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Learn to communicate with aliens in Arrival-inspired tabletop game Xenolanguage

Close Encounters of the Word Kind.

Make contact with aliens and discover a way to communicate in Xenolanguage, an upcoming storytelling game inspired by science-fiction film Arrival.

In Xenolanguage, players are a group of scientists connected by a shared past that has led to several unanswered mysteries causing tensions within the group. By deciphering the messages sent by the game’s alien race, the players can hope to find a solution to their own unexplained histories and the memories they all hold.

Xenolanguage comes with a modular board that shows a collection of symbols belonging to the alien culture, with the game drawing from sci-fi films such as 1997’s Contact to create the writings. The game also provides an immersive soundtrack for players to listen to whilst playing.

Thorny Games - the studio behind Xenolanguage - previously released the similarly language-based tabletop roleplaying game Dialect, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2016 after raising $189,742.

In Dialect, players create their own language over the course of the game by deciding how important events and cultural changes have helped to shape the words. Dialect is a GM-less RPG, meaning that there is no one person narrating what happens to the other players. Instead, all players work together to figure out how the language forms and eventually dies by the end of the game.

Thorny Games is also responsible for creating a game about a group of deaf children making their own language in Nicaragua in the 1970s called Sign.

The Kickstarter campaign for Xenolanguage is set to be launched sometime soon, with pledge amounts and a release date yet to be confirmed.


Alex Meehan avatar

Alex Meehan

Staff Writer

Alex’s journey to Dicebreaker began with writing insightful video game coverage for outlets such as Kotaku, Waypoint and PC Gamer. Her unique approach to analysing pop culture and knack for witty storytelling finally secured her a forever home producing news, features and reviews with the Dicebreaker team. She’s also obsessed with playing Vampire: The Masquerade, and won’t stop talking about it.