Between all the talk about how to host a sushi-themed party last week, finishing Better Late Than Never on our DVR and sampling a Japanese pizza at Domino’s World Headquarters, I seriously want to make a trip to Japan. I want to go on a tour to see Mount Fuji, visit landmarks and enjoy authentic cuisine, including maybe even grabbing a Domino’s pizza with local toppings. There’s even a Disney theme park in Japan! Maybe someday, but with a long list of other places I want to visit first, I’ll have to make due by traveling vicariously through a variety of board games.
Which shouldn’t be a problem because there sure are a lot of them! We have played several including ones that cover the beauty of the country, the history, the economy and even an invasion of Tokyo by monsters.
King of Tokyo by iello: How brave will you be? Venture into Tokyo as monsters, play cards and roll dice to battle for your life against the other monsters entering also. While it looks intimidating to a non-gamer, this is an easy game for young and seasoned alike. 2-6 players and can be completed in about 30 minutes.
Machi Koro by IDW Games: Everyone is building a city, rolling dice and getting rewards based on whether their roll corresponds with what they have created. It has depth to it and requires some strategy, but even my non-gamer dad picked up on it quickly (and proceeded to claim victory!) 4 players, light strategy, about 30 minutes.
Nippon by Funforge: Decide which industries to invest in and open more opportunities with every every play in this economic game based on Japanese history. This game is a little more in-depth, taking one to two hours for 2-4 players.
Sutakku by Smirk & Dagger: You don’t need to know how to read the language to play, but this might help you learn the numbers 1-6! Press your luck as you attempt to roll greater numbers than the last. Play time is about 15 minutes and while the box says it’s best for ages 14 and up, anyone that knows their numbers, can read a translation chart and can carefully stack dice can play this game. Multiple people can play!
Takenoko by Asmodee: Who can resist a game with an adorable panda? 2-4 players work the land, irrigate it and plant bamboo. The person who does the best job maintaining their land and balancing a hungry panda wins the game. Duration is only about 45 minutes.
Tokaido by Funforge (distributed by Passport Game Studios): With lovely panoramic views, travelers take a journey along the most beautiful road in Japan, 2-5 players spend about 45 minutes making the trip at their own pace, surveying the countryside, visiting villages, collecting souvenirs and experiencing various encounters.
Samurai Spirit by Funforge (distributed by Passport Game Studios): Players work together to save the village from being pillaged. Samurai use their various powers to defend against the constant stream of brigands. The complexity of the game is slightly more advanced but if at least one person who has played before, there is minimal learning curve. Even though I have yet to be part of a winning scenario, this is one of my favorite cooperative games! Accommodates 1-7 participants and can be completed in under an hour. If luck is not on your side, you’ll be done much quicker!
Whether or not you enjoy sushi or have Japan on your bucket list, these are high quality, enjoyable games and worth trying out during an upcoming game night. Looking for more to feed your gaming appetite? Check out our post on How to Host a Sushi-Themed Party and discover even more Japanese-themed games!
What destinations are on your bucket list to visit some day?