A Game of Kitties: Catamancer
An online CCG with literally all the cats.
On Kickstarter through 11/29/15
Catamancer, now on Kickstarter, isn’t specifically a furry product. If anything, it’s an internet culture product. Cats are natural meme-generators, and many of the ideas in this virtual collectible card game draw from the strange synergy between net.geeks and cats. But with tons of original art—no photography here, much of the funding for this project goes straight into the pockets of the art team—it’s got furry fandom paw prints running across its DNA. I suspect that if I were a member of the Northern European furry community, I’d be following more of these artists. There’s a lot of names from Russia and the Netherlands there.
At its heart, Catamancer is a simulation of a Magic: The Gathering style CCG, with some board game elements. You play a powerful wizard—a Catamancer—with summoning magic and strange feline-based abilities at your disposal. The source of your power is your Catalyst (kind of like the logo, above), and you must protect it. It’s a combination summoning circle and life bar.
Each round, you start off with a fresh pool of magical energy to summon critters—kitters, I guess, and send them scurrying across the board to attack your opponent’s minions and catalyst. Some of your cats have special powers and animations (when the powerful Cathulhu, for instance, throws down, devouring jaws open up under your opponent’s side of the board, chomping every minion they can.) There’s a pre-alpha match up on YouTube if you want to see game play. As the game progresses, your pool of magical energy gets larger every turn, so you can call up bigger, flashier cards.
The game is modeled after collectible card games, so if you’re into the game, you’ll probably choose to buy the occasional card pack—although the game is free to play and apparently it is possible to collect everything without spending a dime (or a Euro). Each card pack is themed, the game is launching with Intercats, Hell Cats, and Ninja Cats themes—and there are a few kickstarter-only cards.
With this one, “Artists” and “Business plan” seem to go hand in hand. Their artist’s pool covers a huge range of cartoony, fantasy, and realistic styles, with too many artists to do a guided tour of their work, But check the galleries of the team: Petr Passek Aleksandrovich, Autogatos, FlashW, JoJoesArt, Lhuin, Maquenda, SceithAilm, sharkie19, Skirtzzz, TamberElla, TsaoShin, and Yel Zamor.
The project video and text suggests that most of the money realized from the kickstarter is going to be going to fund the art team’s work–that the game will be launched at €2,600 with sketch art, and as they expand their pool of funding, they’ll wrap each card in color and posssibly animations.
The team has some game development experience, as they operate the online game platform Board Game Online and have five years’ experience in the field.
Not surprisingly, the high-end rewards for the Catamancer kickstarter lean heavily on kickstarter-unique content and custom materials. One of the cuter cards they describe is the “Cat Conjurer,” a mythical cat that summons random cards from a stockpile of user-supplied kittens, a nearly endless supply of “Your Cat’s Name Here” to draw cameos from. But there’s also unique Catalysts, skins, and the opportunity to design your own card.
Potentially, this game has the potential to help a number of talented artists get their art into the world, and that’s exciting. At least three of the art team is on FurAffinity (search for “Catamancer” and see what turns up!) It’s well worth a look.