Artwork 4: Lingua Franca

Lingua Franca is a game for 4 players, in which three players have full access to a vocabulary of mechanics while one player starts the game with only the most basic vocabulary needed to play the game, and must build their vocabulary through trial and error.



At the beginning of the game, the four players must decide what roles each is going to take. A player who has played or watched the game before, must not play as the ‘foreigner’ (The one player initially not granted access to the full vocabulary). The three remaining players must decide which of the three following roles they want to play: The Passive, The Aggressive, and The Teacher.

The Passive player wins if by the end of the game, the Foreigner has successfully learned more terms from the blue vocabulary than red.

The Aggressive player wins if by the end of the game, the Foreigner has successfully learned more terms from the red vocabulary than blue.

The Teacher player wins if by the end of the game, the Foreigner has successfully learned the same amount of terms from both red and blue vocabularies. Additionally, the Teacher is allowed to teach the player two terms of choice at the beginning of the game.

At the start of the game, each player receives 2 Lingua points, and the the Teacher declares which two terms they wish to impart to the Foreigner. On their turn, players may spend 4 Lingua points to teach a term to the Foreigner. The Foreigner, however, may spend 3 Lingua points to learn a word at random (roll 1d10).

Once setup has been resolved, the game begins.

Gameplay takes place in rounds, wherein each player gets a chance to challenge another player to a die duel (the foreigner always goes last). During a die duel, each player must declare what type of die they will roll by reciting the appropriate word from the vocabulary. Then, the challenger must select UP or DOWN. Selecting UP determines that the player who rolls the highest number wins the duel, whereas selecting DOWN determines that the player who rolls the lowest number wins the duel. The winner of the duel gains a single Lingua point.

Once every player has gotten their chance to challenge another player to a duel, the game moves to the next round.

Throughout the game, players are allowed to utter words from their vocabulary to trigger their effects, changing the way the game plays slightly. The Foreigner may attempt to use one word per duel, and the Teacher must nod their head to confirm proper use of the term, or shake their head to confirm misuse of the term. If the teacher confirms proper use of the term, the Foreigner may spend 1 Lingua point to have the Teacher carry out the effects of the term, without explicitly telling the Foreigner what they are doing. No player is allowed to explain the vocabulary to the player by any means other than this, or spending Lingua points.

The game continues as such for a total of 3-4 Rounds. Once the game ends, players review what words the Foreigner has learned correctly, and declare a winner according to what the totals are.



Abboh (AH-bow) “UP” – Declares highest roll wins duel.
Donnit (DOH-knit) “DOWN” – Declares lowest roll wins duel.
Shooflee (SHOO-flee) “6” – Declares player will use a six-sided die.
Shoofa (SHOO-fah) “8” – Declares player will use an eight-sided die.
Shakhi (SHAH-kee) “10” – Declares player will use a ten-sided die.
Grongo (GRON-go) “Hello!” – A greeting.
Zupa (ZOO-pah) “Goodbye.” – A farewell.
Tipi Tipi (TIH-pee TIH-pee) “Thank you.” or “You’re welcome.”
Whoh (Whoa) “Sorry!” or “Oops!”


Plissi (PLEE-see) “More” – Say this as a player rolls their die. Grants a player’s roll a +3 bonus. May not be used on self. 1
Sisaroom (Sis-ah-ROOM) “Tie, Draw” – Offer this to your opponent. If the other player replies with “Sisaroom” as well, the duel is decided with a match of Rock Paper Scissors instead. 2
Germit (JUHR-mitt) “Profit” – Offer this to your opponent. If the other player replies with “Germit” as well, the winner of the duel gains two points instead of one. 3
Bohppet (BOP-it) “Lucky” – Offer this to another player other than your opponent. If the other player nods, you may roll with advantage (roll twice, take highest). Otherwise, this action is void. 4
Grumpipo (GRUM-pee-po) “Tiny, Small” – Declares player will use a four-sided die. 5



Bouppa (BOO-pah) “Less” – Say this as a player rolls their die. Grants a player’s roll a -3 penalty. May not be used on self. 6
Pacaboo(PAH-kah-boo) “Steal” – Offer this to your opponent. If the other player replies with “Pacaboo” as well, the winner of the duel steals 1 Lingua point from the loser. 7
Grimboh (GRIM-bow) “Gamble” – Offer this to a player other than your opponent before you roll your die. If they nod in response, trade dice with your opponent. Otherwise, this action is void. 8
Twistett (TWIST-it) “Unlucky” – Offer this to another player other than your opponent. If the other player shakes their head, you may roll with disadvantage (roll twice, take lowest). Otherwise, this action is void. 9
Galanga (gah-LUN-gah) “Large, Giant” – Declares player will use a twelve-sided die. 10


The tally of learned words by the end of the game.

