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There are various types of tabletop player, such as the rule-lawyer and the power gamer. What are other kinds that you know of?

Example: The lurker is generally a player who attends a session, participates in a minimal fashion and is usually gaining enjoyment simply by hanging out with other people to see how the game goes.

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closed as not constructive by C. Ross Aug 25 '12 at 14:37

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+1 - understanding your player's an their needs is key to running a good game. –  LeguRi Aug 23 '10 at 13:27
    
This question has been closed because it has attracted a number of inappropriate answers, and generally invites subjective answers. –  C. Ross Aug 25 '12 at 14:38
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4 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

There are a bunch of different answers to this question. There have been a number of efforts at codifying "types of players" over time. Robin Laws' Guide to Good Gamemastering has one, an old WotC customer survey has one, the old "threefold model" was an attempt at a more serious one...

Many RPG books also do this - especially DMGs of various stripe. It depends why you're segmenting the players.

  1. For grins - just Google all the various "what kind of roleplayer" quizzes to get a bunch of humorous categorizations.

  2. As a GM, to determine what motivates your players

  3. As a game designer, to figure out what people will respond to in products

etc.

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The WotC customer survey has always been really useful to me, perhaps because it's based on real survey work as opposed to theory (not that there's anything wrong with theory). I also find Nick Yee's MMORPG player type work (nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/001298.php) useful, even if it's not directly relevant. –  Bryant Aug 21 '10 at 19:08
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The Actor: This player cares less about the rules or character optimization and prefers to make character they are interested in playing, which they do with gusto and vigor often launching into long descriptions of what his character is doing.

GM Notes: The Actor can help bring a feeling of realism to the game but it's important to balance allowing them to have their time in the spotlight without allowing the game to become the character's autobiography.

The Lurker: As describes in the question, the lurker is generally a player who attends a session, participates in a minimal fashion and is usually gaining enjoyment simply by hanging out with other people to see how the game goes.

GM Notes: The Lurker can be hard to read at times, just because they haven't stepped out to involve themselves in the game so much should never mean they don't get the opportunity to do so, while on the other hand some lurkers are content to just lurk and shouldn't be forced into the spotlight.

Rules-Lawyer: A rules-lawyer is the type of player who believes all rules must be obeyed as all times and seems to know every rule by heart.

GM Notes: The rules-lawyer can help provide structure to your game, though can tie the group down into mostly meaningless arguments. This is better dealt with in private if you feel excessive rules-mongering is hurting the campaign.

The Munchkin or Power-Gamer: This player has spent hours going over source material and rules and typically builds characters that are highly specialized. They might not be useful for most other things, but will decimate a particular type of challenge. They are typically very knowledgeable of the rules which may cause you to think they are a rules lawyers, but they only point out the rules that are to their own benefit.

GM Notes: It's virtually impossible to take on a munchie in their field of expertise without being detrimental to the rest of the party... and they can tend to make other players feel useless. Make sure to design a well rounded game where the munchie isn't in the spotlight at all times. They are typically one-trick ponies, but will hop on that pony for a ride every chance they get. Don't allow them to overshadow the other players that want to participate by building challenges unsuited for the munchie's character, but don't cut the munchie off completely else he'll feel as useless as his cohorts did when he was always center-stage.

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My reply to the Rules-Lawyer would be "rule 0: that ain't fun'. –  Adriano Varoli Piazza Nov 7 '10 at 17:25
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The Rule Book: Similar to The Rules Lawyer in that they have an in-depth knowledge of the rules but, instead of disrupting play, use their knowledge to help keep the game flowing rather than turning into a hunt through the books for the rule you want.

GM Notes: Firstly, make sure you can trust this player to get the rules right (rather than just remembering what's convenient) then you can use them as a resource.

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Robin's Laws has already been mentioned, but not detailed. It's one of the better ones to go by as it is descriptive and not pejorative.

The Storyteller - pretty self explanatory, the person who's interested in having a story be told, and being a part of it.

The Method Actor - the counterpart to the story teller, but this player likes to get into character for its own sake, rather than the outcome of the story.

The Specialist - the person who always plays a Ninja or a Halfling or an outcast evil character who has switched to the side of good.

The Butt-Kicker - self explanatory, happy if butt gets kicked. Not so happy if there are no fights.

Tactician - likes overcoming overwhelming odds or dealing most efficiently with resources. Would prefer not to use all the healing potions, or waste several clips of ammo if there's a more elegant or efficient solution. Sometimes at odds with the butt-kicker, as the tactician likes to bypass a drawn out fight.

The Power Gamer - likes feeling powerful relative to the baseline the game provides, however the game implements this. Often called a munchkin, or min-maxer, but neither is necessarily the case.

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