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Subject: Far too many words about names rss

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Mi Myma
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A few thoughts about names:

I’ve noticed some weird names of aliens and other game elements lately. For powers, there are three elements that should match, two of them are “names” which can be freely chosen: the alien’s name and the “power description” - the “You have the power of _____” part. The third element is of course the power itself - what the power actually does, the game effects. For many powers, these three things don’t match.

Names are important. Particularly for the aliens. The aliens are what the players actually *play*, and the name ideally should evoke the feel and personality of the alien a player is playing. The names of other game elements aren't quite as important, because they don't represent the actual players, but they're still at least somewhat important. The names should at least try to capture what the element is or does.

The three components of each alien (name, description, power) should match and they should evoke how the power feels to play. They should give the power a "personality" to latch on to. Many of the aliens do this, but many do not.

There are some aliens where the three components simply don’t match at all, like the Mite. “Mite”, “blustering”, and the actual power effect have nothing to do with each other. I’d say the same thing about Merchant - merchants don’t “hire”, they sell.

Some aliens have descriptions that match the power, but the name doesn’t match: Calculator, Relic, Fodder, Saboteur, Leviathan, Shadow.

For some aliens, the name matches the power, but the description doesn’t match: Zombie, Macron, Vacuum.

And some aliens have a name that matches the description, but neither matches the power effect itself: Genius, Symbiote, Graviton, Kamikaze, Human, Filch.

If just these mis-matched names and descriptions could be fixed, it would be a big improvement, IMO. However, there are other name problems. Some are obvious like the inconsistency of the “The” in The Claw. Some are made up words like Warpish, which fits OK, I guess, but it gives relatively little to relate to. Some people don’t like the name Vulch, but it’s quite obvious what it means, even if it’s not a real word.

And then there are the names that make an out-of-genre reference, like Spiff or Pygmy. Eon and Mayfair included powers like Lloyd, Hurtz, Mesmer, and Pavlov that reference earth-specific people. And even Masochist and Sadist do too. While these can be OK, sometimes they can disrupt the feel of the game, like hearing Hamlet say, “To be or not to be, like, that is the question.”

And there are a whole lot of aliens whose names fit, but they don’t really suggest the power itself. Like Plant - when you hear the word “plant”, the first things I think of are things like: green, trees, grass, vegetables, farming, growing, flowers, etc. I don’t think of “grafting”. And temporarily taking away someone else’s power and using it yourself really isn’t much like grafting a plant. Likewise the Trickster doesn’t really play any tricks, nor does it have to do with “possibilities”. There’s nothing specific to a Warrior about gaining experience. Gamblers bluff when they play poker, but there are almost no other gambling games that involve bluffing. The first thing I think of about “virus” is not “they multiply” - so do rabbits. To me, the name “Animal” invokes dogs, cats, other pets, horses, zoos, meat, generally lower intelligence than people, etc. Sure, there’s the phrase “party animal”, but partying isn’t really all that closely associated with “animal”. I don’t immediately think “party” when I hear “animal”. Sure, Wolverine™ can regenerate, but not all Mutants do. Fungi do not capture and control the organisms they grow on. Observing doesn’t really imply protecting. The power of the Citadel calls for a name that suggests the *builders* of citadels, not the citadels themselves.

“Complain, complain, complain! Don’t you have anything nice to say, Phil?” Yes I do. Here are some of what I consider to be the best named aliens in the game: Barbarian, Reserve, Grudge, Clone, Guerilla, Mercenary, Siren, Xenophile, Filth, Cavalry, Tick-Tock.

I don’t (yet) own CA, so I don’t know all the descriptions those aliens they use.

These are things to keep in mind when designing new aliens. It is perfectly understandable that you might be inspired by a personal interest or hobby to make an alien with a name that references that interest or hobby. That’s fine, but does the name really invoke what the power actually does? I suspect that one of the original Eon designers was a botanist or a horticulturalist or was thinking about grafting plants when he came up with the Plant. It may be a fine power, but after all the design work was done, it has very little to do with “plant”. And I’ve done the same thing myself. After taking an art history class, I was inspired to create an alien called Artist - I tried to think of what advantage an alien race might have as a result of an especially rich artistic culture. And the power I eventually created was not good at all, and didn’t really capture the “artist personality”. In general, I’ve found it best to start with the power, and then find a name for it, rather than starting with a name and then finding a power to go with the name. If you start with a name, and eventually come to a power that’s actually good, go back and make sure the name still fits, and if it doesn’t, change it.

