Stay Near Hakone and Play Games?

Stay Near Hakone and Play Games?

Hakone is a stunning area of Japan not far from Tokyo. There are a couple of guest houses stocked with board games that are free to play. Sightsee during the day, and play some of the many games available at Kevin’s Guesthouse and Merry Lue’s Guest House in Minamiashigara City, not far from Hakone Yumoto.

Exploring the Enchanting Wonders of Hakone: A Must-Visit Destination in Japan

Introduction: Nestled in the picturesque mountains of Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture, Hakone stands as a mesmerizing oasis for both locals and tourists alike. Boasting stunning natural landscapes, soothing hot springs, rich cultural heritage, and magnificent views of Mount Fuji, Hakone offers a myriad of experiences that captivate the hearts and minds of its visitors. Whether you’re seeking tranquility, adventure, or cultural immersion, Hakone has something to offer for everyone. Let’s delve into the enchanting wonders of Hakone and discover the exciting activities and attractions that await you.

  1. Admire the Majestic Mount Fuji: Hakone’s location on the eastern edge of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park provides an extraordinary vantage point for gazing at Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji. Be sure to ride the Hakone Ropeway, a cable car that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. Capture awe-inspiring photographs from Owakudani, a volcanic valley famous for its sulfurous fumes and hot springs. Witnessing the silhouette of Mount Fuji against the backdrop of Hakone’s natural beauty is an unforgettable experience.
  2. Soak in the Healing Waters of Onsen: Renowned for its therapeutic hot springs, Hakone is the ideal destination for indulging in a traditional Japanese onsen experience. Choose from a variety of exquisite ryokans (traditional inns) and ryokan resorts that offer private and communal baths. Unwind and rejuvenate your body and soul as you soak in the mineral-rich waters amidst serene surroundings. Popular hot spring areas include Hakone Yumoto, Gora, and Tenzan.
  3. Explore Hakone Open-Air Museum: For art enthusiasts, the Hakone Open-Air Museum is a treasure trove of creativity. This unique museum showcases a stunning collection of contemporary sculptures and artworks by both Japanese and international artists. Stroll through beautifully manicured gardens, immerse yourself in thought-provoking installations, and even bathe in a hot spring foot bath while enjoying art exhibitions. The combination of art and nature creates a harmonious and meditative atmosphere.
  4. Cruise Lake Ashi: Embark on a scenic boat ride across the serene Lake Ashi, an ancient crater lake formed by volcanic activity. Revel in the tranquility as you glide along the azure waters, surrounded by lush green mountains. Enjoy unobstructed views of Mount Fuji, as well as the iconic Hakone Shrine’s torii gate standing tall on the lakeshore. Cruising Lake Ashi is a fantastic way to experience the region’s natural splendor.
  5. Wander Through Hakone Shrine: Immerse yourself in Japanese spirituality and culture by visiting the renowned Hakone Shrine. Nestled in the forested hills near Lake Ashi, this Shinto shrine exudes a serene and mystical ambiance. Take a leisurely stroll through the sacred grounds, admire the striking architecture, and participate in traditional rituals. The vibrant red torii gates and the serene atmosphere create a sense of tranquility and reverence.
  6. Ride the Hakone Tozan Railway: Embark on a scenic train journey aboard the Hakone Tozan Railway, a charming mountain railway that winds its way through lush greenery and picturesque landscapes. Marvel at the engineering feat as the train navigates steep slopes, tunnels, and bridges. The slow pace and the enchanting views along the route make this ride a memorable experience.

Conclusion: Hakone is a destination that captivates travelers with its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and tranquil ambiance. From admiring the majestic Mount Fuji to soaking in soothing hot springs, exploring art amidst nature, and embracing the spiritual side of Japan,

I am Hakone

Japanese Board War Games

Japanese Board War Games

Exploring Japanese Board War Games: A Fusion of Strategy and Tradition


Japan, renowned for its rich cultural heritage and innovative creations, has a vibrant board gaming scene that extends beyond its traditional offerings. While the country is famous for ancient games like shogi and go, it has also embraced modern board gaming, including captivating war games. These Japanese board war games, with their complex strategies and unique themes, provide players with immersive experiences that test their tactical prowess. In this article, we delve into the world of Japanese board war games, examining their origins, gameplay mechanics, and notable titles.

