Journey's End

This blog chronicles the brilliant ideas of the egotistical designer for Journey's End.
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Union Terminology

Ben Neumann
United States
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We know what it means: take a card from your hand and place it in the pile marked for discards. It sounds perfect for what is happening. How did it come to exist in game terminology? Etymologists indicate that's where the word was created, for the popular card games in France. A word that someone created for playing a game has become such a prominent fixture in vocabulary, applicative towards any form of removal, even to the point of eventually becoming a noun.

Games have power over language, but the French started with two pieces of words that they were familiar with when coining the term "decard." They frankensteined two concepts together...

That said, intuition plays heavily into word choice. Picking two words that make sense to one person, for instance the golfing term "tee" and "man" to describe the person setting up the tee, will not necessarily result in a useful new word...manatee?

Hide and Seek

All reverence for puns aside, there are three particular verbs I'm using in Journey's End to describe the actions players may take. The first is "gain," which has skyrocketed to use since the introduction of Dominion. In that game, "gain" means to take a card from supply and add it to your discards. I have used the term in the same manner, allowing players to gain skills and other types of cards.

To explain the other two words, I must first emphasize how the "hand" for Journey's End works. Originally I had players splaying their skills and other gained cards in front of them for all players to see. I felt that information like how skilled an adventurer was should be open, both thematically and strategically. Skills then used were tucked under the character card to show that they had been expended for the round.

This led to overanalysis, slowing gameplay, but also eventually felt less intuitive. When glancing at a person, can one honestly just know how skilled they are? You might have seen them accomplish a particularly Witty or Charming feat, but you might not know to what extent their Charm can climb. In the end, I switched the hand and discards.

The hand now encompasses a pile of cards, a player's private information, under the character card. The relative size of the stack of cards is viewable by all, but it may not be counted. Then, when a player needs to use skills, he "shows" them by placing the required cards in front of him (if I want gender neutrality, I should use "him or her," but what's wrong with "it?". Tada, you can now see the player gradually "show" how skilled he is as the round progresses and additional skills are shown. As a bonus, it adds more depth to player choices.

The obvious inverse for "show" then would be "hide." Moving a card from being shown back under the character card is "hiding" the card. This is of course the word I'm least comfortable employing, of "gain," "show," and "hide." Why? It's not an uncommon word in gaming; plenty of games use screens to hide resources, players often hide hands of cards or information.

Why don't I like the word "hide?" Seriously, can anyone weigh in on this?
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