Player types in T9A

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  • Player types in T9A

    I'm starting this thread a bit to continue on the interesting parts of the Taking the Game Too Seriously, and Ruining the Fun thread. But mostly because I love this topic and want to discuss it more.

    So, recently I did a Paint Desk Ramblings episode with @WhammeWhamme and @DanT about the Magic the Gathering Player Types and how they can be applied to The 9th Age. I'll include it in the spoilers below:


    But I don't expect everyone who wants to participate in the discussion to watch a 2h long video, so in short:

    The Wizards of the Coasts invented a few player types when designing the game Magic the Gathering. This helped them understand their community and what their players wanted from the game. The types are divided into Physiographic Profiles, answering the question of WHY we enjoy the game, and Aesthetic Profiles, answering the question of HOW we enjoy the game. The Physiographic profiles are:

    • Timmy or Tammy, who plays the game to experience something
    • Johnny or Jenny, who players the game to express something
    • Spike, who player the game to win
    And the Aesthetic Profiles are :
    • Mel, who enjoy the game through its mechanics
    • Vorthos, who enjoy the game through its story
    There is loads more to be said about these five player types, I recommend reading on this wiki if you are interested: mtg.gamepedia.com/Player_type


    What I am interested in, is how we can use these profiles in The 9th Age. What does a T9A Timmy/Johnny/Spike/Mel/Vorthos look like? What is T9A good at, who enjoys our game? How could we be better? What type are you? What items/units do Timmy/Johnny/Spike/Mel/Vorthos like?

    We bounced around a lot of these thoughts in the show above, but I would love to hear more opinions on it.

    Rules Clarification

    Lord of the Hobby


    Empire of Sonnstahl Blog, including links to my other blogs
    The 9th Wiki, a community wiki for the official 9th Age background
    T9A: Skirmish Campaigns
  • I think it should be: Spike, who plays the game to prove something.

    At least this is how I remember Mark Rosewater explaining it. An important facet of these profiles is, that they are used as guidelines to help designing things. E.g. you should be able for everything you design, for which part of player you are designing it. If you are using these profiles (which is somewhat awkward, because they are the result of MTG's market/user research, not our own), in your design process you should make sure that every design can say for whom it is, and also if your overall designs do have enough overlap with all profiles.

    This is significantly easier for MtG in my opinion. MtG for example can easily create a card like "Fiery Gambit" or other high random, high effect cards. While they are weak on competitive play, Timmys can still play and use it, without ever having a negative impact on Johnys and Spikes, and Mels and Vorthoses. In an army book we only have limited "room" for troops and enchantments. Reserving some for deliberately underpowered Timmy entries will cause reactions from the other players to a much larger degree than magic players react on those half a dozen odd cards in a 300 card set.

    ---

    Onto your question: How we could use the profiles would be
    • Create our own profiles from feedback. I think the teams started this a while ago
    • Use the profiles to make sure our LABs include something for everybody
    • Make additions to the game to cater specifically for one/two profiles. For this we already have
      • Auxiliary army books
      • Special terrain rules
      • Special magic rules with Flux Cards
    So overall I'd say the teams are already doing a great job towards this.

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  • T9A not being MtG and not even a trading card game certainly complicates things, but I still think it is a very useful tool. Definitely for designing the game, but also for discussing it and even enjoying it.

    Wanting to prove something I think is a bit of both Johnny and Spike. Johnny wants to express himself, and that can take the form of proving that he can win using underused cards. This is something that very much applies to T9A too, and something I think we do well. Many play the game designing lists they feel are their own, and they try to make the best of them using units they like.

    I am personally very much a Johnny, but with a fair bit of Timmy. Often I base my list around one cool entry that I like (Timmy move), and then build the best list I can around that (Johnny move). An example is an OnG list I've used a fair bit, based on me wanting to get an Orc Shaman on Wyvern on the table. It is a decent choice, but certainly not the best, but I like the concept and love the model I have for it. Then I build a list around him to try and make him shine, including a lot of juice targets to draw shooting attention away from him for example.


    Good point about the "complexity budget" as it is called. We can't put an endless amount of designs into the armybooks, and this does limit us from catering to all player types. I still think there is some room, which the DL book proved with Timmy entries such as the Maw of Akaan. But the supplement books are also a good opportunity for this. In general I think the supplement books can be key to further growth. They can also be used to cater to Inventor Spike players, who would otherwise get bored with the slow (but hopefully increasingly faster) release rate. Being less balance also appeals to the Inventors, who wants to find ways to break the meta.

