April has been a month of motion with highs and lows. We have been busy -- the kind of busy that comes from making any good, honest thing. We wrote and edited. We collaborated with our writers and added a few new wonderful folks to our ranks. We sampled components from across the country and redezvous'ed with manufacturers in business parks and online phone calls (the less glamorous but entirely-necessary side of game design).
All this means earnest progress -- and to that end, we have news in high and low forms.
The Highs: We're thrilled to unveil something we've been working on behind the scenes for some time. Simply put, if you bought a physical book from us, come delivery time, you're getting more than you thought. Read below for the details.
The Lows: It's going to take longer to get here. We're on track to ship in October. But trust us, it'll be well worth the wait.
We have lots to share. Let's get right to it. One two three ... GO.
Upgraded Books for Vernacular (Softcover) Backers.
Hey you, plucky softcover backers -- or should I say, former softies. Thanks to the ample support for Dialect, we will be upgrading all of you to glorious hardcover. (Book YouTube has a lot to say on the topic of hardcover vs soft, but it's clear where our sympathies lie). Our printer Taylor Specialty has made books for some beautiful titles that we admire (like this stunner), and we selected them especially for their hardcover craftsmanship. Sturdy with cushioned pages, soft to the touch, sincere and tall in the spine ... truly the only way to travel.
Two new, handmade components for all Glossopoet+ (Hardcover) Backers.
A game deserves a home; a fitting place to be stored and carried with the requisite bits to jumpstart play. We've long wanted the right componentry for Dialect while not distracting from the fundamental game. We have been chasing this stealthy pursuit for some time. Now, we’re excited to announce our partnership with Heart of the Deernicorn, who will be contributing a lovely additional piece for your Dialect set. For all backers who were previously receiving a hardcover book, you'll also get a handmade silk-screened pouch to hold your hardcover copy of Dialect along with one other beautiful new component. These pouches are completely handcrafted by artisans in Olympia Washington. If you haven’t had the pleasure to make the Deernicorn’s acquaintance yet, they are a friend to art and shunner of the ordinary. Case in point, their game Fall of Magic as an example of their unerring dedication to beautiful components and stunning quality.
Second, we will be including custom adornments for all hardcover backers. In plainspeak, that means three beaded loops to separate the three ages on your playspace. Currently we have a beautiful waxed cotton rope picked out that lays flat and shapes your playspace nicely.
New adornment. Bead design super subject to change
These are completely free additions to these backing levels thanks to the outpouring of support we've received from the community. Why do this? We feel like both of these additions deliver on a longheld and personal wish for the game -- high quality craftmanship through and through. There will be a way to upgrade pledges come nearer to our delivery deadline if the feeling strikes you. You'll have plentiful opportunity.
Books need editors and we've got a great one. Karen Twelves has agreed to edit both Dialect and Sign. Karen has a storied resume in game editing for all the greats, so we're super lucky to have her. More better words -- we are thrilled.
Next, the news that no creator wants to give. We are serious about delivering the highest quality game we can -- and to that end, it's become clear to us over April after discussion with our editors and printers that to achieve our quality bar, we'll need to push back the delivery date for Dialect. Keeping in mind the remaining steps we need to produce the physical book (copy editing, layout and printing) and the chapters being written our end, we're tracking to a shipping date in October. We're bummed not to deliver the physical book in July, but know this is done for all the right reasons -- taking time means being methodical and steadfast when it comes to quality. In a retrospective moment, coordinating the huge number of writers and contributors we have on this project ended up being much more demanding on our time than we initially envisioned. Don't get me wrong, it was totally worth it and the game is richer for it. It's just clear that working with large groups of humans just takes a lot of time.
Despite this, our pdf delivery date still remains July, so you should get your chance to play and try Dialect over the summer. This will let us share the game with you as early as possible and give all of you wonderful backers a chance to help us spot any issues with production before we go off to the printers.
Where are we now?
Writing is in full gear. All writers have either wrapped up or are delivering the last of their contributions in the next couple of weeks, including David Peterson's chapter! We've done first drafts of most of the chapters of the book including the rules. Writing and internal Thorny Games revisions are our main agenda for May. Since game making is serious business, 50% of us (Hakan, to be precise) have taken a leave from our day jobs to focus on making sure writing and production on Dialect is as high quality as our compulsion dictates.
In addition to Dialect, our backers at the Kindred in Language and Play and higher levels are also receiving the first print run of Sign: A Game about Being Understood. In addition to writing in April for Dialect, we also did our first layout pass on Sign and rules layout for cards and a booklet. Here's a prototyped printed version for Sign!
Over the month of May we'll complete copy editing for Sign. We'll also be holding a roundtable discussion at the Rochester Institute of Technology, home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, with the goal of making sure Sign tackles the subject of deafness appropriately and with respect. To round it out, we're also commissioning a few more pieces of art because we're like that.
As always, thank you for being on this journey with us. We're stoked for how this is coming together.
BUT WAIT: Dialect in Waypoint
We're thrilled that Dialect was featured in a recent article in Waypoint, Vice's gaming arm. "Language can be quietly—or loudly—revolutionary in 'Dialect,' a tabletop game about communities and the words that make them. " Read a thoughtful, important perspective from Alex Roberts, one of our dear writers, on playing through the language.
Onwards and on words,
Hakan & Kate (plus the mathy floofs Banach & Tarski)