Origins and Influence

The roots of Japanese board war games can be traced back to the post-World War II period when the country underwent a cultural transformation. Influenced by Western board games, Japanese designers began crafting their own titles that combined elements of traditional gaming with innovative mechanics. This led to the birth of a distinctive genre of war games, which quickly gained popularity among enthusiasts seeking intellectually stimulating challenges.

Gameplay Mechanics

Japanese board war games encompass a wide range of themes, from historical battles to futuristic conflicts. While each game offers a unique experience, there are common gameplay mechanics that typify this genre. Generally, players assume the roles of military commanders or strategists, making decisions that impact their armies’ movements, resource management, and combat engagements.

These games often employ a hexagonal grid system, allowing for precise movement and positioning of units. Command and control mechanics play a crucial role, with players facing the challenge of coordinating their forces effectively. Furthermore, Japanese war games frequently emphasize hidden information, simulating the fog of war and requiring players to carefully deduce their opponents’ intentions.

Notable Japanese Board War Games

  1. Axis & Allies: Designed by Larry Harris Jr. and first published in 1981, Axis & Allies is a globally acclaimed war game set during World War II. While not exclusively Japanese, it exemplifies the influence of Japanese game design on the genre. The game allows players to control the major powers of the war, employing strategic planning and diplomacy to secure victory.
  2. Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel: Created by Uwe Eickert and translated into Japanese by Mabuchi Satoru, Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel is a tactical war game that immerses players in the intense battles of World War II’s Eastern Front. With its innovative firefight system and detailed unit management, this game offers an engaging and authentic experience.
  3. Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan: Designed by Matt Calkins, Sekigahara is a highly regarded war game that captures the dramatic conflict during Japan’s Sengoku period. With its elegant card-driven mechanics and historical accuracy, players must navigate the delicate balance of power to secure victory on the battlefield.
  4. Battle Line: Created by Reiner Knizia, Battle Line is a two-player war game that focuses on tactical maneuvering and bluffing. Known as “Schotten-Totten” in its original version, the Japanese edition incorporates the nation’s distinctive artistic style while maintaining the game’s strategic depth.


Japanese board war games offer a captivating blend of strategy, history, and innovation. From World War II simulations to ancient conflicts, these games provide players with immersive experiences that demand careful planning and critical thinking. Drawing on traditional gaming principles while incorporating modern mechanics, Japanese war games stand as a testament to the nation’s ability to combine tradition with innovation. Whether you’re a seasoned war gamer or a novice seeking an intellectually stimulating challenge, exploring the world of Japanese board war games is sure to offer countless hours of strategic enjoyment.

On the COIN series of games by GMT

Using Boardgames at University

Using Boardgames at University

Incorporating Board Games in the University Classroom: A Guide

Board games have gained significant recognition as effective educational tools in university classrooms due to their ability to promote active learning and engage students. By integrating board games into the curriculum, educators can enhance critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and communication skills while providing an enjoyable learning experience. Here, we present practical ways to utilize board games in the university classroom.

