It has been a week since the release of Kitara, a game inspired from the legends of Africa! We had the chance to work with talented illustrator Miguel Coimbra, who accepted to answer some of our questions just for you!
1. When you start working on a project such as Kitara, what are the first steps? What do you need to start working (prototypes, themes, story…)?
Ideally, the first thing to do is play-testing the game or – if it’s not possible – to try and understand the basic mechanics to apprehend the project’s issues and imperatives. For Kitara, we didn’t yet have a theme at the origins of the game. Ludovic, the project manager, suggested several different themes and leads. I liked Africa as a theme a lot. We don’t find it often in boardgames. Since I don’t fully grasp the culture, I offered to add a hint of fantastic; a dystopia would be ideal to have more freedom and get away from the historic and cultural aspect which could be quite restrictive. Then, my job is to make the prototype attractive and user-friendly.
2. How do you find the inspiration to create such a universe? Did you do specific research?
I did some research on the many different African cultures, collected quite the number of pictures and pieces of information on the countries and the war cultures. Then, I mixed it all up, added animal tokens and a bit of fantastic elements. I discussed these ideas, such as centaurs, with IELLO and they liked these perspectives. I usually do what I like as an illustrator and as a player.
3. Illustrating board games has its specificities, related to cards, the board… How to you approach these different elements? Do you like it or is this part of the project a bit tedious ?
For the board, it all depends on the project. If the illustration is natural landscapes seen form above, then it relaxes me. I feel like I’m walking there as I’m making it. It’s also the kind of work I often do so I stay in my comfort zone. Designing the cards is my favourite part. The style of the project becomes a reality, takes form when you have to design the characters and the universe around them. The cover is often the final stage of the project, which is the sum of all the others. There is often a significant part of composition research. There isn’t a consensus amongst illustrators on the part but I, for one, like to propose several concepts. Funny story, we actually finalised two covers because we couldn’t decide.
4. Do you have any stories to tell us about Kitara?
While doing some research on Google, I found pictures of cheetahs. Not far from the African warriors, I kind of squinted and saw the two pictures superimposed. That’s how I had the idea for the centaur warriors?
5. How was the collaboration with IELLO? Were you free to explore the Kitara universe without any limits?
As usual with IELLO and especially Ludovic Papais, everything went very well. Artistic freedom, interesting and constructive discussions. I can honestly say that my most fulfilling projects (artistically speaking) were with IELLO for most of them?
6. Did you play the game ? Is it an important step to get a good a grasp on the universe?
I didn’t play the game for practical reasons but Ludovic sent me many gameplay videos so that I could understand the mechanics of the game.
7. Want to tell us something about your current projects?
There are currently the releases of Small World WoW, Riftforce and the new edition of 7 Wonders. I’m also working on a kickstarter, Wizards and co. There’s another project, kind of classified, with something that is quite new in the boardgame world.
Thank you Miguel for your time and answers, and good luck to you for your next projects!
Get your copy of Kitara in your FLGS, and stay tuned for more news! In the meantime, you can read the interview of the designer of the game, Eric B. Vogel, here!
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