Have you ever met this guy?

edited February 2012 in Story Games
This guy (and his group) is from one of Ron Edwards' essays.

I assume he (and his group) exists. I never met him (in person anyway). Have you?

I have met dozens, perhaps over a hundred, very experienced role-players with this profile: a limited repertoire of games behind him and extremely defensive and turtle-like play tactics. Ask for a character background, and he resists, or if he gives you one, he never makes use of it or responds to cues about it. Ask for actions - he hunkers down and does nothing unless there's a totally unambiguous lead to follow or a foe to fight. His universal responses include "My guy doesn't want to," and, "I say nothing."

I have not, in over twenty years of role-playing, ever seen such a person have a good time role-playing. I have seen a lot of groups founder due to the presence of one such participant. Yet they really want to play. They prepare characters or settings, organize groups, and are bitterly disappointed with each fizzled attempt. They spend a lot of money on RPGs with lots of supplements and full-page ads in gaming magazines.
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Comments

  • Passive players who contribute nothing but get great satisfaction out of being at the table definitely exist. I play with them at conventions occasionally. So that's paragraph one. Paragraph two is editorial.
  • Yes, I confess I have met this guy a number of times. Usually at cons. He has a rarer variant, who exhibits all the same characteristics except the frustration, and can simply be ignored at the table. There is also what I assume to be the final form, which is the guy who mentions buying and reading RPG materials, but appears distressed and uncomfortable if you ask him if he'd like to play sometime.
  • I've got a split experience on this one.

    I've seen this person (the turtling, defensive, disengaged player). When I've worked to find a connection with that person, and I've worked to bring a game to them that they can connect with, I've been successful. The player then discards their turtle shell and reveals beautiful (if atrophied) wings. When I've worked to see something else in Turtle Guy, I've found it.

    But then, there's been times (conventions, when tired, etc) that I've just written Turtle Guy off and moved on to shinier people with more enthusiasm. I have no way of knowing if those Turtle Guys were truly Turtle Guys, or if they too had their itchy wings hidden from view.
  • My girlfriend loves roleplaying games. She loves Pathfinder and 4e and B/X but she doesn't like Apocalypse World much. Burning Wheel was a little too character-intense for her. When roleplaying scenes come up, she doesn't want to contribute and waits for some other, more theatrical player to take the lead. She loves drawing her characters and thinking about optimal builds and damage output and stuff but when it comes to intense characterization, she doesn't like making big decisions or being in the spotlight.

    She's a passive player (little to no contribution outside of "It's my turn, this is what mechanic I engage") with a really specific play style. She sounds a little like the person in the first paragraph but definitely not the second.
  • edited February 2012
    Yeah, I knew a guy like this back in university. He'd join in pretty much any game we wanted to run, but was singularly unhelpful. Kept saying that he was playing his character the way he imagined him...but it was pretty much the same character, whether we were playing D&D, Rifts, Vampire, GURPS, or Feng Shui. Basically wanted to kill stuff.

    Probably doesn't exactly match the profile, since he didn't buy that many books. But he'd borrow everyone else's, for prolonged periods.

    The one time we let him run a game, it was a railroaded death-trap. We did our very best to humor him, but there's only so much we could do with the "clues" we were provided, and we could only survive so long, being 1st level escaped slaves trying to survive in the harsh desert of Athas (old Dark Sun days, yo).

    (EDIT: Mind you, we were supposed to start at 3rd level for Dark Sun characters...so starting instead at 1st level was like throwing us to the vultures).

    Last I heard, he only plays Magic the Gathering and WOW.
  • For me the key thread of weirdness is:

    Definitely a turtle.

    Definitely does not have fun.

    Definitely keeps playing for years.


    That person? Have you met that person?
  • I have only played RPGs with human beings. No turtles.
  • Yes. I've played with these people. Some of them are [still] friends.
  • Posted By: Zak SFor me the key thread of weirdness is:

    Definitely a turtle.

