Nerd Spotlight: Mara's 7 Types of Tabletop Gamers & The Games for Them

by Mara Smeltzer September 25, 2018

Nerd Spotlight:  Mara's 7 Types of Tabletop Gamers & The Games for Them

When you sit down to play a game, be it as fast and simple as Fluxx or as nail-bitingly stressful and drawn out as Pandemic, you’ll quickly notice everyone has a different playstyle. Some engage more with the fiction of the game, some more with the mechanics — we’re all unique! However, knowing the general categories of gamers can help you find games that will cater to your particular gameplay styles. So, without further ado…

  1. The Rules Lawyer

This person knows the rulebook better than they know their family. If they have a favorite game they likely have the rules booklet laminated, or at least in a dedicated binder. This kind of gamer tends to prefer long-form gaming with tons of rules, such as Arkham Horror with its twenty-four page (!) rulebook. Definitely great to have around during a rules dispute… assuming you’re not wrong! 

  1. The Role Player 

    This gamer would really rather be playing an RPG than a board game, but their usual adventuring party couldn’t meet this week. They tend to get very invested in the character they’re playing, even going so far as to make gameplay decisions based on what the character would do — even if it’s not the best move! This player prefers games with strongly distinct characters, like the party members in Red Dragon Inn. A Role Player is always sure to liven up a game!

  2. The Art Snob

    The Art Snob loves a good game just as much as the next gamer, but what really gets them excited is a beautifully illustrated deck of cards or an eye-catching box. They tend to not get too fussed over rules, though your mileage may vary! For the Art Snob in your life, I recommend the gorgeously illustrated Capital Lux, which features paintings by Kwanchai Moriya.

  1. The Life of the Party

    This person might not be the most hardcore gamer you know, but they’re certainly the most fun! Quick to recommend old standbys like Truth or Dare or Cards Against Humanity, they’re always looking to liven up a get-together. They like active, engaging, party games that get the whole group involved. If you want to be the life of the party at the next social event you attend, or just to break the ice, I recommend bringing Cash & Guns, to show you who your real friends are!

  1. The Time Cruncher

    The Time Cruncher loves games! But they also have a job, and two dogs and a kid and laundry and deadlines and all in all, very, very little time. They really appreciate a compact game — ideally, one you can finish in 15 minutes and carry around with you. A game that’s easy to teach and learn is a bonus when you only have so much time to explain the rules. A Time Cruncher would certainly appreciate a fast but original game like Fluxx. (And probably a day off!)

  2. The Same-Gamer

    The Same-Gamer loves playing games! However, they have a tendency to fixate on a few favorite standbys, often to the exclusion of that new game you just bought. For the Same-Gamer, you should consider their favorite game and get them an expansion for it - for example, if they're a big Catan fan, consider getting them the Seafarer's Expansion. This way you can spice up game night and they can continue to enjoy the game they love. They'll appreciate your attention to their interests, and you'll both get to have fun learning new facets of gameplay!

  3. The Strategist

    Last but certainly not least, the Strategist is a competitor at heart. They want to have the sharpest gameplay and the cleanest wins. They probably play chess with strategy planned six moves out. Watching a Strategist at work is like watching a violin virtuoso play Mozart — but playing against one can feel like being lead to the slaughter. That’s why I recommend strategy based cooperative games such as Pandemic for the Strategist. This lets them take the lead and use their knack for tactics without curb-stomping you and all your friends! And so, a good game night can be had by all.

Mara Smeltzer
Mara Smeltzer


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