Sunday, January 9, 2011

What's in a name?

A lot of flavor, actually.  I've noted before that it adds to the fun of a simulated space battle if you name the ships in your fleet.  In fact, I've instituted a house rule that players must christen all their vessels, using designations as serious or as silly as they want, before play begins.  Either way, it conveys some personalization to what players would otherwise refer to as "my destroyer number two" or "your cruiser."  Any source can serve as inspiration, or you can just make up your own in tribute or according to whim.

Ckutalik's comment on yesterday's battle report mentions the name of one of his ships, reminding me that I forgot to share the designations we came up with for our respective fleets:

Ckutalik's fleet:
  • Cruiser: Grue
  • Destroyer leader: Wampus
  • Destroyer: Little Wampus
  • Destroyer: Wampette
 My fleet:
  • Cruiser: Existential Angst
  • Destroyer leader: Midlife Crisis
  • Destroyer: Manic
  • Destroyer: Depressive
 It was a lot more fun referring to ships by name than by type and number.  For a source of ship names both inspirational and humourous, check out the designations Ian M. Banks gives his AI-driven spacecraft in his Culture series of SF novels.  Of particluar interest to me is the gravitas in this list, which shows the author and I possess a similar sense of humor.

What about the rest of you, fellow starship commanders?  Do you take the time to name your ships when you put them on the table?  If so, what are some of the names you use?  Do you keep the same names from battle to battle, or come up with new ones for each game?


Martin said...

I think you're absolutely right! Creating names for your ships definetively adds a lot to a game.

I've been thinking about maybe printing out small stickers that I can then attack to the bases of my ships. We'll see how it turns out.

Porky said...

I think adding names in general is a good idea, for individuals where realistic in terms of model count, but in larger armies, squads or squad leaders at least can be named. It changes how we feel about the models and makes the game even more involving. It's also natural over the lifetime of an army - spontaneous naming based on exploits is a simple way of adding history and giving depth to games. Good links too - those names are well worth a browse!

ckutalik said...

I hope no one holds our name choices up to psycho-analysis.

It's funny as simple a thing as adding a name instantly adds a role-playing dimension to it. I guess it's no wonder that rpgs evolved out of miniature wargaming first.

Desert Scribe said...

Thanks, Martin, and welcome aboard the Dreadnought! One way to make labels for your bases is to just print (using a very small font) what you want onto a single label on a sheet of adhesive address labels (the label sheet should allow you to print one label at a time).

Porky, do you remember some of the earlier White Dwarf material for 40K Rogue Trader figures, from back in the late '80s? They had photos of all the Imperial Army minis, and each figure had a name!

See for an example.

Or -- with Troopers Emerson, Lake, and Palmer :-)

ckutalik, I think my choices say more about me than yours do about you :-)

ckutalik said...

Does this mean you are getting a sports car?

maxmike said...

I also name my ships--and since I have a ton of them, that took some doing. My baseline was the style of the name from the ID guides--so Swiftsure would be the class name of the Terran Destroyer, with members of the class being Speedwell, Velocity, Faststar, Farstar, etc. The Victory class SDG seems to be equivalent to an old ship of the line, so I named all of the Terran SDGs after famous Terran battleships (Revenge,Enterprise,Hood, Bismarck...)

Non human ships are pretty much the same--the only ones that were problematic for me were the Carnivorians, because I have split the fleet into the Aslan (cat) and Vargr (wolf) sides. The class names for the Aslan stay the same as in the IG guide (Lion, Cub, etc)but the class names for the Vargr have been shifted to equivalent canid versions (Lion=Wolf, Bobcat=Fox).

Porky said...

@ Desert Scribe - I remember, and I do miss the familiarity and sense of fun there was back then, the amateurishness and anything goes feel.

C'nor (Outermost_Toe) said...

I don't play this, sadly, but I am messing about with a space game of my own design, so I guess I'll contribute what my fleet is named:

Command Drone: Wolf (It had some creases in the greenstuff that looked kind of like eyes and a mouth, so I painted it up with one of the "limbs" being painted as a wolfs head.)

Subsidiary Drone 1: Woodpecker (Because, again, it looks like one)

Subsidiary Drone 2: Ressurection (They're in the service of a Laeris death-cult)

Subsidiary Drone 3: Decay

Light Fighter: Tombservant

Capcha: Zoorappe. I can't decide if this is a type of music or a sex crime (Or the victim of one).