In an age when every toddler fiddles with electronic game consoles and smartphones, Seiji Kanai says his passion lies in creating analog board games.

The 33-year-old Kanagawa native is among the rising ranks of young independent game designers in Japan who market their handmade works at consumer-to-consumer events such as the internationally popular Comic Market (Comike) and the Game Market, a nonelectronic game expo held two or three times a year in Osaka or Tokyo. There are at least 300 amateur board game designers around the country, Kanai says.

And they are also getting noticed internationally, though at home board games to many people mean ages-old types such as Othello, shogi and go, as well as Jinsei Gemu (Game of Life).