I am so, so excited for the launch of Nahual today, the first full roleplaying game from my good friend and collaborator, Mike Espinoza. It is an incredible accomplishment, a game of Mexican urban fantasy in which you play a shapeshifting pack of nahuales who hunt down angels, all while trying to stay alive and pay your bills.
tl;dr: BACK THIS PROJECT. The book is beautiful, the game is sharp as hell, and the creator is one of the most talented visual artists I know.
Okay, now let me talk a little bit about this project and what it means to me. <3
I met Miguel when I first published the ashcan for Cartel. He reached out to me to let me know that he was excited… but that I got a few things wrong about Mexico. I was really excited to talk to him, but I had no idea that our relationship would become what it is today.
Flash forward (almost) five years. Miguel has been an important part of Cartel‘s development, did a ton of layout for the award-winning Bluebeard’s Bride, and so, so much more. He’s an incredible part of the Magpie team, and we were so honored to have him join us as a Magpie Fellow this year! He is an amazing creator, artist, and game designer.
And his game. Nahual. A Mexican RPG. ANOTHER Mexican RPG. One based on the cult hit comics of the astounding Edgar Clement. I’ve always said that I wanted to write a “werewolfy” game that would capture the spirit of my old games of Forsaken with my crew here in Albuquerque. but here is something even better.
In Nahual, you play the nahaules who were almost wiped out by the angels who came with the Conquista. Now poverty-stricken and isolated from your heritage, you hunt those same angels, selling their flesh and bones to stay alive. It’s gritty, fantastical, and brutal… and a ton of fun.
But even more importantly for me, it’s another answer to the question “What does a Mexican RPG look like?” It broadens our world when folks like Miguel step up and answer that question, when they build on the momentum of Cartel and Brandon Leon-Gambetta’s Pasión de las Pasiones to help create a canon of Latinx titles, all different views of our same world.
Back this project because it’s a great game, filled with great art, by a great new talent. But also back it because it’s a strong voice from a part of the world that is often voiceless when it comes to games. Nahual will challenge your views, make you think about what you don’t know about Clement’s work, about angeleros and nahuales, about Mexico itself.
In ten years, I think we’re going to have whole shelves full of Latinx RPGs, board games, and card games. We’re going to have so many that kids who grow up playing them won’t have to ask what a Mexican game looks like. They will know and they will want to make their own contribution to that shelf.
Help Miguel make that happen. Back this thing to the moon. Spread the word. Let’s show him that our community is eager to hear what he (and every other LatinX creator) has to say.