There is no shortage to creative spins on Monopoly, both real and unlicensed. Joining the already long list of variations is the new "Traditional Japanese Arts & Crafts Edition." The beautiful board game dips into Japan's rich cultural background with names, designs, and board pieces.
Instead of owning real estate in this version, you own businesses that sell crafts. The railroad has been replaced by the Hato-guruma (dove cart)—essentially, a bird with wheels. The game pieces include charming figures like a deer, a beckoning cat, and what looks like a whale on a skateboard. The center of the board features the asanoha pattern, a design found in tenugui (hand towels) and furoshiki (wrapping cloth). The pattern forms the shape of Japan.
Spoon & Tamago explains how to play:
All the rules are the same except the objective is to form monopolies on certain traditional arts and crafts. Then you can open studios and even shops where your opponents will have to shop for your goods! The community chest and chance cards are replaced by Zipangu cards (“your kutani porcelain exhibition was a success. Collect 150E") and Future cards ("advance to go thanks to an apprenticeship system that solves your shortage of labor").
The beautiful board was created by retail company Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten. The promoter of traditional arts and crafts is having its 300th anniversary and released the limited edition game to celebrate. Only 5000 are being made and can be pre-ordered on their website.