Chris: Let’s face it, tabletop gaming as a subculture isn’t, like any cultish and ‘obscure’ (but not really that obscure any more) subculture, without it’s pitfalls and stereotypes. Heck, you could be one of them for all I know! Look at you there, in your generic meeple themed tee shirt, bragging about how you beat your 8 year old nephew at Catan Junior that one time. Shame on you. Shame!
But before I start ringing a metal bell and parading my image of you through the streets like some sort of Cersei character miniature, why don’t we have a little look at some of the most common types of stereotypical creatures you’ll see at the gaming table, deep in the jungles of Tabletopia. And with that in mind I’m gunna do something that I’ve never done before and invite my good friend (definitely never met, but sure why not, we’d be friends right?)… David Attenborough! … to narrate the appearance of these gamers, in their natural habitat. To the man with the voice of a generation (or just me pretending to speak like him), David?
The Alpha Gamer
David: Thank you Chris. Now, when you spend time in the wild jungles of tabletopia there is one creature that you must always, always, be aware of.
Chris: What creature is that? I am but a weary traveller and newcomer to this jungle, and am happy to take your well-trodden advice on this matter.
David: Well Chris, I’m glad you asked. The creature’s name is that of; ‘Alpha Gamer’, and their habitat, really pertains… to any part of this dense and sprawling jungle. They are the head of every bad gamer table, and lead the party of every impartial DnD troupe you may ever stumble across. Look closely, for the spring in their step, the idle and frisky twiddling of the fingers when you speak. Then, and only then, once you fall for the trap, and once you make any suggestion or decide on a direction for the group, they will pounce! An uncertain, unconfident role player or coop gamer, makes easy prey, for the opportunistic, and often aggressive… alpha.
The Rules Nazi
Chris: Truly fascinating information!
David: Now. as we move through the lush undergrowth of the jungle, we come, to another… creature. The Rules Nazi is far from a complicated beast, and largely spends it’s life in the unquestionable pursuit of one, clear, goal.
Chris: Pray tell?
David: The thing is… and this is a very prideful creature, the thing that the Rules Nazi most enjoys, is devouring the pride of those who either cannot quite grasp the rules of the game, or have simply, completely forgotten them. Much like the Alpha, a Rules Nazi feeds on the weak and unprepared, and when it strikes, the blow is not only felt by the prey, but everyone, around them…
Chris: This one sounds sort of… Swedish, no?
David: Yes. Now, here we see one, of the most common types of tabletop gamer… known to man. The very… appearance… of this beast seems stark, against a luminescent, multi-coloured backdrop, of what one can only assume is some sort of… stack, of cardboard boxes. Piled high on square, swedish shelves, and serving as a primary source of pride for this gamer, the gamer themselves will take any means necessary to defend, their… almost infinitely stretching, cardboard hoard.
Chris: Ah yes, I know the ones! I’ve seen them over twitter ridge or lurking in the shadows of the boardgamegeek swamp. Terrifying creatures! They seem both content and entirely not content with themselves at the same time.
The Bad Loser
David: Exactly! Now, moving slowly through the undergrowth of the Tabletopia jungle we stumble into our next unfortunate creature. This prey is, for want of a more exciting explanation, only ever victim, to their own circumstance. Operating within a group of others, they are, serendipitously able, to wreak fear and havoc amongst even the closest of packs. Once one feels the utter shame and burden of loss, the effect is multiplied and spread across the emotive receptors of the group.
Chris: A most heinous beast indeed! Not everyone can win all the time, they’ll never learn…
The Bad Winner
David: Quite true, quite. The Bad Loser has a counterpart however, and they are, in so much as their ability to influence a group of fellow Tabletopians, even more ferociously disruptive to the social dynamic. This, once docile and placid beast, becomes… enlivened, when presented with any sort of trophy, or even, the smallest semblance, of success. They feast on the spoils of their, mostly minor and insignificant, victories, and cannot bear to see a moment ‘wasted’ by not presenting their company with what we can now witness, as their… victory dance.
Chris: A dance! Well that sounds fabulous, whatever is wrong with that!
David: Well Chris, it seems, that even you may have fallen for the trap. Their dance is certainly not all fabulous, and… quite often, includes such displays as; pointless bragging, wild and flappy arm movements, and even emitting loud and intermittent ‘wooping’ noises. A… terrifying sight to behold, I’m sure even you can agree!
Chris: You’re not wrong there! Moving on, this next predator often hides in plain sight if I’m correct?!
David: Indeed… it does. The… ferociously strategic, mind, of the General, plays perfectly into the hands of the careless, and wandering groups, of ‘Euro gamers’. The General uses the tactic of hiding in plain sight, biding it’s time… whilst the weaker, more unsuspecting gamers, take pride in their… minor victories. Over turns and turns, the General will build their supplies, until in one… fleeting moment, when the weaker gamers feel they are at their strongest, then, and only then, will the General deliver, the… fatal, blow.
Chris: Heady stuff indeed! Imagine, building your entire strategy of survival around 1 perfectly constructed move. Not a survival tactic for the faint of heart!
The All or Nothing
David: Now, this next creature is one of… extremes. The All or Nothing does not live life by halves, and as such they are prone to… spontaneous, outbursts. They do not feed in regular patterns and as such, their behaviour and, even their prey, can be difficult and unpredictable, even in the most inviting of tabletopia environments. The lifeblood of the All or Nothing is to thrive in chaos and excitement, yet, if that chaos dies, so does the spirit and motivation of the All or Nothing.
The Rules Psychic
Chris: Fascinating! I feel like I’m far better equipped to survive this jungle now but is there any last piece of advice you can give me Sir David? Before I trek into the unknown, and get caught by any of these dangers…
David: Well, amongst all of the jungle there is, but one, creature you should always look out for. In the eyes of the jungle, this animal is the spirit guide and, one hopes, to any would be explorers, would divulge… the enlightened path. That creature, my friend, is the… glorious, and wonderful Rules Psychic. When you stumble across a creature this wise and all knowing, their knowledge becomes bounty, and their wisdom becomes a shining light of guidance… across the dark, dark night. Any question you ask they will know the answer to, and any game query you need resolving, they will resolve. This my friend, is the creature you should look out for the most, and value, not only as a companion, but also as a friend against the horrors of Tabletopia.
Chris: Blimey! Well, best get trekking through this jungle then…
David: Good job! I’ve literally got nothing left to say… except that I hope you had fun impersonating me on a blog for a few cheap laughs, and maybe not even that!
Chris: That I did David, if that even is your real name. That I did.
Yours stereotypically (definitely used that one before),