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Beloved Gundam-meets-D&D RPG Wares Blade gets first English translation after nearly 40 years

Sword and sorcery and super big mechs.

Cover art from Japanese tabletop RPG Wares Blade
Image credit: Jun Suemi/LionWing

One of the most well-loved tabletop RPGs of ‘80s and ‘90s Japan, Wares Blade, will be translated into English for the first time in its history, courtesy of analogue game localiser LionWing Publishing.

Launching sometime in 2025, new Wares Blade will be part of LionWing’s ongoing project to revive and reprint some of the most popular and influential tabletop RPGs in Japan. It was originally released in 1986 and captivated players with a mix of crunchy wargame-adjacent combat and a unique (at the time) mixture of fantasy genre tropes and mecha conventions in the vein of Mobile Suit Gundam.

Its popularity has kept it alive across several decades while also spawning novels, soundtracks, video games and audio dramas. The tabletop RPG itself enjoyed plenty of core rulebooks and supplements over the years, and the LionWing team is using the 1994 Wares Blade Renewal book as the foundation of their translation.

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LionWing claims in a press release that its goal is “preserving and presenting the game almost exactly as it originally” looked to fans buying copies from their local game story several decades ago. No changes except for small quality-of-life improvements that were requested by the original designers, along with adding fresh artwork and layout tweaks.

"This type of project has never happened before in the TTRPG space, which is why we are incredibly excited about it,” said Bradly Hale, CEO and president of LionWing. “We are also excited to announce that a crowdfunding campaign for Wares Blade will be launched in 2025 on Kickstarter.”

Artwork for Japanese tabletop RPG Wares Blade
Image credit: LionWing

Players choose amongst four classes, with the martial warrior class also sporting the ability to pilot large and prohibitively expensive mech suits, the designs of which seen in online art is, frankly, incredible. Bulky yet elegant and dripping with character, the mechs embody the collective imagination of knights, samurai, battle wizards and other larger-than-life characters. I’m not sure how the game design will hold up in a world dominated by D&D’s heroic fantasy storytelling, but it’s cool to see older RPGs find both a new life and fresh audiences - even if our interest doesn’t extend beyond commenting, “wow, cool robot.”

More information about Wares Blade’s revival and other projects, such as the recently announced Shin Megami Tensei III tabletop RPG translation, can be found on LionWing’s website.

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