The ‘Foreigner’, being taught a new word.

The ‘Foreigner’s sheet by the end of the game, full of notes and learned words.

Players in the middle of a round, checking their vocabularies.



The original intent of this game, was to represent a familiar experience of mine that can’t be that easily abstracted, or at least, not accurately. I set out to try and accomplish something that not a lot of games have done (as far as my knowledge), which was to condense the experience of learning a new language and adjusting to a new linguistic environment, into a set of concise mechanics. While the game ultimately became more complicated on the players than I intended, that managed to carry the meaning through more effectively.

Observing other games and movements we studied in this class really helped me with the ideas and direction as to how I would abstract this experience into a game that other people of background different from mine, could run through.  The multi-cultural movement of Dada actually helped me quite a bit in this respect, because seeing all of these artists from different  areas of the world like Zurich, Berlin, Paris, all come together and create works within the same movement helped me find similarities in the fact that none of those artworks in particular had a language barrier blocking their meaning.

Fluxus kits and movements also really helped me figure out a better structure for the game, considering that they helped me see a path towards better abstracting this experience into a simpler, briefer game. I saw fluxus kits and other works like those featured in Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit, I saw as being great examples of somewhat simple tasks that ultimately carry their own meaning to the “player”.

Not to mention the appropriation unit was integral to the idea of this game, because the basic idea of the game I saw as an appropriation of the card game “Mao”. In the game, no player is allowed to explain the rules to a newcomer, so the newcomer must figure them out through experience. This game did, in that mechanic, include a large amount of the meaning I wanted to convey , but not with the same context. The set of appropriation examples we saw during that unit, such as the projects we had to make (Settlers of Catan, Global Warming style in my example), influenced by altered games such as red chess, helped me find some sort of middle ground between using the same mechanic and being able to draw it into the context I wanted to.

The end result of those influences and my experiences became Lingua Franca, a game that I think does a pretty decent job of really condensing my personal experience with language barriers. Through observing, I could tell that the players were trying to learn but struggling a bit to take in the vocabulary, as I intended. They weren’t struggling on behalf of the meaning of the words, they seemed to struggle in piecing them together to the larger picture of the game and how their actions would translate to how the game changes. This was more of a byproduct of the mechanics, but a convenient one at that.


Artwork #4 Concept

There are quite a few experiences that haven’t been presented in video game format, and a lot of them are because they’re somewhat specific experiences that can’t well be translated into more genres or mechanics. However, a lot of these more interesting and specific experiences I see from games like Gone Home or That Dragon, Cancer, come from a personal place in the developer’s lives. So, following in that suit, I decided that my personal experience with moving countries and the adjustment involved with that would be an interesting perspective to communicate to players who might nor(or may never) have to make a cultural adjustment of that magnitude.

I think the best way to communicate this sort of difference of cultures is through a some sort of immediate immersion into a game’s mechanics, without explaining them with an in-depth tutorial of sorts. The issue there is perhaps is finding a genre or more specific set of game mechanics that are easy and intuitive enough to learn without a tutorial, but complicated enough where they’re not something that just comes naturally to the player. Much like I had to learn a new language, I want to make the players feel odd and out of place at first, unsure if they’re using the mechanics correctly,  but also become able to learn them very easily as they gain more experience and are immersed in an environment where they can observe that mechanic being used ‘correctly’.

A possible way to do this is to add a new, creative mechanic to a 2D-platformer sort of game. This game would be likely taking after a game we’ve seen presented in our previous show-and-tells, In the Company of Myself, a game that I thought was an incredibly well done example of a meaningful narrative that expresses a personal feeling or event that players can personally attach to. This would likely not be a very long game, but just long enough to allow for players of any origin to be able to relate to the cultural barriers of moving from country to country.

