Augury of August

August won the game maker’s trifecta: good work, recognition, and genre-pushing play. This trio has given us a shot in the arm of creative energy and that feels fantastic. We’ll share a beat of each of these below.

Still, it’s a rare thing to pull off all three in a single month. Other amazing feats of three that come to mind:

  • Paper Menagerie. The first work of fiction to win all three of SF's major awards: the Hugo, the Nebula and the World Fantasy Award. 
  • Competitive Rock Paper Scissors. If you’d like to lose an afternoon, there is a long fascinating history of hand games like RPS tracing back to East Asia. (Funny enough, H competed in the Budapest RPS championship back in 2008. He was eliminated in the first round)
  • The noblest of all digits as claimed by the Pythagorean school since three is the only number that is the sum of all natural numbers beneath it.

(Honorable mention: Threes the game.)


… is ready steady go. We’ll be using Backerkit as a way of collecting fulfillment information like your address and pledge levels. You will shortly receive an email where you’ll be prompted to add shipping details for where to direct your game once it’s ready. Backerkit should hopefully be an easy spot you can update if you’ve moved. It’ll also provide a central ledger for us to track fulfilment information and allow for folks to change backing levels.

You’ll have the opportunity to add on to your pledge level if you’re moved to do so. This will include the Glossopoet edition of Dialect, a copy of Sign, art prints, or a GLORIOUS MYSTERY LANGUAGE BOX.

Card Art

Artist Jill deHaan persists. Here are some of the completed card backs for Dialect:


From left to right, these card types cover character generation, core turn sequence, and epilogue, respectively. We love the details. Note the subtle thorny touch on each card.


We persist with writing and editing. Lots of good progress this month with the core rules, backdrops, appendices and more. Steven Bird’s chapter is complete and we couldn’t be happier to include it. It also looks like we may have some surprise additions to share next month when it comes to backdrops. We're on track for layout this month. More soon!


It’s heartening to get recognized for the work you do. It is fuel when you are on day N of a long journey.

We’re happy to share Sign is a nominated game at Indiecade 2017. Out of nearly 1000 submissions, around 30 are chosen as nominated games and our thoughtful-quirky live action game about language-through-play was among them. It makes us doubly excited to be selected given the festival primarily focuses on video games.

We’ll be presenting Sign at Indiecade and giving a game design microtalk on, you guessed it, Language in Games. Stop by and say hi if you’re there!


As always, we soldier on the usual convention schedule. If we’re coming to one near you, or we’ll overlap in a convention, please let us know, we’d love to meet up!

  • Indiecade (October 6th to 8th). We already covered this one, but we’re really excited about it. It’ll be our chance to share the good word of language play with a new crowd of folks.
  • Big Bad Con (October 13th to 15th). Our home con and the one nearest and dearest to our hearts. We’re special guests to this convention and Thorny Games is sponsoring one of the teen gaming rooms!
  • Metatopia (November 2nd to November 5th). The convention where Dialect and Sign first made their debuts two years ago! We’ll be there, testing new games and helping organize the Golden Cobra LARP competition.
  • No SHUX. We were originally going to attend this great con in Vancouver, but the siren’s call of Indiecade will bring us both to Los Angeles, for now.


Recently we got to play a collection of games that span the weird and wonderful. They help push the genre and remind us why we do this:

  • Here is my Power Button A game of robots, humans, and the messy moral lines in between. It’s made for heartbreakthroughs.
  • Plastic Cup. An art larp about dividing an inheritance where you break 200 ceramic cups over the course of play. Cathartic. 
  • Parsley. A live-action, text-adventure games in the spirit of Zork and Colossal Cave where a human is the parser. We got to explore Pumpkintown and it was the best. 
  • Sarabande. A game of 19th century cafe dwellers in Paris who argue about beauty, love, truth and freedom. A game of improvised dance, art making, and soliloquies. We are running this at Big Bad Con. 
  • Critical Path. A space game of alternate realities blending theater-light-sound for legit immersion. We played it in a basement with a disco ball.

Back to Work. Stay warm, stay safe, be kind, pass it on.

A két szememből ragyog a szerelem a sötétbe,

Thorny Games, Thorny Cats

PS. Look at what we found today! It’s like a live gif of Erica’s artwork!