Game Title : Nippon rettou chinbotsu
Publisher : Bandai
Game Designer : uncredited
Game Thema : Escape from sinking Nippon
1 game map, 1 counter sheet, card set, rulebook, a die, counter stands, 4 charts
Sakyo Komatsu’s “Japan sinks” was published in 1973 and became bestseller.
Its front cover vividly remembered was sinking Japanese islands into Pacific Ocean.
The palate tectonics became a boom and the book was really shocking for most of Japanese people.
“Nippon rettou chinbotsu” has slightly different title from the book, and officially there is no relationship to the book. But, the game has the same background story as the book. Nippon rettou suddenly and rapidly sinks into Pacific Ocean. So, people must escape from his home to the Mt Taisetsu where can remain above waterline after the disaster.
Basically Nippon rettou sinks from south to north. In earlier stage, Fossa Magna is activated and Nippon rettou is separated into 2 pieces. In western Nippon, Takamatsu airport can survive after this critical event for a while and can serve some rescue plane. But, only lucky people can catch them.
Even though if people can safely cross the Magna, they are not safe at all. Many volcanos including famous Mt. Fuji started to erupt one by one. People must go north avoiding these eruptions. Traffic jam is serious, since the game doesn’t allow stacking. So, most people must walk through woods and even mountains. How many of the escaping people can finally get to Mt. Taisetsu?
Briefly speaking, Nippon rettou chinbotsu is just a complicated Parcheesi.
Each player has 4 escaping people and tries to escape all of them to Mt. Taisetsu.
As above, the situation is not easy. Fossa Magna is activated early in the game and this fact leave most people on western side of Magna where will totally sink soon.
4 people start from Kagoshima, Kouchi, Osaka and Tokyo. 3 of these 4 start the game on west side of Magna. So, people in Tokyo has better situation. But, player has not enough movement for all of them. So, western people must hurry to escape to eastern part in early stage. This is the first climax of the game.
After the first climax, the second big event is eruption of Mt. Fuji. People walk to the north among traffic jam watching erupting biggest mountain in Japan.
The third climax is crossing Tsugaru Strait. Once people can cross this final barrier, they can arrive the goal Mt. Taisetsu. But, at that time, it can no longer be mountain, instead it now become an island.
Though this game is somewhat complicated for Parcheesi, this is really enjoyable boardgame with exciting story.
Honestly speaking, there several weak points, such as replayability and play balance.
But, a boardgame with exciting background story is hard to obtain. So, this game should be played and talked more than it is now. And hopefully, Bandai should republish this game near future.
Unfortunately, in 2006 we have a new movie and second part of the novel but have no new boardgame. I think it was the best timing of new game. So, the new game will have really slight chance in my opinion.
Sakyo Komatsu died in 2011. May his soul rest in peace. He was really a big guy for Japanese science fiction.