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Babel • 2016 rpg

William J. (B.J.) Altman •

You are a stranger in a strange land. Language is your only tool.

Required: Game Master, 1+ players, language tokens

Set up: Choose your setting (example: ancient Rome). Give the setting one language, plus one per player. Choose a goal achievable only through conversation (example: find and free a friend).

All players share a common language, which you speak perfectly. This is different than the setting’s languages, which you aren’t as proficient in. You get six tokens to assign to these languages. Any number of tokens may be assigned to each language.

Game Play: Others don’t understand you and you don’t understand them, but you recognize languages you know.

Players spend a language’s token to make a simple intent clear (two or three words).

The Game Master portrays the others and may counter your action with a token to complicate the understanding in some way: it’s an insult or you say one key thing wrong. You may add this token to any language you started with.

Once you communicate an intent without complication, you may do so again for the rest of the game without cost.

The game ends when you achieve your goal or give up.

Author Comments (if any)

*This replaces my previous entry. There were some minor modifications.

This game is inspired by my experiences in the Peace Corps. We are given a three month crash course in a foreign language (Georgian for me), and then have to use that to survive while we try to learn more of the language. You may be surprised how much you can do with such a small vocabulary, and how frustrating it can be at the same time.

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