Games, Reviews

Mangaka: Play with Your Comics

My day job is at a millennial tech start-up. We talk a lot about “how to get people to engage with each other” and there are so many ways and reasons and I have found a great one: Mangaka.

Over two years ago, I interviewed Mangaka lead designer Jason Thompson and producer Jumana Al Hashal about the game and their decision to fund it through Kickstarter. Al Hashal told me then, “We always get asked if you have to be good at drawing to play, and the answer is no, much like you don’t need to be a musician to play or win at Rock Band and don’t need to be an artist to play Pictionary.”

Was that true? Would the game be accessible to my nongamer, nonartist friends? I’m always anxious suggesting games to my squad, who consider Settlers of Catan to be “too nerdy.” The geek truly stands alone in my world.

I’m here to tell you that Mangaka will not disappoint you. Through several fast rounds of drawing panels of comics, with more panels added each round, you will entertain yourself and your friends more than you even know. Each round there are certain themes and plot devices you much follow, some are shared, some individual, and points earned for following those simple rules.

It's a large infographic that reads: 5 Reasons to play Mangaka - It's an adventure: Like with any creative group game, there's no way to tell where Mangaka will take you! Each round is based on shared themes and individual trends, so anything can happen! - It's a great icebreaker: I host a lot of events, but I've never been a karaoke or ice breaker game kind of gal. However, four rounds of Mangaka while dinner finishes cooking is an excellent way to see how your guests' brains work. - It can be for adults: While this game certainly can be played with kids, the themes and trends are flexible enough that a group of activists all got together to make some social media comics in four rounds. - It's accessible: This game made me realize how simple a comic can be and still mean so much. Players don't need to be artists to have a good time, stick figures and icons will do! - It's inspiring: After struggling with writer's block for months, I played a couple games of Mangaka and feel freed and ready to write again. The game is a low stress way to get creativity flowing. - The Details: Mangaka is designed by Jason Thompson (Manga: The Complete Guide, mockman.com) with art by Ike (Golden Sky Stories) and Eric “Woof” Muentes. See www.mangakagame.com www.WomenWriteAboutComics.com

Read some user-submitted comics for yourself right here.