This is a subject that comes up fairly often in table-top role-playing groups. I have seen various articles on the web and I wanted to add my two cents into this pot. As a game master and game designer I concern myself with the type of people I want to game with. This affects my overall aim and progress within each game session. So with that I will break down several types discussed and a couple you might not have heard of. These types can and often are combined and vary in degrees of intensity in each individual.
The Min/Maxer: Here is one many people love to hate or enjoy because they are also Min/Maxers. This is the player who wants the best stats no matter what the cost. The best in game is what he aims to be. The whole event of table-top gaming is a competition sport to them and the game master is the potential enemy to be triumphed over. Degrees of this persona vary from the gamer who just wants that special sword to an obsessed person devoting part of his waking hours reading rules and ensuring they get the best stuff ever. Mild versions are easier to deal with than the most extreme Min/Max players.
Story Gamer: A rare breed but often a welcome one. This is a future game master in the making. The story line and events are more important than playing the same character. Often story gamers will play two or three roles and help the game master out. When their character dies in game only a sniffle will be heard as they reach for a new character sheet.
True Role-Player: This person loves the role he chose and wears it with pride. From Rat Catcher to Holy Paladin his quest is to play his character to the best ability in terms of thought and deed. This individual is OK with less than maxed out stats, but will get furious with other players who do not play to their high standards. Accents and sometimes live action role-play will be used depending on the intensity of this individual.
Group Leader: Commander in charge, often an alpha personality. This can come in either gender and will take over the group. Sometimes competing personalities with this same type might find themselves facing off against each other in game. Usual one per group makes each session a breeze, especially if she is friends with everyone else. For a game master this person can be a blessing or a curse. A good leader makes each and every game awesome. Horrible alpha males can create more strife in the game than it is worth.
Group Clown: Comic relief. This character might have some alpha male traits but masks them well with hilarious anecdotes and funny one liners. Often right behind the group leader this person makes or breaks a group. This personality can be combined with several of the above mentioned personas for good or ill. A mild comic can be a great boon to the game with some role-playing tendencies. A heavy handed clown with min:max persona can destroy a group.
Emulator: This personality is the mouse in the corner. Where the group goes this person follows. Often they are just another person learning more about table-top games and do not contribute much. But do not discount this person. Often they hide their personality due to inexperience. The Emulator can be a great asset if he/she is shown your favorite style of play. Encourage people who emulate to do so in a manner best served towards your game.
Emotional Wreck: Only twice have I come across this type of personality. Sometimes they hide as either one of the above mentioned personalities, but there is a personal issue not dealt with. Some scenarios in game will bring out the hurt feelings and this can turn a pleasant into a train wreck very quick. I recommend identifying and removing such individuals UNLESS they trust you completely. This is where friendships are often tested for better or worse. But often you need to get this person serious professional help. I will leave it at that. Look for unusual emotional outbursts if you do something to harm their character or family members of their character in game.
Fellow Understanding Game Master: A boon or curse depending on their game master style. Sometimes games get too big and you might need them to help with the bad guys. This person can be a great player if they have a personality that matches up with you. Treat experienced fellow game masters you play with respectfully.
So if you have another type of personality I did not mention, please put it in the comments below. I enjoy the feedback.
Now with this out of the way, I will do a review on my favorite all time Table-Top RPG Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play 1st edition soon.