    Definitely does not have fun.

    Definitely keeps playing for years.


    That person? Have you metthatperson?
    I think that you're picking up on a weird fact in that essay. Ron is assigning a value judgment to those players based on his own play preferences.
    Most people in this thread have experienced (roughly) that set of behaviors, but few have applied that (exact) set of interpretations and judgments to it.
  • If I'm honest, Zak, I haven't met anyone like that.

    I think the character is an exaggerated one, which lets Ron makes his argument.
  • Another piece of context: I have spent a decent amount of time with Ron, not only gaming-related, and he is really good at meeting wierdos. It is totally within the realm of possibility to me that he is describing a literal pattern behavior he's observed that nobody else has.
  • lin_fusan apparenty has
  • Yes. A few. Mostly at LGSs. Some were socially awkward individuals, so that may have been part of it. Others seemed to be enthused about the idea of playing but at the table they'd just sit there looking bored or miserable.
  • Zak,

    I don't think you're going to like this answer. But first the non-controversial part:

    Yes. In fact there are certain games I won't run at my local convention because the premise of the game attracts these kinds of players... who then don't actually engage the premise. And many of the games attract the SAME set of problem people over and over again. So they show up, do not contribute and then show up AGAIN, AGAIN to continue to not contribute. I've made the joke that I, "only run games that don't sound fun" to avoid these players. I word my con entries in extremely academic ways and make deep references to source literature so that I will only get highly interested, highly invested players. Frankly, it's sad and exhausting.

    My poor friend Morgan, alas, really enjoys running high concept genre mashup games. He comes to the table because he wants the high energy of a celebratory geek out over the source fiction. He draws these players like flies to honey and I've slowly watched him descend into anger and burn out because of it. These players ROUTINELY show up and ROUTINELY don't contribute and worse, if asked, often admit to not knowing the genre or the game (usually FATE for Morgan). When asked why they show up they say things like, "It sounded interesting."

    Okay, now the controversial part:

    If you ASK these players, "Did you have fun?" They will say, "Yes." But their language will be very non-committal and said without enthusiasm. Their body language will communicate a general sense of "meh." If probed about WHAT was fun they usually don't have an answer. Just a general sense of, "Well, it was interesting."

    So, the sense I get is that, no, they didn't have fun. They had as good a time as they think they can have from an RPG which keeps drawing them back because the *promise* is so intriguing but it never quite delivers on what they want because they don't have the tools (creative, procedural, mechanical, social, emotional, whatever) to get what they want. And they've been grasping at the ephemeral promise for SO LONG they can't even tell you want they want anymore. They've kind of forgotten.

    Jesse
  • edited February 2012
    I haven't met this person, but are they talking about an example over here?

    (about post 36)

    It looks like this might have been a case, although I certainly wasn't there and might be over stepping.


  • I don't think you're going to like this answer.
    I don't understand what part of your answer you thought would upset me.

    It all sounded perfectly reasonable to me.
  • Posted By: Zak SDefinitely a turtle.

    Definitely does not have fun.

    Definitely keeps playing for years.
    I've met people like this, except the "not have fun" bit is not quite on target. The ones I can think of (there have ben three) get immense satisfaction from doing nothing in a game successfully, preventing others from becoming enthusiastic, and from complaining about how terrible their roleplaying game is. Hating feels good to lots of people.

    But yeah, there's not that many and they would be hating videogames or Magic: The Gathering or their local football coach if they were into those things. Just listen to your average sports talk radio station sometime after the game.
  • edited February 2012
    Yup. Many many over several decades.

    EDIT: I should clarify that I'm no good at telling if someone's "really" having fun. That whole second graf is so dense with assumptions and code that there's really no way for me to pull it apart.
  • Posted By: Zak SFor me the key thread of weirdness is:

    Definitely a turtle.

    Definitely does not have fun.

    Definitely keeps playing for years.


