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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.

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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.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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