From the Mines of May

May was a month in the making, bringing us the sweet satisfaction of forward motion. We’ve been treading deep in the word mines: chipping at chunks of book-writing and polishing up any soot in design. The update this month is tardy — our apologies! The start of June brought us to Origins game convention in Ohio and Japan for work, so time and space are a little slippery. Let’s recap the recent spoils.

In the Word Mines

Writing for Dialect is making steady progress; the bones of the book are falling into place for the core rules and game play. All contributor chapters are complete and the majority have been through editing. For the rest of June we continue the editing and revising process, with July scheduled for the remaining writing and layout.

We continue to indulge our art appetite and work with artist Jill De Haan; new card backs are underway along with a special design for the cloth bag components we shared in our last update. Lots of good things are being crafted here and it’s a pleasure to see things take shape.

Meanwhile, we’ve added new cards to accentuate the changes within language. If you’ve listened to some of our early playthroughs, you may know that some of the language generation cards in Dialect are considered “Action” cards which serve to form new words off of an existing base or change the meaning of a word created in an earlier part of the game (like asking why a certain group of the Isolation has chosen to use another word for a concept for a term that already exists or why the meaning of an existing word has become much more intense).

Well, we’re adding a metric-ton more, since they really make the dialect sing. We trialed many of these cards in local playtests and at Origins game fair. The dirty science of play testing worked its magic — we separated the wheat from the chaff and now have quite a few new cards.

Sign: Unbound

This has been a banner month for Sign. Ever since Sign was first released, it’s been our earnest work to treat the topic of Nicaraguan Sign Language the right way. Studying a story and the logic behind it is one route — but best yet is getting perspective from the source itself.

We’ve solicited lots of feedback from various folks on the topic of deafness and sign language, but to date, despite an embarrassing number of emails, we hadn’t connected directly with someone from the original research. That all changed this month where we got to talk to the project’s director and have him recount the original story to us. What’s more, we’re now scheduled to meet some native speakers of Nicaraguan Sign Language. This will let us incorporate their perspective into the game, what their language means to them and hopefully learning some ISN to boot!

And art and layout are humming along here, too. We have a new cover for the game box. Check it out:


A conventional summer.

 Our summer is packed-to-Tuesday with game gatherings. We just got back from Origins in Ohio where we hosted many fine games of Dialect and Companions' Tale, by the formidable Laura Simpson. You’ll also find us at:

  • GoPlayNW
  • GenCon (Games on Demand and Trade Day!)
  • Big Bad Con
  • SHUX (Shut Up and Sit Down Conference in Vancouver) 
  • Metatopia

Let us take a small moment to sing the praises of Big Bad Con — our favorite place to game where Thorny Games is a stretch goal special guest. No convention does more to make role playing and gaming as a whole more approachable and inviting than Big Bad Con. Being welcoming towards those who have historically not felt completely at ease in gaming environments is one of their absolute top mission statements, and they’ve done an outstanding job. It was one of the first locations where we got introduced to story gaming and LARPs, and the rest is, as one would say, history. We hope to meet some of you wonderful folks there!

Other Game Happenings:

In our game-filled lives, here’s a link-happy version of assorted news:

  • #Feminism on Actual Play. We dipped our toes once again in Twitch and played a stellar set of microgames from this patriarchy-smashing collection. Bonus: it includes two of our fantastic backdrop writers.
  • Cthulhu Dark is on Kickstarter and entering its final days! A lovecraftian horror RPG from the twisted and talented mind of our peerless backdrop writer, Graham Walmsley, author of “Worcester School”. All our love to that wonderful project.
  • In logistical news, 49.93% of us are now full-time on Thorny Games (H, specifically). This doesn’t change much except for more hard, earnest work. Perhaps we’ll finally win a bet the next time we’re asked to show our indie game dev challenge coin.
  • We brought back some weird and wonderful Japanese designed games, like the Cat and Chocolate: Business is Business and A Fake Artist Goes to New York. They are everything we hoped it would be. Perhaps we’ll play some on Twitch in the future! 

Wikipedia Hole:

K consumes way too much Wikipedia. As a gift for our update tardiness, here are a few choice articles:

Rage, rage against the dying of the light,

Thorny Games

K+H (Tarski and Banach, too)