    That person? Have you metthatperson?
    I attempted to game in a group of folks like that. They were part of "the early 90's LARP scene" from the small town I moved away from, for years they'd start a game only to say "its not working out" after a few sessions, then...do it all over again.

    When I'd run a game, they would literally stare at me and say nothing, until I told them what happened, then they'd loosely participate in whats going on. They'd always try to weasel out of danger or making hard choices. I was often told I needed a better story...but when they ran games, the "storyteller" would basically say what everyone else was supposed to do, and told players their character background. If as a player you went outside that paradigm, it was socially dangerous [thats a tangent for another time]. Then a few sessions later, they'd all admit the game wasn't good, and assume it was the rules (which they ignored in play, so that confused me) or the story wasn't good enough.

    They still attempt to game last I heard, and its still...the same process.
  • Posted By: JesseIf you ASK these players, "Did you have fun?" They will say, "Yes." But their language will be very non-committal and said without enthusiasm. Their body language will communicate a general sense of "meh." If probed about WHAT was fun they usually don't have an answer. Just a general sense of, "Well, it was interesting."
    Well, I hesitate to armchair psychologize people. If someone says "I had fun" and what they mean (and say when pressed) is "well, it was interesting", my conclusion is that they go to a game in order to see/hear some interesting things, and their low level of investment is perfectly okay by them and they had the amount and type of fun they wanted to have. Not everyone expresses fun by bouncing up and down on their toes and grinning broadly. There is such a thing as digging too deep.
  • edited February 2012
    Posted By: JDCorleyPosted By: JesseIf you ASK these players, "Did you have fun?" They will say, "Yes." But their language will be very non-committal and said without enthusiasm. Their body language will communicate a general sense of "meh." If probed about WHAT was fun they usually don't have an answer. Just a general sense of, "Well, it was interesting."
    Well, I hesitate to armchair psychologize people. If someone says "I had fun" and what they mean (and say when pressed) is "well, it was interesting", my conclusion is that they go to a game in order to see/hear some interesting things, and their low level of investment is perfectly okay by them and they had the amount and type of fun they wanted to have. Not everyone expresses fun by bouncing up and down on their toes and grinning broadly. There is such a thing as digging too deep.

    I'm sure that's true in some situations, Jason, but I'm sure what Jesse is saying is also true. I've *definitely* had sessions that, when asked, "Did you have fun?" I say, "Yeah, that was fun," and I'm totally lying (though not in a good while, thank god).
  • I've met a number of players who are mostly passive in play, who are often socially awkward and dislike being put on the spot or in the spotlight. I don't think they are the type - but I have no mind-reading powers to tell if they are having fun or not having fun. They seem to be to me.

    I remember in particular a touching story I heard from Malik Hyltoft - who is a teacher at Østerskov Efterskole, a progressive Danish public school that uses LARP as its thematic focus for teaching all subjects. He told about how in one historical game he saw a kid who wasn't participating much with the others, and was using a shower curtain as his costume. His initial reaction, he said, was to be annoyed at this kid for blowing off the class - but he went and asked the boy about what he was doing. The boy didn't respond much at the time. However, much later, the boy came and confronted him with a picture of an outfit from the time period that did indeed look like that shower curtain. With this as his lead-in, the boy said a lot more about everything he had been thinking about his character and the period and the costumes. It seemed to him that the boy was very deeply involved, but in a mostly private way because he was a mostly private person.

    I came away from that with insight not just as a role-player but also as an educator for respecting different ways that students engage.
  • There are probably a few people at my local convention who think I'm this guy. Because when I'm with a table full of high energy hyper-creative super enthusiastic players, I'll turtle a lot more than they will.

    I think/hope I've gotten a lot better about it over the years. To the point where, nowdays, I can sometimes help carry a dull table. That happened the weekend before last, where I was at a table with 2 empty vacuums, 1 sarcastic sniper, and 1 over the top spotlight hogger dude. I fed leads to the spotlight hogger dude, because I wasn't going to be able to compete with his play style. So a lot of the game was watching him and the GM riff off each other, with me adding key contributions here and there and the other 3 players being more audience than contributor. That being said, both the hogger and the GM (oh, and the assistant GM too, she was awesome) were highly entertaining.

