Politics of Gaming – Know Your Player Type: Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve looked at the various types of players that you are likely to see, I figured it would be good to explain a bit in the more general sense how I see the different player types and how they combine in various ways to create entirely unique outlooks. I’m sure that while reading it you were able to identify with more than a single one of the types that were presented out of the 10 sub-types presented. That’s because going into writing this I had the idea in mind that most people would probably end up with being 2 out of the 10.

Most of the types that I’ve written about aren’t exclusive to any of the other ones. You can be a Competitor and an Actor. It just means that you are likely to view roleplay as a competition to see who can be the best at making an awesome character. If I were more ambitious I would make a chart of all the various combinations of types and give them all cute names and describe the combos of them but that’s like 45 different types and I don’t think anyone gives enough of a shit to really need that. Suffice it to say, while the individual player types can often seem overly specific to one type of thing, the combinations is where the real quirks of your players can be seen.

The goal in getting these player types set wasn’t so that you could sit around categorizing your friends like a bunch of nerds trying to decide if Captain America is more Lawful Good or Neutral Good (it’s Neutral Good, by the way). Rather, I wanted to have a list of gaming motivations that you could look at to try to better understand where someone is coming from. Often we have a hard time understanding why someone would play a game that we don’t like or why someone would hate a game that we hold dear. For instance, Skyrim was lauded as one of the greatest games when it came out and when I tell people that I absolutely hated it, they are completely shocked and can’t understand why.

Just look at how wrong you are. You should be ashamed.

Just look at how wrong you are. You should be ashamed.

Having an understanding of what the other players hope to get out of a game can help quite a bit. We can often think someone is being a jerk or a whiner when they are playing with us and it might be as simple as the game just being one that they aren’t particularly prone to play. Not knowing the root cause of someone’s dislike or discomfort in a game can lead to a lot of needless conflict and tension. Realizing that one of your friends is a Strategist can help you better steer them in the direction of using that desire in a constructive way where if you just thought they were being a controlling dick, you’d probably get pissed and resentful about it.

It can also be helpful on a personal level. It’s not often that we as gamers sit down and really analyze why it is exactly that we find certain games fun or not. When you can drill down your own player type and understand what it is you come to a game looking for, you are much more likely to be able to find something that fits your desires. If you know that you are a Gambler and love the risk/reward dynamic that comes from a game’s mechanics then you can try to find where that aspect shines through the best in what you’re playing. So even if you’re playing a game that is mostly story and very little in the way of mechanical interaction, if you can find the parts that you find most enjoyable then you can be better prepared for knowing how the game will go. This will also help you to better say no to a game when you can see if it just doesn’t have enough of what you want present in it instead of just playing for the sake of playing.

If this is the face you are making while playing, perhaps consider a different game

If this is the face you are making while playing, perhaps consider a different game

I don’t assume that the types of players that I’ve written about are completely comprehensive and cover every type of person that you are likely to play with. If there’s a type that you can think of that wasn’t listed, I’d love to hear it and might cover it in a future article. For now, though, I think they provide a great jumping-off point for anyone that wants to get the most out of playing games with other people. It even provides a great topic for discussion when with other gamers to try to see what their type is. Anything that lets people get together and play more games is wonderful and hopefully the player types will better facilitate that amongst you, your friends, and anyone else you care to play with.

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