Mangaka Review

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The following is a review of the board game, Mangaka, by Jason Thompson (better known as Mockman). You might remember our review of Jason’s excellent D&D class, the Priestess (available on DM’s Guild). You’ll also recognize Jason’s distinctive art style from his hilarious D&D walk-through maps of classic adventure modules.

Mangaka

Mangaka (Japanese for a comic artist) is the “fast and furious game of drawing comics”. In Mangaka you play as manga artists trying to achieve fame in a comic world of ever-shifting tastes, trends, and fads. The game is very easy to learn and play and only has three rules. No, you read that correctly, Mangaka has just three rules:

  • Express your themes
  • Draw something in each panel
  • No more than three word balloons are allowed each round

Each player gains fame for following the rules, drawing their obsessions, and carrying out the special instructions on their theme cards. Notice that your drawing skill (or lack thereof) does not come into play. You do not need to be an artist to play or enjoy this game (in fact, we find the opposite to be true, the worse the artist, the more fun). After four progressively difficult rounds, each player will have a complete comic masterpiece suitable for framing or shaming.

The game has an obvious manga flavor, but can be enjoyed by anyone. The idea of drawing a comic strip is easy for anyone to pick up. With variant rules both in the rulebook and on the Mangaka website (mangakagame.com) and different difficulty modes, this game has a ton of replay value.

One aspect of this game that players will truly appreciate is that it can be played solo (or Han-Style for those in the know). It is hard to find board games that offer a one-player variant and this rule allows for maximum replay value. Aside from the obvious entertainment of solo-play, an aspiring manga artist could actually benefit from having to work under a timetable and forcing themselves to draw content that is outside of their comfort level.

Well-Supported Web Content

Mangakagame.com is an excellent resource that adds greatly to the value of the game. The site is routinely updated with frequently-asked questions and errata. There are also variant rules, a hilarious gallery of comics and art, and a place to download additional drawing paper to replenish the pad of comic cells included in the game.

Designers

Jason Bradley Thompson – serves as the game’s lead designer. Thompson is a talented artist and author; he wrote Manga: The Complete Guide (available from Random House), and also illustrated an exquisite collection of H.P. Lovecraft stories entitled, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath & Other Stories (available from Mockman Press). Jason is also an avid player and fan of Dungeons & Dragons and has illustrated several humorous walk-through maps of famous D&D adventures like Tomb of Horrors and White Plume Mountain.

Thompson was aided in the production of the game by producer/graphic designer Jumana Al Hashal, interior game artist, Eric Muentes, and cover artist, Ike whose last name must be hidden from the Yakuza to protect his family.

Mangaka at a glance

  • 1-8 players, aged 12 and up (rules for a younger audience can be found on the website)
  • Takes about 30 – 60 minutes (longer for bigger groups, or if alcohol is involved)
  • Targeted at teens and up
  • You don’t need to be an artist to play

Game Components

  • 136 Theme Cards
  • 52 Trend Cards
  • 160 Fame Tokens
  • Comic Pages (blank)*
  • Rule Book

Mangaka is easy to learn, fast to play and will appeal to a diverse audience. Pick up your copy from Amazon, Japanime Games, or Mangakagames.com.

*Download additional comic pages here

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I cannot suggest this game enough. It is fun for families, gamers, and manga enthusiasts alike. Mangaka is easy to learn and quick to play. Give it a try!

Buy Mangaka

www.Mangakagame.com

Check out Mockman’s store, and find him on Twitter as @mockman.

About the Author – Andrew Hand is a designer/co-founder at Limitless Adventures.

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One Response to “Mangaka Review”

  1. Great review. I actually saw his game in a gaming store in NYC when I was there.

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