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Tom Russell
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Spinning off from the Product Announcement Thread, a continuation of the discussion of the name of Agricola, Master of Britain, and perhaps for product names in general.

blockhead wrote:
Roman conquest of Britain

When I see Agricola, I just pass on. I've never heard of the Roman General. The current title may make sense to those who know their history better, but why take the chance on having less well informed wargamers (me) pass thinking its an extension of the eurogame?


Well, I think "Master of" is just martial enough to say "this is a wargame, and has nothing to do with that game with the sheep". I had also considered "Agricola: Conquest of Britain", but didn't use it because that was a little too martial. If you play the game and just focus on conquest and military matters, you're going to lose pretty quickly; players need to balance military, economic, and political concerns, and "Master of" seemed to encapsulate all of that.

I don't think "Roman Conquest of Britain" would work all that well, not only because of the reason above, but also because the actual Roman Conquest of Britain took place over a couple hundred years, while the game is narrowly focused on what Agricola accomplished.

I'm not sure if the general's relative obscurity is a good reason not to use his name in the title. If I was going to do a game on Boudicca's revolt, you can bet the name Boudicca would appear somewhere in the title. After all, it's a game about Boudicca. Same thing here; it's a game about Agricola, and how rad I think he was, so I think it makes sense to put the name in the title, while being careful to differentiate it from the farming game that also uses that word in the title.
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Pete Belli
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Analyzing wargame titles is a hobby within a hobby.

Since the mere mention of "Agricola" conjures instant images in the minds of board game enthusiasts (whether or not Agricola has ever been on that person's game table) that title would not be my first choice.

Good Luck with your project.
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Roger Hobden
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Agricola, Master of Britain is a perfectly good title for a wargame.

I would have never thought about the Euro of the same name.

Until today, I had no idea it even had any expansions.

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You can cater to either mainstream gamer customers (who are largely historically ignorant and would see "Agricola" and think the package has something to do with farming) or to grognards (who presumably are more historically literate and would be more likely to recognize "Agricola" as being the name of a notable Roman leader). Regardless of which course you choose, you're inevitably going to annoy some folks and miss out on some potential customers. No way of avoiding it.
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Andrew Kluessendorf
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Could you make it "Julius Agricola: Master of Britain"? I would think most people would see from the title that you are talking about a historical person and not farming in Britain. Just a thought.
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You can't think of people who won't buy your game.

The name is good. I knew Agricola was a Roman general thanks to this hilarious satirical review , so I'm the counterpoint to Mr. I wouldn't have looked at it because it sounds like an expansion to a Euro.*

* Besides, he clearly does subscribe to the new wargame product announcement list, so his pronouncement of it being a lousy name is deficient on its face because he knows it's not about some lame euro farming game.
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tomrussell wrote:
I'm not sure if the general's relative obscurity is a good reason not to use his name in the title. If I was going to do a game on Boudicca's revolt, you can bet the name Boudicca would appear somewhere in the title. After all, it's a game about Boudicca. Same thing here; it's a game about Agricola, and how rad I think he was, so I think it makes sense to put the name in the title, while being careful to differentiate it from the farming game that also uses that word in the title.


It's entirely your call, and my opinion is only that of a sample of 1, so take this for its worth. But a couple of points;

1) I know who Boudicca was. She's famous and there are already games about her. Never heard of Agricola. Glad you think he was rad, and perhaps I will too after I learn more, but also perhaps your knowledge is blinding you to the lack of knowledge in others?

2)Try searching BGG for Agricola. How is your game going to stand out in that list?

3) Try googling Agricola. Same problem. Try Agricola Board Game, and your problem gets worse.

4) If I did a game on Congress breaking up Standard Oil, I wouldn't call it "Monopoly"

For better or worse, within the realm of board games, Agricola is taken.

But I repeat, it's your game, your title, your call. I admire anybody who has the enthusiasm and stamina to bring a game to market. So wish you the best of luck.
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The designer must have thought about this when choosing the name. I wonder if he would explain how he came to his decision. I, too, think it a mistake but would be interested to hear his rationale
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Getaklue wrote:

Could you make it "Julius Agricola: Master of Britain"? I would think most people would see from the title that you are talking about a historical person and not farming in Britain. Just a thought.


