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Deconstruction • 2016 rpg winner

Abstract Machine •


Draw a number of Scrabble letters unseen equal to the number of players plus one.

Arrange your letters into a word.
Say the word.
Listen to everyone say their word.

What does your word mean?
DESCRIBE the culture that invented the word.

Each player says your word, mispronouncing it slightly.
Each player describes how their culture misunderstood your word.

Do this for every word.

How did your word TRANSFORM your culture?
Each player describes how misunderstanding your word transformed their culture.

Do this for every word.

Swap words.

How did the word in front of you DESTROY your culture?
Describe the transformation that took place.

Do this for every word.

Arrange the words as a crossword puzzle.

Anyone may choose any one word about which to speak.

Why did the word survive its culture?
When did its meaning change?
What does the word betray or subvert about the culture that made the word?

Morris Swadesh published an intermediary version of the Salish language in 1952. It was exactly 200 words. Words are not made of science, or of God, or of the things they describe. Words are made of other words.

Why do these lies sustain us?

Author Comments (if any)

Philosopher Jacques Derrida is commonly understood to be the progenitor of deconstruction - but as he said, it is the reading rather than the writing of an idea that is important.

Judge Comments

Deconstruction is a fascinating rpg. It’s exploring the power of words. I love using words and misunderstandings of them and how that shapes a culture as a world-building concept. I haven’t seen anything like it. - Sarah Judd

Would play - scrabble pieces are tangibly fun. teaches an element of worldbuilding oft forgotten. deliberate mispronunciations = easy enjoyment. accessible to many age groups/backgrounds. - Kat Kuhl

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