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Subject: More memorable names for the alien races rss

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Alex Churchill
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One big downside that Gaia Project has relative to Terra Mystica is that the GP faction names are so confusing and unmemorable. They're all random strings of letters with no meaning to them.

By contrast, almost all the Terra Mystica races had a strong semantic association with either their home terrain, or their racial ability. Sometimes even both (Mermaids particularly; also Fakirs, Nomads, Dwarves...). That kind of "flavour win" seems like it'd really help Gaia Project for discussion and avoiding mental overload. It's a standard game design principle: whenever you can "shortcut" or "piggyback" on the players' existing knowledge and associations, subjective complexity is reduced.

I'm particularly struck that the two races that had semantic names in German - "The Swarm" and the "Mad Androids" - were given "another generic alien race name" in English. This seems a great pity, and a loss for both flavour and comprehensibility.

So, with that in mind: Can we come up with more memorable names for the factions?

My proposals follow, but I'd love to hear alternative suggestions...

Blue (Terra): Terrans - This is the only race with a meaningful name to 21st century humans, so I'd say keep it. We have the association of terrans/humans wanting to live on blue ocean planets - perfect. Being good at gaiaforming is not especially obvious, but no need to change this one: "Terrans" it is.

Blue (Terra): Lantids - They can colonise planets other players have already colonised, and gain knowledge for doing so. Surely these should have a name like "Parasites" or "Symbionts".

Yellow (Desert): Xenos - There should be a good word meaning "prolific" or "distributed". Perhaps "Seeders"?

Yellow (Desert): Gleens - So these guys hate artificial intelligence, love settling Gaia planets, and can form their own city-state federation, sortof. Something like "Luddites", but not quite that. Maybe "Gardeners"? But they live in deserts... "Rustites"? "Cactus"?

Brown (Swamp): Taklons - The word "brainstone" is a fantastic piece of flavour, which nearly carries the faction's flavour all on its own despite the meaningless string of letters it has as a name. A better name might be something like "Cerebrates".

Brown (Swamp): Ambas - Their Planetary Institute moves around. Is the name meant to evoke the word "Ambassadors"? That flavour... sortof works? Alternatively we could go for a word that associates with shapeshifting, or teleporting buildings, or fluidity of location, or perhaps changing politics. I want to say "Reformers" since that can be interpreted as either changing their political values or literally re-forming their buildings.

Red (Oxide): Hadsch Hallas - They're merchants, traders, or possibly money launderers. "Merchants" would be fine. It was good enough as an alien race name in Starfarers of Catan.

Red (Oxide): Ivits - They're blatantly a big Borg collective hivemind. They were called The Swarm in German. Why change it? "The Swarm" is a good name.

Orange (Volcanic): Geodens - They gain more knowledge the more different planets they study. "Geologists" or "Archaeologists".

Orange (Volcanic): Bal T'aks - They don't like navigating long distance, and like using gaiaformers for AI rather than for gaiaforming. (And then use that AI to navigate long distance instead.) Um... What is the flavour here? I've got nothing... I'm going to interpret this as they want to stay at home and play with their AIs rather than fly a long way or do hard things like gaiaform, so I'm calling them "Gamers".

Grey (Titanium): Firaks - They can dismantle their research labs to gain technology. Somewhat mad-scientist feel. "Tinkerers"? There might be a better word for that.

Grey (Titanium): Bescods - They gain technology automatically, they get more power for being on metal worlds, and they build things differently to everyone else. Also they're robots in their picture. I suggest "Automata". (But frankly the original German "Mad Androids" is awesome too.)

White (Ice): Nevlas - Their power is more valuable and turns into knowledge. So the flavour is something a bit like "Scholars" but with a bit more of a political/commercial bent. Maybe "Scientists" or "Librarians"?

White (Ice): Itars - Their burned power comes back, or you can turn it into technological advancements. So the flavour is something like... accelerating the normal flow of power is easy for them. "Innovators" or "Entrepreneurs".



Those are my ideas. What do you think?
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Erik Burigo
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They are fantastic!
This is something wished to do myself and I'm going to steal many of your labels.
On my book they will probably become:

Terrans: Terrans

Lantids: Biologists

Xenos: Seeders

Gleens: Harvesters
(I kind of envision them as the Dune society: religious dogma that prohibited them from creating A.I., desert environment, federation of merchants that harvests and controls the spice).

Taklons: Nurturers
(I think of them as an insect-like race that nurture and care about their sacred power-stone)

Ambas: Ambassadors

Hadsch Hallas: Traders

Ivits: The Swarm

Geodens: Archaeologists

Bal T'aks: Hermits
(I envision them as a subterranean, magma race that specialized into delving the secrets of transdimensional crystals).