Artwork #3: Conspiracy Crafting


Conspiracy Crafting is an intervention in which 3-4 participants are asked to observe and capture seemingly disconnected and mundane elements they observe throughout their everyday life, and somehow connect them into a one chain of related clues or events. Players must pin each “lead” or “clue” onto a billboard, and connect clues to one another using red twine.


  • 1 Large billboard
  • 1 spool of red twine/yarn
  • A small box of thumbtacks or red pins
  • Open minds and creativity

The Rules

First, assemble a team of 3-4 players who are willing to participate in this week-long intervention.
Then, determine where the team’s “office” will be. The “office” will be the space where the billboard is kept, and players gather to discuss their findings (Find someplace safe and secure, you wouldn’t want any spies to interfere with your sleuthing).




The (perfectly messy) “office” space.

After the team is gathered in the office for the first time,  all players must agree on a single “clue” present in the room to pin on the board as the first lead. After the prime lead is decided upon, the intervention begins.
For the following week after the prime lead is pinned, players must gather whatever they deem to be clues that could somehow relate to the conspiracy in their mind. Be it newspaper clippings with interesting headlines, pictures of places that may fit into your theory, or perhaps the series of numbers on a dinner receipt, any mundane object could possibly be a clue. It is up to the player’s discretion to link their everyday occurrences and findings, to the possible conspiracy at play. Players are free to come into the office and pin their leads, as well as discuss them among themselves over the course of the week.
The player’s objectives are to fill the billboard with as many clues as possible by the end of the time limit, and come up with a single solid conspiracy based on the connected clues present on the billboard.

The first atttempt’s final results.

Inspiration & Statement

The concept I was going for with this game was to simulate activities with meaning as I’ve seen in several interventions, the main inspiration being The Jejune Institute. The Institute in particular was a great inspiration for this intervention in part to the nature of what it was intervening. Not only did it take place in the real streets of San Francisco, overlapping and seeping into the lives of players and participants alike, but it brought with it a great deal of meaning and surrealism to the participating players, as an intervention of their everyday mindsets. As I was able to discern, The Institute was an intervention with a purpose of bringing a sense of fantasy and intrigue to otherwise jejune aspects of life. It was an exercise in seeing through the everyday cycle and finding something to be invested in, some feeling of wonder. I found that motive fascinating, and tried to capture that same sort of feel with this intervention.

The nature of this intervention is also very much based on the cliche of an obsessed theorist, tirelessly connecting dots on a mysterious murder case or other hidden conspiracy. It’s a sort of cliche that’s widely used in media.

Charlie Day, demonstrating the cliche.

I took this convention and brought it to life in form of this intervention, because I thought the exercise of trying to find a method in the madness of a conspiracy theorist, is a good parallel to the motive of connecting real life to the extraordinary.

Overall, I thought the game succeeded in its attempt to interfere with a mind-space at the least. It wasn’t quite able to intervene with a physical space outside that of the chosen “office” space, but what the game asks of the players still very much seemed to open their eyes to zany, often humorous (im)possibilities abstracted from banal artifacts in their everyday life.


Appropriation – Settlers of Catan


In this artwork, I chose to appropriate Settlers of Catan,  as seen through a more or less modern perspective of resource scarcity and global warming. All of the game’s pre-fabricated pieces are still in their original state, aside from a slight modification or enhancement to the pieces: The knight cards for example, are contained in paper sleeves, and some of the territory pieces laid out on the board are elevated by  being placed on top of a paper prism. A number of rules of the game remain the same, as does the victory condition. Players must win the game by gaining 10 victory points, through building settlements/cities or obtaining the special ‘longest road’ or ‘largest army’ cards.


The game was inspired by examples of other modified games we’ve seen in class, such as all the separate variations of chess using smell or sound of contained items within each piece, to identify their rank. Perhaps the most influential of class examples, was an appropriated version of chess where the game was played just the same, but once each piece was taken down the player must splash that piece in red paint and toss it over the board- to represent the carnage of a battle, which Chess as a medium is meant to represent. I was very much a fan of the concept that with such slight changes to the game pieces and rules, you could keep generally the same familiar style of play from the original game, yet change its meaning entirely. I chose to attempt such a thing with Settlers of Catan, in renaming its cards and pieces, as well as slightly tweaking certain rules from the original game. The changes I appropriated to the game were meant to maintain a familiar set of rules, but improve upon the present mechanics to communicate a meaning that was once entirely absent from the game.

