Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
5 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Ideas when naming a game rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ryan Mentock
United States
Durham
North Carolina
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hello! I am currently trying to figure out a name for one of my games (WIP BGG Post here) and wanted to get some opinions on what people look for in a game name. I am looking for ideas for my own game, but I think this discussion could help others with their own game names, in general.

What is the first thing you look for in the name? If you were scrolling through a linked list of hundreds of game names, without knowing anything about any of the games, what would make you stop on one of them to click it and read the description?

I thought about this while browsing UnPub's list of games. There are hundreds of games on the list, but there is nothing other than the game's name and creator's name to influence your decision to click and read more about the game's concept. You could spend all day clicking and reading each one, but I'm guessing people use it more like I did - by scrolling around, clicking something that catches your eye, and reading maybe 5-6 of them before getting distacted and going to another website. Because a good game can get lost in that haystack, there will probably some great games on the list will never get the traction they need to make it to the table.

In this scenario, I clicked on the Unpub games I did because they had one or two key words that at least gave me a good idea what the game's theme would be - games like City Builders: Rome or Polar Profits - because their name gave away the theme. I can pretty safely assume the game will be about building a city in Rome or doing something with ice to make money. Those things sounded fun, so I clicked to read more. Certain games, like Crovuli Corsi or Phobos, could be awesome, but I didn't click because I had no clue what the game could possibly be about.

What would you use as your differentiator? Should the game's name be most descriptive of the theme or the gameplay or something else? Does what you look for in the game name change if you can also see the game's artwork?

Thanks for your opinions! Here is the link for my "Name The Game" contest, if you are interested in helping me name my fantasy football themed game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
TTDG
United States
Fairfax
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It is similar to book names, and seemingly a bit hard to pin down. Certain names are evocative of fantasy, sci-fi, cyberpunk, zombies, apocalypse, romance, western, history, oriental, etc. Each sport often has its own lingo, so if one of those keywords shows up in a book or game title/name, then it probably catches the attention of the person in the know. If I'm scanning dozens of titles, I may stop for the one that is NOT like all of the others. If the word is completely made up, I might guess abstract strategy game.

You can look at The Hotness list here too, and guess at the genre of each game. Words often have memory associations from how they are used elsewhere, and if the elsewhere is similar to the feel the game wants to evoke, it may be a good match.

Even if a person can guess what the game is about, or its genre, from name alone, does NOT mean they will then click through. You may need the name, but they also need the interest thereafter. For instance, I'm not into another abstract game, so IDing a game as such is not a plus for me.

The issue of cover/box art, or the blurb on the back, are further steps that can do a good or poor job of telling you what the books/game is all about.

I think though, if the game/book is good, and the designer can 'sell' it in just a couple of sentences (i.e. they can communicate the concept), then a good name is just a brainstorm away at that point. If the game is not so good, or they can't sell it, then a name is more likely to miss the mark. So some of it may come down to creativity.

Band names can also tell you genre oftentimes.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Nelson
United States
Draper
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Personal experience: Do not name it anything that is from a Discworld book title, if it has nothing to do with that book, even it fits the name logically (DW fans are everywhere and very aware!) devil

Titles for games is the hardest part to not repeat if it is a simple game: e.g. Food Fight, Penguin Panic. I thought at the time they would be rather unique - wrong! Check bgg database before you name anything is the second piece of advice.
1 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Warrender
United States
Averill Park
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A couple of thoughts.

Don't get too attached to your game's name in any case, because ultimately it's the publisher's prerogative to change it.

I started a "he name my game" thread a while back and one piece of advice I received has really stuck with me: it's that, you don't necessarily want your game's title to tell you what the game is about, as you do to locate the game in a particular context. Look at some of the top rated games to see this -- Puerto Rico, Agricola, Twilight Struggle -- these titles don't really tell you what the game is about, but they give you the sense that the game is about something, and that it's about something specific. I think a title of this sort can draw you into the game's world. In contrast, game titles lik Dominion or Race for the Galaxy don't really communicate this degree of specificity -- you might guess that their subjects are "ruling over stuff?" and "something to do with space?" respectively -- and unsurprisingly, the games are pretty generic.

If you're looking for a game's title to provide a hook that will attract attention, theme is probably the best hook that there is, and specificity is probably the best way to give the sense that there's a thematic experience in the box.
 
 Thumb up
0.10
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan Mentock
United States
Durham
North Carolina
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks! jwarrend - I searched for threads with this same topic and went back a while without finding anything (other than about a million posts on a European Theater wargame). I went through your thread history and couldn't find something that stood out by name as the "name the game" post. Would you be able to provide a link to your thread so I can read all of the previous advice posts? I'd appreciate the help.

That is good advice. For those examples, I think the name ends up complimenting the game play really well, but only after you know what the game is about. Once you've played Puerto Rico or Agricola or Twilight Struggle, the name makes a lot more sense and fits the game perfectly. I think this is definitely the better way to go if you can make it work, but wouldn't help much in the "Unpub" blind-test example.

Apparently the bottom line is just to make sure you have a great game! Thanks for your feedback and advice.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.