Firaks: Optimizers

Bescods: (Mad) Androids

Nevlas: Librarians

Itars: Inventors

Note to self for Italian translations: Terrestri, Biologi, Inseminatori, Raccoglitori, Nutrici, Ambasciatori, Commercianti, Lo Sciame, Archeologi, Eremiti, Ottimizzatori, Androidi, Bibliotecari, Inventori.
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Philip Morton
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alextfish wrote:
Brown (Swamp): Ambas - Their Planetary Institute moves around. Is the name meant to evoke the word "Ambassadors"? That flavour... sortof works? Alternatively we could go for a word that associates with shapeshifting, or teleporting buildings, or fluidity of location, or perhaps changing politics. I want to say "Reformers" since that can be interpreted as either changing their political values or literally re-forming their buildings.

I always figured it was because their PI "ambles" around.
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Joel Oakley
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Itars: I prefer DJ Ice Wookies.
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Alex Churchill
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Joakley815 wrote:
Itars: I prefer DJ Ice Wookies.
Um. That might match their artwork, and it's certainly... memorable, but I don't think I find it particularly associates with their abilities?

Unless you conceptualise moving power around the bowls as like a record spinning, so burning power to the Gaia area feels like doing a record scratch? Maybe? That feels like even more of a stretch than my Bal T'aks = Gamers though laugh
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Joel Oakley
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alextfish wrote:
Joakley815 wrote:
Itars: I prefer DJ Ice Wookies.
Um. That might match their artwork, and it's certainly... memorable, but I don't think I find it particularly associates with their abilities?

Unless you conceptualise moving power around the bowls as like a record spinning, so burning power to the Gaia area feels like doing a record scratch? Maybe? That feels like even more of a stretch than my Bal T'aks = Gamers though laugh

As far fetched as it may seem, the somewhat backwards spinning of the power to the Gaia area like a DJ doing record scratch actually crossed my mind as I was typing the suggestion (which was a joke of course).
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Kester J
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I get a different impression of the Ambas, that they're supposed to be a nomadic race - which is why their planetary institute wanders the galaxy. So they could be "Star Wanderers" or similar.
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Kin
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During play testing,
The Nevlas were Space Yetis
The Taklons were Insectoids
The Bal T’aks were Eridani Empire
The Lantids were Ambas
The Ambas were Atlantadens
The Ivits were The Hive
The Bescods were Mad Androids

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Oedipussy Rex
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Chrondeath wrote:
I always figured it was because their PI "ambles" around.


Got no time for spreadin' roots
The time has come to be gone
And though our health we drank a thousand times
It's time to amble on

Amble on
And now's the time, the time is now
To sing my song
I'm going 'round the world, I got to find my girl
On my way
I've been this way ten years to the day
I gotta amble on
I gotta find the queen of all my dreams


(with no apologies to Led Zeppelin)
 
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Alex Churchill
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Joakley815 wrote:
alextfish wrote:
Joakley815 wrote:
Itars: I prefer DJ Ice Wookies.
Um. That might match their artwork, and it's certainly... memorable, but I don't think I find it particularly associates with their abilities?

Unless you conceptualise moving power around the bowls as like a record spinning, so burning power to the Gaia area feels like doing a record scratch? Maybe? That feels like even more of a stretch than my Bal T'aks = Gamers though laugh

As far fetched as it may seem, the somewhat backwards spinning of the power to the Gaia area like a DJ doing record scratch actually crossed my mind as I was typing the suggestion (which was a joke of course).
You may be entertained to know that despite your proposal of "DJ Ice Wookies" being a joke, it is far more memorable than anything I said, and the record-scratch mnemonic makes it halfway usable as a memory aid, so it's stuck now.
 
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Gambia
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For "Hadsch Hallas" we usually name them "space chickens".
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Stephen McIntosh
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My ideas (some new, some already suggested):

Blue (Terra): Terrans - Terrans
Blue (Terra): Lantids - Symbiotes

Yellow (Desert): Xenos - Nomads
Yellow (Desert): Gleens - Unionists

Brown (Swamp): Taklons - Brains
Brown (Swamp): Ambas - Amblers

Red (Oxide): Hadsch Hallas - Merchants
Red (Oxide): Ivits - The Swarm

Orange (Volcanic): Geodens - Geodens
Orange (Volcanic): Bal T'aks - Data Miners

Grey (Titanium): Firaks - Salvagers
Grey (Titanium): Bescods - Androids

White (Ice): Nevlas - Scientists
White (Ice): Itars - Innovators
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Mateusz M
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That is a great idea. I actually thought about doing a fan-made retheme of the alien races - without changing their abilities.

I would use maybe Dune universe or a mix between Dune and other scifi settings.

I hate thos names that do not mean anything
 
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Jack Spirio
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after playing so many games they now mean something
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joey shelt
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Terrans: Steve McCornrow

Lantids: Space Gelflings

Xenos: Condescending Goblins

Gleens: Turtle Heads

Taklons: Dung Beetles

Ambas: Diabetic Bib Fortunas

Hadsch Hallas: Fight Milk, LLC

Ivits: House of Buggin

Geodens: Moltars

Bal T'aks: DJ Spicy Bits

Firaks: Squidy McSquidface

Bescods: The Jazz Drive Alliance

Nevlas: Magic Gutter Punks

Itars: Space Dogs
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Timmi T.
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N laugh
 
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