A few basic guidelines:

1. The name should indicate who the alien *is* or what the alien *does* rather than the effect/result/product of the alien. The counter-example would be the Citadel - the aliens *make* citadels, it’s not that the aliens *are* citadels. An alien that has treasure can be called “Dragon” - it shouldn’t be called “Treasure”. An alien that makes weapons should be called “Weaponsmith”, not “Weapon”.

2. The name and description should say what the alien is directly, not merely be linked to it. Sure, calculators have an = button, but calculators don’t “equalize”, they calculate. If a power does some trick with the cards, you don’t call it “Shark” just because there’s a phrase “card shark” - you call it Magician. An alien that keeps track of the past could be called “Archivist”, but should not be called “Elephant” just because of the saying, “elephants never forget”.

3. The name should not make a reference that’s too Earth-specific. Yes, it’s possible that alien beings might go into the insurance business, but it’s unlikely they’re going to give that business the same name as a present-day Earth insurance company. Likewise, it’s a little odd to name an alien after a real person from Earth’s history or a fictitious person from Earth’s literature. If there’s an alien that has resources it keeps all to itself and never shares with others, don’t call it “Scrooge”, call it “Miser”. If you create an alien with the concept of being scientifically very advanced, don’t call it “Einstein”, call it “Scientist” or something like that.

3a. Avoid references to specific sci-fi/fantasy works as well. Don’t call your alien “Jedi” or “Klingon” or “Nazgul” or “Beholder”. (Unless you’re specifically trying to invoke that specific source for the whole game).

4. The name should be a real word, or at least if you’re going to make up a word, it’s meaning should be clear and obvious. Especially if there already is a word for the concept you’re creating. And don’t use an obscure word when a well-known and well-understood word is available. Don’t call an alien “Platyhelminth”, when everyone already knows what a “Parasite” is. If your alien is based on the concept of being sneaky, go ahead and call it the “Sneak”; don’t make up a word like “Ensneakificationist”.

5. Use the precisely correct form of the word. It should usually be a noun. If it’s also a verb, that can be OK, but it really should never be an adjective. “Filth” not “Filthy”. Remember, you’re naming a race of sentient people. Use the “person” form of the word, not the “activity” or “abstract” form of the word. “Gambler,” not “Gamble” or “Gambling”. “Industrialist,” not “Industrial” or “Industry”. If your alien has the concept of communism, call it “Communist,” not “Communism”.
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Mi Myma
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And a few thoughts about the names of other stuff:

Ships - They used to be called "tokens". There's good and bad about this change. It's good in that "ship" is more concrete and representational that just "token". A ship is a "real" thing, whereas a token is just a game piece. However, many powers and other effects don't quite fit with them being ships - the Healer for example "heals" ships, rather than healing the people of a particular alien species. Ships should be "repaired" not "healed". Likewise, the Zombie - it isn't really "immortal", they don't rise from the grave, they have ships that repair themselves and rise out of the scrap heap. So even though we call them ships now, they aren't really always ships.

Artifacts - Used to be called "Edicts". They both have their representational inconsistencies. I wouldn't say either is better than the other. No biggie.

Negotiate - Used to be called "Compromise". This is probably a good change. Negotiation better represents what is going on when one is played.

Compensation - Used to be "Consolation". A slight improvement, IMO. Slightly more accurate, slightly more evocative of something given to a defeated enemy in war. Whereas “consolation” sounds like a runner-up prize in a contest.

Hyperspace Gate - Used to be called the "Hyperspace Cone". Again, a more thematically representative name, I guess. A cone is just a shape, while a gate gets you from one area to another.

Reinforcements - A fine, militarily-thematic name.

