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I really don’t get to game as much as I used to, or would like to.  At one point in my life, it was about the entirety of my social life, pathetic as that sounds.  But, what the hell, we all have our little peccadilloes.

The problem isn’t so much time as it is my own self-realized elitism.  Yup, I said it.  When it comes to gaming, I am a self-confessed elitist.  I have some pretty severe standards when it comes to my games, and most of them fall squarely in the arena of the players.  I am not afraid to say it: A bad player will piss me off and make me walk away from the table quicker than someone calling me an idiot.

So, in an effort to educate and, hopefully, draw more quality players into the hobby, I present to you my list, in no particular order, of what makes a good player in a Tabletop, sometimes called Pen and Paper, game.

  1. Preparedness.  Plain and simple you are ready to play.  You have all your ducks in a row, you have a good idea of what your abilities are, and you have notes on what is going on in the campaign.  Yup, I said it.  Notes.  Take notes, go over them, make sure you know what’s going on.  It keeps me from having to go into grand detail to catch your ass up on what has been happening in game.  This includes making sure you have your pencil/pen, some scratch paper to record your changing hit points and game notes, and that your cellphone, PDA, laptop, netbook, etc. is shot the hell off.  No, I don’t like having electronic devices for character sheets at the table; I’m old-fashioned that way.
  2. Foreknowledge.  Spend some time getting acquainted with the rules, especially as they apply to your character.  This means if you are playing a fighter in a fourth edition D&D game, know how mechanics like marking work; if you are playing an Obrimos in a Mage: The Awakening game, understand how your spheres work.  It’s simple.  You are playing a character that has at least a damn clue of what he or she is doing, so you better have the same.  This cuts down on people flipping through rulebooks constantly, interrupting the flow of play, and generally fouling things  up.  I don’t expect you to know everything, but at least have a clue.
  3. Courtesy.  I cannot stress this one enough.  This extends to your fellow gamers, your GM/DM, the host, and anyone you may come into contact with during the game.  This applies in a lot of arenas.  Have some courtesy when it comes to:
    1. Space.  This is at a premium in a lot of games, so keep it conservative so everyone gets an equal slice of the space at the table for their stuff.
    2. Personal Hygiene. Not going to spend a lot of time on this; shower.  Don’t stink.
    3. Contribution.  Not in game, but out.  Bring a 2 Liter of soda, pitch in your equal part for pizza, etc.  Be a positive influence on the group by pulling your weight.
    4. Advice: Don’t be a jerk when you advise someone.  Make them understand their options, but do NOT strong-arm them into doing what YOU think is right.  It’s their character, their choices.
    5. Humor: Used sparingly, this can make a game so much more enjoyable.  But if all you do is crack stupid jokes, act like a moron constantly, go out of your way to be the fool, intentionally make your characters have names that are moronic or even outright idiotic, and disrupt the game in order to make yourself feel better about your own jokes, you are a waste of time.  Make the occasional crack, laugh it up with others, and move on.
    6. Honesty.  This is another one I cannot stress enough.  Are you really going to cheat?  Metagame?  Try to make yourself out to be the hottest thing at a game about imagination?  Really?  Let me tell you, if you are lying in the land of make-believe to make yourself look better, I do not want to know what you do in real life to salve your ego.

These are just the suggestions I make in order for you to be a contributing player in a general manner.  If you want to be a great player… well then, you have to really work.  Character immersion, storyline contribution, GM collaboration, fostering group cooperation, and keeping the action in motion; all of these are hallmarks of a great player.  Get to work.

What do you think?




  1. Perfectly put! This is something that everyone who wants to game needs to read.

  2. Oh crap, I guess I better clean up my gaming act then 😉

  3. Nice to see you back, man. I really do appreciate what commentary you have to offer on gaming.

    I think I’m going to share this article with all my players.

  4. ty very much dude my players are driving me crazy with their stupid commentaries im gonna send them this article 😀 ty very much and you also helped me a lot

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