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Lingua Franca design journal (Jun 7, 2022)

After reviewing feedback from playtesters, I’ve made a series of adjustments to Lingua Franca. Thanks for the feedback! The core of the game is still there, but I’ve changed how clues are given and what Responders can do to make the game more dynamic. I’ve also changed the player count to 3-6 (used to be 2-4).

Here are the details of these changes:

  • Communication games like Mysterium and Codenames have an element of player discussion to help solve clues. Not “table talk” discussion that defeats the purpose of the game, but that other aspect where Responders discuss what the Spotter’s clue might mean. Lingua Franca was missing that. I think increasing the player limit to at least three players will solve this, as that means there will be a Spotter (clue giver) and at least two Responders (problem solvers).
  • Lingua Franca was too hard in a lot of cases and takes a lot of brain power to attempt to give and solve clues. What’s odd about this is that in my initial playtests of the game, I found it was too easy. That’s why I went to a 12-card grid for Missions. I understand though that my playtesting a game that I created means that I’m going to be good at playing it out of the gate and will have a warped perception of the difficulty of the game. Thank goodness for people like Trevor and others who playtested Lingua Franca and provided valuable input. To help solve this problem, I’ve made MANY changes to the Language Cards and Spotter Cards.
  • Instead of having three words on a card and the Spotter stating how many words relate to the Mission, Language Cards have been revamped. They now allow the Spotter to say a word within the confines of the Language Card. For example, there’s a Language Card for color, where the Spotter can say a color to help clue Responders in on the correct Mission Card.
  • Language Cards also have suits, and cards of the same suit can be played with a Language Card to allow the Spotter to say multiple words of the same type. As a Spotter, you could play a Color card and three other cards of the same suit (axe, burner, or vial) to say multiple colors.
  • Responders can now play a number of suit cards together (depending on the number of players) to activate abilities and upgrades. Responders can increase the hand limit of the Spotter, have them remove an incorrect Mission, or “equip” a Language Card for permanent use by the Spotter.
  • There were inconsistencies between the rules and the Playingcards.io version of the game that I believe I’ve fixed.

These changes to the rules and game are live in the Google Doc rulebook and Playingcards.io versions of the game. BUT, I haven’t yet updated the print and play assets. (Give me a few days to get the print and play stuff updated.)

NINJA EDIT: I was able to update the PnP file today!

Let’s get out there and make Lingua Francas together!

By Neutrino Burrito

A writer and game designer currently hiking through the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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