Kickers - Eh? What's a kicker? What thematic thing does that name represent? If they had called them "Multipliers" it would still be unthematic, but at least it would mean something.

Individual Artifacts, Technologies, Hazards, etc. - We can talk about their names if you want.
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Brandon
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I'm going to spend the time thinking about this playing the game instead.

Edit: OP, I'm clearly just making a quip and not undermining your obvious interest in the topic. So here's me clarifying that you shouldn't take it personal, lest some white knight feel the need to come to your aid! Ahem.
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Roberta Yang
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Individual Artifacts/Techs/Hazards/etc sometimes have odd names that don't actually hint at their function at all. What is Ionic/Stellar Gas, and why exactly does it block compensation/rewards? What are these Mobius Tubes, and why do they have the power to empty the Warp? Why is this super-ship called The Prometheus? What is The Qax supposed to be, anyhow? How about Sargasso Web? What exactly do "It's Full of Stars.." and "Odd Way to Win a War" represent happening in the game? A lot of them are spot-on, but a handful are random names like Quark Battery, or at best pop culture references like Genesis Device.

Neverfade wrote:
I'm going to spend the time thinking about this playing the game instead.

You seem to have accidentally clicked on the wrong link; this is what you were really looking for.

Unless, of course, you actually did have plans for being on this forum other than playing the game and chose to ignore the fact that this discussion is highly relevant considering how often fan content is designed for Cosmic Encounter in favor of making snide remarks. Apparently you consider actual game discussion on a forum with no purpose other than game discussion to be simply unthinkable.
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You've singled out Fodder before, but I don't agree with you (unsurprisingly). I like the name Fodder ("people considered as readily available and of little value"). In this case, I am referring to the low value cards, which are often readily available, and of little value. The original was "the Power of leftovers", since these normally crappy cards were frequently leftover (you wouldn't have used them to win in your earlier encounters). FFG changed it to power to Overwhelm, which I wasn't bothered with- if you have a lot of worthless fodder, you can always use those number to overwhelm.

So all in all, I think all three components for this particular alien fit together fine. Sure there are better examples.

But once Eon gave the "word" Vulch the green light, all bets were off.
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salty53 wrote:


Neverfade wrote:
I'm going to spend the time thinking about this playing the game instead.

You seem to have accidentally clicked on the wrong link; this is what you were really looking for.

Unless, of course, you actually did have plans for being on this forum other than playing the game and chose to ignore the fact that this discussion is highly relevant considering how often fan content is designed for Cosmic Encounter in favor of making snide remarks. Apparently you consider actual game discussion on a forum with no purpose other than game discussion to be simply unthinkable.


Edit: This sums up my response better:

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Roberta Yang
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If anything, it always seemed to me that Fodder and Reserve ought to have each other's names. The cards the Reverse plays are always actually very low, whereas the Fodder can play cards of decent value (i.e. at least as high as the first card they played) that they've held in reserve.

Neverfade wrote:
Edit: This sums up my response better:

jumptoconclusions.png

I'm sorry, you're right. "I don't want to participate in this discussion" is clearly a constructive post that contributes to the discussion.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go off to the Pandemic board to inform them that I would love to participate in their discussions of Pandemic except that I'd rather be playing Cosmic Encounter. And after that I need to go to GameFAQs to tell them I'm not going to post there either. Really, I've got a busy day ahead of me of commenting in threads to tell everyone I don't want to comment on those threads.

EDIT: Also, you just responded within half an hour to a post in a thread that you explicitly said you had no interest in and wouldn't be following. You're paying awfully close attention to this topic for someone with absolutely no interest in this topic; what, did you sit back hitting F5 after the "I don't care about this thread :smug:" post to see what responses you'd get?
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Brandon
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salty53 wrote:


Neverfade wrote:
Edit: This sums up my response better:

jumptoconclusions.png

I'm sorry, you're right. "I don't want to participate in this discussion" is clearly a constructive post that contributes to the discussion.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go off to the Pandemic board to inform them that I would love to participate in their discussions of Pandemic except that I'd rather be playing Cosmic Encounter. And after that I need to go to GameFAQs to tell them I'm not going to post there either. Really, I've got a busy day ahead of me of commenting in threads to tell everyone I don't want to comment on those threads.