Modified Mechanics, and what they Mean.

To represent resource scarcity, some rules were modified and altered so that the game can still function in similar fashion to its original set of rules. Mainly, the original number of resource cards is reduced to a total of 12 of each card type, and when resources are sued they are put into a discard pile and do not return to the ‘bank’, leading to actual scarcity of resources needed to win the game. To reflect the global warming aspect, the ‘thief’ mechanic is reinterpreted as the ‘natural disaster’.  When each player rolls 2d6 to determine what resources are earned this turn, if the cumulative roll is a 7, the natural disaster is moved. Natural disasters cannot be commanded, so if the die commands a natural disaster to be moved, the 2d6 are rolled again to determine tiles the disaster can land on (If there are multiple hexagons of the same value, the player that triggered the disaster chooses the placement). Should the natural disaster land on a tile adjacent to a settlement or road they control, they must either discard one of their cards or destroy a road/settlement they own next to the hexagon.  On top of that, after a total of 14 resources have been drawn (cumulative across all players), global warming is triggered, and two ten-sided dice are rolled instead of 2d6. If these future rolls amount to a number that is not present on the board, the natural disaster is moved.

These mechanics working in tandem, represent the overall reworked theme of the game, keeping it more or less the same but changing its perspective to simulate a simplified perception of global warming, its causes, and its effects: Players drain the earth of its limited resources and spend them, leading to imbalance in the ecosystem and and increasing the value of what little remains of those resources, while also triggering an increase in frequency of natural disasters and other adverse natural phenomena.

Some other minor mechanics included in the game, are elevation and charity profiteers, and oil.

Normally in the original game, players may spend their resources to buy development cards which can be a random, card from the pile of possible effects. In this version, all development cards except ‘knights’ are removed from the pile, effectively making it so that buying a development card equates to buying a ‘knight’ card.  Though ‘knights’ retain their original card effect, they have been renamed to charity profiteers, in order to give a more cohesive meaning to the card both in context of its effect and the new scope of the appropriated game.

Knight cards, transformed into Charity Profiteers.

Elevated tiles are quite literally tiles that are elevated by a small paper prism on the board. Elevated tiles cost double the amount of resources to build around, meaning players must pay more resources to build roads and settlements (but the cost of upgrading to a city, remains the same). These tiles are supposed to represent a more accurate representation of navigation in difficult terrain, that we have in certain areas of our world, linking it closer to our reality and driving the point home further while adding what I consider to be an interesting mechanic to the otherwise 2-dimensional board.

Board, with elevated tiles.

Lastly, oil, is a special attribute the desert gains after global warming has been triggered. Once global warming begins and the industrial world is kicked into full swing,  the desert tile is considered an oil tile. While the oil tile does not grant any resources, much like the desert, any players with a settlement bordering this tile gain an additional 3 victory points. The desert is always elevated. This was inserted into the game to provide another possible strategy to winning the game, as well as represent the emergent use of oil and gas emissions along with it.



Quite a few elements of the game remain somewhat the same- intentionally. Many players are already familiar with Settlers of Catan, and the meaning conveyed through the game is supposed to be a very personal one.  If the player is detached from the mechanics and familiarity with the game, there’s a higher chance they’ll miss the point I’m trying to illustrate with this (admittedly heavy-handed,) adaptation.  The presence of the mechanics, however, are supposed to change just enough of the game to make it feel familiar, play like an interesting new game type, and reiterate an uncomfortable truth.

Show and Tell: SiIvaGunner

When it comes to appropriated content, a prime and common example most people are familiar with, are remixes and mashups. Being that they incorporate elements from two or more songs into one work, is already a form of appropriation in itself. Although, you don’t really have to stop there, as shown by youtube channel SiIvaGunner.

SiIvaGunner is a music youtube channel, making claim to the fact that their content entirely consists of “High quality rips”, as in, music ripped directly from game files. Each video posted is titled with the song name and game it’s from, each description lists the title of the song, the composer, performers, and platform of game of origin. Pretty standard, right?

