You may have noticed my absence from SF Signal lately – lets face it, you’ve missed me. And I’ve missed you! But I promise I haven’t been idle in my absence. In fact, I’ve been working on the coolest project I’ve ever been involved in. I am the Project Creator and Acquisitions Manager of the exciting KAIJU RISING: Age of Monsters anthology, brought to you by Ragnarok Publications. KAIJU RISING: Age of Monsters features 19 authors and includes a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry and an afterword by Jeremy Robinson, author of the popular kaiju novel Project Nemesis. We’re running a campaign over at Kickstarter in order to fund the anthology and as I write this we are at 80% of our funding goal in just over a week.
One of the coolest things that has come from running the KAIJU RISING: Age of Monsters campaign has been making connections with all these other cool projects. One such project is the monster-building, city-crushing card game RARRR!!, from APE Games.
“In RARRR!!, players build monsters (kaiju), each with its own set of terrifying powers. Then they battle each other until only one monster remains to rampage through the city! Cities are worth victory points, and the player with the most points at the end of the game wins! Strategy is required in every aspect of the game, from building the monster that best suits you to drafting power cards (see the gameplay video below for details on how to draft) to picking which cities to battle for.”
In a cross promotional effort Kevin Brusky of APE Games has set aside some of his precious time to conduct a two-way interview. In Part One I will pose to Kevin questions about his totally awesome game RARRR!! and in Part Two Kevin will perform the role of interrogator and get the scoop on KAIJU RISING: Age of Monsters.
[Editor’s note: Full disclosure…Kevin Brusky, owner and proprietor of APE Games, is a personal friend of SF Signal’s. John and JP have play-tested the game and it rocks.]
Nick Sharps: What is the origin of RARRR!! and how long has it been in the works?
Kevin Brusky: Designer Michael Brandl submitted the game to me about a year ago. I got it on the gaming table for several of my playtest groups to see what people thought, and was very pleased with the response. I tried the game with three different groups before deciding to pick the game up and publish it.
NS: Why strange/giant monsters? Do you have a favorite giant monster from cinema/literature?
KB: The game was themed with giant monsters when Michael sent the prototype to me. I’ve always been partial to King Kong, just because the story is so tragic. In the RARRR!! game, though, I’m partial to the giant pink bunny!
NS: How exactly does the game function? Will I be able to pick it up and start playing without reading loads of manuals?
KB: There’s a short Flash tutorial on both the Kickstarter and RARRR!! project pages that tell you everything you need to know to play – it’s really pretty straightforward. Even so, we’ve put together Basic Game rules, which we’ll add to the rulebook for people that want a super-simple experience.
In short, this is a drafting and bidding game. Players build monsters using katakana (syllable) cards, that give their monster its name as well as its powers. They then ‘draft’ power cards that they ultimately use to battle other monsters for the right to rampage the world’s greatest cities.
A ‘draft’ is a game mechanic where players are dealt a hand of cards. They select one card from that hand and keep it off to the side, then pass the rest of the hand to the next player. They then pick a card from the next hand, and pass it, and so forth until all of the cards have been selected. In RARRR!!, drafting offers players a way to select the power cards they want instead of getting a random hand.
NS: What sort of perks is RARRR!! offering for backers?
KB: Kickstarter backers will get exclusive oversize monster cards. These tarot-sized cards further showcase the awesome monster art, and won’t be available in stores. Additionally, we’re bringing back a lot of the Kickstarter premiums from our previous projects which haven’t been available since those projects were active.
We also have stretch goals of additional monster cards, and pre-funding goals of cut-out papercraft monsters.
NS: How soon can backers expect to start playing RARRR!! after it reaches funding?
KB: The RARRR!! art is finished, and the game simply needs final rules and box layout, which can be done in weeks. After that the game goes to the printer and backers should have it in their hands 3-4 months later!
NS: What challenges and risks does RARRR!! face?
KB: Frankly our biggest challenge it making the game known to as many people as possible. APE’s social networking channels are working full-steam, but we really need others to help spread the word.
We have a 20% backing rate for people who watch our Kickstarter video, which is phenomenal – we just need to get more people to come see the project!
NS: I love the distinctive artwork! Who is your illustrator and how did you acquire them?
KB: Selecting art for games is my favorite part of projects. The game was submitted to me with art done by the designer’s daughter. While it was phenomenal, the artist I settled on, Bob Canada has a light, fun feel that was just what I was looking for. It helps show that this is a family-friendly game, while also catering to geek culture with his selection of monsters.
NS: What separates RARRR!! from other card games available on the market?
KB: RARRR!! brings together simple mechanics in unique way to create a gaming experience that’s simple enough for the whole family yet challenging enough to keep advanced gamers coming back. The fun of creating your own monster by combining katakana cards surpassed my expectations. A huge part of the challenge in the game is knowing which cities to rampage. Players have only 12 power cards in their hands, so they’ll need to carefully select which cities they want to try to rampage. Having a sense of which cities your opponents will go for is a large part of RARRR!!
NS: Why did you choose Kickstarter as a way of funding this project?
KB: I’ve been using Kickstarter since before Kickstarter was cool. Back in early 2011 when I did my first Kickstarter for Rolling Freight, there were maybe 6-8 other traditional game projects running. Now there are over 100, and growing! That goes to show the level of success that people are having with that venue.
While APE Games is a somewhat more established game company (we released our first game, Dark Horizon, in 1995), Kickstarter is still a great way to raise awareness for a game. Plus, it helps me get my ducks in a row by putting together gameplay tutorial videos, etc. early on and getting feedback from potential buyers before the game goes to the printer.
Then, of course, there’s the money!
NS: Would you like to meet up at DragonCon 2014 for drinks and a rousing game of RARRR!!?
KB: Only if you promise to sign my copy of Kaiju Rising!
Be sure to check back on SF Signal for Kaiju Kickstarter Interview Part Two, when Kevin grills me about the specifics of KAIJU RISING: Age of Monsters!