Saturday, 9 May 2009

Swords & Wizardry Sighted in Tokyo: Millions Flee

I just noticed that somebody is going to be running a Swords & Wizardry game at the monthly Japan International Gamer's Guild meet up in Yoyogi-Uehara in May. Just my luck that I'll be out of the country for the entirety of that month.

Anyway, this is the first evidence I've had that the retro-clones are actually making their presence felt outside of the blogs and forums. (Unless the game is going to be run by a blogger...although I don't know of anybody else living in and around Tokyo.) An encouraging sign for sure.

I've fallen by the wayside a little when it comes to the 'old school renaissance'. I think my initial enthusiasm for the thing was based on the fact that I didn't like the look of D&D 4e or any of the self-styled 'indie' games. I've come to the realisation that, no, I actually just like old games and want to play them, and haven't actually stopped - which is an altogether different thing from a renaissance. Adding to that, it has to be said that my favourite old games (AD&D 2e, Cyberpunk 2020, MERP, Advanced Fighting Fantasy) probably aren't old school enough to be proper Old Skool anyway. And as a natural dyed-in-the-wool contrarian I was never comfortable with the idea of any sort of movement.

But I do really like Swords & Wizardry. The toolbox approach, and the fact that it allows people to come up with things like Ruins & Ronin, is a huge boon. It's nice to see that it's making at least a vague splash in the Far East; perhaps there's hope for us S&Wers after all.


  1. Hopefully we will be running the S&W thing as an ongoing game, so you should come when you're back in the country. Also, we're by no means firmly attached S&W. You might be able to get a 2E or MERP game going.

    I'm pretty sure none of us are bloggers, or at least not part of the RPG blog scene.


  2. Hrm. I'm usually not a fan of gratuitous Japanese, but I think this might-- almost merit a "yatta!"

  3. If S&W has people running games they like better than the one's they'd be running without it, that's great. It'll be interesting to see how things will develop with the retro-clones.

    Rach's reflections: Curse you! Now I have that song stuck in my head. Gah.

  4. I have never been to the international gaming groups in Tokyo, but I've lived here for years and have found some regulars to play with. We play a lot of old games, but we have played them for a while now, not really part of this revolution thingie that's happening.

    As for retro clones, I have a regular gaming group that meets up in Omiya. We alternate between ADnD 2ed for long term campaigns, and Labyrinth Lord for dungeon crawls and old-school fun.

  5. John: I think I will. Until now work has kept me busy on Sundays and so I haven't been able to come to any JIGG stuff, but now that isn't a problem. I might even crack out the old MERP.

    Rach: If I had a roll-eyes smiley, I would use it. ;)

    Odyssey: I'll keep my eyes peeled for Mutant Future, OSRIC and the rest too.

    Nick: Too bad you live in Omiya, otherwise I would have said we should try to get together. I'm down in darkest Kanagawa.

  6. I keep hearing rumours about an Advanced Fighting Fantasy retro-clone, but I haven't been able to get any closer to finding out more about who's doing it, or how it's going.

    Since the original books went out of their way not to use standard rpg terminology, I'd imagine it's probably easy to change.

  7. I just stumbled onto your blog searching for gaming groups in Tokyo...

    How can I get in contact with some gamers?

    I have been in Japan for 2 years now and am starving for some geek time.


  8. Hi Don. Check out JIGG (Japan International Gamers' Guild.) Here's a link to the yahoo group.

    Where in Tokyo are you?

  9. Sorry, I should have said "Hi Dean", I suppose!

  10. I am in Mitaka.

    BTW, "hi."

    I was afraid there were not any gamers around. I feel a little isolated, no local game store that I know of.

    I tried Akihabara, but was not successful in finding anyone there.

    Where are you located?


  11. I'd really like to play merp again. I haven't played since university, and I recently started missing it again. If anyone plans on merping please let me know.

  12. I'm now back in Japan and actually free at weekends for the first time in many years, so I might run a MERP game and advertise through JIGG. Keep your eyes peeled.

  13. Don: Sorry for not responding sooner. I'm on the Den-en-toshi line, right at the tip of Kawasaki where it, Tokyo and Yokohama meet. About 15 mins from Shibuya.

    There's a Yellow Submarine in Shinjuku (West Exit, near the big Yodobashi Camera complex) which is pretty decent for games, and easy for you to get to from Mitaka (Chuo line, right?). There could also be one in Kichijoji if memory serves, though don't quote me on that.

  14. Hey just wanted to let you guys know about a new Swords & Wizardry SRD site built using the Complete rules. The site is at Please spread the word if you like what you see!

    -John Reyst