  1. Icebreaker Activities: At the beginning of the semester, board games can be employed as icebreaker activities to facilitate a relaxed and enjoyable environment for students to get to know each other. Opt for games that encourage social interaction and teamwork, such as cooperative or party games with group challenges.
  2. Reinforce Learning Concepts: To reinforce learning concepts, select board games that align with the course content. For example, a history professor can use a historically themed board game to help students understand and apply historical events and concepts.
  3. Simulate Real-Life Scenarios: Board games that simulate real-life scenarios related to the subject matter can be highly effective. For business students, engaging in a business strategy board game that requires decision-making, risk analysis, and adaptability to changing market conditions can provide practical insights.
  4. Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking: Choose board games that require strategic thinking and foster problem-solving skills. By working in teams, students can analyze situations, develop strategies, and make informed decisions, thereby honing their critical thinking abilities.
  5. Debates and Discussions: Board games that spark debates and discussions can be invaluable in the classroom. Games featuring moral dilemmas or ethical challenges provide opportunities for students to engage in thoughtful conversations, explore different perspectives, and develop their argumentation skills.
  6. Language Acquisition: In foreign language courses, language-based board games can significantly enhance language acquisition. Incorporate word games, vocabulary-building games, or language trivia to help students practice their language skills in an engaging and interactive manner.
  7. Assessment and Review: Utilize board games as a form of assessment or review. Create game-based quizzes or review sessions where students can compete against each other, reinforcing their knowledge and improving retention.
  8. Research and Design: Encourage students to create their own board games as part of a research or design project. This activity promotes creativity, problem-solving, and a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

When incorporating board games in the university classroom, it is important to ensure that the games are age-appropriate, relevant to the learning objectives, and accessible to all students. Provide clear instructions, facilitate discussions, and reflect on the learning outcomes to maximize the educational potential of board games.

By embracing board games as a teaching tool, educators can foster a positive classroom environment, increase student motivation, and create memorable learning experiences that go beyond traditional approaches.

More: (from a friend)

“Just following up on our conversation yesterday. Here is a link to that journal co-run by the meiji prof using boardgames in his class”.

Kevin’s Guesthouse near Hakone

On Using Chat GPT to Develop Board Games

On Using Chat GPT to Develop Board Games

Chat GPT can be used to develop a board game by generating game content, creating dialogue and narrative, and providing inspiration for game mechanics. Here are some ways Chat GPT can be used:

  1. Generate game content: Chat GPT can generate a wide range of game content, such as character descriptions, world-building details, and storylines. By inputting prompts and asking questions, Chat GPT can help develop the game’s overall theme, setting, and narrative.
  2. Create dialogue and narrative: Chat GPT can help create dialogue between players and non-player characters (NPCs) by generating responses and suggestions for NPC dialogue. It can also be used to develop branching storylines, where player choices affect the game’s outcome.
  3. Provide inspiration for game mechanics: Chat GPT can provide inspiration for game mechanics, such as player actions, rules, and challenges. For example, Chat GPT can be asked to generate ideas for how to incorporate a specific theme or mechanic into the game.
  4. Playtesting: Chat GPT can be used to simulate game scenarios and playtest the game mechanics. It can be programmed to respond to player inputs and provide feedback on gameplay, balance, and difficulty.

Overall, Chat GPT can be a useful tool for generating ideas and content for a board game. However, it’s important to note that developing a board game requires a lot of creative and strategic thinking beyond what an AI language model can provide.

Tet Offensive

Tet Offensive

Tet Offensive in Da Nang

Da Nang Airfield

The Tet Offensive was a major military campaign launched by the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong on January 30, 1968, during the Vietnam War. The offensive was a coordinated series of surprise attacks on cities and towns throughout South Vietnam, including the city of Da Nang.

Da Nang was one of the largest cities in South Vietnam and was a strategically important location for both the United States and the North Vietnamese Army. The city was home to a large American military base and was also a major transportation hub for supplies and troops.

Quonset huts before the attack

The North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong launched a series of attacks on Da Nang during the Tet Offensive, targeting American military installations, government buildings, and other strategic targets. The attacks were initially successful, with the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong briefly taking control of parts of the city.

Da Nang

However, the American military quickly responded to the attacks, and after several days of heavy fighting, they were able to retake control of the city. The Tet Offensive was a turning point in the Vietnam War, as it demonstrated the strength and determination of the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong and showed that the war was far from over.

Da Nang’s Quonset huts

Pictured: Quonset huts at Da Nang Airport, Vietnam.

