Photo:Ian Whalen on Flickr

Kobe's Game Market 2016

This year’s spring Game Market was held in Kobe at the Port Liner’s Convention Center. On February 21st, board game and card game enthusiasts lined up early to get their hands on the newest and most popular games. Even though the venue opened at 10:00 am, the line to get in started at around 8:00!


A ticket to get in was 1,000YEN, and one could pay an extra 500YEN for the catalog which lists all the booths and some of the items they have for sale. When the doors opened, they let in about 50 people at a time, for safety purposes. At 11:00, official Game Market bags went on sale. The bags have the official Game Market mascots and came in canvas or recycled materials.

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There were around 244 booths. Several of the larger booths were run by game shops, hoping to make more sales and to meet new customers. The smaller booths sold Japanese games or independently published games. There were even publishers who traveled from Taiwan to sell their games! The variety of games at the market was huge, so it was common to see something new the second time going through the venue. The great thing about the Game Market is that there are games for everyone. Many games have rules in both English and Japanese, and some even had rules in Chinese and Korean! If a game didn’t have the rules in a specific language physically in the box, one could find them on the game’s website! Many booths had tables set beside or in front of them to demo their games. Not only board games or card games were being sold that weekend, but also dice, bags to hold games, card holders/sleeves, dice trays and other game accessories.

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Other than the seller’s booths and demo tables, the Game Market had food trucks outside, two advertising tables and a Free-play Room. The Free-play Room had about 12 tables which could each seat 6 people, and is open for anyone to try out their newly purchased games! There was no time-limit, so once a table was open, it was wise to snatch it up quickly before someone else did! There were about five food trucks outside behind the venue; a hamburger truck, a takoyaki (fried octopus balls) truck, a yakisoba (friend noodles) truck, a waffle truck and a sausage truck. This was a great selection compared to the 3 available trucks from last year (which eventually dwindled to one after the other two left due to poor weather). Lots of seating was available outside by the food trucks as well! There were two advertising tables set up in front of the Free-play Room with fliers and advertisements for shops, new games and other upcoming board game and card game events! This helped many people discover new shops in their area that they might not have known existed.

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The next Game Market will be held in Tokyo on May 5th at the “Big Site” during Golden Week! For more information on the event, click on the link below!

Official Site

Check out my short video on the Kobe Game Market and the goodies I got there!

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