EDIT: Also, you just responded within half an hour to a post in a thread that you explicitly said you had no interest in and wouldn't be following. You're paying awfully close attention to this topic for someone with absolutely no interest in this topic; what, did you sit back hitting F5 after the "I don't care about this thread :smug:" post to see what responses you'd get?


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Sean Franco
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Neverfade wrote:
i.imgur.com/pmTrI.jpg

...aaasnd... Thread derailed.

Phil, I actually agree with you about almost everything in this post, and that almost never happens. Well done.

Roberta, I do love to read your responses to folk, especially when you are scathing and merciless. Well played.

Brandon... Never mind.
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Just a Bill
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No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
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I agree as well. Crappy names have bugged me for a long time. This isn't just a game, it's also a storytelling exercise, and these things do matter. The Cosmos, as some say, is big enough for anything, but I don't want to see just anything; I want to visit the best parts!

If we want to add to this universe, we should want to do it at the highest level we can manage. Phil's guidelines are a great start in that direction.

A lot of the names/themes can work with a little imagination, but some are just plain lame. Mite ... cut down to size ... bluster? That's pretty awful.

To Phil's guidelines I would add this one: no everyday objects as aliens, please. I cringe every time I hear somebody suggest a homebrew be called TAXI or PHONEBOOK or BUCKET. Just because you've thought of some object that suggests the same verb as your alien doesn't mean you've got the right name for it.

You'll probably get a lot more interest in your genius new alien idea if it has a good name. Imagine that you are the audience rather than the would-be designer: are you drawn in by the YO-YO just as much as the VAGABOND? Would you rather read more about the TAXI or the VANGUARD?

Think about your concept for a day or two (or a week!) before you post it. Inspiration can come from the most unexpected places. Give your subconscious plenty of time to work on the problem for you.
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Sean Franco
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I just had to check the Warp for those. There is in fact a Taxi.
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I agree some things don't really match, but hey some powers are just reincarnations of older versions which already had the mismatch and so on. But really no game is perfect, you can do 2 things : ponder about it and lower your interest/ruin the fun, or let it go and enjoy...
I know it's not always easy but seriously it's 'just' a game !
 
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logopolys wrote:
I just had to check the Warp for those. There is in fact a Taxi.

Hmm, speaking of the subconscious.... Anyway, I wasn't trying to single anyone out; just making up examples. My backbrain remembered reading that one somewhere, but I thought it had been just a passing suggestion.
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I also agree names and a general consistency are important. I will disagree with Phil that they have to be completely literal, however.

Specifically, the Leviathan example stood out to me. I think that it does a great job of conveying the general feeling of the type of race that could harness and transport entire worlds.

Otherwise, I mostly agree. I also dislike obvious cultural and "out of genre" references in alien names. I wouldn't want a "Snooki" anytime soon. But it's a difficult line to draw, as most words come from somewhere, including Leviathan and the Phil favorite "Siren".

I also tend to like some "made up" names, if it makes sense. I like Warpish, for example. But newly created words would be liked or disliked by me on a very subjective, case by case basis.


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Just a Bill
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I like names like Vulch and Warpish if they are done well. Warpish, I think, is fitting because the warp itself is a very generic, noncommittal concept, and to have given Warpish a more specific name would have been to pigeonhole the warp into whatever interpretation that name would have implied. Here's something I said in another thread:

some pontificator wrote:
... the warp is not strictly death. Like many things in Cosmic Encounter, it was designed from the beginning to be representative and multi-purpose (which is why it has such a non-committal title). The warp is simultaneously heaven, hell, the grave, limbo, purgatory, the infirmary, a baby nursery, coma beds, a gravity well, an alternate universe, subspace, superspace, hyperspace, hypospace, inner space, outer space, double bubble burp-a-space....