    And that's the thing, I think the turtle can be entertained, even if he's not heavily engaged with the game. He's just being entertained in a more passive, TV-like way.

    I think that's the part where Ron is projecting an assumption that the person he's talking about is not having fun.

    Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that there is some missed potential there. That the person would probably have considerably more fun if they engaged more heavily with the activity.

    But, along similar lines, I can't understand why people would watch sports on TV. It just seems so completely passive and unengaging, when compared to actually participating in a sport. I think my assumptions and prejudices about sports fans who only observe sporting events are similar to Ron's assumptions and prejudices about people who are super passive and turtle-y in RPGs.

    And we're probably both at least partially wrong in our assumptions.
  • Met that guy? Sure thing. In fact, I wasn't that far from this profile myself at one point: after spending my teenage years in lukewarm, occasionally mildly entertaining roleplaying endeavours, our teen group slowly stopped playing rpgs over the latter end of high school. I had other things in my life, so might well have ended my rpg hobby altogether, but had this not been the case, I can totally see myself sliding into this pattern of activity: narrow gaming background (trad style railroaded adventure games in my case, MERP and such) and non-functional play habits. Certainly I'd been playing for something like five years at that point with as much entertainment gained from the idea of roleplaying as the actual execution we managed. As it happened I stumbled on that very article and other Forge stuff after a few years of practical inactivity, and found that Ron could explain remarkably well why our youthful games so rarely ended in satisfaction.

    More recently, I meet people who might be this way now and then. It's difficult to say with a chance encounter, but if I'm any judge, this frustrated failure thing is not too uncommon, especially among younger roleplayers. Often the "failed" roleplayer is young or socially awkward, so he either hasn't left the hobby yet or he simply doesn't have anything better to replace it with.

    One thing that occurs to me in this regard is that local rpg microclimates differ from each other enormously. I've visited dozens of conventions over the last decade in Finland and internationally, and the games that are being played and the social circumstances of play wary dramatically from place to place. In some places unsatisfactory circumstances like those Ron describes are more common than in others. I've met gamers who've always been happy with their rpg sessions, but I've also met many who were clearly not used to having fun. Speaking solely for Finland, this has often seemingly involved tightly wrapped assumptions about real character roleplaying (players focus so hard on character depiction that the structures of the specific game they're playing fail to engage), or GM-player power conflicts that center on plot direction: as was the case with me, it seems to me that most Finnish gamemasters spent the '90s deep in the railway yard.

    Now that I am the older hobbyist in a local scene that has regularly incoming youths, I can reflect a bit on my experiences. My guess is that rpg scenes that involve oral transmission and play between experienced gamers and newcomers suffer less from drastically incomplete play habits, for obvious reasons. RPG texts simply are not very good, or at least haven't used to be before the Internet came around, so it's not surprising if many local microclimates end up with unsatisfactory play habits when those texts are the only guidance they have. It's certainly true that the current teenagers have an easier time having fun rpg sessions with me involved than we did in the early '90s, when we had to work out everything by trial and error. Skill counts in this endeavour.
  • Posted By: Hans c-oI'm sure that's true in some situations, Jason, but I'm sure what Jesse is saying is also true. I've *definitely* had sessions that, when asked, "Did you have fun?" I say, "Yeah, that was fun," and I'm totally lying.
    Oh, sure, me too. A culture of constructive criticism is sometimes just not there. Convention games are their own beast, I've found. I'm just speaking generally.
  • Posted By: Zak SFor me the key thread of weirdness is:

    Definitely a turtle.

    Definitely does not have fun.

    Definitely keeps playing for years.


    That person? Have you metthatperson?
    I don't remember ever meeting this combination in a single person.

