Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Five Types of Play Styles

Well, every player is different but I've found that there are around five different play styles that people tend to fall back on. Sure, they'll test out a new play style with a new character now and then. Maybe they'll even have two or three play styles they tend to alternate between or perhaps they will blend two styles within the same character. Some players will find their desires morphing over their gaming experiences so that their original preferences are no longer true for them anymore.

Players also tend to have their own general play style based on their internal preferences and a chosen play style that matches their current character. Still, I find the categories help me as it allows me to consider if a player might need a bit of a pick-me-up by including more opportunities for their internal play style to come to the fore. Bearing in mind their chosen play style also ensures that their characters have plenty of chances to shine just how they wanted them to shine.

Sure, no ST should try to please all players all of the time nor should they generally create a schizophrenic campaign where each session pleases a different player and favors a different play style. However, that doesn't mean that you can't include a few more action sequences in your deeply political Vampire: the Requiem game, even if it's just shaking a police tail or intercepting an encoded package.

If you don't like categorising yourself or you players, then that's cool. You might get some mileage out of seeing these as different session formats or styles to help round out your campaign, or even to see if your own Storytelling style favors one particular set of skills or interests. Or you could use these to help the players construct characters that will fill a niche. It's at least as good as the thug, thief, and talker constructs.

And obviously, these are not 'true' categories. A player will always be a blend of play styles. The question is simply a matter of which flavors are generally stronger than others.

Putting all of the categories into one post would lead to a very long, overwhelming post, so I'll be splitting it up and posting them each weekly on Tuesdays.

The Player Types are:

Action Hero

Stay tuned!


  1. Long ago I stumbled on an essay defining three different gamer and game types, and how to moderate between them. It was called GNS Theory (Gamer, Narative, Simulation) and it was written about at The Forge ( http://www.indie-rpgs.com/about/ ) originally I believe and opened my eyes quite a bit...

  2. Ooh, I haven't heard about that one.

    The only one I've head of was one that breaks videogame players up into Killer / Explorer / Achiever / Socialiser which has its own test. The Bartle Test. It's cool but not heaps useful for roleplayers as my fiance is a Killer in videogames but a Tactician in roleplay games and I'm the same in RP but an Explorer in videogames.