What kind of player are you?

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What kind of player are you?

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What kind of player are you?

Post  Greywander on Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:44 am

First, let me state I'm still very new to roleplaying and don't have much experience. However, I am pretty big on theory, and I enjoy talking about game theory and discussing mechanics, so hopefully I won't be far from the mark here. Don't hesitate to share you own ideas on this subject.

Players, both the players themselves and the game master, as well as the particular rule system can be categorized in many different ways. Some are more details, dividing players types into dozens of different types. The player types I'm going to discuss here are only divided into three different philosophies:

Gamism - The Gamist views each situation as a challenge to be overcome within the rules of the Game. Above all else, they want to be challenged: if things are too easy they will start to get bored or unhappy. Gamists have the ability to abstract away from the situation at hand and treat it purely in terms of game mechanics. They prefer the rules to be clearly defined and to the point. At their best, Gamists will use their familiarity with the rules to assist new players, and can be easily motivated with a challenge. At their worst, they will ignore all other aspects of play and rush straight to the focus of the Game (typically combat, though it varies from system to system), to the point that it negatively affects the other players' enjoyment.

Simulationism - The Simulationist treats each situation as though it were occurring in real life, and uses logic to work through situations. Above all else, they want the freedom to explore the world and do whatever they want: if they are told they can't do something because it's not in the rules, it will dampen their ability to enjoy the game. Simulationists have the ability to come up with creative solutions to problems by simply using common sense and logic rather than the rules of the Game. They prefer the rules to cover all aspects of life, from adventuring to farming to politics to economics to academics, etc. and treat them all equally. At their best, Simulationists are able to keep things interesting by providing nonstandard solutions to problems, and love to assist in world building. At their worst, they will never stop complaining about the lack of realism, and will continuously argue against the rules of the game in favor of what's more realistic.

Narrativism - The Narrativist views each situation as a part of a greater story, and tries to determine what will advance that story. Above all else, they want to tell an interesting story: if it's not a story they'd want to read, then they aren't going to enjoy writing it. Narrativists have the ability to go beyond the impossible, and kick reason to the curb, bringing about those Crowning Moments of Awesome against all odds. They prefer rules to be more nebulous, so that they can improvise and do whatever makes sense for the Narrative rather than limiting themselves with real life logic or game mechanics. At their best, they are fantastic roleplayers, invigorating the game with excellent drama, from heartwarming to heartbreaking to just downright epic. At their worst, they are prima donnas that will try to hog the spotlight and treat their character as of greater Narrative importance than the other PCs.

No player falls into just one of these categories; rather, they are a mix of all three. Usually, a player will take most strongly to one aspect, but might even be strong in all three areas. I, for example, tend to be strongest in Simulation and weakest in Narrative, but that doesn't mean I don't like to play a Narrativist style from time to time. Further, players can change their style, even in the middle of play, and can adapt to suit a particular ruleset or campaign. I talked mostly about players, but game masters also fall into these categories: Gamist GMs will try to build a campaign that presents a good progression of challenges culminating in an epic boss fight, Simulationist GMs will construct a rich and vast world for the players to explore, Narrativist GMs will put a lot of effort into the campaign's backstory, and will find a way to tie individual PC's backstories into the campaign. Ideally, both players and GMs will embody all three of these aspects for the best experience.

Rulesets can also represent each player philosophy to varying degrees. Pony Tales, for example, seems to be fairly strong in Game and Narrative, but weak in Simulation. The divorce between the game mechanics and the story flavor allows for these two components to operate side-by-side on fairly high levels with minimal interference. However, this is exactly what makes it weak in simulation. To the Simulationist, everything has to be represented by numbers that influence everything else; I've had a difficult time wrapping my head around the idea that, within the story flavor, you can have some talent or ability without it actually giving you any sort of a mechanical advantage. A creature with claws or fangs, for example, should logically do more damage in combat. Speaking of, the divorce between combat and utility tends to discourage using nonstandard solutions to end a battle while in the middle of combat (for example, collapsing a support to bring down the roof). This isn't to say that Pony Tales can't be used to run a Simulation game, but it places most of the burden on the GM.

So, what kind of player are you? Figuring this out might help you and your GM to understand what you're looking for in a game, and adjust accordingly to insure that there's something for everyone. As a GM, it will help to let players know what they're signing up for before they're committed to your campaign.
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  Ramsus on Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:49 am

As a player I think I'm decently strong in all three categories, as a GM probably more the later two.
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  SilentBelle on Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:19 am

Well, I know I play with all the elements, but I think my strongest point is on Gamism, just because I like to know, in an ooc manner how monsters and puzzles work. I also tend to be the player that has the rules memorized. That said, I am also really big on Narrativism. Simulationism falls last on my list, but I think just about everyone has many of the elements in all of these categories.
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  AProcrastinatingWriter on Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:37 pm

I'm weakest at Gambroing, Narrate powers are my strong suit, and of course that leaves Simulatory stuff properly in the middle, though depending on certain situations my +8 bonus to Simulatory may kick in and make it strongest instead.

