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From Theme to Name

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Word Nerd
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It's an educational word game with a strong language theme. My problem is coming up with a name for it.

Most of the obvious possibilities (e.g. wordplay, word nerd) are already in use by many others, for a variety of purposes. In addition to potential legal issues, choosing such a name makes my game difficult to find among all the other entities using the same name.

There might be some possibilities based on ancient or foreign languages, including such morphemes as LECT, LEX, and LOGOS, but the obscurity of these sounds makes such terms sound elitist and pompous, and certainly not like much fun.

I could make up something, as the originators of Scrabble did, but this strategy necessarily divorces the name from any meaning related to the nature of the game itself.

Of course, I wouldn't mind getting some brilliant name suggestions, but in the interests of making your contributions valuable to the wider (BGDF) audience, I'd like folks to focus on the philosophical issues of choosing or designing names for games, based on a well-developed theme.

Perhaps some of you have been faced with a similar situation before. I'd like to hear about the thought processes you engaged in as you worked toward a solution.

BubbleChucks
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The first name that popped

The first name that popped into my head was LINGO - but checking on Board Game Geek thats been used a few times.

Then my thoughts switched to JARGON - but thats been used once

Still, you could always differentiate the name by adding a !

LINGO! , JARGON!

I tend to arrive at names by the simple process of Osmosis (which might be an idea for a name in and of itself). I slap down a working title and then names occur to me while I'm working on the design. Rarely does the working title remain.

I like word plays so they frequently feature in my naming endeavours, other than that I go for something catchy (perhaps using a principle like alliteration). My ideal goal is to happen upon a name that incorporates both the theme and the underlying mechanics.

So if the game involved drawing letter tiles from a bag in order to make scoring words I would go with something like LINGO BINGO. It describes the word forming theme, the drawing of tiles at random mechanic and it rhymes (which is catchy).

Word Nerd
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Been there, done that

Everything you've said rings true for me as well. I've even considered seeking a drug-induced inspirational breakthrough.

The game system I'm trying to name includes more than 1000 different language tasks, so a reference to just one of these in the game name (e.g. Jargon) would be somewhat misrepresentative of the game system's true range, and terms of a more general nature I always find already taken by others.

Speaking of working titles, the one I use is: ERIC Is An Anagram Of RICE

JustActCasual
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naming

Well, I'd say consider who you're pitching to, and what you're trying to pitch. Are you trying to pitch to kids or adults? Who is your ideal player? Is the game an educational aide, or a game with educational elements? Is there a specific company that you are pitching to whose naming style you can match? What is a unique feature of your game that you can play up in the title? Why does your game NEED to exist, and how can you communicate that in the title?

[Aside] Scrabble is actually a word: it means to grab at frantically, which is what you're doing when you 'Scrabble' in the game. It's also a decently long word, so they probably scored pretty well (probably used all their letters, unless they were making 'rabble' longer). It also has a good sound to it with lots of hard consonants. All in all it works well to communicate a sense of urgency and energy which people don't usually associate with word games, and helps to sell the game.

It actually works so well that you can see its influence on the naming of Boggle: single word title, hard consonants, doubled letter, -le ending all point to them trying to play off Scrabble's name recognition. Again, the single word title points to the feel of gameplay rather than content.

Word Nerd
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Working Title

I've adopted a working title for my game now, at the suggestion of another BGDF member. I'm going with "Word University" or "Word-U" for now. The backs of the game cards will feature a large letter W in Varsity font, and the colours of my alma mater (blue and gold). Sample configurations of these colours have been added to my Game Journal, along with one of the cards from the "Prep School" (novices) deck.
The borders of the card faces will be colour-coded for difficulty: green for the "Prep School" deck, blue for the "Bachelor's Degree" deck, and black for the "Graduate School" deck. I borrowed this colour scheme from ski resort signage.

Shoe
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Joined: 12/21/2012
What about Lexicon? what

What about Lexicon? what kind of wordplay is it? puns?

Word Nerd
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Puns Included

Each card in the game system has instructions for the player who draws it. Most often, these instructions involve a randomly-selected word (or words), drawn from a topical pool created by the players themselves in the game setup phase.

To conceive of a new game activity, imagine anything you (or you and a partner, or you and a challenger, or you and all the other players, or...) might be required to do with a random but topical word.

You might be required to pronounce it, spell it, or use it in a sentence, for example. These are relatively simple word-based language tasks. On the other hand, you might be required to perform a language task at a much higher level, such as use your word in an example of hendiadys (an idiomatic collocation of two grammatically similar terms--frequently a cliche--to label a concept; e.g. house and home; law and order).

The game system includes more than 1000 tasks of this kind, ranging from the mindlessly simple (e.g. The Cake Walk: Say your name; earn a point), to the mindbendingly complex (e.g. Hendiadys, above).

If you have any new ideas for me, please let me know.

Word Nerd
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Lexicon, and Others

I did consider LEXICON, and LEXIKA and DIALEX. I may yet revise my brand strategy and return to these suggestions or others. While these names may be meaningful, they aren't visually suggestive. I need something I can use to decorate the game cards and packaging as well as to identify my product.

The "Word University" concept not only suggests a Varsity font and "official colours", but implies a progression of learning (e.g. degrees) and a wide variety of subjects. It's not a thrilling back story, but it works.

I realise an "educational" theme runs the risk of being perceived as "boring", "elitist", or at least "not fun." Those who might be inclined to such an opinion should attempt a battery of the "Prep School" game tasks before they pass judgement.

All said, I'm still open to revisting the name issue.

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