Naming Apotheca

We've been prepping our next game for Kickstarter. It took a while for us to arrive on a name, but now we know it will be Apotheca: The Secret Potion Society

How did we arrive at this? Well, I originally called the game Potion Motion, but that seemed too fleeting or shallow. Later, I wanted to call the game Potion Master. It was simple, easy to remember, evocative, and indicated that mastery/depth was in the game. Then I Googled it and found several match-three flash games using the name Potion Master. Dang it!

I went back to the drawing board. We had a whole bunch of names picked out, but nothing really seemed right. My friend writing the backstory of the game suggested changing the theme from a magic workshop to a black market for apothecaries. This helped shape new game mechanics as well as fit everything together thematically. Also, it opened the game up to a wider demographic since the magic workshop theme was a bit limited in maturity.

We arrived at a selection of names and surveyed 100 people, similar to how we named Knapsack Games. Here are the results of the survey:

The overwhelming choice was Apotheka. Anecdotally, this name was the most evocative, descriptive yet mysterious. The Secret Potion Society had similar attributes, but was not as concise. However, I loved the name The Secret Potion Society, so I decided it still needed to be in the game somehow! It will likely be a subtitle, tagline or descriptive element on the box in the final product.

It occurred to me that there were a variety of ways to spell Apotheka upon hearing it aloud. Word of mouth is important in the marketing world, especially in board games where so much social interaction is face-to-face. So, I put out a survey to determine how the name should be spelled:

We ultimately went with Apotheca because of several factors:

  • Stronger results for "c" and for "e" names
  • Apotheca is closer to apothecary than Apotheka - even though Apotheka is exotic, it's just not the default spelling for most people after hearing it aloud
  • Apotheca is more approachable than Apotheka for non-gamers
  • "Apotheca" (216,000) has fewer search results than "Apotheka" (337,000), and "Apotheca game" (47,000) has fewer search results than "Apotheka game" (1,730,000)

I personally think Apotheka is cooler than Apotheca, but in the end, I just kept typing Apotheca intuitively. Knapsack Games is all about straightforward-thinking and learning things quickly, so Apotheca seemed like the right choice in the long run.

In other news, we're still finishing up the development of the game design. We had a playtest night of 15 people recently, many of which I had never met before. We found opportunities for improvement in our current design, and got a feel for how players will appraise the product based on the art. I really look forward to May when Apotheca hits Kickstarter!