Shuri Castle Diorama

We visited Shuri Castle in Okinawa. If you are a military history buff, I recommend it!

JIGG Kanagawa Board Games Club

JIGG Kanagawa Board Games Club

JIGG Kanagawa Boardgames Club

Do you like to play boardgames? Do you live in or can you come to Kanagawa?

Get in on the game!

We play boardgames of all kinds. New members always welcome! Membership is free!

We speak Japanese and English! Come if you love to play board games, wargames, role playing games or strategy games. Traditional games like chess are also played.

Contact Kevin

kevins_english_schools at

JIGG Kansai celebrates 10 Years!

Reposting this from the JIGG Kansai Facebook Group

Happy 10th Anniversary everyone! To celebrate the occasion I’ve done a little research.

In 1992 Steve Brown and Kevin Burns start JIGG (Japan International Gamers Guild) by placing an add in the local English language paper in Tokyo. It’s a club, probably the first ever in Japan, for playing roleplaying games and miniature war games in English in Japan. Board games are played occasionally too. Their first digital presence is a yahoo email group made in 1999.

In July of 2005 the Work Abroad Aussies Yahoo Group is renamed Kansai JIGG and our little cadre of gamers was born. Well, nearly, at least. By 2007 this group was defunct, no longer in use. At this point our all mighty founding father, Ryan Thomas stumbles upon the group while looking to start his own Kansai-based analogue gaming community, this time very much about board games. He and Linda Jane Hicks use the group to start up their famously generous gaming days in Moriguchi (with meals provided). This, I argue is the start of Kansai JIGG, the board gaming club.

To continue the story by 2009 Ryan is the moderator of the group and gaming is taking place weekly on Tuesdays (as well as other days, sporadically). The big events continue to happen at Ryan’s 3 story house but most of the gaming is happening at people’s apartments with a lot happening at Kobe’s Port Island. A variety of games are played but if there was one quintessential JIGG game it was undoubtedly Battlestar Galactica, with every old time member having a story or five about betrayal and deception.

The club’s GW conventions are so popular that private space needs to be booked out to contain everyone. Gradually, JIGG moves away from people’s homes and into regularly scheduled rented spaces run by Keith Ibsen and JIGG is pretty much how we know it now. The JIGG brand is sufficiently reinvigorated by this time that in 2011 people like Mandy Tong start up Tokyo JIGG continuing the tradition where the whole thing originally started.

Now then, you might think that the story ends there, but no! During my research I discovered something quite amazing. The Steve Brown who originally started JIGG in 1992 is also the person known as “Stan! Brown” online. He’s a game designer/editor/illustrator at WOTC working on D&D and has worked on all sorts of classic games at TSR and West End Games. You can even hear him talking about the creation of JIGG on the official D&D podcast here at the 1 hour mark:…/features/stan-brown-tsr-old-days

I’ve contacted the dear fellow and if we’re lucky he may get in touch. So that is how we got here and here is to many more decades of future JIGGing! To all those who were actually there at the time please do tell me if I made any mistakes!