+1, nice solution to the problem
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Tom Russell
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So, I understand where you're coming from, and I appreciate it, but

blockhead wrote:

2)Try searching BGG for Agricola. How is your game going to stand out in that list?


If I search for "agricola master of britain", the game comes up immediately.

Quote:
3) Try googling Agricola. Same problem. Try Agricola Board Game, and your problem gets worse.


If I google "agricola master of britain", the game comes up immediately.

Definitely I agree that the one-word title "Agricola" is spoken for. Certainly I expect Decision Games to have a rough time of it with their Agricola.
 
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People don't search for subtitles of books and typically only search the main word of s game...
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adm1 wrote:
The designer must have thought about this when choosing the name. I wonder if he would explain how he came to his decision. I, too, think it a mistake but would be interested to hear his rationale


Here's what I had said in the previous thread:

We did spend a lot of time deciding what to call this. We thought about "Mons Graupius", "Pacem Appellant", "Conquest of Britain", and a host of other titles-- but they all had the underlying problem of not communicating clearly and effectively what the game is about. "Agricola, Master of Britain" makes it clear that it's about the conquest of Britain by the roman general Agricola. I really don't know how one would communicate that without using the word "Agricola"; it was the dude's name. I wouldn't be afraid to call a game "Augustus, Master of Rome" because of Rise of Augustus, or to call a game "Trajan, Something of Something" because of Trajan; I think the full title in both cases would very clear differentiate them from the Eurogames of the same name.

I think the game's packaging and full title make it very, very clear that it has no relationship whatsoever with Mr. Rosenberg's game. There's nothing about this cover that implies we're going to be farming and building fences in the middle ages:

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adm1 wrote:
People don't search for subtitles of books and typically only search the main word of s game...


Not to get pedantic, but it's not a subtitle. There's a reason why I use a comma and not a colon.

And I think wargamers tend to search for the full titles in many cases. No one goes around searching only for "Gettysburg" when they're looking for a specific game on that topic.
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Subtle tweaks:

General Agricola, mob (master of Britain)
mob, Agricola
mob, general Agricola
Agricola, worst farm game ever
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I've been a wargamer for 40 years, but I'm also a marketing professional. My professional opinion is that the chosen name is a mistake. Most grognards will not have heard of Agricola the Roman but almost anyone who plays board games today has heard of Agricola the game. The designer and publisher can do whatever they like, but if they go with that name, they shouldn't be surprised if sales are disappointing, and if the sales are poor, the reason will almost certainly be due to the confusing name.
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tomrussell wrote:
Spinning off from the Product Announcement Thread, a continuation of the discussion of the name of Agricola, Master of Britain, and perhaps for product names in general.

blockhead wrote:
Roman conquest of Britain

When I see Agricola, I just pass on. I've never heard of the Roman General. The current title may make sense to those who know their history better, but why take the chance on having less well informed wargamers (me) pass thinking its an extension of the eurogame?


Well, I think "Master of" is just martial enough to say "this is a wargame, and has nothing to do with that game with the sheep". I had also considered "Agricola: Conquest of Britain", but didn't use it because that was a little too martial. If you play the game and just focus on conquest and military matters, you're going to lose pretty quickly; players need to balance military, economic, and political concerns, and "Master of" seemed to encapsulate all of that.

I don't think "Roman Conquest of Britain" would work all that well, not only because of the reason above, but also because the actual Roman Conquest of Britain took place over a couple hundred years, while the game is narrowly focused on what Agricola accomplished.

I'm not sure if the general's relative obscurity is a good reason not to use his name in the title. If I was going to do a game on Boudicca's revolt, you can bet the name Boudicca would appear somewhere in the title. After all, it's a game about Boudicca. Same thing here; it's a game about Agricola, and how rad I think he was, so I think it makes sense to put the name in the title, while being careful to differentiate it from the farming game that also uses that word in the title.


Another option might be to name it "Julius Agricola, Master of Britain." You get to include the name, but it would eliminate any confusion with the euro game.
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desertfox2004 wrote:
I've been a wargamer for 40 years, but I'm also a marketing professional. My professional opinion is that the chosen name is a mistake. Most grognards will not have heard of Agricola the Roman but almost anyone who plays board games today has heard of Agricola the game. The designer and publisher can do whatever they like, but if they go with that name, they shouldn't be surprised if sales are disappointing, and if the sales are poor, the reason will almost certainly be due to the confusing name.


