I dream of travel in far off places. Someday I will get to paddle along the canals of Venice, take in the view from the Eiffel Tower and enjoy the cherry blossoms in Japan. Until then, I enjoy the beauty of board gaming to let my imagination take me to those places virtually, right from the comfort of my living room.
If you’re a fan of Japanese culture, or even if you just like games, you will find these games both entertaining and beautiful. Here are some of the Masterminds’ favorite Japanese themed games:
King of Tokyo
2-6 Players, Age 8+
This is an engaging and fun game that the whole family can enjoy together! The artwork is compelling for kids (and adults) as they take on the role of a giant monster invading Tokyo City, just like in the Godzilla movies.
Game play is simple dice-rolling, like Yahtzee, where you get three chances to roll your dice creating attacks, energy points and victory points. If you’re character is in the City, your attack rolls hit all monsters outside the city, and vice versa. Save up energy cubes to purchase special attacks to give your monster an edge to become King.
This is a great entry-level game that is fun for new and experienced gamers. Play time is about 30 minutes
2-5 Players, Ages 8+
In Tokaido, the winner is the player who had the most enjoyable vacation on the East Sea Road. Eat a meal, collect souvenirs, take a break in the hot spring and meet interesting people. This game is visually beautiful and unique and simple enough to be enjoyed by all ages.
Another nice thing this game has going for it is that the experience of playing is enjoyable in and of itself. You end the game feeling like you’ve taken a beautiful journey. Of course, you may have to have yourself a noodle bowl to satisfy your craving for Japanese culture, but that’s really the best part.
This game is played in about 45 minutes.
2-4 Players, Ages 8+
I love watching baby panda antics videos where they get into trouble, cling to their caretakers and get their roly-poly little selves into crazy mishaps. That is exactly how I picture the struggle between the gardener and the giant panda in Takenoko.
In this game, the Emperor of China has given the Japanese Imperial Court a royal gift – a giant panda! As the Emperor of Japan wants certain plot types arranged, the gardener attempts to plant bamboo and the panda eats all the bamboo, at the frustration of the gardener. You earn points for all of their successes based on the cards you can fulfill.
The enchanting artwork, nice, chunky pieces and engaging game play makes this an enjoyable experience for all players. Takenoko will also be one of the game teaches at the South Coast Game Fest. Come play for yourself! Game play takes about 45 minutes.
2-5 Players, Ages 8+
This is a nice quick drafting game that you can take with you anywhere and play with up to 5 people. Imagine you are visiting one of those sushi restaurants in Japan that set the food on a conveyor belt. Your goal in this game is to have the best sushi meal by choosing the best combination of cards that create a delicious meal. Maki is always better with Wasabi. Tempura are scored in pairs and the more dumplings you get, the more points you have. Don’t neglect the pudding because the one with the most at the end of the game gets 6 extra points, and the one with the least loses 6 points.
This is a fast paced game with adorable artwork that everyone enjoys. Pick up Sushi Go Party for larger groups or enjoy the original Sushi Go! in just 15 minutes.
See what the Masterminds have to say in our video, What We’re Playing This Week: Japanese Inspired Games