    Rules Clarification

    Lord of the Hobby


    Empire of Sonnstahl Blog, including links to my other blogs
    The 9th Wiki, a community wiki for the official 9th Age background
    T9A: Skirmish Campaigns
  • In Magic, I've always been the timmiest of Timmies. (Back when the definition of Timmy included "likes BIG things"). What do you mean, my deck can't be only green beasts that cost 6+ mana and dragons. Dragons are cool. (I also had a few incredibly janky blue combo decks that never did anything, so I guess there's some Johnny there?)
    A summary of all proposed ideas from the VS LAB brainstorm thread

    Collection of all offcially posted Vermin background

    'All the gifts your parents gave you, all the love and patience of your friends, you drowned in a neurotoxin. You let misery win. And it will keep on winning till you die — or overcome it.'
  • You know where the weird underpowered but interesting entries belong? The Ninth Scroll. We had a few articles like that, like the design contests, and even more closely, that one article on "Additional unit entries", I forget what it was called. It had, like, a shapeshifter lord for sylvan elves? GW had those articles in every White Dwarf, back when White Dwarf was an actual hobby magazine, with new unit entries and even entire variant armies. I still have the WDs somewhere for some armies I used to play, like the Hellpit army (that was before Abominations even existed, but it had a few very similar monsters, plus the Hydrat, wolf rats, all the good stuff) and the Heinrich Kemmler Golem army.

    We should have more of those articles.
    A summary of all proposed ideas from the VS LAB brainstorm thread

    Collection of all offcially posted Vermin background

    'All the gifts your parents gave you, all the love and patience of your friends, you drowned in a neurotoxin. You let misery win. And it will keep on winning till you die — or overcome it.'

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Eldan ().

  • Never played MTG but looking at that link I think I’m a Johnny/deck artist. I like my army to make sense. For example, even if I could I wouldn’t have an army of pure grail knights because I feel that would be impossible in the world, and that to me would ruin the immersion, and if that were the only way to seriously compete while playing as KoE then I’d probably play one or two games with that “no fluff pure grail knight” list then lose interest in the game

    And as for the Aesthetic profile, I think I’m a Vorthos, though I don’t really understand Mel, or at least how that connects to T9A. And for the subtypes if Vorthos, all of them except The Dreamer
  • Marcos24 wrote:

    Never played MTG but looking at that link I think I’m a Johnny/deck artist. I like my army to make sense. For example, even if I could I wouldn’t have an army of pure grail knights because I feel that would be impossible in the world, and that to me would ruin the immersion, and if that were the only way to seriously compete while playing as KoE then I’d probably play one or two games with that “no fluff pure grail knight” list then lose interest in the game

    And as for the Aesthetic profile, I think I’m a Vorthos, though I don’t really understand Mel, or at least how that connects to T9A. And for the subtypes if Vorthos, all of them except The Dreamer

    In T9A terms, Mel is... interesting. We tend to try to sand off the weird rules interactions that Mels find neat. (It's probably worth noting that, because old cards never go away, MtG has much much more complicated core rules than T9A. I mean, they need to keep 25+ years worth of cards all working together clearly and unambiguously and without changing the wording of anything.)

    If you've ever looked at a rules interaction and gone "that's weird" and had someone else go "that's neat", they were a Mel.



    DarkSky wrote:

    I think it should be: Spike, who plays the game to prove something.

    At least this is how I remember Mark Rosewater explaining it. An important facet of these profiles is, that they are used as guidelines to help designing things. E.g. you should be able for everything you design, for which part of player you are designing it. If you are using these profiles (which is somewhat awkward, because they are the result of MTG's market/user research, not our own), in your design process you should make sure that every design can say for whom it is, and also if your overall designs do have enough overlap with all profiles.

    This is significantly easier for MtG in my opinion. MtG for example can easily create a card like "Fiery Gambit" or other high random, high effect cards. While they are weak on competitive play, Timmys can still play and use it, without ever having a negative impact on Johnys and Spikes, and Mels and Vorthoses. In an army book we only have limited "room" for troops and enchantments. Reserving some for deliberately underpowered Timmy entries will cause reactions from the other players to a much larger degree than magic players react on those half a dozen odd cards in a 300 card set.

    ---

    Onto your question: How we could use the profiles would be
    • Create our own profiles from feedback. I think the teams started this a while ago
    • Use the profiles to make sure our LABs include something for everybody
    • Make additions to the game to cater specifically for one/two profiles. For this we already have
      • Auxiliary army books
      • Special terrain rules
      • Special magic rules with Flux Cards
    So overall I'd say the teams are already doing a great job towards this.

    It's probably worth noting that MtG doesn't deliberately underpower Timmy cards in general (although coin-flip cards in specific, yes it does); instead, it actually tends to be Timmy cards that get pushed.


    "Figure out what feels right, and then make that the most powerful option". It's a two-step design and development process.

    Background Team

  • In my M:TG group, I've usually described my play style as "Timmy, but fluent in Mel." One of my commander decks was built around the fact that both Cascade and Cipher raised the Storm count, but most of the time I'm just trying to make all my creatures scary and swing out.

