Dialect of Barrelers

At the other table, we played Dialect by Kathryn Hymes and Hakan Seyalioglu, a game driven by the creation of a new language within an isolated enclave. Each turn we introduce new words for concepts or ideas on cards in our hand. In this session, we played a group of weapons smugglers in 1830s England known as the Barrelers. Our initial aspects were Smuggling (our metier), the Burlesque (our club, the Sirens), and the local threat, a mysterious serial killer. Prof. Patrick “Topper” Ropp, the tarot-reading oracle; Hannah “Nahhan” Geiger, the gang leader, Henry “Cap’n” Belvedeer, the earthy manager of Sirens; and Margaret “Rummy” Ransdell-Green, the operational mastermind of our business.

As we planned bigger and bigger jobs, the heat increased until the police presence replaced the serial killer as the biggest threat on our docks. Eventually, our gang was broken, our members arrested or killed. We had four different words for death (s.f.u.g., s’fume, Peter’d, p.u.d.), clearly a major part of our lives, and we expressed our worry by being “wracked”, and our printing press for forging manifests was known as the “forge.”