Shinobigami from Adventure Planning Service, Inc. and Kotodama Heavy Industries is a player versus player tabletop game rife with action, secret plots, ninja battles, and ninja relationships. The project’s Kickstarter campaign has reached nearly four times its pledge goal with over 900 backers. The original game was published in 2009, with the Kickstarter for the re-release set to end December 15, 2015.
Players of Shinobigami select their warrior from one of six clans, each with different goals and specialties. Each player is also given a secret mission to complete by the game’s end, and accomplishing that goal means victory. For some, it may be conquest or obtaining a certain item. Others may even be asked to successfully establish a relationship with another player’s character.
Due to the nature of the gameplay, a single round of Shinobigami can have enough twists, turns, revelations and “argh!” moments to fill a trilogy of movies or a short TV series. Of course, as the game was originally published in and aimed at Japan, there are cultural references and elements western audiences may not be familiar with. Part of what sets Shinobigami apart, in fact, is that these same elements and lore are not the typical game-fied or anime-fied renditions of the subject matter. The history and traditions are real and true. Though they are brought to players in the context of manga and fantasy. The playbook’s pages contain multiple manga story panels.
The translated version will be delivered courtesy of Matt Sanchez, Andy Kitkwowski, and Joshua Kleibscheidel. In a note to fans on the game’s website, Sanchez recalls “The perfect balance of dramatic tension, narrative control over your ideal character, and crunchy combat fit exactly the type of games that I’d been wanting to play ever since I started playing tabletop RPGs.” For those looking to get into tabletop games or those who want something slightly different than the straight sword and sorcery role-playing games, Shinobigami may be just what the Sensei ordered (Sensei can also mean doctor. Trust me, I actually studied some Japanese in college).
Matt Eschbach is a PC, Mac and Android indie game developer and fiction writer. His works have won multiple monetary awards from various contests. Graduating college in 2012 with a major in Game Design, Matt spends his time making stuff up and then building it. His favorite hobby… is sleeping.