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Multiple trading card games hit my desk every quarter, each one with its own homebrewed blend of Magic, Yugioh and Hearthstone mechanics that mostly end up feeling like a downgrade from its original inspiration.

Today’s feature, Kanoi, is a TCG with very little gameplay details revealed so far, so I don’t know if it’ll be different, but its background is more interesting than most.

The game is inspired by Japanese Yokai (supernatural spirits), and it has players engage in turn-based battles that feature play-to-earn mechanics with NFT cards and a $KANOI ERC-20 token (more in their whitepaper).

Japan-based gmlabs, founded in 2022 by Takeshi Kuroda (former e-commerce strategy manager at The Pokémon Company), is developing the game and has secured 600k USD from various Asia-based VCs (one of them here), which is in the usual range for indie game development.

You can see some of gmlabs’s dev work in their first release, the oshimo mobile app, a 3D game where you obsequiously interact with a miniature version of your favorite idol (I’m not Japanese enough for this).

There are still a lot of question marks here, but there’s enough for me to keep tabs on it.

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