What's in a (Show) Name?

I’ve been struggling with what to call my new series of ‘funnies’, which I’ve been posting to the @BGAPodcast twitter feed daily Mon-Fri.

They’re not Memes, and they’re not Cartoons. I stopped trying to name what they are and switched to thinking about what they feel like… They’re fun, which is why I called them ‘funnies’, like the old newspaper comic strips.

But they’re also about games, so the title has to reflect that. I did an idiom search on the ‘net and came up with phrase that was so obvious, I had a ‘Duh…’ moment. I decided to call the series, #FunInGames. Simple, accurate.

Creating a Name that Sticks

Now, I told you all that so that I could tell you this: It’s really hard to come up with a name that reflects your brand. Corporations spend upwards of 6 figures to marketing companies to dream up just the right word that will trigger the right reactions in customers/ clients/ listeners.

When I was dreaming up my radio show (to be premiered sometime next month), I wrestled with a number of show names before I used one simple criteria to narrow down the list: I wanted a name that referred back to the show itself.

The guys at our podcast came up with the name “Board Gamers Anonymous” before I joined up, so I never really got a handle on just why they chose that name, or what the other options were. Supposedly it was a reference to board gaming as an addiction, but we never really utilized that concept as part of our brand.

That is, until I came up with the first theme for my #FunInGames feature. I co-opted a Rockwell painting and adapted with the title, “At a Recent Meeting of Board Gamers Anonymous.” For the first time, the BGA was demonstrating just what we meant by our show title.

Taking it to the Next Step

As I was developing the concept for my spinoff show, I first settled on the title “The Missing Link.” It described what I was trying to accomplish with the show: providing a link between Serious & Casual gamers, Blogs & Podcasts, Amerigames & Eurogames, etc.

That title, The Missing Link, gave me a strong sense of purpose as I shaped the format. But I came to realize that it wouldn’t be obvious to listeners what I was trying to tell them about the show. I would always have to be explaining just what I meant by the title, and how the content of the show was providing those links. It was going to complicate the show.

So, just before I pitched it to the radio station, I changed the show’s title to “On The Table.” The title still accomplishes what I want, to point back to the show, rather than describing listeners (like BGA) or certain facets of the hobby (eg, Dice Tower). [Don’t ask me what the title “Shut Up and Sit Down” is supposed to be saying….]

On The Table is a double entendre, just not the dirty kind. It has two meanings, highlighting the subject of the show (games you play on a table) and the wide scope of topics on the show: every gaming-related subject will be ‘on the table’, that is, up for discussion.

I’m just not sure right now when we’ll be starting that discussion…

  • Anthony lives and plays games in Philadelphia, PA. A lover of complex strategy, two-player war games, and area control, Anthony is always eager to try a new game, even if he's on rule-reading duty.

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