The warp is no more and no less than "backstage" in a play. A dead soldier is carried off stage by his comrades, then his widow enters as she returns home from the hospital with her newborn. Backstage was a medevac chopper, a morgue, the grave, barracks, a birthing suite, and a taxicab all in one ... whatever was needed (and supplied automatically by the audience's imagination) to advance the drama. We should be careful not to interpret the warp only through the eyes of Zombie.
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Mi Myma
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Bill Martinson wrote:
To Phil's guidelines I would add this one: no everyday objects as aliens, please. I cringe every time I hear somebody suggest a homebrew be called TAXI or PHONEBOOK or BUCKET. Just because you've thought of some object that suggests the same verb as your alien doesn't mean you've got the right name for it.

This is part of what I meant by #1 and #5. Use the "person" form of the word or concept. After all, you need a person to have a personality. "Taxi" is a fine concept for an alien, but the name should be "Cabbie" or something like that. "Bucket" could be a fine concept, but it should be called "Carrier" or "Porter" or "Hauler" or something like that. If it's really necessary that the aliens *themselves* are the containers, call it "Kangaroo". Even though kangaroo is "just" an animal, it obviously has a lot more personality that "bucket".

Leviathan and Warpish are far from the worst examples. They really aren't too bad, but they're both a little off. A leviathan is a huge sea monster, which I suppose by analogy you could use for a giant space monster, but that's not the problem. "Leviathan" is not anything like a "worldship", nor even a sea ship.

Warpish works partially, because it indeed works with the warp and the name clearly and obviously implies that. However, the ending "-ish" makes it an adjective, rather than a noun. It should have been "Warpist" - a person who works with the warp. Also, as a word, "warpish" doesn't match "necromancy". And BTW, "necromancy" doesn't mean what deendee tried to make it mean - it simply means communicating with the dead (like some of those TV psychics, or Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost).

Vulch works as a play on the word "vulture" which is pronounced "vulcher". It's obvious what it means, and it makes reference to the similar effect of the similar-sounding Filch. Unfortunately, both of these powers use the verb form of the word.

And of course, the Filch doesn't really filch anything - he picks up what's been discarded (more like what a vulture does).
 
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:

Warpish works partially, because it indeed works with the warp and the name clearly and obviously implies that. However, the ending "-ish" makes it an adjective, rather than a noun. It should have been "Warpist" - a person who works with the warp. Also, as a word, "warpish" doesn't match "necromancy". And BTW, "necromancy" doesn't mean what deendee tried to make it mean - it simply means communicating with the dead (like some of those TV psychics, or Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost).

Vulch works as a play on the word "vulture" which is pronounced "vulcher". It's obvious what it means, and it makes reference to the similar effect of the similar-sounding Filch. Unfortunately, both of these powers use the verb form of the word.

And of course, the Filch doesn't really filch anything - he picks up what's been discarded (more like what a vulture does).


Thanks for further clarifying. I think I have an even better idea of what you're saying now. I don't disagree with any of it, really.
 
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
A few thoughts about names:


Good post and interesting subject.

Re/ Plant: In one of the old Encounter magazines, Jack Kittredge (I think) talked about how the original design of the game had only six aliens. One of them was the Plant, and it was designed to have actual physical vines that you would stretch across the board. The power was that you could somehow gain a colony on any planet that you could reach with the vines.

So, the name "Plant" was clearly a holdover from the days when it looked like an actual plant. I do agree, though, that grafting is not what I first think of when I think of plants. Likewise, while grafting might give you a new trait, I don't relate it to depriving that trait from someone else.


Re/ Mite: I like it as an alien name, and I see how it indirectly relates to making the opponent's hand smaller. I also like the power description "to bluster", and I see how that relates to the threat of taking away random cards. Both name and description relate to different aspects of the power, but unfortunately Mite and "bluster" do not go together themselves.


Re/ Gambler: I disagree with the criticism of this -- I think it's one of the best most evocative names in the set. Yes, most gambling games do not involve bluffing, but the quintessential gambling game does , and the image of "gamblers" playing poker is much stronger and more iconic than, say, playing craps.

In general, I think there is an unwritten rule to avoid using the same word as both the alien name and the power description. That's why the Calculator does not calculate, and Reserve is not called Reinforcer. Gambler should not be called "Bluffer", or anything else.


