3 October 2022

The game of untranslatable words

2018 – board game
pilot edition – 3 copies

Age: 10+
Number of players: two teams of min. 2 players
Box of two decks of 40 cards, an hourglass, dice, rules

Ciumbia! is a board game about intercultural communication and untranslatable words, which stimulates empathy by using storytelling and imagination.

Ciumbia! – a Milanese expression indicating cheerful amazement – brings together untranslatable words in Romanian, Bulgarian, Japanese, Chinese, Peruvian, Arabic, Portuguese, English, Italian, plus Sicilian, Neapolitan, and the Milanese dialects.

The game consists of two packs of cards: one with illustrations that evoke the untranslatable words, and the other with short descriptions and keywords associated with them. The players, divided into teams, associate the words that are mimicked by their teammates with the corresponding pictures: the goal is to guess as many untranslatable words as possible.

Designed in 2018 by Anna Raimondo and Silvia Renda, as part of an artistic residency at “Mercato Lorenteggio” with the association Dynamoscopio and Mare Culturale Urbano, Ciumbia! was born from fieldwork and workshops where the artists identified some untranslatable words in the mother tongues or dialects of origin of the inhabitants of the Gianbellino-Lorenteggio neighborhood.

The game throws us an interesting communication cue: you don’t have to make yourself understood by everyone, misunderstanding, and error generate knowledge!

– Ideation: Anna Raimondo and Silvia Renda
– Illustrations, design and making: Silvia Renda
– Produced inside “64 Decibel project” of Dynamoscpio Association and Mare Culturale Urbano (Milan), with the financial support of Fondazione Cariplo.