CAR-PGa NEWSLETTER, Vol. 30, No. 3, March 2021

An international network of researchers into all aspects of role-playing games

David Millians, Editor

Paideia School, 1509 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30307 USA


Hello All,

In our last update I shared that the board recommended we run a series of virtual panels. We had our first CAR-PGA virtual panel this month and I’m pleased to report that it was a success.

Our guest speaker was Hawke Robinson, who shared an update on RPG Research and the digitization of Paul Cardwell’s archives. In our one-hour discussion, Hawke covered everything from his plans for the RPG Museum to how you can help to the number one mistake that game researchers should avoid. You can view the recording in its entirety on YouTube.

One hour wasn’t enough to cover even a fraction of all that Hawke and RPG Research does, but it was a great start. We look forward to having him back on as a panelist in the future. In fact, we plan to check in with Hawke monthly to share his progress on all the amazing things he does to promote tabletop gaming research.

For our next panel, one of our newest members, Mike Best, will join us to discuss how he helps educate kids about role-playing games. He recently launched a Kickstarter, Crafty Quest Boxes: learning tools for parents looking for a kid-friendly way to introduce their children to the world of fantasy gaming. 

I’m excited about this new chapter in our gaming outreach and I hope you’ll join us at 7 p.m. ET on March 18 for our next virtual panel!


Mike Tresca

Committee Chair


Dialect: Review

By David Millians

As someone ever-interested in languages, I was excited to learn more about a 2017 game, Dialect: a Game About Language and How it Dies by Katheryn Hymes and Hakan Seyaloiglu. This project is a delightful, deep-dive into the social linguistics of marginal languages, how they develop and, like all languages, eventually fade. Similar in some ways to Microscope and other games of developmental imagination, as well as closed-ended stories like those in The Quiet Year, Dialect offers several contexts in which novel language elements can develop and evolve among the various constituencies of a marginal community.

Unlike some indie designs, Dialect does include the role of a Facilitator, a special role of guide and expert advice as the game moves forward, but an experienced group of players could dispense with this element if they wished. Using the Dialect card deck for ideas, players create a Backdrop, the context for the language they will develop, or they can pick some several fascinating options. Each player then takes on and expands a role within the community, from which they will add language elements and modify those of the other players. The game then goes through a series of turns over three Ages, in which the isolated community develops a new language through initial options, evolution, and a final language after the isolation ends. Powerful group stories ensue! Each part and step of the game is beautifully, evocatively illustrated by Jill de Haan and Erica Williams, and the imagery and topics offer many opportunities to reflect on how we make and use language and community. The cards

I recently backed the successful fundraiser for Ulus on Kickstarter, a game to raise awareness and engagement with the Mongolian language and script, both under pressure from global forces and those of the government of the Peoples Republic of China. These games delight me, but it’s worth remembering more generally that when we gather in small groups, in person or online, to play together, we are building community with one another and beyond ourselves into the wider hobby and beyond. Dialect reminds us that groups are significant in our lives, for better or worse, and bear reflection.



Appelcline, Shannon (2020 Feb 2) The Top 10 Infamous RPGs. From 1981 through today, games that mystified and horrified.

Appelcline, Shannon (2020 Feb 19) Giants of the Industry: David F. Nalle. Bio-obituary for creator of Ysgarth and early RPG ideas.

Ardent Roleplay (2020 Feb 23) How Role-Playing Games Can Your Child’s Development. Familiar, broad benefits of gaming, promoted by virtual tabletop company.

Barbu, Brianna (2021 Feb 19) The critical role of chemistry in D&D poisons. A scientist explores game poisons.

Bassey (2021 Feb 18) Thanks so much for your support. Gamewright donates games to educators in Nigeria.

Comic Relief (2020 Feb) Epic Dungeons & Dragons Adventure at Warwick Castle. Adventure event for charity.

Ewalt, David M. (2020 Feb 25) Dungeons & Dragons Gers a Bigger Role at Hasbro. Toy maker’s newest operating division is for fantasy games.

Fantasy Grounds (2021 Feb) Top Games for 2020 Q4. D&D 5E dominates but wide variety too.

Cohen, Menachem (2020 Feb 23) Dungeons, Dragons & Divinity: Playing Games for Spiritual Growth, Exploration & Healing. Online event at Hebrew Seminary.

Knight, Rosie (2021 Feb 11) JUST ROLL WITH IT Explores Anxiety and OCD Through D&D. Graphic novel normalizes feeling anxious and different for middle graders.

McCoy, David (2021 Feb 5) Wizards Has Hired Jonetelle Leyson-Smith as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Goals to change the culture and products of the publisher.

Pulsipher, Lewis (2021 Feb 19) Game Design Rules of Thumb – Part 1. Principles and observations.

Pulsipher, Lewis (2021 Feb 26) Game Design Rules of Thumb – Part 2. More insights.

Rallo, Alex (2021 Feb 15) HBO’s horror show 30 Coins explores evil with the style of an RPG. Director de la Iglesia confirms it for what may be Call of Cthulhu on screen.

Ricj@Hatchlings Games (2021 Feb 23) Anyone using #ttrpgs in your homeschooling?. Lots of interesting ideas and applications.

Shankar, Avantika (2021 Feb 24) Inside India’s nascent Dungeons and Dragons communities. Fan group Panic Not! supports play, community, and translations.

Tweet, Jonathan (2021 Feb 10) EVERWAY Then and Now. Origin and development of the game Everway.

Weber, Michael Leopold (2021 Feb 22) Tabletop roleplaying taught me that failure is okay – and often more interesting. Challenge and opportunity in games and life.

Woodard, Scott (2021 Feb 2) Now Available: Swade in Simplified Chinese. Publisher-approved, fan-produced translation in the China market.


Inklebarger, Timothy (2021 Nov 2) Escape for the Isolated: Dungeons & Dragons offers online realms of fantasy, adventure. Librarians using D&D to create communities in social distancing times.


Tresca, Michael (2021 Feb 22) Tracking Down the Elusive Shift: A Review. Examination of the ways in which early struggles to define role playing games still resonate today.

Tresca, Michael (2021 Mar 1) Gaming for Good with Jasper’s Game Day. Raising funds and awareness for suicide prevention with link to events in April and May.

© Copyright 2021 by the Committee for the Advancement of Role-Playing Games (CAR-PGa), ISSN 1071 7129. The CAR-PGa Newsletter is a monthly publication. For more information contact David Millians, Editor, Paideia School, 1509 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30307 USA, phone (404) 808-1070, fax (404) 377-3491, e-mail Back issues are available. Contributions of material from the membership are urged, and the byline is responsible for content. Deadline is the last weekday of the month, email preferred. Permission is granted to copy anything in the Newsletter, provided we get a credit line in the publication copying it, and it doesn’t have someone else’s copyright on it. Information, including details on joining CAR-PGa, can be obtained on the Internet at