Naming Your Game

A game design is a very personal work, and naming it is one of the most personal bits.

However, if you're serious about getting published, you need the best name, even if it's not the one you like most. If the publisher doesn't like your game's name, which they probably won't, they'll change it.

Most games have boring, functional names. Many eurogames don't even try — the game is just named after a city, and this city has no relation to the gameplay.

Your game's name should stand out, and be catchy.


Avoid adjective-noun and especially noun-of-noun names, like "Supreme Quest" or "Warriors of Kroznor". This can be hard to do. Avoid the urge to name your game the most grandiose or evocative combination of words possible. Everyone else is doing that.

A strong word

If your game has a strong aesthetic, it's easy to give the game an evocative name.

A single word is a very solid name. However, it needs to be an uncommon word.

There's the game about making a quilt. It's called Patchwork. There's a game about running a bird sanctuary. It's called Wingspan. There's a game about defeating classic horror monsters. It's called Horrified.


Use alliteration, or a pun, or something amusing.

If there's something interesting or unique about the actual mechanics of the game, the name can suggest the actual play of the game, rather than the theme. Eight-Minute Empire, Railroad Ink, Camel Up, and Roll Player do this.

The best names

The best names, in my opinion, are both a single word and a wordplay. This is achieved with a clever modification of an existing word. These names are simple and catchy, while still describing the game. Kingdomino (a game in which you build a kingdom out of domino-shaped pieces of land) is a great example. Scattergories is another.

Before Radlands was published, it had one name from me, and two other names from the publisher. The final name, Radlands, is a modification of the word "badlands". It's short, unique, and evocative, and everyone likes it. Within about 30 seconds of it being suggested, it became the permanent name of the game.

Publishers are likely going to be very particular about what kinds of names they like to put on board games. The best strategy here is to ask the publisher if they like your game's name. If not, you offer to suggest a list of new names. They'll probably pick one from your list, and you've still been able to name your own game.

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