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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Warpish works partially, because it indeed works with the warp and the name clearly and obviously implies that. However, the ending "-ish" makes it an adjective, rather than a noun. It should have been "Warpist" - a person who works with the warp.

I definitely agree that adjectives make poor alien names, although I am forced to admit that language allows adjectives to be used as nouns when the noun they imply is clear. This is perhaps more obvious in the romance languages: Les Miserables means "The Miserable [Ones]", el pobre means "the poor [one]", etc. So I don't have a problem with Warpish meaning "the warpish [one]".

Keep your eyes on your stuff and on those three men, my boy. The German wants your cigarettes, the Irish wants your whiskey, and the Warpish wants your ship.

Sorry, but Warpist just doesn't seem to have the right vibe. (Although perhaps that's my three decades of Cosmic brainwashing talking!)

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Also, as a word, "warpish" doesn't match "necromancy".

Again, the warp does not always equate to death.

Rubric wrote:
Good post and interesting subject.

Agreed!

Rubric wrote:
I do agree, though, that grafting is not what I first think of when I think of plants. Likewise, while grafting might give you a new trait, I don't relate it to depriving that trait from someone else.

This is also a great example of Phil's point #1, or perhaps an expansion of that point. The terms and their relationships should work properly with the word-picture's subject, not its object. A plant does not slice into itself, hop across the field, and chop off a branch from another plant to jam into into its own gaping wound. The farmer or botanist does that. A plant with the "power to graft" is like a piggy-bank with the "power to smash". They are the recipients of the action, not the actors. Names like these come off looking like the designer threw a concept at it and didn't think about what he was actually writing.

Oh, and this is why I worked so hard to get people to start thinking about Fish/Pisces from the Angler perspective. The "fish" in Go Fish is the card that's drawn!

Rubric wrote:
I see how [Mite] indirectly relates to making the opponent's hand smaller.

I don't; can you explain it to me? Mites don't cut down larger organisms in any way; they just wait for them to drop flakes of skin that can be eaten.

Rubric wrote:
In general, I think there is an unwritten rule to avoid using the same word as both the alien name and the power description. That's why the Calculator does not calculate, and Reserve is not called Reinforcer. Gambler should not be called "Bluffer", or anything else.

Agreed on this, too. Examples showing why this is desirable to avoid include Extortionist/power to Extort and Healer/power to Heal (could easily have been Revive). That unwritten rule is one of the (multiple) things that makes The Claw/power of The Claw such a clunky presentation.

One of the worst failures, for me, is actually a pair of aliens: Mercenary and Merchant. So much is goofed up here:

* Merchant should be an alien that sells things, most likely to other players. (Indeed, there is an alien in the fan-designed expansion set called "Mart" that is hands-down the quintessential MERCHANT of Cosmic Encounter. But that name was already used misused on the wrong alien.)

* Mercenary should be an alien that gets paid for helping somebody else (most likely another player) fight a battle. Not somebody who gets paid to win its own wars.

* Since the Merchant hires "mercenaries" I still sometimes get these two aliens confused. It doesn't help that their names share the same first four letters, and that they physically are roommates in my stack of aliens.

Now I realize that coming up with a name for the "hired-ships" alien was not exactly easy, since there is probably no widely recognized term for "somebody who hires mercenaries". But they could have actually focused the story on the hired guns themselves and called this power Mercenary. Then the rewarded-for-winning alien could have been just about anything that wants to celebrate victories, like Animal and General.

In the back of my mind, I pretty much always associate the word mercenary with the hired-ships alien. The naming choices force me to constantly work against that natural association.
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Bill Martinson wrote:

Now I realize that coming up with a name for the "hired-ships" alien was not exactly easy, since there is probably no widely recognized term for "somebody who hires mercenaries".


Hmm... perhaps a Piper and his rats? No, that's lame. A King or Lord with the power of conscription?

Edit: Or something to do with Augmentation, or Reinforcements. I guess reinforcements would be confusing...
 
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Rubric wrote:
Re/ Mite: I like it as an alien name, and I see how it indirectly relates to making the opponent's hand smaller. I also like the power description "to bluster", and I see how that relates to the threat of taking away random cards. Both name and description relate to different aspects of the power,

I don't see it.