It's actually selling really well. We've sold as many in four days as our Grunwald game did in four weeks.
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Getaklue wrote:

Could you make it "Julius Agricola: Master of Britain"? I would think most people would see from the title that you are talking about a historical person and not farming in Britain. Just a thought.


Sorry - didn't realize from your initial post that it was already for sale when I made my comment. I thought you were looking for feedback on the name not just justifying it to the masses.
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Roger Hobden
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O fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint, Agricolas.

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tomrussell wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
I've been a wargamer for 40 years, but I'm also a marketing professional. My professional opinion is that the chosen name is a mistake. Most grognards will not have heard of Agricola the Roman but almost anyone who plays board games today has heard of Agricola the game. The designer and publisher can do whatever they like, but if they go with that name, they shouldn't be surprised if sales are disappointing, and if the sales are poor, the reason will almost certainly be due to the confusing name.


It's actually selling really well. We've sold as many in four days as our Grunwald game did in four weeks.


Well, that's good news, but I'm not sure what that is measuring. Could it be that the new game is selling quickly because people who bought your earlier game liked that one so they quickly bought the new one when it became available? Do you have a feeling for how many of the people buying Agricola Master of Britain are repeat customers who previously bought Grunwald? Again, as Pete said, good luck on your endeavor, but I still think the name is not optimal from a marketing perspective!
 
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I have a hard time believing such a similarity is going to prevent sales. Especially not the way we find out about games. We don't just search a name because we heard someone talking about it. Often we learn about it because we read about it (often here) and not only would the entire title be listed, but the link to the game is supplied as well.
Do a search for "Napoleon" and see how many games within the same Genre contain that name. And could you imagine selling a game about him without his name?

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Hmmm, I'm feeling a bit had here. I'm offering marketing advice on a title, only to learn that the game is already published (making the title discussion moot)

Maybe the guy who has gotten at least two good threads out of this discussion is the marketing genius?

Good luck.
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desertfox2004 wrote:
I've been a wargamer for 40 years, but I'm also a marketing professional. My professional opinion is that the chosen name is a mistake. Most grognards will not have heard of Agricola the Roman but almost anyone who plays board games today has heard of Agricola the game. The designer and publisher can do whatever they like, but if they go with that name, they shouldn't be surprised if sales are disappointing, and if the sales are poor, the reason will almost certainly be due to the confusing name.


I believe you. But the exception that proves the rule is Memoir '44. Years ago, when I gave my FLGS owner the heads-up about Richard Borg's new BattleCry-like game for World War II, he said:

"What's it called???"

"Memoir '44!"

(Rolling his eyes) "Yeah, that'll sell!"
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blockhead wrote:
Hmmm, I'm feeling a bit had here. I'm offering marketing advice on a title, only to learn that the game is already published (making the title discussion moot)

Maybe the guy who has gotten at least two good threads out of this discussion is the marketing genius?


Ha!

I certainly didn't intend to pull a fast one on anybody-- when the game was announced in the Wargame Product Announcement Thread, some folks started weighing in on the title. It was asked that this be spun off into its own thread rather than derail the Product Announcement Thread, and so I did.

desertfox2004 wrote:
Well, that's good news, but I'm not sure what that is measuring. Could it be that the new game is selling quickly because people who bought your earlier game liked that one so they quickly bought the new one when it became available? Do you have a feeling for how many of the people buying Agricola Master of Britain are repeat customers who previously bought Grunwald?


A lot of new faces, actually, which was a pleasant surprise. Folks just seem excited about the game.

Quote:
Again, as Pete said, good luck on your endeavor, but I still think the name is not optimal from a marketing perspective!


I hear you, but I think it's a question of the specific market being targeted. We're a small press outfit publishing niche wargames, and so our products are aimed at a pretty smart crowd that isn't likely to get confused, and we're engaging with that crowd through wargamey venues like this subforum, CSW, and some groups on Facebook-- that is, we're not marketing to the same segment (though there is some overlap of course) or in the same space as the farming game.
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blockhead wrote:
Hmmm, I'm feeling a bit had here. I'm offering marketing advice on a title, only to learn that the game is already published (making the title discussion moot)

Although maybe that supports the points made regarding the title... buried under the weight of the OTHER Agricola! ;-)
 
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