When you play games, what’s the most important thing to you? Winning the game? Being with friends? Destroying your enemies? Understanding every intricacy of the game? What if I told you that there is a theory out there that categorizes all gamers into four categories, easily connected to the four suits of playing cards? Achievers (Diamonds), Explorers (Spades), Socializers (Heart), and Killers (Club)?
Richard A. Bartle, a professional game design consultant specializing in online games, came up with this theory of players that you can read here (it’s long, but incredibly well thought-out). Long story short: different people value different things when playing games. He explains it as two dimensions of playing styles: action versus interaction, and world-oriented versus player-oriented. Which one are you?
You compete in tournaments at your FLGS. You don’t waste time with side missions. No matter what, you beat the game. In the dimension of playing styles, Diamonds favor action and world, so they want to be constantly completing tasks and working towards the game’s end. You play to win, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you play to beat your opponents. You just love a good challenge.
Suggested Games: Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North, Sierra West, Pandemic, PvP Card Games (Magic the Gathering, Godzilla, Dragon Ball Super)
You’re the one who figures out how to beat a game. Like, truly. You don’t beat a game to win, and you don’t beat a game to beat others, you beat a game because you have to know how it works. Spades want to dig to the bottom of it all. You love playing all kinds of games with different mechanics, because each game provides a new learning opportunity. Spades favor interaction rather than action, so it’s all about how each cog moves in a machine. You should be playing games with a lot of components and a lot of different ways to victory. And you’re going to find them all.
Suggested Games: Era: The Medieval Age, Cerebria, Time Chase, the Century trilogy, Food Chain Magnate
You love hanging out with friends. You’re probably the one hosting the game nights. You favor player interaction, new experiences, and just being around people. You’re the type of person who truly believes that as long as everyone has fun, you’re all winners. You should be playing games with a lot of interaction, like RPGs, bluffing games (as long as you’re not playing with Clubs), or games that provoke a lot of talking and laughs.
Suggested Games: Escape rooms in a box (Escape Tales, EXIT: The Game etc.), RPGs (D&D, Pathfinder, Overlight), Werewolf/Mafia, Codenames
You like bluffing games, deception games, and any other game that allows you to beat the people you’re playing with. You’ve been told on more than one occasion that you’re too competitive. Diamonds win because they want to beat the game, Clubs win because they enjoy defeating their opponents. You’re a perfect ally when its team vs team, but when it’s a battle royale, people tend to form an alliance against you before you wreck them all (which is why you’re the perfect traitor in a traitor mechanic game). You should be playing games with player elimination, but more than anything you should be playing with people who don’t mind this playstyle. It’s not worth ruining a friendship just for the victory.
Suggested Games: Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle: Defense Against the Dark Arts, Decrypto, Munchkin, Imhotep: The Duel
So which suit are you? Are you a combo of two suits? Is this like knowing your Hogwarts house? Let us know in the comments!