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Gameplay Mechanic a Month: Co-op Translation

Month 10 - October 2013

The Dragon Whisperers icon.

Mechanic Description:

The basic setup is a multiple choice quiz where you must answer correctly to be able to progress. However, the questions are asked in a made-up pictogram language so you need to use a "dictionary" to translate what each pictogram means. The catch is that you only have half of the dictionary. You need a fellow player to use the other half of the dictionary to work out what is really going on.

Players switch between the question screen and the dictionary screens. The two players sit next to each other in the real world and work together by having one player show the question screen on their mobile device while the other person uses their dictionary to look up words. Although this game could be played with one person, it would be a lot of information to hold in your head at one time, since there are 10 words to look up for most questions. The game encourages discussion between the players.

Playable in the following game:

The Dragon Whisperers


Mobile (Android, iOS)


Co-op Puzzle

Game Description:

You and your sibling must save your mother's life by travelling to the top of a temple guarded by a dragon. The dragon asks questions in pictograms and if you want to be understood you'll need to reply in pictograms. Luckily you have a dragon dictionary! Unfortunately you only have half of the dictionary. Your sibling has the other half!

You must work sitting next to a friend in the real world to translate what the dragon is saying and determine what you should say in response. If you choose correctly, you will ascend the temple steps and get closer to saving your mother's life. If you choose incorrectly you will be forced to descend.

The Dragon Whisperers is a two player offline co-op game and requires both of you to have the app installed on your device. One player must select "Player 1" at the beginning, the other must select "Player 2".


Start Screen

Start Screen

You begin by choosing which player you would like to be. The choice will change which dictionary you use.

Back Story

Go to the top of the temple

You play as two siblings whose mother is ill. The only cure is at the top of the temple.

Conversation Screen

Conversation Screen

The dragon speaks in pictograms. You must choose the correct pictogram answer to progress.

White Dragon Dictionary

Dragon Dictionary

Each player has access to half of the dragon dictionary. One player has the "white" words, the other has the "black" words.

Black Dragon Dictionary

Dragon Dictionary

Each dictionary has 50 words. Making the total dragon language 100 words strong.

Advanced Conversation Screen

Conversation Screen

As the game progresses you'll have to translate more words and you'll have more choices to reply to the dragon.

Gameplay Instructions:


The game will be available on Google Play and on the iOS App Store. Please follow the links here:


This game was developed for the SF Indie Game Jam with the following team members:


An analysis of the gameplay mechanic written by me in March 2015.

This was made for another game jam. The theme was a random wikipedia article about an Air Force squadron with a Dragon for a symbol. The squadron worked as a kind of help desk for other pilots to call up and report issues with their plane. We wanted to take that idea and make a cooperative game that got people talking and sharing the story together in person.

What Went Right:        

What Went Wrong:        

Hug Rating:
5 hugs

A super cute little game which made a big impression on the other participants of the game jam (I still get people remembering it over a year and a half later). I think the idea of giving two players different content was good, but is hard to explain to people.

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