    I very rarely played convention RPGs before the first Go Play NW, though, so my exposure to the diversity of gamers has been limited.
  • Posted By: MathalusI haven't met this person, but are they talking about an exampleover here?

    (about post 36)

    It looks like this might have been a case, although I certainly wasn't there and might be over stepping.
    No, you're not overstepping; I know him, and he's definitely That Guy.

    I think as adults we rarely see anymore people who are that extreme stay in the hobby long-term, if only because most of us are too smart to continue playing with assholes. But random encounters at cons? Definitely.

    Matt
  • edited February 2012
    I've seen these people, definitely. However, most of the ones I can think of differ from Edwards's version in a significant way: they really, really want to show you that they do have fun. Or maybe they complain about their games and how they never work out, but if you actually try to figure out which parts aren't fun for them and why, they suddenly get all defensive and spend a lot of energy trying to convince you that, no, they ARE having fun, and lots of it.

    I'm reminded of some gaming groups which consist of people who are always dreaming about their next big campaign. The current game seems to be fizzling, or actively dying it, people mysteriously don't show up to the games, but they're all really excited about the *next* campaign. The pitch for the next campaign is always some variation on, "this time we'll fix all the problems we had in the last one by doing [this other thing]!" Lots of enthusiasm for future play, but the current game always seems to suck and none of these dream campaigns seem to last more than a handful of sessions before people feel disappointed or burned out or angry.

    Maybe not exactly like Ron's description (which is pretty extreme, although I know a couple of those guys, too--it's not that they don't have fun, it's more like they have one very specific way of having fun, and they're happy waiting through several sessions where they don't have much fun just to get that one thing to happen). But something similar, or at least related.

    Edit: On several occasions I've gamed with people like these in some kind of fun, exciting session (at cons, or as guests in a game, etc). Afterwards, they look simply shocked. Like they never expected this from roleplaying. They can't believe what just happened in this game! It was fun in a way they're really not used to. I can't conclude for sure that this means they don't normally have fun in their games, but it's certainly one possible explanation.

    I recently played in a session of an intense, ongoing long-term campaign all the players were really excited about. Boy, the enthusiasm was HUGE! However, that's not what I saw at the tabel. The game session was incredibly long (by my standards): about six hours. However, several players showed up an hour and a half late, and didn't seem too concerned about it. Several people fell asleep at the table multiple times. The players spent more time arguing than actually playing, to the point where a decision about how to open a window (which, in the end, they decided not to do at all) took over an hour. Afterwards, though, they were all about the good moments, which happened a couple of times in those six hours. So I can certainly understand the "20 minutes of fun in four hours" concept of RPG play.
  • I've met several of him over the years. In fact, every time I meet a new one, I like to update the list over at the Internet That Guy Database.
  • The "definitely does not have fun" part is where it falls down for me. I've seen more than a few people who make me wonder if they're having fun, because what they are doing (or rather, not doing) in the game seems to me like it isn't fun at all, but...I don't know for a fact whether they are or aren't.

    I've also met a few people who seemed at first to be non-fun-having turtles sitting like lumps at the table, and mostly figured out why they were there. (Sometimes by asking them! I know, it's so weird!) In all three cases, they had at least one thing about the game itself that engaged them (system/setting mastery, for example), but really attended the game for the social hanging-out-with-friends aspect. If we'd switched our weekend game for some other structured activity that had at least one appealing quality, I think they would have been just as happy.

