We’re going to talk about your gaming group. Yeah, those guys (and girls if you’re lucky) that you meet with every week on a day where the majority of the people don’t work the next day. These kindred souls have accompanied you through the darkest most Mind-Flayer inhabited dungeons, they’ve embarked on awesome new gaming adventures such as the epic board game Kingsburg, and shared the incredibly dismal experience of the worst card game in the history of card games: Killer Bunnies (Un-hyperlinked for your own safety…Google at your own risk!) Through character death and Magic: the Gathering rules fights they’ve been by your side. It’s time we take a closer look at what makes these individuals tick, and where there gaming passions may lay. This understanding will ultimately lead to a smoother group which inevitably leads to a better time had by all.
Let’s start with the most recognizable of the group: The Winner. Most easily spotted by his/her ability to make victory in any game seem futilely out of reach with his flawless strategies, precisely engineered deck/character builds, and impossibly fast special move execution. He/She can easily stir up a group and begin the slow decent into group dissension. This person thrives on competition, in fact, it’s a requirement. If there’s no one to stand up to them and threaten their supremacy they may eventually end up migrating out of the group to more competitive pastures. Keep this in mind when interacting with this type of gamer. If you’re willing to understand and anticipate the needs of this player and the needs of others in regard to this player, you’ll gain a very loyal and most likely punctual member of your group.
Let’s cut to the bottom line.
Strengths: They will be glad to stomp you over and over again at any game you wish to get better at. Also, they know a lot about these games… Learn from them! I’m sure they’ll be eager to show and tell all that they know and slowly gain the competition they crave. They’re likely to be a leader if your group goes into any high level competition. A true gaming resource.
Weaknesses: Not everyone in your group is up for repetitive defeat. These players can easily become know-it-all’s and have the natural tendency to come off as conceited to the less seasoned members. Try rotating game types if conflict arises from interaction with The Winner. They also tend to be a bit heavier on rules than other players which can be a problem.
Another top contributor to any gaming group of worth is "The Joker" (no not The Joker god help you if he shows up…). Not only does this person tell some awesome jokes, more often than not, you’ll find this person acting out their sense of humor in a game. This is the guy that, during your Street Fighter II tournaments, only played with Dhalsim (because he was the worst character) so that every victory (no matter how few, or far between) was a practical joke played on the opponent. “Yoga Fire!” In group games he/she can often be found playing a support role with some off-the-wall quirks that will be remembered for all time.
Go, Go, Gadget Indented Aside:
Strengths: Let’s face it, gaming is about having a good time and it’s hard to imagine having a good time without laughing. This person is here to provide those laughs at almost any cost. "The Joker" will most likely be fine with playing a less spotlight oriented role in the group seeing as their primary motivation is being silly and getting laughs. This person will have a hand in creating your most memorable gaming moments.
Weaknesses: The more time The Joker gets, the less time is spent on gaming. If “The Winner” is in the process of …well… winning when this player starts the laughs, things could get a little intense. Always make sure this type of player is not targeting the other players in the group, nothing will make a group dissolve faster. You might have to make sure they’re taking things at least a little seriously.
The next archetype in terms of gamers is one I’ll call “The Dude on the Couch” or for short, “tDotC”. Like the name implies he may not even be playing, but he will have an impact on your game. If he/she is playing, he’s usually doing something else at the same time like checking Facebook on his laptop, or texting people, or even writing for a website… Hmm… Anyway, he/she is there, and he/she is gaming with your group for some reason. Your task: find out why! Maybe they don’t dig the game you guys are playing, maybe they were just there to hang out and unwarranted gaming occurred, or maybe they’re new to gaming and a little shy to interact in a large way. If you find yourself with a non-playing “tDotC”, invite them to start and you may gain a member. If they don’t want to, make sure they don’t disrupt too much. Loyal member are probably serious gamers, we keeps them, we likes them.
Hulk Smash This Section of Article!
Strengths: This is an opportunity. Whether it be for feedback, or understanding, or gaining a new member you should seize it. Also since this person isn’t as dedicated to the game they’re perfect for picking up vittles or late and rideless gamers; As for the non-playing type… Eh, they probably don’t have that many gaming strengths.
Weaknesses: Gamers tend to be a serious bunch, and without the proper attentiveness things can get out of hand and players can get angry. If they want to be a part let them know that others are heavily involved and want a group that is at the same level of interest. Don’t let the non-players disrupt your session. Make them get food for you!
Obviously there are a ton of player archetypes (which I’ll be going over in later articles seeing as how I just broke 1,018 words), and we’re all a healthy mix of them. The amount of people you can game with consistently is a limited number. Make sure you treat them the way they would like to be treated. Plus the more you understand the people in your group the better a time you’ll all have, and the more fun you have the more likely girls are to attend, but that’s another article…
Next week I’ll be doing something random