This week I've got some ideas about playing cards to stimulate multi-lingual workshops! The principle is basically to tell stories using several languages..

It is played with "Story cards" showing pictograms suggesting several ideas and words, "Language cards" indicating the tongues to be used, other "Mode cards" indicating tense (past present future) or focus (work jargon, emotions, slang, formal, etc.), and "Action cards" consumed to switch languages and modes.

Several playing styles came to my mind as i was crafting the first items:

  • Circle of Interpreters: players form a circle, languages are chosen as link between each player of the loop. Each has 3 story cards in hand. One by one, they lay a story card, and tell the scenario to the player on their left according to the required idiom. The next one adds another story card to the sequence and translates the whole narrative again to his neighbor. This game is rather collaborative, but we may give penalties to incorrect interpreters! This playing style only requires each player to speak 2 languages.
  • Free for All: players sit around 3 central decks of cards showing Languages (those that all players can speak), Modes, and Story. Each player has 5 story cards and 3 action cards. A first speaker is selected randomly, and starts telling a (logical!) scenario by laying down his story cards on the story deck. At least one sentence must be made for each card. At any point of time, another player can raise one of his story cards, and will take over the speaker at the end of his sentence. Logical junctions and grammatical correction are necessary, but complains from other players must be made in the same language! If the contribution of the contender is proven incorrect, he takes back his card. Any player can use action cards to switch tongues and modes, even in the middle of a sentence! The winner is the one using up all his story cards.

Practically speaking, printed paper was fixed on beautiful poker cards with tape. Kings Queens Jacks are kept to serve as "Action cards". Jacks and Queens switch to the next language of the pile, while Kings allow to select any tongue directly.

Here are all the graphics !

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