    Someone here once made what I thought was a great observation: if your game is a way for your friends to hang out and someone at the table is much more interested in that part than in the game, it doesn't have to be a bad thing. Sometimes, if the friends-hanging-out part is valuable to everyone, you can keep the game moving while letting a passive "just tell me when to roll" person drop in or out as their mood suits them throughout a session. So what if they avoid the spotlight, so what if they aren't 100% focused on the story? That's not necessarily a game-breaker. Sometimes everyone is okay with Dan playing what amounts to a walk-on role in the story when it means that they can spend some time with him on Saturday drinking and shooting the shit, and/or also be able to talk some game stuff with him during the week.
  • I played 3rd ed D&D for years without having much fun. I told myself it was like surfing. Most of it is sitting in the water and occasionally you catch a wave and that one wave is worth it. And as bad as it was it was often the highlight of my week anyway. I really wanted to play - and I'd still be playing if I hadn't discovered better games.

    I don't know what my point is. Maybe the turtle is like me but with different tastes, and just hasn't found the game for him yet.
  • I haven't met this guy, but I'm totally an outsider of the whole RPG culture thing - I've never been to a con, and I started with home made games (because me and my friends had heard of RPGs, and wanted to play, but didn't have any RPGs or anywhere to get them, so we made our own). Since then, all my gaming has been with specifically selected people from among my friends, strictly people that I know are excited to engage and will engage the game. (And, as such an 'outsider', this thread is really interesting to me. I thought Ron was hyperbolizing.)

    All that being said, there's a musician equivalent of this guy, and I've met him like a million times.
  • In the last few years I've sometimes played with some of the guys I grew up with, who have settled back in the vicinity of my home town and gotten the old band back together. The only one of them with whom I've had Paul's experience of getting them to play with other people at a fun, exciting con session is also the only one with whom I'm still really friends. All the other guys aren't the kind of person who would expose themselves to an unknown social situation like a con; some of them aren't exposing themselves to the world outside their mom's house any more than strictly necessary.

    The fun this group has is zero sum; it's at someone else's expense. I was frustrated that my attempts to help the guy who has always been at the bottom of this pecking order to make a character who can do things effectively went nowhere. Eventually I realized he was as invested in being a loser, regardless of whichever cool things his character was capable of, as the others were in showing they were winners by picking on him. I guess it's good news that this bottom dog left the group, but it was remarkable to see him turn over a character sheet with the win button on the front, looking for his other options. I left the group too but have enjoyed talking to my friend about each of their next big campaigns; that's the kind of daydream nation to which we both happily belong.

    So I think that the degree to which your experience of life consists of "I will meet new people and see if they are interested in having a good time together" has a strong negative correlation to the frequency with which you will meet That Guy. I totally buy the idea that if you are into in meeting weird dudes you will find a lot of them, and that the failure to examine your own mindset could lead to wrong conclusions. The fact that people who get really into conspiracy theories frequently vanish mysteriously doesn't mean that conspiracies are real, it just means that your life expectancy decreases the more you surround yourself with characters on the way-out fringe.

    The part that's relevant to turtling is that in the first game I played with this reformed group, my friend ran a super high lethality slog through the underdark using D&D 3.5. I was happy because there were real challenges, and the time I've seen this friend happiest was when he was in the infantry where getting shot at cut right through the bullshit dominance behavior that constituted our civilian life together, so we were totally grooving on stepping right up. But the other alpha dog in this group bitched all the time about how we weren't roleplaying. Trying to figure out what he meant, it seemed like it boiled down to "I want to be in a tavern where everyone is either another PC or a NPC barmaid, both of whom are there for me to browbeat about how their understanding of my dwarven culture or lawful alignment is wrong, and nothing will ever offer the chance of failure."
  • edited February 2012
    Posted By: Marshall BurnsAll that being said, there's a musician equivalent of this guy, and I've met him like a million times.
    Could you elaborate on that? As we sometimes identify what we're doing as shared creation of a story, maybe 'shared creation of music' has some sort of parallel?

    As for 'that guy'...

