The Jazz of January

Hello 2018! So far, we've spent the year working and listening to The Child Ballads on repeat (here's one of 'em). This update has lots to cover, but one thing we'd like to highlight in particular:

We’ll be locking down surveys in Backerkit on February 7th!

This will also be when we charge for any additional funds added in Backerkit. You'll still be able to make changes to your address until we ship, but if you backed at a level that gets your name in the book, you should have it entered by then before we're of to the presses. If in doubt, visit and double check you’re signed up for the right Pledge Level and that your survey responses are up to date.

Schedule: Still On Track for April. Cards for both Dialect and Sign are now off to the printers.We're using separate printers for the book and cards, and the book should be submitted next week after the final proofread is complete. Here is art from Jill De Haan for the tuckbox on the Language Deck:

 Yes, indeed, that is a nest of language eggs.

Yes, indeed, that is a nest of language eggs.


Dialect Digital Edition: Final Pass  

We’ve been putting the final touches on Dialect, the text.

Here’s what’s new since December:

  • New art for card diagrams. We wanted to get a consistent look for all card diagrams that matched the quality of the rest of the art, so we commissioned a new round of card illustrations. We really like how they turned out!
  • Proofreader feedback for typos and small edits in the rulebook and cards.
  • Rule clarifications. Thank you for writing in about your playtests! <3
  • How to Teach Dialect/Structure of rules section as a guide for facilitators.
  • Quick Reference Sheets! For easy access to backdrops and rules overview, you can now print out quick reference sheets from the Dialect website.
 Old and new, side by side

Old and new, side by side

We’ll be sending out an email from Backerkit in the next week with the updated version of Dialect. (We didn’t want to delay this update until then, but we wanted to tell you it’s coming). If you don’t receive the email, you can log on to to directly download it. If you have any issues, just email us at and we’ll get things sorted. Enjoy it and thank you for the playtest reports! They make us very happy.

Sign: New Digital Edition -- Available now!

A new professionally laid-out and edited version of Sign is now available; you can download it right here. This is a card-based format with 12 characters along with a separate rules booklet for the facilitator. We really like how the card format makes it easier to run. Among other things, we got to design a textbook cover for an imaginary Nicaraguan class from the 1970s. New days, new challenges, we suppose. The PDF version above will be the basis for the published physical version for Kindred in Language and Play (and higher level) backers. Some recent runs of Sign at conventions were at The Smoke in London and the Larp Shack International Festival of Larps in North Carolina among others. We’re excited to get this version out into the wild!

Donation to the Nicaraguan Sign Language Projects

Earlier this month, we sent a first donation of $5000 to the Nicaraguan Sign Language Projects. Everyone whose pledge included a copy of Sign contributed to this. We’re thrilled if Sign can help spread such a remarkable story and better yet, to provide some financial help for their important ongoing work. Thank you for supporting it.

This is a first donation; we’re donating all the profits from Sign to the Nicaraguan Sign Language Projects, so the remainder of the donation will be made once fulfillment is complete.

Posters and Art Prints

Let’s talk art prints. For backers at the Aesthete of Idiom level, you’ll be receiving some of the lovely art from Dialect. In particular, these are the pieces that will be printed:

  • Two 8x12 Giclee prints of Jill's work in the book. These are all being printed on premium art print paper. The two pieces we chose are "My language is my awakening" and Toni Morrison's quote in rope and vine. Here are two recent samples, we're still finalizing the paper choice:


  • A 24x18, print by Erica Williams. Even though the Aesthete of Idiom level originally only included art prints from Jill, Erica's piece was just too stunning to pass up. These prints are already done: beautifully screen-printed and all signed by Erica. Here are some of them in our living room!


Mystery Box: A Glimpse

Mystery boxes are coming right along with lots of custom treasures in the works. There are many pieces in production, but this just arrived on our doorstep and it's too cool to not share: custom crypto-language pins so you can decode-on-the-go.

Click through to see this beauty in action!


These are two-part spinner pins specially commissioned from Erica Williams for this occasion and we’re thrilled with how they turned out! You just walk around differently wearing one these throughout the day. Is it the thorns? Is it the rotating decoder? The aged gold shine? All we know is that we’re busy curating more for this box and we’ll show you a few other neat pieces in-progress next month.


The season begins again. Time to start our yearly game migration. We will be at:

  • Indiecade East: NYC (February 17-18). We’ll be showcasing Sign, a finalist game last year. 
  • Dreamation. Morristown, NJ (February 22-25).
  • Protospiel SJ. Mountain View, CA (March 9-11). A local con for game developers
  • With an endless march of convention over the horizon!

Stop by our booth at Indiecade East, or sign up for our alpha-test at Dreamation!


Back to work and reading more Ursula K Le Guin (in particular, this) (also, listening to this). 


Thorny Games