Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
9 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: What is important in a card title? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Joshua Lougheed
Canada
flag msg tools
For a game where the theme won't be that familiar to everyone who is playing, what is the priority when coming up with the titles of cards?

Explaining things in simple terms?
Giving expert terms so that people can look stuff up later if interested?
Evoking a particular mood?
Sounding cool?

In my particular case, I am working on a card game. The target audience is doting relatives of brilliant 8 year olds, the brilliant 8 year olds themselves, and I also hope to make the game interesting to as broad an audience as possible. The theme is how Great Depression era factories use heat.

It will basically be a tile-laying game, using cards (each representing a factory or part of one) as the tiles. Beside the part of the card that relates to game play, I also want a title and illustration. The title and illustration get covered up by other cards once in play but I want them to present the theme (at least to the player who holds them, before they get played).

I could do a few different things with the names. They could be the names of machinery (steam power turbine, kraft digester, biscuit oven...) or of the processes that the machines carry out (steam power generation, kraft pulping, biscuit baking...), I could throw in the names of inventors (Rankine power cycle, Dahl pulping, Grandma's baking...), I could simply put the products (electricity, wood pulp, biscuits...).

I am not sure what people would expect and appreciate most.

Feel free to answer the question specifically, or in an abstract philosophical sense, or to answer a different question if my words demonstrate that I'm not asking the appropriate question.

Thanks,
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tommy Occhipinti
United States
Decorah
Iowa
flag msg tools
Magic Fanboy
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Philosophically, I think card titles should:

1) Sound neat
2) Be easy to remember (ideally because it correlates to what the card does)
3) Be easily distinguishable.

This list assumes that the game is meant to be played repeatedly, and that players will want to talk about the game. As a few examples:

-) The Dominion card Witch is excellently named. I want a Witch on my team, Witches give curses, nothing in particular sounds like Witch. A+

-) The Dominion card Village is kind of ho hum, it isn't connected to what it does, I'm not sure I want a Village on my team, but it is easily distinguishable. Further, once you have learned what Village means (apparently the 3rd definition in Webster is +2 actions +1 card) it helps you identify other cards with Village in the title. Thus the titles of the cards are used to mentally connect cards that are similar, and that is great.

-) The Dominion cards Mandarin and Margrave. These are irredeemably awful. They're in the same set, have no connections in my mind, and they sound very similar. I have no idea which is which, I still have to look at the cards. That is the opposite of what card titles are supposed to do. Also, why do I want an orange on my team?
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Stanton
England
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
From your description, I'm getting a feel of a small industrial town.
If that's the intent then I like the idea of naming the factories after the inventors of the process that takes place there.
So using the examples given-
Rankine's Power Plant
Dahl's Paper Mill
Grandma's Oven

This gives them a bit more flavour than naming them after the commodity produced or the process & also sounds a more likely name for a business than, for example, 'Rankine Power Cycle'

So-have the process inventor's name in there so people can delve further if they want....but try & make them sounds like actual businesses

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Lougheed
Canada
flag msg tools
Thanks Tommy and Chris, these are both quite helpful in reminding me of the value of having easy-to-remember names, even with a game like mine where you wouldn't use the names much in the course of the game. And thanks for your suggestions and examples.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brook Gentlestream
United States
Long Beach
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If your cards are very generic, then you want very flavorful titles. Grandma's Paper Mill, for example, would be excellent if the only important thing about this card is that it has a value of 2.


On the other hand, if your cards have very specific and distinguishable effects, then you want names that are less distinctive and more descriptive in regards to their effect. In this case, Paper Mill would be preferable.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Herc du Preez
South Africa
Cape Town
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
delirimouse wrote:
Also, why do I want an orange on my team?

Now there is juice in my nose. I thank you for that.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
B C Z
United States
Reston
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I would name the object in the title with a descriptive 'name'.

Function should appear elsewhere. For example, if you had two oven types: Gas Oven and Electric Oven, they might both BAKE, but one would require GAS input while the other would require ELECTRIC input.

Quote:
The title and illustration get covered up by other cards once in play but I want them to present the theme (at least to the player who holds them, before they get played).

I'd also try to design it so that you do NOT cover up the title, especially if that then becomes a named reference of any importance and would want to understand why the ID of the card/tile is being covered.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M J
Netherlands
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
yep adjectives help a great deal to remember the cards, "oven" is kinda a bland card, it gives kinda a easy or simplistic feel. "Grandma's oven" is much more memorable
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Lougheed
Canada
flag msg tools
byronczimmer wrote:
I would name the object in the title with a descriptive 'name'.

Function should appear elsewhere. For example, if you had two oven types: Gas Oven and Electric Oven, they might both BAKE, but one would require GAS input while the other would require ELECTRIC input.



I hope to put my game up as a WIP PnP once I have it more together. The premise of the game is that no one can afford to pay for any kind of fuel anymore. Some factories can still run on free fuel (a garbage incinerator, for instance, would be a card that that needs no input from any other card) but most can't restart without the right kind of waste heat from a working factory. Aspects of factory operation other than heat don't come into the game as I have it now.

Quote:


I'd also try to design it so that you do NOT cover up the title, especially if that then becomes a named reference of any importance and would want to understand why the ID of the card/tile is being covered.



To make the game easy to learn, set up and score, I have players race to empty a pile of cards, playing as many cards as they want in a turn until they get stuck. That approach unfortunately requires a lot of cards and (unlike in, say, Skip-Bo) dozens of them could be in play and visible at at time.

So that the game doesn't need a huge table, I could have small tiles instead of cards, but that wouldn't leave room for a legible name or decent illustration. Maybe I should rework the game mechanics instead but so far my solution to the space problem has been different. I have normal size cards each with a small tile part (with everything relating to the card's function) and a larger descriptive theme part (name and illustration) below that. Since the names aren't important references for later in the game (only the function part is: what kind of heat the card needs to run, what kind of heat it gives off once it is running), I allow a card to cover the theme part of another card so that the function parts can touch.
I admit it isn't a perfect solution and, with a lot of cards, I either need a ton of unique and memorable names or (more likely) players will just find it weird when they pick of their 3rd "Grandma's oven" card of the game.

There is a bit more to the game (for example some cards, while identical from the back, are really mobsters, but I think "mobster" already conveys that you want them but that you don't want them happening to you).

Thanks to everyone for your comments, questions and suggestions.
1 
 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.