The game at Kent’s house.

WAYK Podcast, Episode 2: Debriefing the Game. 32 minutes and 10 seconds.

[direct download]

We’ve decided to start sharing the debriefs of games we run with all of you in the WAYK community. This podcast really counts as Part I of a lengthy debrief we did, of our community game night at Kent’s, a WAYK player and host of a monthly game night at his house here in Portland, Oregon. Expect Part II to follow. Issues raised in this debrief range from the very technical, to the overarching big-picture of why we do what we do. Some of big issues raised:

– Evan can speak Superior-level Spanish; why don’t we ever run Spanish games of WAYK?

– Which do we prioritize; learning the game (and its techniques), or learning the target language?

– The death of an indigenous skillset (such as house-building, basketmaking, ceremony, hunting) means the death of the community road-map for attaining mastery in that skillset, and the loss of a community work of genius.

– When do we speak our first language when playing the game, rather than the target language; how much explaining of techniques do we do?

Written by Evan Gardner


Dan Chay

Okay. I’m hunting to learn more. Here’s looking forward to your next episodes. Thanks.


Thanks Dan – keep chiming in. If you have any questions or ideas you’d like addressed in a podcast, please let us know.

Jay Bazuzi

I paused the playback (at 4:00) to write this. You talk about waiting to describe the target language until you can do so in the target language, especially regarding the rules of grammar.

This is important to get in to people’s heads early. In almost every language learning experience I’ve had, people start with lists of nouns and rules of grammar. When trying to develop WAYK for my grandmother’s Arabic, I had to untangle the rules of Arabic (there are 4 ways to say “my keys”) to pick a simple subset that could be used to play the game. In fact, I think I should have discarded even more of Arabic to get started more simply.

The ruler that seems to make sense is “if I don’t know this rule, will a native speaker still understand me?” If so, that’s good enough, at least for “get to the party” level.

Jay Bazuzi

Next comment, at 17:40. I took a traditional wooden boatbuilding workshop last summer. Lucky for me, there’s a traditional wooden boatbuilding school about 10 miles away. The instructor has been building boats all his life, and this kind of work (we built a 16′ dory) is his favorite kind. It was his last year teaching at the school, before moving back to the East Coast.

Having that experience with him was amazing. I can learn lots from books, videos, and other people who have built boats, but the speed of learning, and the detail, would be difficult to match without that old-school craftsman.

I’m sure the students at his new job are enjoying what he has to offer, so I can’t call his departure a “loss”, but I know that it was a special opportunity to learn with him.

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