The City of Kish

Category: Cussin' In Tongues
Created on Friday, 23 February 2018 Written by Steve

Matt Kish is an artist, illustrator, and Alan Scott fancier best known for his Moby Dick pics. Earlier this week, he posted a crazy scribbly drawing to his facebook feed and I thought, “That kind of looks like a map. I’d like to write a game for the city that goes with that map.” This was one of those “this would be cool, but I’m not actually going to do it” ideas that I have all the time, but I made the mistake of actually posting to that effect in the comments, to which Matt responded “come at me.” Ok, maybe those weren’t his exact words, but he clearly implied that I should do it. The more I thought about it, the more I decided that in addition to being fun, creating the game based on the city from the drawing that Matt didn’t necessarily intend as a map would be good fodder for the blog. So let’s make a crazy city. 

Here’s the map:

So the obvious first idea is something like “Ouroboros, City of Snakes” or something. There’s a big ass snake down in the corner and several other snakes or snake-like entities all over the place. I’m not going to do that. For one thing it’s too easy. For another, this just doesn’t look like a City of Snakes kind of city. That would fit in some kind of fantasy world, but this city is clearly some kind of crazy sci-fi place with big Jack Kirby machines everywhere. The snakes might be part of some sacred geometry put there by an apocalypse cult or something, but they’re not the city’s claim to fame. In fact, a lot of the snake things might not be recognizable as snakes unless you’re up on your (possible) apocalypse cult lore. They probably look a lot less snaky from the ground, so I’ll have to envision them as 3-dimensional objects. 

So if not a snake city, what do I do. The first step is to figure out what the major features are. Here are my initial thoughts:

  • That big ass coiled snake: This is a place where a lot of people mingle: a market, a spaceport, something like that. 
  • That techno-snake thing right above the big ass snakes mouth: This is some kind of big Kirby machine/wall. I’m not sure what it does, but I’m pretty sure it’s central to the functioning of the city. It’s the power source of whatever’s happening here. 
  • The screwdiver heads and circles are buildings. That one’s easy. 
  • The plane wing/piano keyboards: I got no idea. 
  • The little dark archways are obviously gateways to something scary: Hell, the city’s necropolis, Florida, something like that. 
  • The scribbles: some of the scribbles could be terrain (ledges, ditches, etc), but I think most of them are clearly transportation routes of some kind, but they’re too tangled to be something as simple as roads or subway tubes or something boring like that. They need to be some kind of weird and wacky series of tubes or something. 


Working out the tubes, in particular, would probably be easier if I could color in parts of the map to separate them out visually, but I need to check with Matt on that. The ground rules for this little project were very vague, and I don’t want to anger or offend Matt by messing up his beautiful, intricate drawing with my brutish command of Photoshop (especially since he mentioned he’d be doing more drawing like this and another one might look like an even cooler map). Also, finding all the paths with color is probably going to be difficult and time-consuming, so I might decide it’s too much work even if Matt doesn't mind. In any case, the city, which I’m cleverly calling The City of Kish for the time being, will begin to take on crazy Kirbyesque form next week.

©2012 by Hex Games
The City of Kish.
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