In This Game, You Make Your Own Fun (And Completely Crazy) Comics

If you’re looking for cartooning inspiration, or just like making goofy comics, you’ll want to gather your friends and try Mangaka: The Fast & Furious Game of Drawing Comics. There’s a crowdfunding campaign currently running for the game, and we got a chance to play it.

Cartoonist, writer, and io9 contributor Jason Thompson created Mangaka as a fun way to make comics. In addition to knowing each other through io9, Thompson and I are friends (and we’re both members of the Couscous Collective), so he invited me sit down with a few folks to play the game. I can attest that it’s fun — although in my experience, you also end up poking fun at comics while you’re making them.


Here’s how it works: In each round, you get a piece of paper covered in blank panels and in each round you’ll have to fill up those panels, forming a single, continuous comic over the course of the game. At the beginning of the game, each player draws three “theme” cards, which determine what your comic will be about. For example, you may have to create a science fiction comic about plants and friendship, or a shojo manga about theater and zombies. In the first round, you begin your comic, making sure to incorporate each of your themes. Oh, and you have to complete each page in a limited amount of time. Stick figures are encouraged.

After the first round, things get more complicated. The players draw trend cards, things that your imaginary comics audience demands: shonen, horror, sports, pontifying, subtlety, and so on. And each round you have draw more panels than in the previous round. You earn points both by creating a good comic (as judged by your fellow players) and by following the rules. So even if you’re not a speedy artist (and I am certainly not), you can still win by following your imaginary readers’ whims.


As you might imagine, this results in some very silly comics. But as silly as the comics are, I’ve found that Mangaka is a great way to stretch your imagination and push you out of your storytelling comfort zone.

Many of the Mangaka cards feature artwork by a variety of artists, and you can preview the artwork over at Kickstarter. And, of course, if you’re looking for a great art and storytelling game, you can back the project by pre-ordering your own copy.


Mangaka: The Fast & Furious Game of Drawing Comics [Kickstarter]

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