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Game Names

The BoardGameGeek naming conventions help to bring about consistency in database information and to use a uniform rule-set when cataloging game information. The purpose of these rules is to make game entries consistent for user access and data administration.

1. Games are published in English that have an English title are primarily listed under the English name. Other names should be added to the Alternate Name field.

2. Games that have multiple English releases are generally listed by the name of the most-recent English Release. Other release names should be added to the Alternate Name field.

3. Games which do not have an English release are named by their first release. Other release names should be added to the Alternate Name field.

4. Games which do not have an English release, but have the game given an English name in the rulebook or on the box should still be listed as the original release name. Other names given in the rulebook should be listed in the game entry in the Alternate Name field.

  • e.g., many HABA games list a titles in German, English, French, and Italian. Ach, du Mauseschreck! should remain as such, and should not be named Good Gracious Mouse.

4a. An exception for this is made for games whose original release name is in an alphabet other than Latin, Cyrillic or Greek. For these languages, if an official alternate name exists that does use the Latin alphabet, this name should be used as the primary title, with the non-Latin alphabet title listed as alternate.

4b. For games that only have a title in an alphabet other than Latin, Cyrillic or Greek, a title in the Latin alphabet should be derived (e.g. by translating the title). In such cases, the derived title should be added in parentheses after the actual title.
This is optional of titles in the Cyrillic and Greek alphabets.
(This is the only situation in which two titles should be in one field. In all other cases, they should be added a separate (alternate) titles.)
(The reason for rules 4a and 4b is purely technical, related to the construction of URLs for the entries, which involves the primary ttitle.)

5. Game names and alternate names listed in the database should only be the actual release names, or names affixed to the game by a publisher. Rough translations of game names should not be in the Alternate Names field. Each alternate name should be able to be assigned to a version as a production title, or an alternate name printed with a version.

  • e.g., Die Macher should not have alternate names like "The Makers" or "The Fixers"
  • e.g., Game titles should not be translated into ideogram characters (e.g. Chinese, Korean) unless that represents an actual publication of the game.

6. Game titles should accurately reflect the name of the game as given by the publisher, and "helper" titles of alternate spacing, spelling, and punctuation are dispreferred.

  • e.g., Small World has a space in the name because that is how the publisher refers to the game on websites and in the rules. The alternate name "Smallworld" is not listed, despite that one could mistakenly search for that term.
  • e.g., Tactics II is listed with Roman numerals "II" because that is how the title is presented on the package and in the rules. "Tactics 2" or "Tactics Two" are not listed as alternate names.

7. In accurately reflecting the title of the game, care must be taken to differentiate between the title of the game and any slogans or promotional statements made on the packaging in conjunction with the game.

  • e.g., Monopoly features taglines such as "The World's Most Popular Board Game" and "Property trading game from Parker Brothers", but none of these are the title of the game.

8. Games which are commonly known by acronyms should not have the acronym listed in the Alternate Name field. There is a soft standard on this one, as some games have the acronym listed in the game name.

  • e.g., Paths of Glory should not have "PoG" in the Alternate Name field.
  • e.g., Advanced Squad Leader is called ASL on its packaging, and most expansions are titles as "ASL Expansion" instead of "Advanced Squad Leader Expansion".
  • exception - the DBx games are alternately listed as "DBx" based on extensive use of the name in publication reference, almost to the exclusion of the full name of the game.

9. Game titles should accurately reflect the punctuation and letters used in the actual game title.

  • e.g., Ora et Labora uses a stylized "et" which appears similar to an ampersand, but actually uses the word "et"
  • e.g., Hab & Gut uses an ampersand, not the words "and" or "und".
  • e.g., Krieg und Frieden is connected with "und", not an ampersand.

10. Games with a leading "The", "Der/Die/Das", "Le", "La", et c., should not have the leading article moved to the end; the database can index games on characters other than the first, so altering the title is unnecessary. The database adheres to AACR2 rules for indexing titles.

