28 October 2016
GM-less game sees an isolated community invent words based on their unique situation and history
RPGs have told millions of stories over the years, in thousands upon thousands of worlds, but we’ve never seen an RPG tell a story quite like Dialect before.
The new title from Thorny Games centres on the creation, evolution and eventual death of language, with three to five players inventing their own language over the course of the three- to four-hour game.
The catalyst for the invention of the dialect is the setting of an isolated community in one of a number of backdrops, from Martian outposts disconnected from communication with Earth to social outcasts living in a post-apocalyptic landscape.
Players select three key aspects affecting the community – for example, needing to seek out water and advance scientific understanding as part of the Mars colony – which guide the creation of new words relating to events and situations.
A game of Dialect advances through three ages, which evolves the language and also reveals the outcome of the community and the end or perpetuation of its isolation.
Thorny Games has brought on board several notable writers and linguistics experts to help create the game, including The Art of Language Invention author David Peterson, who created fictional languages for the TV series Game of Thrones. Other contributing writers include Fiasco creator Jason Morningstar, Laura Simpson, Alex Roberts and Elizabeth Lapensee.
Originally looking for a rather modest $3,000 on Kickstarter, Dialect has since raised more than ten times that amount, sitting at just over $30,000 with 41 days left to run. It’s $10 for a PDF of Dialect or $29 for a softcover physical version.