The Joys of Naming Cards

By Assad Quraishi

Hey, champions! 

One of my favourite parts of designing a game is the blend of Mechanic and Flavour, and a lot of that comes from the name of the card. Where would we be without names? I love my name: Assad Quraishi. It has so much wonderful meaning behind it. “Assad” meaning Lion or Tiger in Arabic and the root of my last name is Quraish, the tribe that Prophet Muhammad came from. I have a lot of pride in my name and I wanted to pay special attention to the naming of the cards that went into Genesis. So let’s look at the names of some of my favourite cards.


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A really cool concept I learned about in my early years of game design is “Tangential Learning”. It’s the amazing fact that you can embed really cool learnings in a game without shoving it in the player’s face. This way, those who figure it out feel like their in the loop, and no one feels embarrassed for not knowing it. Actually, I should have my teachers explain it to you:

Watch the whole video, it is awesome:

 
 

So, instead of being subtle here, I’m going to highlight 3 different areas of Tangential Learning that we’ve set up for you in Genesis and we encourage you to find more. 

  • Urticating Tarantula

  • The Jinns

  • Rajasi Lion

Urticating Tarantula

This is an interesting card because it and I go way back to when I was designing a game called Origins, the predecessor to Genesis. The thing I love about cards like Urticating Tarantula is that it is a real thing. Urticating hairs, “are one of the primary [defence] mechanisms used by numerous plants, almost all New World tarantulas, and various lepidopteran caterpillars” (Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urticating_hair). When making this creature we needed something that shot a projectile that could hit ground and flying creatures. When we gave the art team the description for this creature, we actually had them watch this video:

 
 

All of this gave us the Urticating Tarantula.

 
015-Urticating Tarantula.jpg
 

The Jinns

Jinns are interesting creatures. Many people associate them to the Genie in Aladdin, even down to the lamps. And it’s true, the Genie and Jinn are the same creature and stem from the same lore; they are both from the Quran. 

“Jinn (Arabic: الجن‎, al-jinn), also Romanized as djinn or Anglicized as genies (with the more broad meaning of spirits or demons, depending on source)[1][2], are supernatural creatures in early pre-Islamic Arabian and later Islamic mythology and theology. Since jinn are neither innately evil nor innately good, Islam was able to adapt spirits from other religions during its expansion. (wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jinn). 

They are spirits that can take on many different forms and have a milliard of magical powers. In this set, we focused on the elemental magic of Air for the Jinns. The two we have are Dawa’Jinn and Hawa’Jinn. Dawa is coming from the word “dawwama” which is Arabic for Vortex.

Some of you may notice that Dawa is also the word for Prayer ;)

As for Hawa’Jinn. Again, we’re focusing on air and the word Hawa is Urdu for “Air” or “Wind” so this is an Wind Genie. 

 
 

Rajasi Lion

The last card I’m looking at for this blog is the Rajasi Lion which is super interesting for me for two big reasons. One, we got to explore a culture that we weren’t representing much and that’s the Thai culture. And two, Lions are not native to Thailand.

The Rajasi Lion is based on this photo:

“People depict Rajasi, the king of fierce forest mammals, as a lion whose mane, tail, and paws are burning with golden flames. Most inhabitants of Himapan Forest dread the lion king not for his slyness but for his splendor. Although Rajasi symbolizes grandeur and magnificence, many Thailanders, especially those who are living in the North, blame him for the forest fires” (http://www.chinatownconnection.com/thai-mythology.htm). 

Also, a really interesting thing is that the Lion is not native to China, Thailand, and similar countries. But yet, a lot of mythology and culture is based around them. Think about the Chinese Lion Dance, where did it come from? Well, I will leave that to you to research but I will say start with Ashoka Chakra and the Pillars that were erupted because of it. 

Here is the Rajasi Lion:

 
 

This is where I end my story of the research and learnings of Genesis. I do encourage you to question the elements of the game and the naming of things because we aren’t so careless when we name a card, ability, or conduit. When you see the art of a creature but think, “that’s not how that type of creature should look like”, I would encourage you to do some research. Or reach out to us and we can point you in the direction of our own research.

That’s everything for now, I hope you keep learning. If you like this type of content, please leave a comment below so we know you like it.

Bye!

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