2 french tourists at Grand Tribunal 2015

Hello everyone!
1am here, so sorry if my post is erratic

This year, with my friend karine, we decided to attend Grand Tribunal 2015.
There was only 2 small problems: My english is only slightly above average, and my friend didn't speak english at all.
So we had 3 cases, assuming I was in peak condition (my english sometimes just broke):

  • Perfect: People speak slowly enough, without much noise and accent. This meant I could understand AND translate.
  • Ouch: People go too fast, or I struggle to understand: I could follow, but not translate.
  • Help: Too much people speaking too quickly with too much noise and accent: I'm lost.
    You can see the problem here. Assuming those are equal, it means I only understood 2/3 of things, Karine 1/3 :frowning:

This post is then for all the people who never dared enter Grand Tribunal, especially if they don't speak english (Which may be the case with some of your friends).

First, let it be said that CJ was just awesome. From the beginning, he was very encouraging, and did everything he could, and then more, to make us feel welcome, and ensure that, despite our limitations, we could game and have fun.

We met with everyone on friday, when we met the other attendees at... some pub I can't remember the name. Everyone was very friendly, and we managed to have some conversations, despite the language barrier. We then went to a chinese restaurant, in which we were introduced to the concept of Marmite (Which I understand to be some kind of secret stealthy biological weapon that gets unleashed on the unsuspecting).
Afterwards, we went to the holiday inn for some chat on Ars Magica, which I could only barely follow, with my friend being totally lost.

Then, on saturday, the convention itself began.
We found ourselves with Anna and 4 other players. Anna did her very best run the game in 2 languages, which proved difficult. It was interesting and fun, I managed to follow most of what happened, and Karine was useful as well as tried her first spont, but still, she was a little lost, mostly due to missing player-to-player interactions :frowning:
So we asked CJ if there was any boardgames we could play, as these rely less on language and could more easily be played by non-english speakers, and he found us a Grand Tribunal game, in which we played with my camera (since we needed 3 players, we had it as a standd-in). The camera almost beat us...
We later were recruited to playtest Nathan Hook's Midsummer card game, and had great confusing fun.

Sunday was the last day of the tribunal.
We began it with yet another game by Anna, with Sheila being the poor soul drafted to play with us. It was fun and light, and, due to the reduced number of players, went better for karine, which was able to contribute a lot more.
We then played more Midsummer (yeah!), before going to a pub and later a restaurant, in which we had great conversations (in french or slow english) with Anders, Jean-Fran├žois and Andrew, discovering the wonders of Norway (Best country in the world).
And that was, mostly, all.

Overall, we had fun, everyone was nice, and, although I feared Karine may have been disgusted by Ars due to her lack of comprehension, she regreted not playing more! Yeah!

So, my resume and advices:
If you're hesitating whether to go to GT or not, don't hesitate, and go. This is a nice event, and everyone is just great.
If you have any problem at all, contact the staff early enough so that they know about it. Whatever it is, I'm sure they'll do anything they can to help you.
More specifically, if one of you doesn't speak english, a dual-game language may be possible, but this will be challenging: Even in the best of cases, translating everything doubles the time needed. And that's assuming the traducer understand everything just fine, which wasn't my case. The foreign player can thus easily feel left out :frowning:
CJ had a great idea, which wasn't implemented but could, in my opinion, alleviate this greatly: The GM needs to have every description written on little papers for the non-english speakers. This should save you a great deal of time, with any translators focusing mostly on player-to player and player-to-GM interactions
The more traducers, the better, of course.
Try to work into the game why different PCs may be unable to communicate. Maybe one is mute, or comes from the THeban Tribunal and doesn't speak latin.
I think that, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, making the foreign player(s) central to the game may be a good idea. Maybe she's got all the useful lores, or the needed skills, or maybe she's the social companion behind which the magi hide. This'll force the players to interact between them, whereas otherwise, I think that, due to the language barriers, the foreign players'll naturally tend to be left out.
Be ready to play card games or boardgames. Really, this is great fun, and puts little stress on anyone.

Next stop: Translate all of this on ludopathes forum (easier going from english to french than the other way around)

Thanks everyone!

I wish I could go some time...