Chris Chinn (of Deep in the Game) wrote an excellent post that outlines a range of syndromes related to problematic play.
This ties back to some of Luke Crane’s points in his interview here on TT — and can be neatly avoided in home games by interviewing prospective players.
I’m all for interviewing folks before playing with them- but I’ve generally found that interviewing does not actually pick out a lot of these folks beforehand.
The behaviors I mention in my blog are very often baseline assumptions about “how roleplaying is supposed to work” or even “This is good roleplaying” rather than an actual look at what it means for play.
If anything, I’ve found the tendency is for folks to make the mistake of focusing on the imaginary stuff rather than the people playing as the cause of conflict between people!
If anything, Iâ€™ve found the tendency is for folks to make the mistake of focusing on the imaginary stuff rather than the people playing as the cause of conflict between people!
This is exactly why I think interviews are so important: Someone who can’t hold a normal conversation has a better than average chance of not being terribly fun for me to game with. It is all about the people, and an interview is a great way to get to know the person, instead of just the gamer.
It’s a generalization, sure — I’ve known some socially not-so-functional folks who were a lot of fun to game with, and vice versa — but I’ve found it to be a very useful generalization.
The folks who I point to in my post are functional people outside of gaming. We’ve had this discussion before about the value of interviewing people about who they are outside of gaming, but I think the standard expectations of gaming behavior makes many generally nice and cool people into weirdos while playing games.
For example, there are folks who I can say fall right into the My Guy category and The Dick who are otherwise, really cool people outside of gaming. Thing is- these behaviors are either invisible to them in play, or EVEN what they consider the foundation of “good roleplaying”.
Interviewind and hanging out with them didn’t tell me how they’d behave in play- I had to find that out the hard way.
I understand where you’re coming from, but I think we’ve had different experiences with interviews. I agree completely that otherwise fun folks can be weird during games, and that player interviews aren’t a magic solution.
Some of the Syndromes you outlined, however, I can spot in an interview — My Guy is a pretty easy one, as is The Dick. Two Trains and Abused Player would be harder to spot, and might not show up at all, though.
Have you played with My Guy and The Dick folks who don’t also express those gaming problems in their social interactions? In my experience, those are both issues that spill over into real life, or vice versa, and therefore tend to show up in conversation.
“Have you played with My Guy and The Dick folks who donâ€™t also express those gaming problems in their social interactions?”
I have not personally witnessed it, and our group does not do interviews. (We are mostly closed, except by inside reference.)
However, I have heard accounts from other DMs that seemed to follow the pattern. Sometimes, a guy they had known for years was a complete social disaster in the game.
Actually, I’ve found that Abused Player and the DIck can be very hidden at times. It’s like they do this Jekyl & Hyde transformation when it comes game time.
You know what? Looking back, I have gamed with someone who fits My Guy and didn’t show any signs of it in daily life. I think he’s the only one, though.
I was thinking about him again because he’s the only player I’ve come close to kicking out of one of my groups, and that’s the topic of today’s post on TT.
After reading this i realised why a past gaming group was so dysfunctional; and why I didnt feel so bad quiting that group.
We were suffering from Abused Player Syndrome. See for awhile I wonder how the DM thought we would ever had guessed at his hints. Or why EVERY game had to have an tank that could take crazy amount of damage. then the game would stop as the tank player would have gotten tired and just decided that hey they can take the rest of the party.
All this came down cause the of an DMing style that encouraged players killing players.. note not party conflict, you can use and focus that. This was more PC’s vis DM. And he loved to put us in situations where our charactor’s didnt have the resources to win. then blame us because we didnt forsee that.
I think because of our Abusive DM other problems developed. we did have one “My Guy” type player, and an Dick type too. thinking back we did have lots of wasted time with those two fighting or them baiting others into fighting them.
sigh, anyhow I am glade things like this are writen about, else-wise I dont know that I would have thought back on why that game group did not work. And it gives me a opportunity to reflect, so my games will be better.
(Nick) sigh, anyhow I am glade things like this are writen about, else-wise I dont know that I would have thought back on why that game group did not work. And it gives me a opportunity to reflect, so my games will be better.
Chris Chinn’s blog is great for that — he really gets you thinking about things, often things you might not have considered before.