the decision blog

a game for getting stuff done and learning a foreign language

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Like writing? Like learning foreign languages? Like role playing games? Here is a to-do list game I made up that has all three:

(a) Pick a word from the target language. It can be one that you’d like to learn, or a random one from the dictionary, or just a word that you like.

(b) The letters in the word determine certain features of your surroundings (I based the following identifications off letter frequencies in Latin; feel free to change them for your target language):

“a”: there is a door (or some open path) toward the east from your current position

“s”: door to the north

“t”: door to the west

“u”: door to the south

If any of these letters shows up more than once in the word, then the door is locked (or the pathway blocked). To go in a currently inaccessible direction, you will need the word to have the letter...

“c”: there is a key somewhere near you (or some means of unblocking an inaccessible direction)

Each key can be used exactly once, after which it disappears!

(c) Okay, so now you have your word, and through it know some basic facts about your surroundings. The next step is to write a sentence in the target language describing what’s happening; that sentence has to contain the word you chose.

(d) Now do a real-world task with whatever degree of chunkiness you deem appropriate. After this task is completed...

(e) can choose to stay in your current area or not. Either way, choose a new word and write another sentence for your story using that word.

If you chose to stay where you are, the letters of the word will have no effect on your surroundings, but if you chose to go through a door then the word’s letters will determine the basic characteristics of your new surroundings.

(f) Do a task after each new sentence. As you progress through the story, keep a little drawing showing where you’ve been as well as locked and unlocked paths, as shown below: You may need to revisit places to move your story forward!

And that’s it – happy adventuring :)

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