Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding

Using ChatGPT to name a game

9th May 2023 2

Naming a board game is one of those things that sometimes is easy and other times feels impossible. As I design a game, I’m always thinking about what names make sense but sometimes I find the perfect name is already in use, it’s too difficult to spell, or it doesn’t click with people. I end up spending countless nights thinking of new ideas and there have been times where I’ve gotten stuck.

Last week I introduced the topic of AI and today I would like to give a practical example of how to brainstorm with ChatGPT, using it to help you name a game.

Getting started

You can find ChatGPT here and will need to register for a free account.

Then you can begin.

If you have used ChatGPT before I recommend starting a new conversation as ChatGPT remembers what has previously been discussed within a conversation and may bring it into the current request. Starting a new conversation will help avoid bringing last nights dinner suggestions into your game name brainstorming.


Before we start the task, I want to make comment on an optional part of this process.

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot built on top of large language models, you can be as direct as you want and instruct it how you please. With that said, I prefer to keep conversations polite as if I am speaking with another person and include hellos, pleases, and thank yous. I think it’s a great habit to always keep your writing polite and friendly regardless of who you are talking too.

The game

Note. For the purposes of this article I have created a fictional game, the game does not really exist.

The first thing you will want to do is to make ChatGPT aware of what you need help with, in this case naming a board game, and to provide it with enough information to make relevant suggestions.

Here is the first prompt I will enter into ChatGPT.

Prompt 1

I am designing a board game and would like some assistance in naming the game. Here is an overview of what the game is about:
In this epic sci-fi game, players are transported to a distant star system where four alien races are locked in a fierce competition to extract the most valuable resource in the galaxy: gas. This annual event serves as the ultimate test of each race's technological prowess and strategic skill, as they navigate treacherous asteroid fields, battle hostile alien forces, and engage in intense rivalries to stake their claim on the richest gas deposits.
Could you please provide 10 name suggestions for this game.

I have informed ChatGPT of what I need help with, given it a description of the game, and suggested we start with 10 ideas. I could have been more specific with the types of names that I want but I think it’s great to start with some general ideas as it may spark something in you.

The goal here isn’t to get ChatGPT to generate a name, but to give me ideas to iterate on until a name is found.

Here is the response:

Sure, here are ten name suggestions for your sci-fi board game:
1. Galactic Gas Wars
2. Star System Rivals
3. Alien Extraction
4. Cosmic Frenzy
5. Gas Rush
6. Interstellar Conflict
7. Asteroid Odyssey
8. Extraterrestrial Riches
9. Star Race: The Great Gas Grab
10. Intergalactic Competition

Now the conversation starts, none of these really stand out to me but I can tell ChatGPT how I want to proceed.

Prompt 2

Thank you. I like the words star and extraction, could you provide 10 new suggestions for the games name using synonyms of these words while keeping a strong sci-fi theme.

I’m keeping it short to get a few more ideas to work with.

Here is the response:

Certainly, here are ten new name suggestions using synonyms for "star" and "extraction" with a sci-fi theme:
1. Celestial Harvest
2. Cosmic Extraction
3. Nebula Scavengers
4. Stellar Lode
5. Galactic Siphon
6. Space Mining Rivals
7. Extraterrestrial Extraction
8. Starborne Riches
9. Interstellar Exploiters
10. Astral Plunder

Harvest really stands out to me. I like the word and it fits the game theme well, I could see me using it while describing the game to people and may change the original description from extracting to harvesting.

I want to focus on this word and this time will refine the parameters of the name creation further.

Prompt 3

Thank you. Harvest is my favourite word so far, could you please provide 10 new suggestions focussing on the word harvest. Please make each suggestion 2 words in length and use words which are easy to spell and pronounce.

Now we’re not just focussing on the meaning of words but we’re also ensuring they are accessible, people searching for the game won’t have difficulties spelling the name, and keeping it short.

Here is the response:

Sure, here are ten new two-word name suggestions with a focus on the word "harvest" that are easy to spell and pronounce:

1. Cosmic Harvest
2. Star Harvesters
3. Galactic Bounty
4. Space Reapers
5. Stellar Yield
6. Intergalactic Harvest
7. Celestial Crop
8. Alien Harvesters
9. Harvest Galaxy
10. Harvest Runners

I think Star Harvesters is great and for the purposes of this example I will select it as the final name. Of course, you can iterate and play around with ideas with all sorts of parameters until you are happy.

Prompt 4

Is Star Harvesters currently used by any games, movies, or books?

Here is the response:

I'm not aware of any popular games, movies, or books that currently use the name "Star Harvesters." However, I should note that it's always a good idea to conduct a thorough search to make sure that the name you choose isn't already in use or trademarked. This can help you avoid potential legal issues down the line.

As ChatGPT rightly says, you will want to do your own research but it’s great to ask it this before moving on as it can quickly tell you whether a name is already in use. If it was in use, you may ask it for alternatives to “Star Harvesters” which aren’t in use and see what it suggests.

I mentioned at the start of this article that ChatGPT remembers your conversation and that can be really handy here. It gives you time to go away, ask people about the name, do tests, and then to come back to the conversation later if you wish to continue where you left off while providing ChatGPT with your findings.

In conclusion

I hope this article gives you a good idea of how ChatGPT can help you brainstorm ideas. In this example I let ChatGPT create our starting point but it’s just as easy to start the conversation by saying:

I have the following 3 names for a game: name 1, name 2, name 3. I think they are OK but could you suggest some new ideas based on these? For context here is a description of the game…

By using parameters such as “only suggest 2 word names” or “no words should contain more than 6 letters”, providing a good description of the game, and iterating you can get some great ideas very quickly.

Frank West

Frank West is a gamer and designer based in Bristol, UK. He published his first board game, The City of Kings, in 2018 and now works on other games and organising events in the local area. His goal? To design and publish games focusing on immersive themes, fun mechanics and beautiful components. If you have any questions or would just like a chat, feel free to get in touch at any time!


  • Adrian Bonet

    15th May 2023 at 12:05 pm

    I have been actually thinking about this etiquette point you make here since your wrote about it.
    I do not write on a polite way to ChatGPT. (but I do not think it is incorrect to do so).
    The language I use is quite dry and to the point. I sometimes think it helps it understand the prompt.

    But ultimately I think politeness or not depends on how do you see ChatGPT. Do you see it as a different entity to you. or do you see it as an extension of yourself, your brain.

    In the style of Marshall McLuhan saying the keyboard is an extension of our fingers and the screen of our eyes. etc…


    • Frank West

      15th May 2023 at 10:34 pm

      I think this is a really good discussion and I would also say that I don’t think there is a right or wrong.

      There are certainly some benefits in being direct, like you say in some circumstances it may help the prompt be clearer, and it also reduces to the computational power requirements which over millions of people is huge.

      Personally, I want to avoid developing a habit of excessive directness in my messages. Given the frequency I write emails, social media posts, and other online content, it becomes easy to overlook the fact that there is a human being on the receiving end. So I’m trying to adopt a consistent writing style that remains unaffected by the identity of the recipient, even when communicating with machines.


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