$60.00
$20.00
Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
13 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Descriptive VS Abstract game name rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Dimitri Sirenko
Canada
Vancouver
BC
flag msg tools
Hey guys so we are in the process of getting an external playtest version of our card game done by the end of this month. While its not the most important aspect, we are still having trouble deciding whether the game name should be very straight forward like "Thieves Guild" for example or if we can use a more abstract name that is tied in with the story and theme of our game for example "White Fox" (the grand master thief is called White Fox and fox is a known animal that steals). The reason we are having trouble is mostly for identifying issues. Our demographic is around 20-40 years old 50/50 male female casual to midcore player. One of my partners is more of a business guy and he is really pushing for a simple descriptive name while I as a game designer and artist am pushing for something a bit less descriptive but somthing that has a nice ring to it and brings about good imagery. The third partner is undecided so I wanted to see if any of you have an advice for making a great title for a game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Broadbent
United States
Covington
Washington
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
"Thieves Guild" doesn't tell me much about the game - I expect I'll steal from my friends, or maybe we all steal together from the town? Are we thick as thieves with honor amoungst ourselves, or are we engaged in a ladder scramble to demonstrate supremacy?
"White Fox" doesn't really tell me much more, but it is interesting and exciting.
Most games that I can think of have theme-related names, not mechanic related names.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dimitri Sirenko
Canada
Vancouver
BC
flag msg tools
Thanks! that's definitely good feedback.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter S.
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
"The Guild of the White Fox"?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dimitri Sirenko
Canada
Vancouver
BC
flag msg tools
ErsatzDragon wrote:
"The Guild of the White Fox"?


well one of the things we do want to avoid that I forgot to mention is making a really long or double title. So we agreed that we want no more than 2 words, unless the 3rd word is something short like "of" then we could also do 3 words.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dimitri Sirenko
Canada
Vancouver
BC
flag msg tools
ErsatzDragon wrote:
"The Guild of the White Fox"?


the reason goes beyond the sound/ring to the title. We want the title to be conceptually reflective of our gameplay which is quick and snappy
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Lennert
msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Your title should
(1) intrigue people who are going to love your game but don't know it yet, guiding them to you
(2) allow people who have previously heard of your game to recognize it and remember it, allowing the idea of your game to spread

I've had problems with some games when their title is basically just a proper noun. If your title is something like "Grumpkin" or "The Story of Padringlowas" and I've never heard of Grumpkin or Padringlowas before, then I don't have any specific reason to be interested, and even if I wanted to know more I'll have trouble remembering it long enough to ask about it later (or spelling it in a search engine). So I think that's probably bad.

But you can have similar problems if your title is too generic. If the title is something like "Dust", that might be brilliantly evocative in context, but in isolation I have no clue what the game is about. (A game about destroying things and reducing them to dust? A game set in a desert with dust storms? A game about household cleaning?) It's also a fair bet that there are already multiple games out there with "dust" in the name, so if that's your entire title, it may be difficult to find your game in computer searches.


I don't think that "Thieves' Guild" or "White Fox" fall into either of those particular traps. They are both simple enough to remember and specific enough to tell me something about the game.

In my opinion:

White Fox is the more poetic name. It would catch my eye on a game shelf, and I'd remember it the next day when a friend asked me what I played. It is definitely better at goal #2.

However, while it certainly says something about your game's style or feel, it says very little about the theme or gameplay. I know from your post that "white fox" is the name of a master thief, but someone reading your title in a convention game list won't know that. For all they know, that could be a martial artist, a spirit animal, a code name for a secret research program, or a literal fox. So while it stands out, it doesn't tell me why your game would appeal to me.

Maybe that's not a big deal; maybe you can use box art or other details to convey additional information. But it's a weakness.

Thieves' Guild is a plainer name; it doesn't leap out in my mind, and I'm more likely to get it confused with some other title. It doesn't electrify my thoughts or pitch a tent in my memory.

But it gives a much clearer indication of what the game is about; it tells me there's going to be burglary and intrigue. If those things appeal to me, and the title is all I have to go on, I'm more likely to sign up for a game of Thieves' Guild than for White Fox. So this is probably better at goal #1.

