Game of the Year nod and Xenolanguage news!

Dearest curious party in the latest and greatest in crypto-linguistic play. 

We come to you from Thorny Games, where a wise and diligent past you, asked for updates on Thorny Games’ progress. The winds have brought us here to tell you what new is in store for our small studio, and we diligently comply. Updates on our forreys for communicating with friends new and old. How Dialect continues to explore and traverse our world. Xenolanguage is taking form and gaining function as it continues its playtesting journey across the country. But without further ado, something major:

Dialect is up for Best Game at the GenCon ENnie Awards!

This is bigtime for us. Going from a couple of passionate lovers of games and language with an idea to bring a small game about language into the world, to being nominated for the biggest award in role-playing games? It’s astonishing and we couldn’t be more honored. So with that, a humble request.

If you’ve enjoyed Dialect, and are excited about more projects from Thorny Games, consider supporting us by casting your vote here. You can vote for us for Best Game, Product of the Year, and Fan Favorite Publisher (Thorny Games).

With that out of the way, what else have we been up to?

Thorny Games travels the World!

Over the last few months, we’ve been busy showing Dialect all across the universe! This includes running games at the ICLDC conference on Language Documentation in Hawaii, South by Southwest in Austin and E3 in Los Angeles as part of the Indiecade showcase just to name a few.

Showing at E3 was a real experience! Coming through the Indiecade showcase was the loophole that allowed a Indie Tabletop Roleplaying game about language into the Electronic Entertainment Expo, and we’re pretty sure we were the only tabletop game that made it. Here’s some footage from the event. I believe this was taken on hour 27 of 28 that Hakan was working the booth over the course of three days. He really got his pitch down pat by the end!

We also got to go back to Nicaragua to help with a week-long special course for students of Nicaraguan Sign Language in Bilwi. The profits from Sign: A Game about being Understood continue to supplement Daphny’s (the only deaf educator in the community) salary to a living wage, and we were thankful for the Nicaraguan Sign Language Foundation for letting us come, observe, and help in whatever ways we can. We’ve already started planning for next year, and we’re so grateful to be working with them.

Talking with Aliens in Xenolanguage!

We’ve also been taking Xenolanguage across the country, testing wherever we can. Most recently we could be found at GoPlayNW weaving stories of alien communication in the Pacific Northwest.

Xenolanguage is all about finding meaning for alien concepts, many of which we as humans don’t have easy language for. In our last game, we had some great words. “Shattering of preconceptions / illusions”, “Closing the Door on Future with Other People” among others. It’s fun and weird, and we’re hoping to open it up to beta testing later this year. The current version looks a little different from the one in the picture (we did away human symbols on the board and decided to double down on the alien ones to up the weird). Once open signups, this list will be the first to know, so stay tuned.

For a more immediate taste, we’ll be at GenCon 2019 in just a couple of weeks, running Xenolanguage as part of Indie Games on Demand. Speaking of which, Hakan is the lead organizer for Indie Games on Demand at GenCon this year, and we’d love to meet you and play a game! Come by Cosmopoliton Ballroom B at the Hyatt Regency at any point during the convention to check out the schedule of games and see when your favorite may be on offer!

And with that, we part again. This journey has been truly special, and we’re so grateful to have taken it with you all. Come say hi if you’re at GenCon (we’ll be at the ENnie Awards, fingers crossed!).