    While it's not quite the same as a wargame, I can see at least some of that description coming through when I'm listbuilding. I had a very big Mel moment finding out that in 8ed 40k a Succubus can have 1+ WS with the right drug, which is identical to the default 2+ WS with the exception that they're immune to to-hit penalties, despite this never being explicitly defined in the rules.

    That said, Auxiliary army books are probably a good place to appeal to both Vorthos and Mel players, since they're largely opt-in for gaming groups, so there's a little less pressure to polish it smooth, and a little more wiggle room to explore the larger world and the unoccupied design space.
  • As a reminder: Players usually are not just one category. Instead they are certain things to a certain extent. Something like a 100% pure "Johny" does probably not exist.

    @Mad 'At Well Johnny can express himself, without the need to prove something. He can build the wonkiest combo, that may be totally inefficient just to express his mad thinking skills. Pure Johnny doesn't have to prove this to anybody, he knows and his list/deck is the perfect prove of that. If he also wants to prove he can build "the best" combos, I'd label that as the Spike part in him/her.

    @Marcos24 Your grail example seems to be your Vorthos speaking, because the reason does not lie in the rules, but the background. Generally Timmy would look Grail Knights to create a memorable game situation ("that one time, where my Grail Knights won 5 battles in a row and then overran into his cannon"), Johnny would look to play Grail Knights in a unique way ("and then I Raven's Winged my Grail Knights into their flank, Random Moved them backwards into their artillery line and …"), while Spike would try to play the Grail list to its maximum ("And then I still managed to go 10-10 versus the 0-20 prediction of my captain during pairing")

    I can try to explain "Mel". Mel loves interactions, especially unforeseen ones between mechanics. It's like an engineer loving how the cogs of an engine neatly work together. I guess there aren't too many good examples in T9A. Mel might like the Blunderbuss rule, as it allows the unit to do what it should and not suffer from being too wide or half the units not shooting. It's all about elegantly combining rules to create something that just makes sense and/or creates neat relevant interactions or decisions on the battlefield. You might describe it as "seeing the beauty of rules well crafted".

    Also: I am also certainly a more Spike than Timmy or Johny. But mainly I am just a Mel at heart (even if I can't explain it too good).

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  • DarkSky wrote:

    As a reminder: Players usually are not just one category. Instead they are certain things to a certain extent. Something like a 100% pure "Johny" does probably not exist.

    @Mad 'At Well Johnny can express himself, without the need to prove something. He can build the wonkiest combo, that may be totally inefficient just to express his mad thinking skills. Pure Johnny doesn't have to prove this to anybody, he knows and his list/deck is the perfect prove of that. If he also wants to prove he can build "the best" combos, I'd label that as the Spike part in him/her.

    @Marcos24 Your grail example seems to be your Vorthos speaking, because the reason does not lie in the rules, but the background. Generally Timmy would look Grail Knights to create a memorable game situation ("that one time, where my Grail Knights won 5 battles in a row and then overran into his cannon"), Johnny would look to play Grail Knights in a unique way ("and then I Raven's Winged my Grail Knights into their flank, Random Moved them backwards into their artillery line and …"), while Spike would try to play the Grail list to its maximum ("And then I still managed to go 10-10 versus the 0-20 prediction of my captain during pairing")

    I can try to explain "Mel". Mel loves interactions, especially unforeseen ones between mechanics. It's like an engineer loving how the cogs of an engine neatly work together. I guess there aren't too many good examples in T9A. Mel might like the Blunderbuss rule, as it allows the unit to do what it should and not suffer from being too wide or half the units not shooting. It's all about elegantly combining rules to create something that just makes sense and/or creates neat relevant interactions or decisions on the battlefield. You might describe it as "seeing the beauty of rules well crafted".

    Also: I am also certainly a more Spike than Timmy or Johny. But mainly I am just a Mel at heart (even if I can't explain it too good).

    Whoah there, Marcos24 is correct: "Deck Artist Johnny" is totally a thing, and they're not really *about* the game play, they're about expressing themselves through deck (list) design.

    The "classic" Combo Johnny who wants to win in a clever fashion is just one flavour; there are other types.


    The line between Vorthos and Johnny here is fairly fine (and it even bleeds into Timmy at times, as the "experience" of historicals is IMO more a Timmy category), but it's quite on point.


    (You can't be "just" a Vorthos and actually play; Vorthos doesn't explain why you play, it explains why you paint and write flavour text for your armies or - well a million things, really, but not what actual part of the game you enjoy.)

    Background Team

  • I did know a guy who was pretty much a pure Spike. I convinced him that Warhammer Fantasy was a cool game and he wanted to give it a try. The first question he asked me, even before, say "what is the world like" or "what armies are there" or "how do I get started with painting" was "Which is the best army?"

