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Games

Big Cats, Little Kitties

IDW Publishing have two new feline-themed games they recently released. Roar: King of the Pride is a board game for older kids and teens. It goes like this: “In the wilds of Africa, lion prides rule over all beasts, but only one pride can rule over all the lions! In Roar: King of the Pride, three to six players compete to become the dominant pride of Africa. Managing your food supply, while expanding your territory and growing your pride size with cubs, will take strategic planning and key wits. Even the best-laid plans, however, can be interrupted by other prides’ secret objectives, or worse…the encroachment of a new, and deadly, threat.” Meanwhile for younger kids (or folks who like smaller kitties!) there’s a new card game: “In Slap Cat!, you play as a mad scientist attempting to assemble the world’s most adorable cat! Draft cards to your Cat Construction area by quickly slapping them as they are revealed. Earn bonus points for kitty fedoras, bows, balls of yarn and more. But be careful, slap too slow and you could be left with a hand full of fish bones!” Got all that?

image c. 2018 IDW Publishing

The Lombax and his Robot

Well, okay, putting aside a movie that not many seemed to like, there’s this: The Art of Ratchet & Clank. “Dark Horse Books and Insomniac Games proudly offer a look back at the history of the Ratchet & Clank saga in a Qwark-tastic collection of never-before-seen concept art and behind-the-scenes commentary chronicling eleven amazing games and the brilliant studio that created them! The 15-year anniversary retrospective of one of the most influential PlayStation games!” It’s coming in hardcover this March.

image c. 2018 Dark Horse Books

Remember: Food Over Fighting!

Recently at CTN Animation Expo in Burbank we came across an artist named Donna Vu. She is the lead artist and art director on Dragon Roll, an on-line game published by Sleepless Skink Productions in 2016. According to their web site, it goes like this: “Fun Guo and Shiu Mae [a pair of young dragon siblings] are on an adventure to get their uncles and aunt back from their homes. After a fight, while preparing their dad’s surprise birthday party, they all go their separate ways. Now they must find and remind them of the important roll that family plays in all our lives, all before their dad gets home.” Remember to visit Donna’s web site too, as she has lots of development sketches for the game.

image c. 2017 SSP

Block-Heads

You may recall we previously mentioned Jed Henry and Dave Bull and their proposed video game Edo Superstar, with an art style based on the ancient art of Japanese wood-block prints. Well now their web site tells us they got the game completed, and they’re also making and selling their own line of wood-block prints (copied as giclees). A close look at many of the prints will reveal some subtle (or not-so-subtle) comic book, animation, and video game subjects depicted in a new and stylized manner.

image c. 2017 Ukiyo-e Heroes

Battling the Elements

Came across this new game at San Diego Comic Con. It’s called Rivals of Aether, and it was created by Dan Fornace. From the official web site, here’s what they say: “Rivals of Aether is an indie fighting game set in a world where warring civilizations summon the power of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Choose a Rival to bring into the battlefield and manipulate the powers of the classical elements and animal movement. Untangle the mysterious conflicts of the planet Aether in Story Mode or take your combat skills online and challenge your friends across the world.” The site also includes an animated preview video. The game is available now through Steam for various platforms.

image c. 2017 Dan Fornace

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Enter The World Of Equestria

From the it’s about hoofin’ TIME department: Ninja Division has developed and published the first official role-playing game (RPG) based on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. (Several fans have previously created unofficial My Little Pony mods for existing generic RPG systems, of course.) My Little Pony: Tales Of Equestria is described as “…a storytelling pen and paper game for 2 to 6 players. Players create and role-play as pony heroes who explore and seek adventure in the various lands of Equestria. Guided by a Game Master (GM), players adventure together and use the magic of friendship to overcome obstacles as they learn more about each other and the world around them. With a full-color, hardback, 152-page rule book outlining character creation, scenarios, and play, Tails of Equestria brings My Little Pony to life for all who love the magic-filled world of Equestria. Using the rulebook, players are encouraged to create their own pony that represents them. Armed with core skills and special abilities, each player then ventures into the world with their pony peers, forging deeper friendships as they help one another in the whimsical world they create through every action they take.” The core rule book is available now on Amazon.

image c. 2017 Ninja Division

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Island of Lost Bunnies

Recently the artist A.M. Scharf (who creates under the name Acidpluvia) put up a link to an interesting Kickstarter campaign. Acidpluvia has been asked to be the official illustrator for Rabbit Island, a card-and-tile game created by Leslie and Samantha Et Alia of Infinite Heart Games. “Play as one of the four Tribal Leaders and explore a new island every game in this light 4x game for 2-4 players. Build up your civilization using your Carrot Tokens and special Action Cards – can you conquer your opponents in 20 rounds?” The campaign page has much more in the way of artwork and descriptions of the game play. The Kickstarter campaign runs through mid-July.

Image c. 2017 by Acidpluvia

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Survive the Future

After a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, Tanemaki Designs recently introduced a new animal-themed board game called Vivarium. The basic premise is that in a future time of environmental destruction, a bio-dome has been set up as an “ark” to house and hopefully preserve a part of Earth’s remaining animal species. According to the official web site, “Vivarium is a strategy board game for 2-5 players where you assume the role of a species fighting for survival inside a new environment. Equipped with just your instincts and fears, you must utilize your species’ unique abilities and adapt in order to survive. By acquiring new cards, claiming territory, enduring natural disasters, defending the Oasis and completing objectives you can increase your fitness to survive. The species with the most fitness at the end of the game wins! Vivarium has 8 distinct species, a modular game board and varied seasonal events that ensure every game is unique and layered with strategy.” It’s been making an appearance at various game and comic book stores, so look for it near you.

image c. 2017 Tanemaki Designs

Animal Jam Comes To Comics

So how’d we go and let this phenomenon pass us by? Animal Jam is an on-line MMORPG gaming environment, launched in 2010 by the National Geographic Society. It was designed to use a fantasy setting to teach young children about zoology, natural history, and ecology. According to Wikipedia, “Animal Jam takes place in a fictional area known as Jamaa, containing various biomes and cartoon player-created animals. Players can create an animal with an anonymous 3-part name, such as ‘Crashing Magicshark’, dress it up with virtual clothing, and control it in the gameplay environment. The original six virtual animals that could be created were the panda, rabbit, tiger, wolf, koala, and monkey. Many more animals have been added following the six, letting players have the possibility of seeing one of their favorite animals in the game.” Now, after years on line, Dynamite Entertainment have announced the premier of the first Animal Jam comic book series, coming later in 2017. There’s an article about it over at News-a-rama. The first appearance of the new comic will be part of Dynamite’s contribution to this year’s Free Comic Book Day in May.

image c. 2017 National Geographic