Is that more important? I don't know. But that's how I react to the names.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dimitri Sirenko
Canada
Vancouver
BC
flag msg tools
Antistone wrote:
Your title should
(1) intrigue people who are going to love your game but don't know it yet, guiding them to you
(2) allow people who have previously heard of your game to recognize it and remember it, allowing the idea of your game to spread

I've had problems with some games when their title is basically just a proper noun. If your title is something like "Grumpkin" or "The Story of Padringlowas" and I've never heard of Grumpkin or Padringlowas before, then I don't have any specific reason to be interested, and even if I wanted to know more I'll have trouble remembering it long enough to ask about it later (or spelling it in a search engine). So I think that's probably bad.

But you can have similar problems if your title is too generic. If the title is something like "Dust", that might be brilliantly evocative in context, but in isolation I have no clue what the game is about. (A game about destroying things and reducing them to dust? A game set in a desert with dust storms? A game about household cleaning?) It's also a fair bet that there are already multiple games out there with "dust" in the name, so if that's your entire title, it may be difficult to find your game in computer searches.


I don't think that "Thieves' Guild" or "White Fox" fall into either of those particular traps. They are both simple enough to remember and specific enough to tell me something about the game.

In my opinion:

White Fox is the more poetic name. It would catch my eye on a game shelf, and I'd remember it the next day when a friend asked me what I played. It is definitely better at goal #2.

However, while it certainly says something about your game's style or feel, it says very little about the theme or gameplay. I know from your post that "white fox" is the name of a master thief, but someone reading your title in a convention game list won't know that. For all they know, that could be a martial artist, a spirit animal, a code name for a secret research program, or a literal fox. So while it stands out, it doesn't tell me why your game would appeal to me.

Maybe that's not a big deal; maybe you can use box art or other details to convey additional information. But it's a weakness.

Thieves' Guild is a plainer name; it doesn't leap out in my mind, and I'm more likely to get it confused with some other title. It doesn't electrify my thoughts or pitch a tent in my memory.

But it gives a much clearer indication of what the game is about; it tells me there's going to be burglary and intrigue. If those things appeal to me, and the title is all I have to go on, I'm more likely to sign up for a game of Thieves' Guild than for White Fox. So this is probably better at goal #1.

Is that more important? I don't know. But that's how I react to the names.


thanks for the elaborate thoughts. Some good things to ponder about there. We will meet and discuss this and see if we can come up with a few names with your suggestions in mind. But for now i feel that priority will be to get the printable version ready so people can actually experience the game and maybe have more context to go off of when suggesting or voting what the name could be.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph Chen
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
You might also consider the searchability of the name. If someone searched "Thieves Guild" or "White Fox" would they be able to find your (eventual) website? Or maybe "Thieves Guild Board Game" or "White Fox Board Game".

For example, there's already a Thieves Guild board game and a Guild of Thieves board game, whereas there doesn't appear to be any board games with a similar name to White Fox.

I personally would lean towards the name that evokes imagery and has a better ring to it. The name can be important for drawing people's attention, so one that has more unique appeal may be better.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
philip selesky
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I feel that naming a game is one of the hardest parts of making a game.

I found this article helpful: http://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-129-picking-th...

It relates more to naming a Kickstarter project, but some thoughts carry over.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JP Ginley
Ireland
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Nike and Apple are good example of abstract names that are in no way descriptive of the products they sell but are very strong brand names.If you want abstract (brand) name for your game just mix some letters together to make a catchy sounding name but meaningless in relation to your theme. This is best for brand name search and recognition as it is likely to be unique.

If you decide on descriptive name then maybe themes like Den-of-thieves,
Foxy Bandit, Fox Larceny etc etc.come to mind. Personally, I like White-
Fox as it simple and easy name to remember. Downside is that there are
likely to be many similar sounding games on the market.

It seems to me that you have already decided to go with descriptive name
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
K S
United States
Tonawanda
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
White Fox Guild? Guild White Fox? White Fox Thieves? Thieves: White Fox?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geordie Young
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
JP49 wrote:
Personally, I like White-Fox...

Agreed. The White Fox sounds good.

Here are more alternatives to help with your brainstorm (without having any additional information on your game's theme, story, or mood):

The Thieving Fox
Of Foxes & Thieves
The Squirrel (some other animal in your backstory?) & the Thief
White Fox: Master Thief (or Master of Thieves)
Thieves! The White Fox Guild


And so on and so forth. Good luck!

 
 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.