    Three days later, he came back with a full notepad of tournament lists from ETC and proceeded to buy the "correct" daemons list. Before having ever played a game, mind you, or even having read the core rulebook. Nice guy, we still play board games occasionally. (Not cooperative ones, though. You can play competitively with him and have fun, but he gets so annoyed when his team mates play suboptimally.)
    A summary of all proposed ideas from the VS LAB brainstorm thread

    Collection of all offcially posted Vermin background

    'All the gifts your parents gave you, all the love and patience of your friends, you drowned in a neurotoxin. You let misery win. And it will keep on winning till you die — or overcome it.'
  • I've spent some time thinking about what Mel and Vorthos would look like in T9A, and since the Aesthetic profiles are in addition to the Physiographic ones, I've based those thoughts on what a Timmy, Johnny and Spike would look like with either of those added.

    Timmy Mel I'd say very much likes the complicated rules and rules interactions and plays just to see them happen. An item that appeal very much to Mel Timmy is the Locket of Sunna. Mel Timmy sees the biggest, baddest enemy character on the board and tries everything to get his Locket of Sunna wizard into that. If it is a good match up in the end doesn't really concern him, he just wants to see what happens.

    Timmy Vorthos likes the big and cinematic stuff. For him more than anybody else, the game is like a movie theatre. He loves moving his big pieces around, often adding sounds effects and things like that. The Maw of Akaan is a unit he loves, seeing that big guy explode from eating too much is such a cool scene.

    Johnny Mel I think is very happy in T9A. He loves figuring out the best combinations, and T9A has a lot of room for that. Just the possibility of designing your own characters with 200 pts of Special Items, and then often other things on top (blood powers etc) is very fun for him. Items like the Lord of the Damned appeals to him, as it allows him to combo his list in a larger scale. Abilities that modify the army composition is also neat for him. The Hellmaw is also something he likes, as it changes the whole way the army is played.

    Johnny Vorthos I think is best described as the Deck Artist that @Marcos24 brought up. He wants to play a thematic army and spends time figuring out how this can be expressed in the books. He is likely to come up with ideas such as wanting to play and all Cave Goblin army, and then spend a lot of time trying to perfect that list. I'm a bit unsure how well T9A caters to this category, but probably quite poorly so far. I have yet to see many people really try to bring the background to life with their army. Though I certainly think it is possible. I'm a bit surprised actually that we haven't seen more of this with the new DL book. I know many people built armies around one particular god in the past, and that is certainly still possible.

    For Spike I can't really figure out the difference between Mel and Vorthos. It could be simply that Mel switches a lot between armies, following the meta always trying to counter it. While Vorthos tries to be the best possible player with a one or two armies that he likes. So Mel is more of a Nuts and Bolts player, focusing on himself and how to best use the game, while Vorthos is more of a Tuner, trying to perfect a particular netlist to its maximum potential.

    Rules Clarification

    Lord of the Hobby


    Empire of Sonnstahl Blog, including links to my other blogs
    The 9th Wiki, a community wiki for the official 9th Age background
    T9A: Skirmish Campaigns
  • Mad 'At wrote:

    Johnny Vorthos I think is best described as the Deck Artist that @Marcos24 brought up. He wants to play a thematic army and spends time figuring out how this can be expressed in the books. He is likely to come up with ideas such as wanting to play and all Cave Goblin army, and then spend a lot of time trying to perfect that list. I'm a bit unsure how well T9A caters to this category, but probably quite poorly so far. I have yet to see many people really try to bring the background to life with their army. Though I certainly think it is possible. I'm a bit surprised actually that we haven't seen more of this with the new DL book. I know many people built armies around one particular god in the past, and that is certainly still possible.
    I've played around with ideas for different Nukuja lists a bit, including making lists of models that would fit the theme, but then decided I didn't really need another model range for a game I didn't get to play.

    It would probably have been heavily based on Circling the Abyss and Dante's Inferno, the Forest of Suicides, with its grey trees whispering secrets.
    A summary of all proposed ideas from the VS LAB brainstorm thread

    Collection of all offcially posted Vermin background

    'All the gifts your parents gave you, all the love and patience of your friends, you drowned in a neurotoxin. You let misery win. And it will keep on winning till you die — or overcome it.'
  • Another point of detail for understanding Vorthos is that it's not just a love for flavourful ideas on how to build your list, but also a sense of satisfaction from (may the powers that be forgive me for uttering these words) ludonarrative resonance.

    As an example, there's the Vermin Swarm relic "Sceptre of Vermin Valour" which gives its wielder Stand Behind.
    Just seeing a relic with that name and that ability tells you everything you need to know about the faction leaders, and keeps you from seeing the Safety in Numbers rule as a symbol of their ability to cooperate.