Monday, July 20, 2015

Elf Names

The start player token
Let's talk about elf names!  The elves that build the toys are a long established tradition in the Santa mythos - but you never really hear then given names.  A quick search of the web reveals a few popular names - there's a certain collection of six names that keeps popping up - Alabaster Snowball, Bushy Evergreen, Sugarplum Mary, Shinny Upatree, Wunorse Openslae and Pepper Minstix.  Meh - the only one in there that I like is Pepper Minstix.  There's Hermey from the old Rudolph cartoon - and in fact that's the POP figure I use for the first player token in Santa's Workshop.  And then there's "Buddy" from the Will Ferrell movie "Elf" (as an aside...that movie came out in 2003.  2003!  12 years ago!).

Why the interest in elf names?  Well, in Santa's Workshop, each player leads a team of elves, and these elves can be trained over the course of the each player ends up with a unique set of workers.  Right now, the elves are represented by generic meeples, which are numbered.  That's not terribly exciting, and even though I explain before every game that you don't have to play the elves in numerical order...inevitably someone thinks that they have to do just that.  So, moving forward, we're going to do two things - the elves will get uniquely shaped meeples, and instead of being numbered, they will get names.  With 5 players, each having a possible 4 elves, that's 20 names that I need. 

Current player card..."Elf#1" doesn't sound as good as "Hermey", does it?
Here's the thing...coming up with elf names seems like it might be easy...but I seem to be having a case of elf block.  So, any suggestions are appreciated.  Below is what I've come up with.  I have sort of separated them by theme, which is sort of vaguely related to the color (and sometimes that's VERY vague...or even non-existant).  Each team will have two male and two female elves.  Of course, who knows what a male or female elf name really is...

Anyway, without further's what I have so far (them in parenthesis)...

Green (nature, plants)
Ivy, Holly, Mistle, Evhar, Sprucey

Blue (weather, cold)
Twinkle, Snowflake, Zephyr

Red (Bells)
Jingles, Sylvar, Tahko, Rusty, Ding Dong

Pink (candy)
Pepper Minstix, Bubbles, Sugarplum

Yellow (miscellaneous)
Reginald Van Pippington, Gullygawk*, Buzzlewitz*, Tumbleflump

* These are names from a couple different traditions I found in Europe and the U.S.

I actually have some more, but I think I left that sheet at work...I'll update this post when any others.  But if you have any suggestions, please chime in!  Should I do away with the whole theme by color thing?  I'm wide open here...


  1. First, a thought on production. Using uniquely shaped meeples might drive up the production costs. Printing the name on the meeple (other ideas?) might also increase production costs.

    Bear in mind long names like Reginald Van Pippington III, Esq, might be too long to print on the card or meeple.

    Another option is by continents, and then just pick noted rivers, mountains, volcanoes, deserts, etc, for that continent.
    Another option is animals by class: mammals, reptiles, lizards, birds, fish, insects, etc.
    Another option is to steal from Magic the Gathering, but yeah, you'll probably want to replace Black's theme of death and disease -- doesn't fit the happy flavor of SW.
    Another theme: woodwinds, brass, percussion, strings....

    If you chose one color to be white, you could go with snow theme, and then blue could be water theme.

    Roman and Greek gods and goddesses and often good for names. The muses alone fill out a couple catogories: Calliope, Clio, Euterpe, Erato, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia and Urania.

    Stars and Constellations can make categories. Northern hemisphere constellations, southern hemisphere constellations, northern hemisphere stars, southern hemisphere stars, need a fifth category? Jovian moons, Saturn moons, etc.

  2. If you are suffering Elf Block, you can always work with anagrams. Famous composers, generals, physicists, astronomers, comedy teams, Simpsons characters, etc, then just "anagramize" [you heard it here first] the names, no one will know the difference. How hard is it to create elf names out of Chico Harpo Groucho Gummo Zeppo?

    There are a lot of variations on the seven dwarfs:
    Add some vowels, a dwarf name becomes an elf name.

    The Seven Duffs: Sleazy, Queasy, Surly, Edgy, Tipsy, Dizzy, and Remorseful. SW is basically a factory. Maybe you could vary that theme: Clumsy, Oafish, Awkward, Fall Prone, Blundering, Bumbling, Tripsy, Lazy, Agitator, Part Breaker, Klutz, Toy Dropper,

    Are these elves unionized? Supervisor, Observer, Checker, Smoke Break, Lunch Break, Tardy, QC, Card Puncher, Check Casher, Clock Watcher, On Disability, Vote Counter, Muscle,

    How about variations on terms Smithers uses for workers: chair moisteners, low-level employees, schmoes, drones, stiffs, boobs, carbon blobs, fork and spoon operators, organ banks, cabbage heads, donut eaters, donut dunkers,

  3. Or perhaps go with a positive theme for manufacturing: adroit, adept, agile, efficient, producer, effective, indefatigable, alert, wired, adapter, clever, improviser, fixer, creative, resourceful, ingenius, idea factory,

    Stealing from Dungeon Master: Craftsman, journeyman, expert, master, apprentice, artisan, adept.

    Pick your favorite beers, move the letters around, no one will ever know.

    Then there's the easy approach: Belf, Smelf, Gdelf, Kfelf, Flep, Felp, Flek, Felk, Felf, Krelf, Klef, Kelp, Kelf, El F, el'F, This approach works if you want to add a little fun confusion to the game.

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