    I've had people at our game that seem to be interested in the setting, the characters, all the accoutrements, but when you get them to the table...it's vapor lock. They're almost completely passive, they don't go for story-bones thrown to them, they don't make an effort to link up their character with others. When asked by our GM, the answers are pleased, but somewhat noncommittal and wistful at the same time. My GM and I have had long discussions about this, and what to do. We don't have any good answers, so far.
    Posted by: Tavisthe time I've seen this friend happiest was when he was in the infantry where getting shot at
    I want to play carry or Shell Shock with this guy, and see how those games run into that kind of reality.
  • edited February 2012
    I've met him once at a convention. He managed to make a character in AW that was completely bland and I am still impressed by how expertly he avoided any attempt to contribute or even react to stuff that was literally in his characters face.
  • Posted By: Noah DI want to play carry or Shell Shock with this guy, and see how those games run into that kind of reality.
    Luke Gygax is a combat vet, as is Alex Guzman who I'm doing Games that Can't be Named with. Nevertheless I don't know how to get the insight you're talking about - the sign for me that someone has seen the elephant is the elegance with which they avoid actually talking about it - except as a result on the potion miscibility table that has a 1% probability, where one of the ingredients is the presence of other guys who have been in the shit and the other is enough alcohol that they forget you are listening.
  • Whoa! How do you game with someone whose last name is Gygax?

    Random table result?
  • The cost of a plane ticket to Wisconsin. Why I didn't pay attention to the many times his dad said publicly "if you show up on my porch I will run a game for you" is a painful mystery to me.
  • edited February 2012
    Posted By: Jason MorningstarPassive players who contribute nothing but get great satisfaction out of being at the table definitely exist. I play with them at conventions occasionally. So that's paragraph one. Paragraph two is editorial.
    What Jason said. I met paragraph one people all the time, usually at cons or gaming meetups. I met at least one verified "pp 1 person" last Friday at a local RPG Meetup gathering, actually!

    By the standards of whoops and hollars and clapping and bright-eyed role-playing, yeah they don't appear to be doing that, so if that's your definition of "fun" (as it seems to be Ron's as he was observing those people just kinda sitting there) then they don't appear to be "having fun". But they themselves enjoy being at the table and with their friends, even if they're not putting in or (at a face level) getting out as much as the others.

    I lost track, is the above something Ron wrote in the last 10 years?

    EDIT: Nope. 2001: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/articles/7/

    That's what rappers call a "Call". It was plopped there at the founding of the Forge, which was his "Answer" to his own Call.

    -Andy
  • edited February 2012
    Posted By: Zak SFor me the key thread of weirdness is:

    Definitely a turtle.

    Definitely does not have fun.

    Definitely keeps playing for years.


    That person? Have you met that person?
    If we translate "does not have fun" as "I saw them not having fun at one or more games", then it makes a lot more sense. Given that none of us have any evidence of their whole play history, I would assume they do have fun at least occasionally. People go back to slot machines. They don't go back to tasers.

    The closest I've seen to the long-term, fun-missing turtle:
    • Shy people who didn't participate. When talking to them later, I always got the sense that they didn't love not participating, and would have liked to. With the right games and groups, some of them later did participate.
    • People who were there to hang out and not play. Some of them were simply hideous human beings looking for any gathering wouldn't boot them, but most of them were perfectly pleasant geeks looking to socialize, who thought that an RPG table was an appropriate place for that. At some tables, they'd be right, and fun would be had.
  • Posted By: David BergIf we translate "does not have fun" as "I saw them not having fun at one or more games", then it makes a lot more sense.
    Yeah, especially since Ron was mostly talking about people he met playing at cons, i.e., he only saw them at that one game.

    Matt
  • I don't know where Ron is or if he has the internet there, but I am assuming--until he says otherwise--that he meant what he said and it accords with reality as he observed it and he was not exaggerating just to make a point.

    Especially in light of the fact that more than one person here is saying they have seen the same thing.

    I mean, I would want anyone to do the same for me. That's just fair.
  • I think that I am this guy. Or was. To some degree. Mostly I'm just bad at being a person, so I'm not good at pretending to be some other person. Oh, but I so much want it all to work!
  • edited February 2012
    Posted By: Noah DPosted By: Marshall BurnsAll that being said, there's a musician equivalent of this guy, and I've met him like a million times.
    Could you elaborate on that? As we sometimes identify what we're doing as shared creation of a story, maybe 'shared creation of music' has some sort of parallel?



