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I’ve participated in a fair share of game nights, and over the years I’ve come across all kinds of people. What have I learned through all of it? That board gamers are a super diverse group of people that range all kinds of backgrounds and personalities and quirks—yet always seem to fall into one of several archetypes.
This list is in no way scientific or comprehensive. However, I do think that the types of board gamers I’m about to list are the most common types, and they can be found all around the world.
I’ve split into halves: the best and worst types of board gamers.
The 5 Best Types of Board Gamers
1. The Host
Game nights wouldn’t be possible without someone to host them—and someone who freely opens up their home night after night after night surely deserves credit. Especially if that someone exudes hospitality and doesn’t care if friends bring strangers over. A great host is hard to come by, so if you know of one, treat them right and make sure they know how much you appreciate them.
2. The Teacher
Some of the best board games have complicated rules. The thing is, if you don’t understand what those rules are, you can’t fully enjoy the game! And not everyone is equipped with the attention span or understanding to comb through a 50-page rulebook and retain all of the nuances stuffed between the lines. That’s why a great teacher is always a great asset—especially the ones who are willing to watch tutorials and playthrough videos ahead of time in order to explain new games to the entire group right from the get-go instead of floundering for hours.
3. The Omnigamer
An omnigamer is someone who will play anything and everything. They might have a favorite genre of board game, but they’re OK playing whatever you want to play. They’re like chameleons, able to blend into whatever game night group they’re with without ever raising a fuss. Of course, some omnigamers are pushy and will try to have their way as far as what they want to play, but most of them tend to be laid back and are able to have fun regardless of circumstances.
4. The Vibrant
Every good game group has at least one person who’s warm, inviting, and energetic. They breathe life into the party—not because they’re loud and obnoxious, but because they’re lively and bright and, in many cases, hilarious. The vibrant board gamer is a great support type in that they tend to draw out the better qualities of the other gamers at the table. You’re more likely to have a fun night with one of these around, and who doesn’t want game night to be fun?
5. The Gameskeeper
Want to play a game but don’t want to fork over $50 on Amazon? No problem—just ask a gameskeeper. They’re the ones who make a decent enough living to fill out entire Kallax shelves with games you’ve never even heard of. They love board games, and more importantly, they love sharing their love of board games with plebs like you and me. They’ll bring over the games you want to play, or if they’re really nice they’ll let you borrow games so you can play even when they aren’t around.
The 5 Worst Types of Board Gamers
1. The Quarterback
The quarterback, also known as the backseat driver, is the one who can’t stand to let you think for yourself. Either they’re a know-it-all strategist type who thinks they know every optimal move in the game, or they’re super impatient and can’t bother to sit around while you contemplate your next move. They’re a nuisance, is what they are, and they’re quick to suck the fun out of any game because of it.
2. The Overthinker
It’s one thing to contemplate your available moves. It’s another to anguish over them for 15 minutes at a time, so fearful of making a mistake that you’re caught up in a whirlwind of indecision. Time is finite! Every minute you spend stuck in analysis paralysis is a minute of life that you’ve wasted for everyone else at the table. Unless your life is on the line, stop taking games so seriously and be more considerate of other people’s time. Thank you.
3. The Inattentive
Imagine this: You went out and bought the latest board game hotness, you know it’s going to be a hit with your friends, you bring it out to game night, you’re teaching the rules… but that one goof in the corner is constantly having side conversations, scrolling through their phone, or just plain zoning out. You have to explain things three, five, even ten times… and they still don’t get it. Truly one of the most frustrating types of gamers to play with if you love trying out new games.
4. The Cheater
If your need to win is so insatiable that you need to resort to cheating when there’s nothing on the line… I have no words for you.
5. The Sore Loser
The only thing worse than a cheater is a sore loser. A cheater can only ruin the game; a sore loser can ruin the night, or even the entire group. When pushed to their limit, a sore loser could potentially throw a hissy fit of such massive proportion that the night ends with tables flipped, cups shattered, and friendships broken. The sore loser puts their ego over everything else—the worst kind of attitude to bring to game night.