Aside from being the very first Rage Graphic Novel, Rage, Bane of Demons is also the first App I developed for iOS devices. At the time the App was validated by the iTunes Store team, there was no iBooks Store yet, so Apple had no problem with validating Apps that were actually books with a few enhancements (one of these enhancements being the ability to display the color pages and the black & white pages without balloons, which is a feature I would like to see in every digital book).
And then, Apple created the iBooks Store, and added new rules for App validation. One of these rules was that the App shouldn’t look like an enhanced book. Everything that could be done in ePub (the standard eBook format used by the iBooks Store and many others eBook providers) should be done in ePub, and published in the iBooks Store. So at some point, Apple began to refuse to validate my updates, and I had to find new enhancements for the App. One of the enhancements I came up with was the digital portfolio, accessible through a password which would be available as a tag on the physical portfolio, Rage Portfolio 2012 (which means the digital portfolio is available in the App for all owners of the physical portfolio). But even with this new feature, Apple didn’t validate the App, so I had to seriously think about creating something that couldn’t be reproduced in an eBook.
That is why I created the Rage Card Game. The Rage Card Game is an addition to the Rage Bane of Demons App under the form of… well, a card game. The rules are extremely simple (a little too simple, even): All the cards are 1-point cards. Combine two compatible cards, and it becomes a 2-point card. Combine the right cards in your hand, and play against the computer until no more cards are left. When the game is over, the number of 2-point cards is counted for each player, and the player with the highest number of combined cards wins. Not very exciting, I agree. Not even particularly addictive.
But there are a few original things about this game. For starters, I wanted the cards to be part of the Rage Universe. Not the characters drawn on the cards, but the cards themselves. So, I invented a backstory for the cards, with a new character called Khain Alhazred, born in the Egyptian part of the Rage Universe, who created a magical Tarot Game. Khain Alhazred would be able to magically show you a scene from the past, present or future. All you would have to do was play a game against him, find your character card, and combine it with the right Arcana (one of the 1-point cards).
Once I created this card game’s backstory, a new story wrote itself, which at the time, I conveniently called Rage Card Game: A cabal of very powerful characters is making plans to take over the throne of Arthkan, but in their endeavors, they made a few unexpected ennemies. Khain Alhazred’s Tarot would reveal to them who these ennemies are, and their plans.
And once I had the story, I had the real gimmick of the game, and I managed to finalize it: When you click the Rage Card Game button of the App for the first time, the 7-page Comic Book intro of the game, in which Khain Alhazred is explaining how the game works, is displayed by default. At the end of the intro, one of the characters is going to play a game against Khain Alhazred, the game board appears, and you play this character playing against the computer/Khain Alhazred. At some point in the game, the first character card will appear, and you will have to combine it with one of the Arcana to unlock the first chapter of the story, which features a scene from the past. And it’s not that easy. Actually, you can win or loose game without finding a way to unlock the next chapter, in which case you will have to start over. And there are five chapters to unlock.
Once I added the Rage Card Game to the App, Apple finally validated my updates. As the Rage Bane of Demons App was available only for iOS devices, and since owners of iOS devices won’t necessarily buy it, I created a book compiling the intro and all five chapters, and added the images of the right cards to combine to unlock all the chapters, so that Rage Card Game #1 could also feature the solution of the game.
The Rage #1 App was supposed to feature the second issue of the Rage Card Game, with the same tarot cards, new character cards and new chapters. Then, Apple changed its programming language from Objective-C to Swift, and I found I had to entirely remake the App before anything else. And to work on the next Rage books (which now also includes lettering work too). And to work on many projects from my real job, which is still at this time paying for the Rage books. And so on. To this day, I still haven’t found the time to completely remake the first App, let alone create a new one. Meanwhile, Apple deleted the App without warning. No more Rage Bane of Demons App.
But this part of the Rage project isn’t forgotten. The Rage Card Game Series is now discontinued, but I have created new versions of the Intro and the first two chapters with updated Art by Yonami and his team. These chapters have been published regularly in the new Rage Anthology Series Worlds of Rage, and have been recompiled as the first issue of the new series Arcana. And we’re working on the next chapter with new penciler Thiago Vale!
As for the card game itself, I am going to update its rules, add more cards, and make it a real card game which everyone will be able to play with.
And of course, I am going to upgrade the Rage Bane of Demons App. At some point.