Grim’s Tales: Player Styles

As with Games Masters there are as many different types of players as there are players. No two people quite want exactly the same thing in the same way no two people like exactly the same books, TV shows or films. You can identify trends in player desires and play styles though and that can be a very helpful thing in crafting a game to suit the group and individual play to suit the individual players.

The Action Hero
The Action Hero wants to do impossible deeds, swing from chandeliers, fight off ten men at once and get away with the damsel in distress. They tend to like games that encourage or include this sort of over-the-top action and may run aground in games that are more gritty and realistic, trying to do things that – in the real world – lead to a quick and messy death. Games Masters may need to loosen up the game and be a bit more generous with Action Hero players but Action Hero players themselves need to be aware that not every game is Zu Warriors of the Magic Mountain.

The Anthropologist
The Anthropologist finds social interaction to be the key to their enjoyment. As well as socialising Out of Character with the group they like to talk up a storm and understand the situation with the Non-Player-Characters in game. This can be a headache for the Games Master who has to keep dozens of NPCs and their motivations clear in their head at all times. The Anthropologist’s concern with social interaction can bore other players who like to hit things more. The Games Master should include social scenes where they can shine and get their jollies, but equally the Anthropologist should be gracious and acknowledge that not everyone likes to play out two hour long speeches.

The Expert
The Expert likes their character to be really, really, really good at something. Perhaps they’re a sniper or a hyper-specialised magician, perhaps they’re a scholar of ancient Egypt, perhaps a computer hacker. Whatever it is the player likes to be an unparalleled genius in that one specific field. Unfortunately in scenes or encounters where that expertise doesn’t apply they’re probably about as much use as a chocolate fireman. The GM needs to make sure that in every game there’s somewhere that The Expert can be useful and that their pre-eminent status doesn’t get undermined too much. The player of The Expert needs to realise that there’s other people in the game and other topics and ways of going about things, developing some secondary capabilities is probably a good idea.

The Investigator
The Investigator lives to solve the mysteries of the game. They love uncovering layer after layer of plots and schemes until they get to that sublime ‘AHA!’ moment where everything falls into place. Investigators are good from a Games Master point of view since they can drive the plot forward but there can be a temptation to create overly convoluted plots to appeal to The Investigator which can leave less motivated players behind. The Games Master needs to introduce puzzles at appropriate levels for different players and The Investigator needs to remember to let other players have their moment in the sun.

The ‘Me but not Me’
The ‘Me but not Me’ doesn’t quite grasp the idea of playing a character other than themselves, or can’t, or prefers to consider how they would act in such a circumstance. The Games Master needs to be careful not to push too many of the player’s personal buttons, though some of them can be good to put into the game to increase engagement. The ‘Me but not Me’ player needs to remember that the other people at the table may not be playing themselves, at all.

The Snowflake
The Snowflake likes to be something special and unique. Maybe they want to be a lost prince or princess, maybe they want to play a race that’s normally limited to monsters. Perhaps they want some unique powers. This can, frankly, be a pain in the arse for the Games Master who shouldn’t feel that they have to go along with any and all whims of the players. Snowflakes can be good for a game though, excellent for plot hooks and providing something of a focus for the rest of the group. The Games Master should find a way to fit some uniqueness – for all the players – into their games while the Snowflake should try to understand that they make a lot of extra work and perhaps settle for something rare, rather than absolutely unique.

The Thespian

The Thespian craves suspension of disbelief. They want to live the life of their character and work their way entirely into their head. They want to think and act as them and live in their shoes, even for a couple of hours. The Thespian can have trouble compromising their role-play for the good of the group and the game as a whole. As a Games Master it’s flattering and enthusing to have someone so into the game but, on the downside, they can resent the out-of-game chatter and socialising that goes on. The Games Master needs to give The Thespian a little more attention and RP opportunity. The Thespian needs to understand that not all the players are like them and some people just like to eat pizza, kill things and take their stuff and take their enjoyment where they can.

The Winner
The Winner likes to conquer, to defeat, to win. They may view the game in an adversarial mode of thought and may even compare themselves to the other players. They’re driven to be the best and while this is often a hindrance it can be a boon as they can often take the lead of the player group and play ruthlessly to best the antagonists. Games Masters need to watch Winners as they’re more likely to cheat and also needs to up the ante for the difficulty of scenes and encounters to account for how driven they are. Winners need to take a step back, calm down, remember that it’s only a game and give the other players more input.

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