Gundam meets Warhammer

Why the Japanese lost the Battle of Midway

Why the Japanese lost the Battle of Midway

Kevin R Burns

Why did the Japanese lose the battle of Midway?

The Battle of Midway was a significant naval battle fought between the Japanese and American forces during World War II. While the Japanese had a superior number of aircraft carriers, they ultimately lost the battle due to several factors:

  1. Intelligence Failure: The Japanese underestimated the strength of the American forces and didn’t expect them to be waiting for them at Midway. However, the Americans had broken the Japanese naval code and were aware of their plans.
  2. Strategic Errors: The Japanese had split their forces, with some ships attacking the island while others attacked the American fleet. This decision allowed the American carrier planes to attack the Japanese fleet without any significant opposition.
  3. Tactical Errors: During the battle, the Japanese made several tactical errors, including launching their planes in waves instead of all at once, which allowed the American defenses to prepare for each wave. Additionally, the Japanese bombers were not equipped to attack ships at sea, and the torpedo planes were slow and vulnerable to attack.
  4. Loss of Key Personnel: The Japanese lost several key personnel during the battle, including Admiral Yamamoto’s Chief of Staff, which hindered their ability to coordinate their forces effectively.

Overall, the combination of intelligence failures, strategic and tactical errors, and the loss of key personnel led to the Japanese defeat at the Battle of Midway.

Visit JIGG Kanagawa – where we announce our game events. Join us! It”s free!

More on how the USA could have Won in 1812

More on how the USA could have Won in 1812

Here are some additional details about each of the possible ways in which the United States could have won the War of 1812:

  1. Better Military Strategy: The United States military was poorly organized and had inexperienced leaders during the War of 1812. For example, at the Battle of Bladensburg in 1814, American soldiers fled in panic, and their commander, Brigadier General William Winder, was widely criticized for his poor leadership. If the United States had better leaders and more effective military strategies, it could have potentially won more battles and gained a stronger foothold in British-held territories.
  2. Naval Superiority: The British Navy was the largest and most powerful in the world at the time, with hundreds of warships and thousands of experienced sailors. In contrast, the United States Navy was relatively small and poorly equipped. However, the United States did have some advantages, such as its fast, maneuverable ships called “privateers,” which were able to capture many British merchant vessels. If the United States had invested more in its navy and built more ships, it could have potentially gained naval superiority and prevented British attacks on American ports.
  3. Diplomacy: The War of 1812 was largely caused by trade restrictions and maritime rights issues. The United States was unhappy with the British practice of impressment, which involved kidnapping American sailors and forcing them to serve in the British Navy. If the United States had pursued diplomatic channels more aggressively, it could have potentially resolved these issues without resorting to war. For example, the United States could have negotiated a treaty with Britain that guaranteed American sailors’ safety or threatened economic sanctions.
  4. Stronger Support from Allies: During the War of 1812, the United States was able to gain some support from allies, such as France. However, this support was not sufficient to turn the tide of the war. If the United States had been able to gain stronger support from allies, it could have potentially put more pressure on the British and gained an advantage in battles. For example, if France had sent troops to support the United States or threatened to attack British interests in Europe, the British may have been more willing to negotiate a peace settlement.

Overall, the War of 1812 was a complex conflict with multiple causes and factors that contributed to its outcome. While there were several ways in which the United States could have potentially achieved a victory, it is difficult to say for certain which strategies would have been most effective.

Visit JIGG Kanagawa – where we announce our game events. Join us! It”s free!

How could the USA have Won the War of 1812?

How could the USA have Won the War of 1812?

Winning the War of 1812.

How could the USA have won the War of 1812?

