Who are we?

Kathryn Hymes is 50% of the indie studio Thorny Games, where she makes games about language and cryptography. In her designs, Kathryn wants to tell stories in unorthodox, original settings from voices that may have otherwise been unheard. Full of math and computational linguistics, Kathryn is an active voice in the Indie RPG community where she aims to make games more approachable to new enthusiastic faces. She is also a co-host of the Game Design Round Table podcast and a 2016 GenCon Industry Insider. Kathryn has been to Transnistria and hopes to go back some day.

Hakan Seyalioglu is the other 50% of Thorny Games, an independent design studio of larps and RPGs that tells new and unconventional stories. In his design, he’s deeply explored what language means for us culturally and emotionally, and how it can be an engaging mechanic for play. A GenCon Industry Insider and active member of the Bay Area design community, Hakan hopes to spread the word of play as a tool for empathy and understanding. Apart from games, Hakan helps computers keep secrets and crack codes (a genuine cryptographer). He really enjoys breakfast.

Appearances and Talks

Interviews and Podcasts

Consulting Design and Language Work

In addition, we're always excited to work with external companies for design work, especially on projects that incorporate playful use of language and cryptography in their work.

To date we've worked with multiple digital and analogue companies including Gallium, John Wick Presents, AEG, and Evil Hat Productions. If you're interested in working with us, drop us a line at cactus@thornygames.com .