May is for AAPI games

These wonderful games are designed by Asian American, Asian or Pacific Islander designers. This list includes some of the best circulators in our libraries, and some of our favorite games of all time.

Check out the list we made last May too:

Board Game: Century Golem Edition

• Designer: Emerson Matsuuchi
• Publisher: Plan B Games
• 2-5 players
• 30–45 minutes
• Age: 8+

Century Golem is one of the games that I recommend to the families that take out games at our library. The mechanics are simple and easy to learn while being deeply satisfying. It is like board gaming condensed down to its simplest form. It incorporates a little bit of engine building, and a little bit of luck. The pieces are beautiful and the art is pretty and approachable.

Card Game: Love Letter

• Designer: Seiji Kanai
• Publisher: Z-man Games
• 2-6 players
• 20 minutes
• Age: 10+

This game is an unexpected hit at my library for programming with teens. The rules are really simple and there are only nine cards to memorize, but there is a wonderful potential to be sneaky and take out your friends. The game is small and portable, and the redone artwork on the cards is lovely. The game is light enough that patrons can play a round or two before pulling out a more involved game.

Party Game: Fake Artist Goes to New York

• Designer: Jun Sasaki
• Publisher: Oink Games
• 5-10 players
• 20 minutes
• Age: 8+

This is a small drawing game with just a touch of deception. All the players collaborate on a drawing, but one artist doesn’t have any idea what they are actually drawing. Then players guess who the fake artist is. The game really highlights the different ways in which people visualize images. The game is small and portable and great for patrons of all ages. 

TTRPG:  Gubat Banwa

• Designer: Joaquin Kyle Saavedra
• Publisher: Self-published
• 1-6 players
• Age: Recommended for Adults
• Available:

A fantasy riff on the cultures of Southeast Asia, this combat-focused TTRPG is beautifully illustrated and has some very clever mechanics to help your Kadungganan triumph over a variety of enemies inspired by area folklore.  The combat is specifically modeled after such video games as Final Fantasy Tactics (which in itself was enough to get my attention) and is backed by relationship-focused role playing.  It’s a clever and approachable setting that offers something genuinely new to the genre.

Video Game: Jump Force

• Designer: Spike Chunsoft
• Publisher: Bandai Namco
• 1-2 players
• 10 minutes – 4 hours
• Rated Teen
• Available for X-box, PS4, PC, and Switch

Jump Force is a PvP fighting game, which is a very popular game type at my library with the teens. The game was created to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Shonen Jump, and it offers a unique opportunity to play some of the more obscure anime and manga characters. The characters from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures are particularly distinctive and fun. There is an unfortunately long, unskippable cutscene and training sequence at the start of the game, but you only have to sit through that once. Battles are played more in the round than the conventional almost side-scrolling video-game. The violence is very teen friendly. Characters simply moan and faint at the end of a battle.

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