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Joe

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Name my game! [Oct. 31st, 2016|01:03 pm]
Joe
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[mood |productiveproductive]

As I've mentioned before, I have developed a role-playing game. It needs more development, but the playtests have been promising. I am now at the point where I need to nail down the name. It doesn't have to be fixed in stone, but once I take the next step, a change will cost me a bit. I'm pretty happy with the name I've been using, but am hereby opening myself to suggestions. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but the names "Tesla" and "General Electric" communicate something about the companies that "Apple" and "Sony" do not.

I'm wondering whether I/we can construct a name that communicates something about this game. The major selling (and playing) point of the game is that it is easy enough for beginners (and non-math people), while having enough depth of play to satisfy experienced gamers. (Inclusivity also shows up in character creation and even the HTML files, which I've made to follow web accessibility guidelines. I intend that artwork (whenever it happens) will also not exploitatively imply a target audience of straight, white males.) There are also foci on game balance, on making sure that players always have options, and on allowing any realistic items or actions that do not conflict badly with the above. There are (and will be more) on-line aids for playing. All of the rules are on-line, though PDFs and print versions will eventually be available.

Comments are screened; I will unscreen comments that do not contain name suggestions. By suggesting a name, you are giving me permission to use it. I can promise nothing in return, but if my game makes a surprising amount of money with a name you suggested, I'll shoot some your way. (Also, thanks in advance, since I may not be able to reply, "Thanks!" without unscreening your comment.)

Edited to add: The game is not setting-specific. It is already made to work in a modern or historical setting, and I'm writing the expansion for fantasy and space opera now.

This entry was originally posted at http://blimix.dreamwidth.org/42460.html. (comment count unavailable comments there.)
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: kirinn
2016-11-01 06:49 pm (UTC)
Heh, for a moment while reading your first paragraph I thought you were considering naming your game "Tesla" or "General Electric", but those *would* be a bit setting-specific.
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[User Picture]From: aprivatefox
2016-11-03 08:04 am (UTC)

A few questions

  • What aspect of the game do you want the name to convey?
  • What kinds of stories does the game support well?
    What kinds does it support poorly?

    D&D and its derivatives support stories about fighting things and growing in power; you can wedge another story onto them, but the rules are going to be at cross-purposes with you. In the same way, even if you re-theme the world, Vampire is built for stories about struggling with your own monstrous nature, Toon pushes toward slapstick humor, and Paranoia does betrayal and intraparty conflict. You can push any of these games into a different world, but it's harder to change what the rules privilege.

  • Who do you see as the target audience for the game?
    What niche do you see it filling at the tabletop?

    Again, I'd consider in naming whether this is a game for groups of strangers playing one-shots at cons, tight-knit groups of long-time gamers playing multiyear campaigns, or for two-or-three-shot games to introduce new folks to the hobby.

Bringing out a new game is awesome - having a good sense of what you're aiming for will help it find its audience and end up on tables getting played. Good luck with it!
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[User Picture]From: blimix
2016-11-03 03:35 pm (UTC)

Re: A few questions

Those are very good questions, and I don't have good answers for most of them, in part because I've been trying to make this game work for people with very different play styles and expectations.

Ideally, I would like the name to resonate with newbies and with old hands at D&D, telling them both that they would be comfortable with the game. The current working name connects to the D&D crowd, I think, but not others. The thing is, there are convenient shorthand references I can make for the "in crowd," but not for the "out crowd". Unless it's some sort of obviously light-hearted sendup of the D&D name (e.g., "Bunnies and Burrows," which I've never played.)

Got to go now, but I'll think about your other questions. Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: aprivatefox
2016-11-03 05:43 pm (UTC)

Re: A few questions

Looking over the questions, I think a meta-question I was circling around is "why does someone pick this game?"

The image in my mind is of someone looking a a shelf full of RPGs, and trying to decide what they want to bring to the table to play — what are the factors that make them decide to pick up your game instead of something else?

Related to that — if you're interested in exploring some really divergent aspects of RPG design-space, to maybe find some games that make you go "nope, that is definitely *not* what my game is trying to do," I'm happy to pull a bit of a list together. I'm not an expert by any means, but I've had the luck of being exposed to a few very interesting and very divergent schools of thought in the local scene, and I really like seeing new games happen.
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[User Picture]From: blimix
2016-11-03 06:32 pm (UTC)

Re: A few questions

Hopefully, someone picks this game for the same reason I wrote it (well, one of the reasons): I want something that I can play with Karen. (She likes role-playing games, but number crunching and excessive rules are barriers for her. I'm a min/maxer, though I like to optimize for group enjoyment rather than just damage per second.) The "looking at the shelf" problem, though, is easier than the name, since I've come up with some great descriptive tag lines that can go right after the title.

I was comparing domain hosting companies recently, and one was called "Green Geeks". This was a brilliant name. In two syllables, they not only said something about themselves, they caused me to identify with them. That's a powerful draw, even before doing any research. Hell, I remember their name better than that of the company I wound up selecting.

That was a good part of what inspired this post. I wondered whether I/we could come up with a name anywhere near as powerful. First impressions matter a lot, and a name alone could spark or lose interest before the reader even gets to the tag line.

Also (as was pointed out in a screened comment), the concept of "elegance" is crucial to this game. I wouldn't mind having that (or "elegant") in the title if it could be made non-awkward. It doesn't exactly speak to everyone, but elegance in a game is certainly important to Karen. (To the point where, when I first played Splendor, I noted (correctly) that Karen would love it for its elegance.) The thing is, in gaming, it's a slightly jargon-y term for something that lots of non-gamers and light gamers would appreciate if they knew better what it implied.

Meanwhile, if it's not too much trouble, I'll gladly take you up on that list.
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[User Picture]From: icarusfallen8
2016-11-03 03:40 pm (UTC)
Joe,

I just posted a comment, which LJ informed me was posted anonymously.
I realized that I needed to log in, and upon doing so was told that my post was in error.
Not sure if you saw it.

Brian
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[User Picture]From: blimix
2016-11-03 05:32 pm (UTC)
Yes, your comment is there, just screened. Thanks!
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