Tuesday 10 February 2015

A gamer translated Infection into French so their 83 year old father could play it

So as many of you know I designed a solitaire boardgame called Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp published by Victory Point Games.

So it came to my attention that one of the people who owned my game who lives in France shared the following story:

I know the game since it was published. It plays fast, it's puzzly, it's thematic, it's challenging. So many qualities... I like that game a lot. 

What I didn't notice before last month was that there is a story in it.... and it's funny.

Personal back-up story

Last Christmas, my father - who will be 83 in a week and has never played a boardgame in his life - asked me to find a solo boardgame he could play.

First idea that came to my mind while talking with him was Infection. However, he doesn't understand English: I had to translate the rules and the cards in French.

I assumed, it would not be an easy task.

Before initiating translation, I asked for advice in the 1st Player Guild Forum on BoardGameGeek. I received a lot of very interesting suggestions (I'm still working on two of them) but as I "sold" Infection to my father in the first place, he was really interested in playing that particular game.

It took me more time than I expected.

It is especially challenging to translate cards. Very often, it takes several words in French whereas English use one or two to express the same idea.

Anyway, I did finish the translation just in time to send the game to my father for his birthday (it was the initial goal).

My revelation regarding infection story

When I play, I focus on the effects (place a molecule here or there, subtract 1 or add 2 to your die roll...) and not on the ambiance text.

The translation forced me to read every single word on the cards.

That's was a mistake to ignore the ambiance text. It's really worth it.

There is a true life in this Laboratory!

Adam, who is the youngest team's member, is really a nice "kid". He fells asleep regularly which pisses of Amanda whereas Sylvia is more forgiving. He disguises Marvin - the Lab Rat - when he's got some free time and watches TV a lot! The relationship are tensed between the Lab guys and the story develops in few-well-chosen words.

On the other hand, there is also a life outside the Lab. The death section tells that story like a never-ending-scrolling information at the bottom of the TV screen while watching the TV-news.

Just don't know how I could have missed the excellent job they did with the story in this game.

It cannot be called a "story-telling" game, though, but there is a story. I will play it with new eyes now.

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