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Thematic Naming of Game Concepts

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DChristiany
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Joined: 04/23/2014

Hello fellow game designers,

I have been designing a fantasy "wargame" on and off for some years.
Currently, I am writing the first draft of my game's rulebook, in order to release a PNP prototype.
Because I want my rulebook to be consistent, I need a name for every important concept, that gives readers a clear idea, what that concept does.
The name should also be fitting to the theme and ideally enhancing it.
Now for my question: Is it okay to use a very technical name for a concept, that does not fit to the theme at all?

As this was all very abstract, here is my example:

I have a concept in my game which I call an Effect. That is just a short text, that tells players what it does, i.e. "Deal 4 damage to another unit within range 3".
Every unit in my game has several special abilities, that potentially causes effects.
I also have spells in my game that potentially cause effects, too.
I have created rules for Effect Sources, which is my technical name for both spells and Special Abilities.
I am happy with finding common rules for spells and abilities, but I am unsure how much the name might hurt player immersion.

Thanks for reading!

WikkedWood
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Joined: 10/27/2016
My two cents

If you are pre blind playtesting, run with effect and see how they all result in gameplay and whether the immersion seems degraded in context.

I have a feeling that if your game has plenty of immersive elements elsewhere, this won't be an issue. If it turns out you need some help with immersion choose your word wisely so that it can be applied consistently across all the different effects and without confusion.

WW

radioactivemouse
radioactivemouse's picture
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Joined: 07/08/2013
Totally agree with WW

WikkedWood wrote:
If you are pre blind playtesting, run with effect and see how they all result in gameplay and whether the immersion seems degraded in context.

I have a feeling that if your game has plenty of immersive elements elsewhere, this won't be an issue. If it turns out you need some help with immersion choose your word wisely so that it can be applied consistently across all the different effects and without confusion.

WW

Yes...absolutely yes. In my opinion, the title of the effect should be the icing on the cake. The mechanic should really pull the theme through.

But if you really need something for working purposes, I just use very general, but easy to understand terms.

For example, I'm working on a game that requires 4 characters to be in play at a time. Since every character is slightly different, I just named them things like, "Balanced Person #1", "Melee Person", and "Healing Person", etc. Prototypes shouldn't really be much in terms of quality and nomenclature should be added in somewhat near the end (but of course if you find a great term, use it).

WikkedWood
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Joined: 10/27/2016
;)

I agree with radioactivemouse agreeing with me. RM's advice has the added benefit of a warm and fuzzy feeling when you go to your favorite printed component image editor and replace "State Witness #1" with "Mayor Steadfast J. Hack" or "Monster Level 12" with "Impossibly Large Momrawth".

Or in your case coming up with the small and non-confusing set of effect names that you'll roll with. For a recent game of mine, these were Keywords that other cards interacted with. VERY SCARY for a designer...too few, you may as well not have keywords...too many, and the cards are only special to one other card which you may never draw (...and you may as well not have keywords).

I sure hope this is helping you. Please let us know what set of effects you decided to go with and why - OR if you just decided to stick with Effect globally (and why).

WW

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