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Hmm, interesting...

I'm listening to the "Brilliant Gameologists" podcast. They're going on about problem players in this episode, specifically "payoffs that cost too much." They give the definition of Munchkin as, more or less, someone who has an overdeveloped desire to express a power fantasy - getting stuff, winning, messing with the world, etc. A Power Gamer, on the other hand, they define as someone whose primary overdone payoff is a desire to solve the game's problems as quickly and totally as possible, so that they don't present a challenge...which is self-defeating, if a game is about challenges and overcoming them.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Dec. 1st, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
Thoughts?
It was like an "ahha" light went off when we thought of defining those terms as the overdone payout. What are your thoughts? Do you agree? Disagree? It's good fodder for conversation!

-Meg @ Brilliant Gameologists
meg@brilliantgameologists.com
www.brilliantgameologists.com
spottylogic
Dec. 1st, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Thoughts?
Oh, hi :)

It's an interesting concept--and one that newer products recognize in a non-constructive way. Certianly 3.5-4.0 D&D addresses the fact that the group's Power-Kill player can actually be your friend, since he's the easiest player to plot for (just give him something to kill, and it's all good.)

Describing the standard problem gamers as examples of thwarted needs is a good lens for addressing their problems, and a useful crutch when you can't get rid of them. Geeks are terrible at getting rid of people (I assume you've studied the Five Geek Social Fallacies? It seems right up your alley)

http://www.plausiblydeniable.com/opinion/gsf.html

and it's easier for us to be in our happy places if we graciously accept them, creating implosions and alienating the non-problem people. So, it's an excellent concept for minimizing the harm of a challenge player, or improving/educating a borderline player. "This player is seeking a reward, and I'm not providing it." Good tool. It also forces the GM to look at hir own style to see what their OWN shortcomings might be, in slightly clearer and more psychologically understandable terms, and with more elaboration, than the "dealing with problem players" material of the 3.5 DMG has done.

However, the theory falls short when the "problem" is the game master (problem in quotes because it's not necessarily a problem!) Let's just say you, as a GM, want to develop a Tolkien style for your high fantasy campaign. There's material there for a power gamer, the munchkin, and all the rest to constructively thrive on....continued in e-mail...
(Deleted comment)
spottylogic
Dec. 1st, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
Well...most people want to solve problems, that's part of the old-school gamer experience (less so in In Nomine, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and other specific games that strongly benefit from players shafting their own characters...) Their definition of "problem player," by nature, really only limits itself to "people who disrupt the game." Kind of like defining a mental disability by how disruptive it is to someone's real-life interactions.
lhexa
Dec. 23rd, 2008 04:29 am (UTC)
It was interesting to see you get a comment from the belinked. How did your conversation go?
spottylogic
Dec. 23rd, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)
Dunno! I sent her a loong e-mail, but I never got a response back. Given her line of "work", I'm sure she deals with tons of pedantic gamers, and she may not engage in dialogue with them, or shut off after "tldr" (too long, didn't read) kicks in.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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