11. If a title consists of a main title and one or more subtitles, then in general, only the title and the subtitle are included. Sub-subtitles are not included. Subtitles that would take the length of the title over 50 characters are also left out. Furthermore, if the subtitle has a trailing year (or month plus year), that is left out, unless that would change the meaning.

The admins may decide to deviate from these guidelines when they feel the subtitle (or sub-subtitle) is critical or is needed to disambiguate the title (because there are several games with the same title in the database).

An exception is generally made for expansions, where the main title is usually the name of the core game, with the expansion's title appearing as subtitle or sub-subtitle. In such cases, the choice may be made to leave out intermediate titles.

If parts of the title are left out, the full title can be added to the entry as an alternate title.

11a. When included, subtitles (and sub-subtitles) are concatenated to the title using separator characters. The first separator in a title is preferred be a colon, e.g. Catan: Cities & Knights instead of Catan - Cities & Knights. If a title needs a second separator, use an en dash. From there on, alternate colons and en dashes if needed.
It's possible to deviate from this convention if colons and en dashes are already in use in the title as printed on the box - or if the box uses different separators, such as commas or semicolons. It is not relevant what convention the publisher uses on their website or in the game rules.
If a subtitle ends with an exclamation mark or a question mark, a separator is still added between it and the next element, e.g. Stars & Lasers!!: Colony Spaceships instead of Stars & Lasers!! Colony Spaceships.

12. If one of the elements of the title is the title of the core game, than this is always placed in front, irregardless of where it appears on the box. If the title of the core game does not appear on the box, or as part of a subtitle ("New characters for RoboRace"), it does not get added separately.

(Exception: If there is no packaging, and thus no official title, the core game title may be added.)

13. The use of "(number) edition" is dispreferred as a means to differentiate editions of a game that are kept in separate entries due to rules and play differences. But, if they are necessary for disambiguation, the appellation should appear in parenthesis, and the number portion of the appellation should be in words, not Arabic or Roman numerals, unless that is specifically listed as part of the game's title. e.g., (fourth edition) instead of (4th edition).

14. Games with extremely pejorative titles will have a censored title for the game listing, though versions of the game will carry the actual title.

15. Capitalization of titles will generally follow English titling standards where non-article and non-prepositions have initial capital letters, and prepositions and articles other than those that start a title are lowercase. All-capital titles are dispreferred and will generally be edited to only initial caps. There is some allocation and allowance for capitalization rules to conform with the language of a title, but this is analyzed on a case-by-case basis.

16. For promotional items that do not have a printed title, a title must be drawn up. Preferably, this is the name of the card or title followed by "Promo Card(s)" or "Promo Tile(s)" (or simply "Promo" if is not a card or tile). For promos that have an actual, printed title, that title is used without a suffix.

17. If the subtitle that is on the box is not actually used by the publisher, the subtitle may be omitted from the primary name of the entry. It will still be used for the version.

For regular games, this means that a subtitle may be omitted if the publisher does not repeat it on the back of the box description, rulebook, components, website or advertisements.
For books, this means that the subtitle may be omitted if the copyright page does not repeat the subtitle.
However, we will retain the subtitle when it distinguishes between two versions of the game, two games in the same series, or a game and its expansion.

Subtitles may also be omitted when the publisher requests us to do so.

Items 2. and 3. still apply - that means that if the subtitle is used for the most recent (English) title, they are used for the primary title, even if the subtitle wasn't in use for some older version.

Person Names

A person's name entry in the database should list the person's actual name as it has appeared in materials designed or illustrated by that person, and/or that person's common trade names. Inconsistent spellings and typographical errors used in publication should be listed as alternate names in a person entry. When two person entries have the exact same name, the entries should be delineated in the database by a (I), (II), (III), et c. following the name.

When possible, it is preferable to list an actual person's name as a designer or illustrator instead of a nickname, design group, or publisher.

Person names follow standard initial capitals for names, except where prepositions and articles are present. Western names are formatted (Given Name) (Family name). Eastern names and ideogram names are formatted as they would best fit with the named person's cultural custom.

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