Quinns: Today we finish our review triplet of games set in Japan!
First we had the beautiful, and beautifully clean design of Samurai. Next was the grand old game of Shogun, which was no less impressive. Today we look at Traders of Osaka, a small box game that was actually designed in Japan by one Susumu Kawasaki. And today I want to talk about yet another kind of beauty.
I don’t say this enough, but one of my favourite things about board games is that each one feels like receiving a shrink-wrapped idea, direct from the designer. I’ve called board games a “lossless” format before, meaning that unlike trying to write a novel or make a videogame, in the creative process of making a board game you can directly transmute the thing you have in your head into a real, physical box. It’s because of this that even bad board games (no- especially bad board games) have something intensely personal about them.
The difficulty with designing board games is, of course, making sure they arrive in one piece at their destination. That players can unpack them, study the documentation, and enjoy themselves as you intended.
So it’s fitting that Traders of Osaka is a game about shipping handicrafts across treacherous waters. As you hold this box, you’re holding Susumu Kawasaki’s beloved idea, designed in Japan, manufactured in China, handed to you by some dutiful postman. Did it get here in one piece? Read More