Quote:
Re/ Gambler: I disagree with the criticism of this -- I think it's one of the best most evocative names in the set. Yes, most gambling games do not involve bluffing, but the quintessential gambling game does , and the image of "gamblers" playing poker is much stronger and more iconic than, say, playing craps.

Agreed. I was only using it as an illustration. The name "Gambler" works despite being slightly imprecise, simply because it evokes such personality. I can't help but sing the song every time I see this alien in play.

Maybe that can be another guideline:

6. If a name has enough personality, you can be a little bit looser with the other guidelines.

Quote:
In general, I think there is an unwritten rule to avoid using the same word as both the alien name and the power description. That's why the Calculator does not calculate, and Reserve is not called Reinforcer. Gambler should not be called "Bluffer", or anything else.

Also a good guideline.

And I would add another guideline, which is really just my own quirkiness talking:

7. Pick alien names that start with letters that haven't been used much or at all. So far, FFG has not put out any that start with J, N, Q, U, or Y. (Not coincidentally, I've created my own aliens called Joker, Noise, and Quibbler. I also created a few aliens that started with U, and one that started with Y, but they didn't work out.)
 
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Holmes108 wrote:
Bill Martinson wrote:

Now I realize that coming up with a name for the "hired-ships" alien was not exactly easy, since there is probably no widely recognized term for "somebody who hires mercenaries".


Hmm... perhaps a Piper and his rats? No, that's lame. A King or Lord with the power of conscription?

Edit: Or something to do with Augmentation, or Reinforcements. I guess reinforcements would be confusing...

How 'bout "Recruiter"? He gets more cards (recruits) when he wins, because everyone wants to join the winning side.

Maybe even something like "Fanatic" - his "followers" (cards) willingly risk their lives in battle, and if they win, they get more converts.
 
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:

Maybe even something like "Fanatic" - his "followers" (cards) willingly risk their lives in battle, and if they win, they get more converts.


Yeah, I also thought about a messiah type character, with his entourage.
 
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Definitely send this post to FFG.

Some powers are historical, so their names can't be changed. But FFG has added many powers, so it's not too late for them.

Something that may arise from assigning sub-optimal names before designing all the powers is that later powers may actually be a better fit for the name. But you can't use the name twice, so the later power also gets a sub-optimal name.

Myself, I was the original designer of Observer, and named it Safety. It's actually pretty touch to make up three different descriptions for one power!
 
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Rubric wrote:
I see how [Mite] indirectly relates to making the opponent's hand smaller.

I don't; can you explain it to me? Mites don't cut down larger organisms in any way; they just wait for them to drop flakes of skin that can be eaten.


Phil Fleischmann wrote:
I don't see it.



I just meant mites are small, and a 3-card hand is small....

Hey, I said it was indirect!

Also, the discard effect is not automatic. It's a choice made by the opponent (but not an ignorable one, as with something like Lloyd). I picture the Mite player demanding a colony and then doing a Yosemite Sam impersonation if the opponent refuses. "You lily-livered varmint! Why, I oughta...!" This is blustering. Basically, I'm saying the power seems designed to inspire role-playing and making big threats, but the reality of it is that the threats may prove harmless, or even beneficial if the opponent ends up discarding stuff he didn't want anyway. It's all about blustering.

Little guy... big threats... I don't know. It just kind of makes sense to me.


Semi-related: what do you think about humor in the alien names/descriptions? I can't think of any examples in the FFG set, but Eon gave Deuce "the power two", and Force "the power to be with". FFG has a humorous power summary for Human (mostly harmless), but the actual "power of Humanity" description is fairly boring.

Vacuum should be "the power to suck", right? Is that not a golden opportunity? Power of catharsis... meh.


And unrelatated: In browsing through the powers looking for examples, I noticed that Reserve and Cavalry both have "the power to reinforce". It fits both, but surely this is violating a guideline.

Quote:
Maybe that can be another guideline:

6. If a name has enough personality, you can be a little bit looser with the other guidelines


Yes, I think that addresses things like Warpish and Vulch.


 
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