The 1984 title Dragon Slayer was Nihon Falcom's earliest hit and had a tremendous impact on the development of the action-RPG genre that emerged in the following years.
However, you may be unaware — we certainly were — that it was also adapted into a Japanese-exclusive board game from the toy and computer game manufacturer Epoch. And now it seems that thanks to the efforts of a localization hub called Geofront you can play it yourself inside Tabletop Simulator. That's provided you have 2-3 friends to play along with.
According to Geofront's announcement blog, this localization effort started during Covid-19 when the project lead and translator Shawnji was researching older Falcom titles and came across the existence of this board game, which sees multiple players questing to retrieve a sacred crown from the depths of a cavernous dungeon.
They spent some time on Japanese auction sites and later found someone selling a copy, which they inevitably purchased to have in their collection.
With the game's instructions all in Japanese and the only friends willing to try it living hundreds of miles away, Shawnji quickly realized that they would need to localize it themselves if they were ever going to play it, so set about rebuilding an English version in Tabletop Simulator, the online sandbox that lets you build and experience your own board games in a virtual environment.
They did this with the help of the editor and texture designer Addaberry, graphic designer Sorcerian, programmer Ribose, and the 3D modeller Rafinski, while two individuals named Choojermelon and Schtolteheim worked on a trailer, and another group tested the game.
As Shawnji writes on the Geofront blog:
"Eventually, we reached a point where we were finally ready to play a full round of the game. We gave it a go and had a pretty good time, but as we reached the end we noticed a fairly major flaw… As it turns out, the original rules made the game unbearably punishing and practically unwinnable. We were all pretty shocked, honestly. None of us expected the game to disappoint so badly."
As a result of the punishing play session, the group introduced some slight changes to the ruleset to lower the difficulty and provide a more balanced experience. The original ruleset, however, is still available to try.
If you want to give it a go yourself, you'll need to download a copy of Tabletop Simulator and go to the Workshop page. You'll then need to search for Dragon Slayer and press the "+Subscribe" button. Et voila. You should be ready to start adventuring!