Welcome to Abba Babba - a small island of great prosperity and happiness. Everyone wants to live in Abba Babba these days, but we only want the the best of the best. There are many happy Abba Babbans who want to help you as you complete our rigorous citizenship process, but will you make the cut? Work together collect all of your necessary documents, and maybe you’ll become an Abba Babban!

Goal of the game:

The goal of this game is to simulate the difficulties that immigrants in the US may face due to language barriers. The design team will continue to play test up until July to further refine the game.


The first three immigrant-native pairs which collect all four documents of their team color win citizenship for their immigrant.

Game play:

To set-up the game, an even number of players are split up into two groups at random. They are the immigrants and the natives - though their roles are hidden from them at first.

The natives are taken aside and given four items - a map, an apartment lease, a job application, and a residency card. They are then tasked with hiding each of these items in different places within the game boundaries, but they have to remember where they hid each particular item. They have 3 minutes to hide items.

While the natives are hiding, the immigrants are given their citizenship booklets, which contain some basic word translations of English to Abba Babban words. When the natives return, they are paired with an immigrant and their roles and the objective of the game are revealed to them. The main rules are that: no language besides Abba Babban may be used, natives must remain in the Capitol building, and the immigrant must collect all four items for their team first for their team to win.

Natives are also given a citizenship booklet, which actually has more translated Abba Babban words than the immigrants. When an immigrant collects one of their team’s document and returns to home base, they receive additional word translations as well - learning more Abba Babban as the game progresses.

The facilitators tell the players which item to start with and then natives provide directions in Abba Babban to their immigrants. Immigrants then go out to search for the document, and once they have received it, return to the Capitol to “learn” new Abba Babban words and are then told which document to receive next.

The first three immigrants to collect all documents win citizenship to Abba Babba.


  1. No other languages but Abba Babban may be spoken during gameplay. Body language and gesturing is allowed.

  2. Natives are not allowed to leave their station while immigrants are searching for keys. They are only allowed to move between stations with their immigrant.

  3. Immigrants and natives may only move to the next station together.

  4. The last team to arrive at each station is deported.

First play test:

Come Out and Play Festival:

Abba Babba was selected to participate in the Come Out And Play Festival, which took place on July 16th–18th. Originally created for the DSI Games for Change class this past spring, Abba Babba took to the streets for the After Dark evening of game play at the Manhattan Bridge Archway Plaza in Brooklyn.