On Board Games in the Classroom

Using board games in the classroom is a fun and eng
aging way of reviewing or practising
language communicatively. There are many board gam
es you can create with your learners
using blank board game templates. These can be phot
ocopied and enlarged to A3 size.
You can either prepare the materials yourself or ge
t learners to prepare them for you
(writing and using English of course!) Below are a
couple of suggestions, they are obviously
adaptable between levels and ages. Games can be use
d to practice collocations, idioms,
tenses etc. Remember the learners must have the nec
essary language to play the game and
make sure the games do not go on for too long. It i
s not always important to finish the game
if the learners are moving on to a worthwhile actitivity.
Level: Elementary
1 dice and counters for players
General review
Write a verb in every odd numbered space and a noun
in every even numbered space (e.g.
walk; chair; eat; pen) at every sixth space write a
question word (Why? Who? When?
Which? How? etc)
Learners roll the dice and move according to the nu
mbers indicated. When a learner lands
on a square they have to make a sentence using the
verb or noun which is true about them.
If they land on a question square they have to ask
a question for all the other learners to
To make the game harder set time limits for respons
es or make learners miss a turn / move
back two spaces if they cannot make a sentence.
Have you ever..?
Level: Intermediate
1 dice and counters for players
Practice of present perfect simple
Simply write various ‘experiences’ around the board
(e.g. ride / motorcycle? write / poem?)
– Learners roll the dice and wherever they land the
y ask the learner next to them a question
by putting the verb in the correct form (e.g. Have
you ever ridden a motorcycle?) Encourage
learners to ask each other follow-on questions (E.g
. Where did you ride it? etc).
Activities ‘Mime’ field
Level: Elementary to Intermediate
1 dice and counters for players
Action verbs
Make several ‘mime’ cards with ‘actions’ on one sid
e. On the game board write ‘mime’ on
every fourth square. On the remaining blank squares
write a selection of place names
(home; countryside; museum) and prepositions (on, a
t, in etc.). Place the mime cards face
down. When a player lands on a place name they have
to say what they do at / in / on that
place (e.g. at the beach – I sunbathe; on the train
– I read my book). When they land on a
preposition square they have to think of a place an
d an action (e.g. at – at the cinema I
watch films). If they land on the mime square they
take a card and have to mime the action
for the rest of the group (e.g. painting; running).
The first learner to accurately guess what
the action is and where it is happening can move fo
rward one space.
Level: Upper Intermediate
1 dice and counters for players
Language review
Take 45 words from units recently covered with lear
ners and write these on slips of paper or
cards and shuffle. Place them face down. On the gam
e board randomly write in the
Draw it
Make a sentence
Describe it
Mime it
Put the learners into two teams (alternatively they
can play individually). Learners roll the
dice and take a secret word card. If they land on ‘
Draw it’ they have to draw the word and
elicit that from their partners; if they land on ‘M
ake a sentence’ they have to say a sentence
using that word; if they land on ‘describe it’ they
have to give oral clues to elicit the word
from their partners; if they land on ‘mime it’ they
have to mime the word and elicit that
from their partners.
Level: All
1 dice and counters for players
Stress patterns
Rather than writing words on the board write simple
stress patterns (E.g.
When a learner lands on a square they have to think
of a word that matches the stress
pattern. Words can only be used once. Make sure lea
rners know the stress patterns are
from words or a topic they have studied recently.
Sophia McMillan
Training Manager/TESOL Course Director
Shane Training Centre, Shane Corporation

Board Games help Bored Teachers reach Students

Junior high school students huddle around a table, brows furrowed, playing a co-operative First World War board game called The Grizzled. One plays the final card, and another lets out a triumphant shout. After 12 attempts, the students have finally beaten the game.

“We spent a whole week just trying to play it over and over again – we couldn’t beat it,” said Grade 12 student Jacob Lycan. But the students’ perseverance paid off.

Read More

Budget Wargaming

This hobby can be very expensive to say the least. Especially if you play GW Games. How can we keep costs down for both table top miniatures Games and board wargames?

Self made model of Mount Fuji, total cost: $3.00

A good friend pointed out that by buying figures at eBay or other auctions, the figs are only cheap if they ship from your country.

The gentleman at the Budgethammer Blog recommended a search like this for GW figures in order to get the best deals:

warhammer -bowl -rings -white -epic

He says:

“Firstly, it cancels out a number of words that tend to clog up Warhammer searches that I’m not personally interested in. “-bowl” gets rid of any Blood Bowl minis (I love Blood Bowl, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t like the old GW models and there’s a surprising amount of it on eBay), without hiding any Blood Angels stuff. “-rings” hide Lord of the Rings stuff, again of which there is a lot of. “-white” hides the Warhammer magazine, White Dwarf, and “-epic” hides all the Epic 40,000 stuff.
The search is set to ignore all Auctions and only display Buy It Now options. It hides all Business accounts/shops, only displaying Private sellers. Lastly, it orders it by Most Recently Listed.”

Ian Dickie in his book, “Wargaming on a Budget,” discusses things like:

“He offers sound practical advice on buying and building your armies (should you opt for metal, plastic, or even card, and in which scale?), gaming tables, terrain, buildings and even storage solutions. As well as purely financial constraints, Iain Dickie also recognizes the fact that available space is another major restriction for many gamers and tackles this issue too. Now you’ve got no excuse not to get wargaming!”

Photo: I played Captain Morgan in a promotion in Canada.

Indeed choosing plastic over metal, or a smaller scale such as 2mm over 28mm, both of these will save you money.

Irregular Miniatures is one of the cheapest if not the cheapest producer of metal miniatures. GW is perhaps the most expensive. Going for 20 mm soft plastic miniatures makes our hobby very cheap indeed.

The Wargamer online magazine has more ideas on keeping wargame costs down.


There`s a plethora of free rules available for miniatures play from all periods.  Just do a web search for “free wargame rules,”  or “free table top miniatures rules,” something like that.  Many rule sets have been a labour of love by their author, and have been play tested over many years with friends and relatives.  Some of the free rules are actually better than the rules which are rushed out to make publishing deadlines by the major companies.  And frankly, the rules are what make or break the game.

Need a Budget Place to Stay in Japan?

To How to teach English in Japan (New)

To I am Hakone

To Kevin`s English Schools