As a GM/PH/Faust/Master of Evil I tend to be mostly Simulation, trying to allow my players a lot of freedom to do what they want. That being said, I'll always have a rough sketch of each campaign and quest in my head, with a few certain narrative pieces I really want to see play out, and usually the players through the choices they naturally make actually make these narrative points happen. So I've got a bit of narrative in me too - but that goes first before I let Simulation do.
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  Jason Shadow on Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:22 am

I haven't really had the chance to find out, but I'd like to think that I lean towards the latter two.
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  RavenscroftRaven on Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:15 am

I am so solidly Simulationist it hurts. Of course, Pony Tales, as you mentioned, does not readily allow for a simulationist playstyle, requiring a lot of DM input and fiat, so I've been forced away from it on this site so far (also why I hate 4th ed D&D, but a conversation for another day). I was always the type to use spells like Stone Shape as combat spells, making shields and traps on the fly mid-combat, the terrain modifiers would be changed every combat, guaranteed, and liked using things like country warfare while GMing, requiring the comprehensive rules of troop combat, despite it never applying the the players, just to keep the world running around them.

Of course, a proper Simulationist requires a Gamist attitude, just applied in different spots (both require comprehensive rules, just of different aspects of the game). That has put me very much Gamist in a lot of my characters here, hurting and abusing the rules, and discussing OOC the theoretical best ways to approach every task we're given. (Which is another holdover from D&D: I don't have 18 INT/WIS, but my character does: They're smarter than me. So they would know the things other people know too.)

I only have one Narrativist streak: Once I make a character, they won't break character, even in combat. Even if that means skipping by my turn for 4 turns of combat because the character didn't think they should be fighting, or attacking enemies already unconscious in hopes of killing them instead of striking active ones, or in one non-pony case, fainting mid-combat. Then again, that's also a simulationist trait. Laughing I'm too much a doormat that seeks the DM's rail road tracks to be a good narrativist.
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  Videocrazy on Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:28 pm

There are two things I look for in a tabletop game. The first is to be in a wide open world deep mysteries and believable characters, and exploring said world. The second is to make and experience a great story, twists and turns showing themselves when appropriate. Overall, though, I'd say I'm a bit more on the Narrativism side than the Simulationism side. In terms of Gamism, the only thing I particularly like is clearly defined rules. If I wanted to play a game without the other two, I'd load up IWBTG or something.
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  SilentBelle on Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:27 pm

I'm actually kind of surprised that more people aren't voting gameism as their strongest point. I feel so alone Razz
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  Brony 7 of 9 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:29 pm

You don't have to be alone anymore, I'm a gameist. The thing is that this system encourages narrativism so much it hurts.
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  Xel Unknown on Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:13 am

Simulationist, I'm totally a Simulationist...
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  Grey Pen The Flawed on Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:37 am

I'm more on the Narrative side. Primarily this is due to lack of practice in other areas; tabletop roleplaying is still a new thing for me, whereas I've been doing other kinds of writing and RPing for years now. So narrative comes more naturally.
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  Whiteeyes on Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:26 am

Simulation it's, with a sub in Naritavist. I want an excellent story, but I am going to approach it from the "this is real life" instead of the "this is just fantasy" angle. In other words, I'm not going to do anything for the sake of the story, nobody in real life does something to "add drama to the sorry", so why should my character? Besides, life is dramatic enough without me trying to purposefully add to it.

I despise gameism. It detracts from my enjoyment.
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  Caden2112 on Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:53 pm

I play more Narrativist, with a side of Simulation...That is, I (The player) approach it as a story to be dealt with, while I (The character) will generally treat the topic at hand 'realistically.'

...Unless I'm stuck with a particularly lousy GM. Then I go pure Gamist, the 'problem' to be resolved being 'How can I pull a Henderson and completely blow this campaign up?'
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  SilentBelle on Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:04 am

Well, I don't think gamism should be about blowing up a game or even meta-gaming.
I use a strong sense of gamism to be intrigued as to how far I can push my players with monsters and which sort of traits make them enjoy encounters more. As well as figuring out what NPCs they react to better, and which ones they seem to distrust. It helps keep them interested in the world around them as well as wary enough to gently guide them where I want them to go.

As a player, my gamism allows me to really enjoy getting into battles that have my character hanging on with the barest minimum of hitpoints. So much that I'll give my DM pointers, critiques, or just a small comment on how well I think they handled that particular battle.

I think gamism sticks out as the most obvious when it's being abused (meta-gaming and such), which is a shame, because it can really be quite effective when used subtly.
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  Caden2112 on Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:27 am

I'm just saying, you can slap a rabbit 'til it bites ya. The problem is, when I 'bite' my DM for said slapping, it tends to be...methodical.

But yeah, you've got a point, don't get me wrong. It's just not how I, personally, usually play a game. All things in moderation, I suppose. I suppose the options are more 'general leaning' as opposed to cast-iron shackles in approach anyhow. But yeah, metagaming and all for an edge is the worst of gamism. By the same token, narrativists who do absolutely bone-headed things "Because it'll be dramatic" are equally irritating. I've done that a time or two, kinda regret it now. Idiot-balls are bad ways to make drama.
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  Mind Gamer on Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:13 pm

Part of me wants to say Narrative, based on the fact that I want my work to have a true reward. I enjoy a great story.

However, ultimately I can enjoy myself in a game more when I can immerse myself in the character. When I can enjoy what a game world has to offer, and impact it how I choose. I'm the guy who will buy a shop just so I can actually sell stuff from it.
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Re: What kind of player are you?

Post  Zarhon on Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:30 pm

Simulationist/Narrativist outside of a combat encounter, Gamist/Narrativist whilst in combat.

As a DM, I'm a mix of Narrativist (sort of required to DM) and Simulationist (realism, actions with consequences...).
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Re: What kind of player are you?

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