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Subject: Should you avoid clichés? rss

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Terry Kirk
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I'm in the process of tweaking my game, applying my theme, and altering wording.

I keep finding my self using clichés, and I'm not sure if that is a good thing.

For example I need 3 types of characters, and all I can come up with are over used. E.G. Fire/water/earth good/neutral/evil but none really feel right to me.

Do you guys avoid this type of cliché or embrace it? If you do avoid it how do you come up with ideas yourself?

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Frederic Heath-Renn
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Seems to me they're clichés for a reason: because they work.

To an extent it depends how you use them. I can see the argument that if you rely on a basket of clichés for your theme your game might come across as hackneyed, but in my view using Lead, Actinium and Bromine as your elements instead of Fire, Water and Earth isn't going to make your game any more original by itself, it's just going to trip people up and get in the way - like when your game is about amassing Prestige Units and everyone just calls them VP anyway.

Similarly, if your game mechanics are original then a familiar overlay isn't going to make them less so, and if it fits well with the mechanism then the familiarity may well make your game easier to learn - if your game has a good/neutral/evil system then it's going to be simpler for everyone to learn if you call it that instead of trying to work out how to hide it with different words.
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B C Z
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Do they convey what you want to say in a few words?

 
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maf man
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In general I agree with that first reply. Cliches are that way because they've worked in the past, just try to make sure you use them because they fit and not because their tried and true.

I saw this idea here a while back and it worked decent for that guy...
Try making an ab lib version of the game/part of the game/rules/summery and try giving to some friends.
See what comes to mind just out of the situation rather than straight out asking for words. I know it sounds like a silly way and more work than just asking but it could come up with a better answer as it would come about more organically.

 
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Chris Williams

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In general, the more you follow cliches, the worse the impression will be of the result. But at the same time, this doesn't mean that no one can ever use a vampire in a game/film/book ever again. It just means that, at the end of the day, you do need to bring something new to the table.

For a board game, that might mean more for your artist than for you though. It's hard to do much to really bring out most themes than have nice pictures. But you'll have to be less choosy in your artists if you have been fairly original in your setting.
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Chris Schenck
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Clichés are bad. I avoid them like the plague.

In all seriousness though, your only other options would be to come up with unique terminology that would actually provide a small hindrance to new players learning the game. Let the uniqueness of your game shine though the design. Game terminology is not the place to try to be creative and unique.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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For those who are incapable of avoiding them, considering whether they should or not is time wasted. devil
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Robert Wesley
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surprise "Munchkindred"! MAKE a 'Euros-centric' version, or BGG-folks sort even. 'Hokey'MON-'styled' goo
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