One of the biggest casual party games to come out of the board game boom over the past few years has been Codenames, and now it has an Afrikaans version made for South Africa.
This is thanks to local distributors Solarpop who handle most of the board games which come into the country as well as TCGs like Magic, Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh.
Eugene Vermeulen, director of product and marketing at Solarpop, did the localisation of the game and tells us how the company moved from distribution to localisation.
The Czech publisher of the game – CGE – approached Solarpop with the opportunity to create a South African version of the game, which was perfect timing as they were looking to move the company in that direction.
Anyone who has played the game knows that a translation job would be tricky due to the fact that the game is almost entirely focused on language use as its main mechanic.
“With Codenames it was a little more complicated than other translations we’ve recently done as the words in the game need to connect with each other in ways that allow for multiple interpretations, double meanings and a play on words,” Vermeulen says, “CGE supplied us with a handy design aid though that helped guide our word selection process. It was not as easy as simply translating it, as words often change completely in Afrikaans, but finding the right words to form those patterns was an interesting challenge and one I think we got right in the end!”
To that end players can look forward to the game having a local flavour even for those whose native language is not Afrikaans.
If, at this point, you’d like to give the game a try, it’s already available. Takealot and Raru have it listed for around R300 when not on sale, and you should find it on shelves at most hobby stores.
If you’ve played Codenames and it’s just not for you, no worries as Solarpop is working on a few other titles at this time. An Afrikaans version of Catan is coming soon with Bananagrams in development too, though this is farther out.
A number of titles like Rory’s Story Cubes, Spot It, Ticket To Ride, and more are also in the works that will be bilingual in nature (English and Afrikaans).
Thankfully, other South African languages aren’t being left out in the cold – “Our next step is multi-lingual productions that will include top games in Xhosa and Zulu as well. It’s too early to divulge exactly which ones we’re working on, but they are coming soon,” Vermeulen adds.
Codenames Afrikaans is part of the Unplug Yourself campaign that’s trying to grow the board gaming community in the country. Visit its official site to learn more as well as the chance to win games every month.