One thing I haven’t seen many designers speak of is the importance of the game title. In any list of new titles, on Kickstarter, on BoardGameGeek, or on a review site, you sometimes have little else to make you stand out from the pack. Few designers seem to spend the required time to truly come up with something unique and attention-grabbing. Let’s look at some great titles and analyze why they are good:
- Five minute Dungeon: Immediately you know this is a fast-playing fantasy-themed game plus you are curious to know: How fast is it really? How in-depth is the play? What does it look like?
- Tiny Epic Quest: This gives you a very similar vibe to “Five Minute Dungeon” but promises a bit more with the claim to be “epic”. Don’t you want to know more?
- King of Tokyo: This one is a bit more mysterious but inspires the necessary curiosity. Even if you don’t figure out it’s about giant monsters stomping on Tokyo, you want to know why does Tokyo have a king?
And here’s a handful of not-so-great titles for games that succeeded regardless. How much better could they have done with a better title? FYI: I know relatively little about these games so please correct any assumptions I might make.
- Escape Plan: You know there is an escape involved so that sounds interesting but “plan” is a word that doesn’t inspire a lot of curiosity. The game involves escaping a city after a heist. “Escape the City” is better. Even better, pick a real or fictional city and call it, “Escape from New York” (yeah, that might be misleading) or “Escape from Chicago”. Then you could have different city expansion packs, etc.
- Megaland: It sounds like a toy, not a game. Aren’t those the discount legos? You have no clue about where it might lead and aren’t really interested to find out.
- Space Base: Way too vanilla. At least you know it has a space theme which could inspire some mild curiosity. Wouldn’t it be good for the title to give you a hint whether you might be building a space base, attacking one, or what?
Most games fall between these extremes but why not spend the time to come up with a title that wows people right out of the gate? Do you need help with your game title? Let’s talk about it in the comments!