Saturday, 17 August 2013

Gamer bias / snobbery

A lot of the things that divide the tabletop gaming community frustrate me.  This division is something that acts against the promotion of the positive image of the hobby as a whole especially when the hobby and the community are more diverse than they've ever been.

What do I mean?  Gamers who look down on some formats due to stereotypes associated with gamers of those formats.  Indeed it doesn't even need to be other formats, it can be different games within those formats.

The most regular one that I hear (indeed I heard it last night) is aimed at players of Magic: The Gathering. Magic, like all CCGs, is a game where the cards used to build your decks are have different rarities and as such some of those cards can become valuable. Yes I know it's just a piece of cardboard with something printed on it but the value status is generated because of the rarities involved and the in-game abilities associated with that specific card.

Magic players are portrayed as obsessive and obnoxious moreso than any other part of the community in my experience.  So much so that when someone who doesn't fit that pigeon hole is encountered the defence given seems to be "Ah but they're not a Magic player, they're someone who plays Magic." which makes no sense and is just a form of selective snobbery.

I'm choosing Magic to cover this not because it has the largest amount of snobbery against it but because it's probably the most popular Tabletop Game out there.  As I said in my last post there are more than 12 Million people worldwide who play Magic.
Evidence of player bases for other formats is virtually non-existent.  Anecdotal numbers for Games Workshop products has it around the 1-1.5 Million mark with the overall Wargames format supporting 4-5 Million players.  No idea about other formats.

The pattern seems to be to label a format or game as "bad" because of an experience with individuals who play that game rather than through playing that format / game. Players make up a community not the games those players play. Is it bias / snobbery or dare I say elitism in some cases?
I have to admit that in my experience it is all 3 of those things and is usually rooted in a problem between players rather than an actual problem with the games in question.