    So, 90% of the time he's a guitarist. He often has the best and most gear of anybody in the group. He usually has decent, workmanlike technique. He knows how to play several songs by Led Zeppelin, Clapton, and AC/DC, but you rarely hear him play them for more than a few bars at a time.

    He's super-excited about putting a band together. He shows up to practice on time, every time (unlike, say, the singer or drummer), but he doesn't do much while he's there. He'll dick around with the drums and the keyboard while nobody's playing, and chat about music, and play a few bars of Led Zeppelin, but doesn't contribute anything in terms of ideas or suggestions of songs to play. He'll practice along with the group in a lackluster, workmanlike sort of way, like he's not really enjoying it, but he's just as likely to "take a break" while everyone else is playing. If you run ideas by him, all you'll get is, sounds cool man. If you ask him what songs he wants to play, all you get is, I dunno man.

    If, by some strange twist of fate, you get a gig, he'll be sick that day, or he'll have lost his guitar cables, or he'll turn his amp so low that you can't hear him.

    When the band breaks up, you meet him again a few weeks later, and he's in another band (and another the next month, and the next, and the next...).

    (I say "he" because I've never met a woman that fits this profile. Although, come to think of it, my brother told me about one. Oddly enough, she was a singer.)
  • edited February 2012
    Zak,

    I've talked to Ron a little about this. I accept his observations, but it doesn't make any sense to me to conclude from them that "never ever has fun and plays for years" is at all a common phenomenon. Just my opinion. "Slot machines over tasers" was meant as colorful illustration, not absolute law. Clearly, stuff that seems weird to us does in fact happen.
  • edited February 2012
    Ludanto, if you feel like sharing more, that'd be enlightening! When an attempt doesn't work out the way you'd like, is there anything that helps you to hope that next time will be better?
  • This past year I've learned a lot about preferences amongst my friends. In my rush to try and share my enthusiasm of, say, Mouse Guard, Dogs in the Vineyard, or Apocalypse World, I've exposed? discovered? relearned? understood? a lot of differences in gaming tastes.

    My turtling friend seems to enjoy turtling. I believe his ideal session is to hide in the background and absorb information, and then make one crucial roll at the last minute to save the day. I can only surmise this belief by the fact that he was constantly pushing my group to play a D&D 3.5 campaign, and that's how he played his character. He finds Apocalypse World intensely frustrating because you're acting all the time and never planning, so his response to an AW game is always kind of meh.

    I'm so much the opposite these days, so it's kind of sad that what we consider fun is so different.
  • Posted By: David Berg it doesn't make any sense to me to conclude from them that "never ever has fun and plays for years" is at all a common phenomenon. .
    I didn't say it was common (or uncommon) I just think that we have to assume that what Ron said about what he saw was true.
  • Posted By: Epidiah RavacholIn fact, every time I meet a new one, I like to update the list over at theInternet That Guy Database.
    Oh man. I totally clicked. That would have been great.
    Posted By: lin_fusanHe finds Apocalypse World intensely frustrating because you're acting all the time and never planning, so his response to an AW game is always kind of meh.
    I have two players for whom all tactical challenges are planning challenges, not improvising or "you're in the spotlight, DO SOMETHING" challenges. If the bad guys ambush them, they hate it. If their plan leaves something to chance, they are suspicious of it. If the first plan doesn't work, the task is impossible. It's interesting. They had the same problem with Smallville. "I can't sidle up to this challenge by making preparation A, B, C, D, and E." Because in the end the challenge rules in Smallville don't give (much of) a shit beyond saying "Wow, you're such a great fucking planner, good for you. The other guy is a Big Mouth Jerk, that gives him the same advantage that your plan does."
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