The War of 1812 was fought between the United States and the British Empire from 1812 to 1815. The war was primarily fought over issues related to trade restrictions, maritime rights, and the impressment of American sailors by the British Navy. While the war ended in a stalemate, there were several ways in which the United States could have potentially achieved a victory. Here are a few possibilities:

  1. Better Military Strategy: The United States military suffered from poor leadership and planning throughout much of the war. The country could have potentially won the war if it had better military leaders who could have devised and executed better strategies.
  2. Naval Superiority: The British Navy was one of the strongest in the world at the time, and the United States Navy was relatively weak. If the United States had invested more in its navy and built more ships, it could have potentially gained naval superiority and prevented British attacks on American ports.
  3. Diplomacy: The United States could have potentially won the war through diplomatic efforts. The war was largely caused by trade restrictions and maritime rights issues, and a diplomatic resolution to these issues could have prevented the outbreak of war.
  4. Stronger Support from Allies: The United States could have potentially gained more support from its allies, such as France, during the war. This could have given the United States an advantage in battles and put more pressure on the British to negotiate a peace settlement.

Overall, the United States could have potentially won the War of 1812 through a combination of better military strategy, naval superiority, diplomacy, and stronger support from allies.

Visit JIGG Kanagawa – where we announce our game events. Join us! It”s free!

Game Shops in Tokyo

Game Shops in Tokyo

Sure, here is some more information about the places I mentioned:

  1. Yellow Submarine: This hobby shop chain has been around since 1986 and has multiple locations in Tokyo, as well as other cities throughout Japan. They carry a wide range of hobby products, including board games, card games, miniature games, and model kits. The staff is knowledgeable and can help you find what you’re looking for, even if you don’t speak Japanese. You can also find gaming tables and space for playing games at some of their stores.
  2. Little Tin Soldier: This store is located in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, which is known for its electronics and otaku culture. Little Tin Soldier specializes in wargaming products, including miniatures, terrain, rulebooks, and paints. They carry products from a variety of manufacturers, including Games Workshop, Privateer Press, and Corvus Belli. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and they can help you find the right products for your gaming needs. They also have a website where you can order products online if you can’t make it to the store in person.
  3. Games Workshop Tokyo: This is the official Games Workshop store in Tokyo, and it carries a variety of Warhammer products, including miniatures, rulebooks, paints, and accessories. They also host events and tournaments for Warhammer players, so it’s a great place to meet other gamers and get involved in the local gaming community. The staff is knowledgeable and can help you with painting techniques, army building, and gameplay.
  4. Mandarake: This chain of stores throughout Tokyo specializes in anime and manga merchandise, but they also carry a selection of wargames and miniatures. Their stores have a unique atmosphere and are worth a visit even if you’re not specifically looking for wargames. You can find vintage and hard-to-find items here, as well as new releases from popular manufacturers. They have several locations throughout Tokyo, so it’s easy to find one near you.

I hope this additional information helps you find the right place to buy wargames in Tokyo!

Kevin’s Guesthouse near Hakone is full of games you can play!

Visit JIGG Kanagawa – where we announce our game events. Join us! It”s free!

Zombies of Barkerville

Zombies of Barkerville

I had gone hiking for a few days by myself, North of one of Canadas most famous ghost towns, Barkerville BC. When I got back to Barkerville. Things had changed. It was like people were drunk, or a scene from Vancouvers Downtown Eastside. Everyone looked unhealthy or dead and kind of staggered around or dragged themselves around. I didn t fear them at first. But soon it became apparent that they wanted to eat me! That came as a shock!

(We used the Zombie Game rules by Alan Martinsen)

I soon realized that this was a worldwide pandemic and most of the world was gone it seemed. I met up with another guy and we headed to Quesnel. But ultimately I want to get back to Tsawwassen to see if my family is still alive. This is my story through pictures, as best I can tell it. The pictures are a re-enactment, as of course, I was not able to take photos as events unfolded.

Visit JIGG Kanagawa – where we announce our game events. Join us! It”s free!

I was able to repair that jeep and get out of Barkerville with my new friend, Frank.
My jeep got stolen by some jaded Canadian soldiers who for some reason were driving American Army vehicles.

Airbnb-How to be a Successful Host