Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Who Would You Rather Play With?

So, I'm curious. If you had the option, would you rather play with people who you introduced to gaming, or would you rather play with folks who had been around the dungeon a time or two before you met them? Or a mix of both? Does it matter what kind of experience they've had?

When you think back to the people you've most enjoyed playing with, where they people who had already played a bit before you met them, or were they newbies before you met them? If they were brand new, were they your first group, or part of your first group? (That is, when you were new too?)

This is a less important question, but what about the people you've least enjoyed playing with?

(A somewhat tangential additional question: If you'd rather play with new folks than old hands, do you like playing with new people just for that new kid enthusiasm? Or do you like new people, but like them even better after they've played with you for a while?)


  1. My answer is skewed because I still play with the core group I played with 31 years ago. But the others in our group, I would much rather be playing with who I do today.

  2. Great question! I have found no obvious correlation between the "quality" of a player and his or her previous gaming experience. I've had awesome players that are total newbies and I've had awesome players that have been roleplaying for 30+ years.

    Most of the problem players that I've had are newbies who were dragged into the game by friends, and would rather be texting or watching TV or eating fried chicken. I've never had problems with experienced players (rules lawyers, etc.), because they should know a priori what style of game I run and stay away if it's not up their alley.

  3. When our group started gaming, we were all new players. We learned D&D together. And it'll always be the group I can compare the fun factor of gaming to.

    Since then, our original group has lost some players over the past ten years, as well as acquired some new ones. Most of us have branched out to other groups and other games. It's given me a good range of gamer personalities to learn from. I really enjoyed gaming with one particular group of gamers that were all much older than me. They had big stories, interesting plot twists, and tangible NPC's. It was great, and I dearly miss that group.

  4. My usual answer is players I introduced to the hobby. We start on the same side of the simulationist/narrativist divide that way, and can avoid some of the bad habits gamers might pick up from badly staged games. But then, I tend towards a mentor personality.

    That said, I have no real problem with experienced players, especially like-minded ones.

  5. I'm actually running the Encounters season at a book store, even though there is a game store across the street. All of the players (minus an occasional ringer) are complete newbs. I find their enthusiasm very refreshing. I tell people that I am recruiting my next gaming group. To be honest, I was quite tired of some of the gamers I was playing with. Some of which were only playing so they could "break" the newest edition.

  6. My favorite groups were always mixed. Experienced gamers patient and willing to teach newbies make the best combo. Their defining features involved a mutual respect for everyone at the table and a willingness to PLAY.

    Those groups fell apart when people who either didn't want to play or were disrespectful/disruptive were added to the mix.

  7. I prefer a mix usually. It's more about the individuals than their experience, but it is always fun to teach the game to someone and it's nice to have a hand in doing it.

  8. It's easier to talk about the players I LEAST like to play with, actually.

    I'm kind of an elitist...I want to play with a certain quality of player (with a certain level of brain power/creativity). This high bar was set inordinately high by my original group of gamer buddies. Since then I've met gamers on both ends of the experience spectrum, and the major issue is whether their dumb-dumbs (in MY opinion, of course!) or not.

    That being said, I am totally patient and forgiving of brand spanking new role-players and tend to mentor them as much as possible...probably because I am trying to instill my own gaming values in 'em. While I'd PREFER to play with experienced players that are "like-minded," such are difficult to find. The on-line OSR community has actually provided some of the best group fodder I've found in years.
    : )

  9. Jeff Rients, ErinPalette, Zach I, you and a buncha noobs.

  10. I'd rather game with people that I would spend time with, even if we weren't gaming.

  11. Great comments, everyone. Thanks. :)

    Tim Shorts: 31 years! Man. I'm jealous. Though mostly because I wish the group I started with had been as awesome as the one I'm with today. How much has your style/your group's style changed over the years?

    cyclopeatron: Yeah, uncertain enthusiasm levels can be an issue with newbies. On the other hand, I've had experienced players who weren't as, ah, self-aware about their own style preferences as the one's you're talking about, so that caused problems. (Heck, I've been that player.) But I expect that problem to settle down as I get older.

    Mr. Gone: Playing with a gang that has significantly more experience than you can rock, no question. My questions were mostly written from a DM > player perspective, so I'd completely missed that angle.

    Siskoid: You've kind of nailed my experience. I've played with a lot of "experienced" gamers who came with all kinds of weird baggage. On the other hand, the best guy I've ever played with was also the one with the greatest margin of gaming experience over me, so mileage there varies.

    Yoo-Hoo Tom: Nice! Good luck with that venture. Great to hear Encounters is bringing new folks into the hobby. :D

    Anonymous: Yikes! Hope you've found some other games since then that haven't crashed on the shoals of social dysfunction. That's always a pain. And yeah, I think there's a lot to be said for variety in this area, as in a lot of others.

    Will: Oh, yeah, the complete individual always trumps any individual component. I'm just twitchy and analytical. ;) And... hmm. The teaching angle isn't one that I'd explicitly considered when writing this, but you're right. Teaching can be a lot of fun just in itself, with the right people.

    JB: My current gaming group is the absolute number one thing I've gotten out of the OSR. Well, online blogging, at least, but I don't think I'd have been as interested in the game Trollsmyth was advertising if I hadn't had enough contact with the OSR to be interested in a "dungeon done right." Smart players are awesome, and it's nice to be able to get a read on someone's game style by reading their blog first.

    Dr-Rotwang: Awww. ;) Are you going to be in Indy in August? If you're talking about Houghton, both he and I are going to be at GenCon. Otherwise... we might be able to talk them into doing some kind of crazy Skype exhibition game. I can see what I can do about wrangling some newbies. There always seem to be a few around.

    A Paladin In Citadel: That's my watchword right now as well. But that's largely because gaming is my socialization tactic of choice even with the people I do other stuff with. And I'm lucky enough that I can be picky about who I game with.

  12. From the DM perspective I really enjoy running a game with seasoned PC's. I have a handful of players that were from my original group ten years ago. I also have two players that have only been gaming for about six months. It's been a struggle for the new players because I have just about every 2nd Ed book, and we use them all. I could tone down the rules, but then I'd just have to break out the 1st Ed books.

    To go a bit further, I only invite PC's into my game that I know aren't going to be a hack-n-slash monty haul type of person. I have lots of friends that play D&D, but I won't have them in my game because of their gamer personalities.

  13. Interesting questions and I am not sure I can answer it as a hypothetical.

    I am playing in two different groups. In Group A, I have known everyone a long time, am the GM, and probably have more gaming knowledge/experience.

    In Group B (a group that includes Tim Shorts, who commented above), I am the newbie. While the rest of the group has gamed together for 31 years, I have only been with them for six months. They also have far more gaming knowledge/experience than me.

    The two experiences have been very different, but they are both equally enjoyable and I'm having a blast. I think there is something to be said here also for the gift of hospitality, as Tim extended an invitation to play in their group, based on blogging.

    Great question.

  14. Yes, Odd, I mean Houghton. And sadly, I will not be at GenCon this year, which is unfortunate for me and for anyone who relishes seeing chubby dudes in pink ties.

  15. Mr. Gone: Wow. Every book? Yeah, with an existing game that complicated, I can definitely see the advantage to having some players who already know what they're doing.

    The Rusty Battle Axe: There's a lot to be said for variety of gaming experience, I think. But that's partly because I can't sit still long enough to only play one kind of game, ever.

    Dr-Rotwang: Aw... guess I'm going to have to make plans to go again sometime, then.

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