Monday, February 6, 2012

Reverb # 3: What kind of gamer are you?

I'm doing a weekly series in which I am answering Atlas Games' Reverb Gamers 2012 Master List of questions. You can find #1 here and #2 here.

REVERB GAMERS 2012, #3: What kind of gamer are you? Rules Lawyer, Munchkin/Power Gamer,
Lurker, Storyteller/Method Actor, or something else? (Search "types of gamer" for more ideas!) How
does this affect the kinds of games you play? For example, maybe you prefer crunchy rules-heavy
systems to more theatrical rules-light ones.

I don't really fall well into any of the typical categories. Which, I know, makes me sound like a total snowflake. It's more that I simply sit toward the middle of the spectrum, and so take parts from each of them.

Well, I can certainly identify a few types that I am not. I am not a munchkin, because that kind of in-character power is never a goal of mine. I am certainly not a lurker or casual gamer, as I jump in with both feet every time. (In point of fact, one of my big faults is that I tend to be a spotlight hog.)

On the old joke lists, they were broken down into Real Men, Real Roleplayers, Munchkins, and Loonies. I discovered that I usually identified surprisingly strongly with the Real Men answers. I like combat. I like playing tough guys. I like weapons. I don't look to have the biggest and baddest weapons, though. I just like to be competent and effective, and to kick a little ass.

On the rules/story spectrum, I spread out heavily on both sides. I love systems. I love to see how they work. And, I happen to be really, really good at absorbing and learning systems. (This one time, in Fading Suns, I managed to answer a rules question at the table while creating my character, and having never looked at the book before that day. Most of the other players had been playing for months.) I also strongly believe that the rules are an important component of play.

On the other hand, I also strongly believe in inhabiting my character. I create a back story, code of ethics, personality, et cetera for each character. These days, most of that is done with rough sketches instead of pages of self-referential fanfic (thankfully!!). But, still, I treat my character as a person in his own right, and not simply my game piece to move through the world.

As a GM, I do frequently fall prey to the Frustrated Novelist type. I am ashamed.

How does it affect the kind of games I play? Mostly, I look for games that strongly enable me to express the character with mechanical elements. I like the detailed customization possible with d20. I love the Aspects in FATE. I want to be able to look at my character sheet and have the numbers on it tell me what my character is like. Then, in play, I want my character's drives and fears to have an actual, measurable impact on what happens around him.

On the other hand, I also love Gamma World, which doesn't do any of that....

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