In 'Dialect', we follow the story of a community in isolation as seen through their language. We explore how the community's speech evolves as they face challenges, establish values, and contrast themselves from the society they've left behind. We'll embody characters within the Isolation, using this emergent language to express the interactions within the community. In the end, we'll witness the decline of the language and examine how the community lost its identity. A highly modular world-building game, Dialect can be played in any setting in which a group may find itself totally isolated - be it physically or culturally.
A story game for 3-5 players in 3 hours (Printable Flyer)
"Dialect is fascinating and fun and innovative. It falls in the ‘jealous I didn't think of this first’ category.”
-- J. M.
"...a language-building story-telling thing of beauty”
-- J. T.
A few public mentions:
- OneShot Podcast: Dialect Part 1 and Part 2
- Actual Play: From Linky to Linker. Dialect Play Report
- Narrative Control Podcast: Language in Games
- Gen Con Play Report: Dialect, Language Coming out of Isolation
- Backstory Podcast: Kathryn Hymes
- Backstory Podcast: Hakan Seyalioglu
- Jank Cast: Language in Games II
- Guantlet Podcast: Dialect
Here are some quick reference sheets to help at the table:
Nicaragua in the 1970s had no form of sign language. If you were deaf, you had simple gestures with a trusted few, likely nothing more than a form of pantomime you negotiated with your family to meet basic needs. In 1977, something happened. Fifty deaf children from across the country were brought together to an experimental school in Managua. Without a shared language to express themselves, the children did the only thing they could -- they created one. In Sign, we follow a small piece of their journey.
A silent game for 3-6 players in 2 hours.
Best Free Game, Indie RPG Award Winner
Most Innovative Game - Runner Up, Indie RPG Award
Game of the Year - Runner Up, Indie Groundbreaker Award
Golden Cobra Challenge, Honorable Mention
"Sign begins with a premise that seems far out, even for boundary-pushing roleplaying games, but quickly zeroes in on a core of humane, heartfelt empathy in play. It's truly a beautiful experience to play."
-- Indie RPG Award Judges
"[Sign] is a wonderful game. It deserves to become a standard"
-- G. W.
"Sign dares to take up a difficult subject, and have players understand a small part of a real journey that transformed thousands of lives. It centers on agency, connection, and the struggle of understanding each other in a silent world."
-- Golden Cobra Panel of Judges
A game about language and thought
It's five minutes in the future and we've just made first contact. In Xenolanguage, you are a linguist tasked with deciphering an alien language. As you gain fluency, you begin to see the world differently. A tabletop roleplaying game inspired by Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life".