A Question of Succession
I have a Dark Elf team, fast approaching the hundred game milestone. Not a particularly momentous milestone for some coaches but by some way my most long-lived team, and the only one I stick into tournaments, beauty competitions, whatever’s going. As far as groups of spike-clad pointy-eared bastards go, they have proven a pretty decent unit, but I’m beginning to have a problem with one thing as the games pile up: roman numerals. That little collection of sticks and eckses after a player’s name that lets you know exactly how often everything went wrong. How often the apothecary looked at a broken collar bone with professional interest before breaking a neck in the attempted treatment. How often you trusted them to keep a close eye on that Minotaur and not mind any funny business.
And because you’re human, or at the least, humanoid, you start to spot little patterns, ascribe certain characteristics to owners of a certain sobriquet. I’m talking beyond the difference in position and skills, into the deep marrow of what a player inherently is. I know for a certain fact that one of my four Blitzers is the big hitter. I know that, even unskilled, he’s more likely to cause a casualty than any of the other three chumps and chumpettes, and I have the circumstantial affirmation bias to prove it.
Maybe it eventually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. One of the Linemen is truly useless, dies at the drop of a hat and even though is joined by two other brethren on the line of scrimmage, I know he’s going to be the one that explodes like a blood balloon. He’s up to the ninth iteration by now and nobody else has passed six. So what do I do with that title? Because it’s railroading my mindset, would I benefit from a change in naming policy? To my mind there are three main strategies used when naming a long-lived team.
1: Numerals, numbers, even the scrabble-winning hand of letters that got sprinkled after the people of Empire Strikes Back Insanity
The big pro here is you never waste time thinking of a name, you just add one and move on. This is important as we are all high-powered professionals without time to lose on frippery and flim-flam. The downsides are already mentioned but boil down to shifting your viewpoint of certain players without any rational reason.
2: Keep the name, don’t count how many.
Even lazier than option 1, but you avoid the chance of misnumbering and thus ruining your OCD-based head. I’ve got a witch elf who’s actually the fifth but I’ve called her the third and she just won’t die and let things be righted. I suspect this technique will allow you to remember the good things better as you will have a collective fuzzy memory of your accomplishments with a certain player. But you will lack the unstoppable march of history feel of having Bruno Longhi XLIV, such a valuable intimidatory part of proceedings.
3: All new names every time
My hat goes off to anyone that can consistently do this (hello Hellbound) and this gives certainly the fairest chance. It’s a question of equality in many ways, why should a blood bowl player be born into the expectations and privileges of his predecessors. No, they should earn that glory themselves. Cons include wasted effort on naming bundles of pixels, and an increased chance that you will have a player named after your future spouse before you even meet them, making that occasion an awkward one.
I’m no closer to solving my conundrum here. In fact thinking about it has just made the decision even more convoluted.