panda bear as a symbol of peace to the Japanese Emperor. Since then, the Japanese Emperor has entrusted his court members (the players) with the difficult task of caring for the animal by tending to his bamboo garden.
In Takenoko, the players will cultivate land plots, irrigate them, and grow one of the three species of bamboo (Green, Yellow, and Pink) with the help of the Imperial gardener to maintain this bamboo garden. They will have to bear with the immoderate hunger of this sacred animal for the juicy and tender bamboo. The player who manages his land plots best, growing the most bamboo while feeding the delicate appetite of the panda, will win the game.
Once Yokohama was just a fishing village, but now at the beginning of the Meiji era it’s becoming a harbor open to foreign countries and one of the leading trade cities of Japan. As a result, many Japanese products such as copper and raw silk are collected in Yokohama for export to other countries. At the same time, the city is starting to incorporate foreign technology and culture, with even the streets becoming more modernized. In the shadow of this development was the presence of many Yokohama merchants.
In YOKOHAMA, each player is a merchant in the Meiji period, trying to gain fame from a successful business, and to do so they need to build a store, broaden their sales channels, learn a variety of techniques, and (of course) respond to trade orders from abroad.
5. Rising Sun
Rising Sun is a spiritual successor in the same mythic big box series as Blood Rage: same designer, same artist, same studio and same sculptors.
Rising Sun is a game about honor, negotiation, and warfare in a feudal Japan where the ancient gods (kami)have returned to rebuild the empire.
Whereas the distant ancestor of Blood Rage was Risk, Rising Sun claims Diplomacy as its distant ancestor. Tackle negotiations, alliances, and war. Capture hostages and commit seppuku. The game features an honor track, which rises and falls based on your actions.