It would be, were it not for the fact that none of these videos are technically “rips”.
They’re all mashups. Every single one of them.

Despite not listing or advertising any of the other melodies or songs (often sneakily) inserted into the original track, a large number of the posted tracks have an asinine number of other songs combined into the product. This alone takes a huge amount of skill, but the fact that often times the song actually sounds pretty good, is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Here’s an example.

The video, titled after the ‘main’ song featured, still uses all the same instruments from the original Hyrule Field and Ocarina of Time’s soundtrack, and should you show this to someone who’s not as familiar with the Zelda series they might notice just a melody here and there. But, the song rewards listeners with keen hearing because if you’ll read the top comment, you’ll see a list of 30 different songs that apt listeners identified as being inserted into this mashup in one way or another, if only for a very brief few notes. None of these songs were listed in the description, mind you.

It comes to a point where each of these videos, of which SiIvaGunner uploads several every day (which they are able to do since they are in fact a collection of artists, as opposed to one apparently superhuman individual) is sort of like a game or a scavenger hunt for the listeners, where they band together to identify the songs used in the mashup.

Some of them are essentially just memes, though.


Writing Unknowns

Artwork#1: Writing Unknowns


    • Obtain a small card and a black pen.
    • Hand the card to someone, and Instruct them to write something you wish someone told them today. They are not allowed to say the thought aloud,
    • Thank them, and hand the card to another person.
    • Do not look at the card again, after this point,
    • After the second person has written their note, stop instructing. Simply let the next people write what they think fits the pattern.
    • Once you believe the card is sufficiently filled, rip it to pieces and dispose of them.


Artist’s Statement

The score was originally written with the idea to encompass or reflect a personal rule I held myself to, and see if it was somehow possible to translate that dogma into some sort of happening or tangible experience that someone else who isn’t me might be able to interpret it in similar fashion, or feel some similar emotion to mine. Although, the original score hadn’t quite worked out because it was perpetuated by each person who participated in the score, and involved the participants maybe divulging information they wouldn’t want to share, so the score wouldn’t get very far. In the final iteration, I decided to switch the prompt from something uncomfortably intimate to a more harmless question with an opening that allows for possibly intimate responses.


The original, empty card.

Due to the nature of the score, unfortunately there are very few documentation pictures.

Both versions of this same score were partly based off pieces such as Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece, and Painting to Hammer a Nail. Both highly involved the audience as parts of the piece, which was a strong element of what I learned in my study of happenings in 5D Fundamentals (Which I took last semester). It is the element that even in observing, one becomes part of the happening. If there is nobody to observe the events, they die off and become moot. This illustrates just how important the inclusiveness of the “consumers” is in just about any work – which is a topic that is very much personally relatable to the games industry, as I start to think about it in more technical terms. Another piece which inspired the foundations for this score, I unfortunately can’t remember the name of, but it was very simple yet powerful: It included a small piece of notebook paper, on which the author wrote several of their deepest secrets and displayed it on a museum wall, in plain view. However, the lettering on the page was so meticulously small, that though the words were in plain sight, the information was still obfuscated from just about all audiences other than the author. As mentioned, I cannot remember the piece (and neither does google, evidently), but it served as a large influence on how this score was structured, because of its heavy and personal implications to the author, as well as the obfuscation of information.


As mentioned before, the other half of the score comes from a personal place of mine: a personal rule not to say something I wouldn’t be able to say directly to the topical person, and since that was an integral part of the score, I found it would be an injustice to the point if I were to write it in a way that excludes the “holder” (The individual passing the note from person to person) from the point. This was probably the most difficult part of the score to iron out, because the split of roles from the writers to the holder almost made it seem like the score acted as two separate happenings: the cooperation from one writer to another, and the effort from to holder to remain entirely oblivious to said cooperation. Although, I found it interesting that the separation of roles could make for different interpretations of the same score, so I left it as it was. The main point of the score was to invoke thought onto someone, either from the paranoia of not knowing what was being written, or the reminiscing to find out what it is they wanted to hear today (and why).


Overall, I think the score could have been improved upon with a better prompt that somehow involved the holder with a more active role as well, though the message and original thought behind the score was still present in both iterations. More holder involvement would also make the next iteration easier to document, for sure.