Like board games? How about card games? Want to find new, rare and fun games to play with your friends? Look no more. The Game Market is held twice a year in Japan! Since the year 2000, people have traveled to Osaka and Tokyo to buy exciting new board and card games! On Sunday, March 1st, Osaka held the Game Market in Hanamizuki Hall. It opened at 10:00 a.m. and cost only 1,000YEN to attend. The ticket was attached to a program book which helped reduce lost tickets.
I arrived at the venue at 9:45 a.m. and the line was already very long. I found out that some people started lining up at 7:00 a.m.! When the doors opened at 10:00, the people who ordered their tickets beforehand were let into the venue first. By the time I got in, it was already 10:15. The venue itself was pretty small; therefore the aisles were very crowded. There were about 28 big booths (selling multiple games) and 80 small booths (one game per table). There were also several tables set up for booth owners to demo their games!
Most of the games being sold were indie card games. Many of them innovative and fun! My particular favorite is Alpaka Paka Paka. A super cute card game where players try to make the prettiest Alpaca and gain points for accessories that they draw from the card deck! I also enjoyed Catbox and Design Town, card games from Taiwan! A few booths had some popular Euro games like Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne. The Settlers of Catan booth had every game and expansion available for purchase! They also offered a pack of the painted wooden pieces, since the Japanese games have plastic pieces.
Two booths were set up specifically for visitors to try out various games. Booths selling unique dice and board game accessories were also scattered about. One booth was offering an all you can grab dice game! 100YEN to reach into a bin full of red dice and keep all the dice that can be grabbed! Even though most of the games being sold were Japanese, some venders had English instructions available. There were also a few English games being sold with Japanese rule books taped to the backs.
For lunch, food trucks were parked in front of the venue and a standing eating area was provided inside near the entrance. Other than that, food and drinks were not allowed in any other part of the venue. The event ended at 5:00. Missed the event? Do not worry! The Tokyo Game Market will be held again May 5th! For more information, visit http://gamemarket.jp/modules/tinyd01/index.php?id=88
All pictures were provided by Brandon Bollom. To check out his articles about the event along with general game updates, visit http://www.boardgamegeek.com/user/bwbollom/blogs
I also posted a video about the event and my review on the games I bought here