Omega Gamers   9 comments

I was thinking about the different categories of gamers in the world. There are so many different ways to divide things. Here are some terms I came up with: noob, power gamer, alpha gamer, beta gamer, notta gamer, grognard, and finally omega gamer. Then I got to thinking about where I fit on this loose scale of gamerishness.

A noob is a beginner. Since I am an ancient 62 years old, and have been gaming as far back as I can remember, I’m not a noob to gaming. But, in another sense, I am a noob, and will always be a noob. There are so many games that I’ve never played, or have just looked at. After 35 years of role-playing, I’ve only played actual Dungeons and Dragons less than ten times. That makes me a D & D noob, for sure. I love Greg Stafford’s Runequest game, but have only played it 2 or 3 times in 35  years. Noob! And the same is true for virtually every other role playing game out there. The only rpg I’ve really played a lot of is Tunnels and Trolls, and I created that one. So, I’m a noob–no getting around that. There are plenty of other games that I’ve never played–card games, board games, mind games. Noob, noob, noob. Maybe I should just list the games where I’m not a noob. T & T, Magic, Shadowfist, Bridge, Poker, Risk, Diplomacy, Monopoly, Chess, Scrabble, a few dozen others that don’t leap to mind. I think we’re all noobs, so let’s not get bent about that.

The power gamer is the person who gets off on winning, on crushing his foes and humiliating them. He’s the guy with the biggest collection of rulebooks, and the most dice, and the boxes full of magic cards. It hurts the power gamer to lose–they tend to look for circles of beta gamers they can dominate to feed their own self importance. Those people who live from tournament to tournament are power gamers. And no, I don’t fit the power gamer stereotype.

An Alpha gamer  is someone that plays a key role in connecting with the concept behind a product, then adopting that product, and finally validating it for the rest of society–in this case, other gamers. (I modified that definition from the definition of an alpha consumer on Wikipedia.) That would make an alpha gamer the guy who spends a lot of his time introducing people to games that he likes. I was thinking that I’m not an alpha gamer, but I guess I really am. I love teaching people how to play Tunnels and Trolls, or Magic, or Shadowfist, or Scrabble or any of the games I play. But, teaching people how to play games really isn’t my mission in life–it’s just something I do in order to have fun and hopefully improve their lives. So, as alpha gamers go, I’m not very alpha-like at all.

I made up the term beta gamer. A beta gamer is someone who just likes to play games once in a while. It’s not very high on their list of things to do, but they can enjoy the gaming experience when it comes along. Winning is nice, but they don’t care whether they win or lose. Most people are probably beta gamers whether they know it or not. They are the sane ones.

The notta gamer is another term I made up. That person is not a gamer. He/she doesn’t like games. She/he avoids them. Notta gamers are no fun to gamers. They need to be converted into noobs at the very least.

A Grognard is French for “grumbler”. It is not necessarily pejorative and is sometimes used as a compliment. Historically it meant a soldier in Napoleon’s army, particularly a member of the Old Guard.

“Grognard” came to mean a veteran wargamer in the early 1970s. It was first used by John Young, at that time an employee of SPI, and subsequently popularised by Strategy & Tactics magazine. I tend to think of a grognard as someone who is obsessed with the rules–knows them all, and insists on enforcing them. You mostly see grognards in miniatures, and they have their own ranks and rankings. Ordinary grognards look up to uber-grognards and down on pseudo-grognards. I’m not a grognard.

And that brings me to the last category. Omega is the end. If alpha gamers are the leaders in the field and beta gamers are the followers, then omega gamers are the ones who chart their own paths–not caring whether they are leading or following. Power doesn’t matter to them. They’ve been around for a while, usually a long while. Gaming is an end for them. Gaming makes them happy, and they’re often willing to play just about any game that someone else is interested in–it’s for that wonderful gaming experience.

I really think I’m an omega gamer. How about you?

End

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Posted December 8, 2009 by atroll in Uncategorized

9 responses to “Omega Gamers

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  1. Yup, me too. 😀

  2. What about the gamer who sticks to primarily two, maybe three systems, knows other games extensively? The gamer doesn’t keep up on the other games because of a love of the rules, but because of the milieu of the sub-culture. You know, what other of his chosen group’s interests.

  3. Interesting typology. I guess you have heard of Robin Laws model? It was first published in Robin’s Laws of Good Gamemastering and was apparently also included in DMG II for D&D3. I find it fascinating.

  4. Beta.

  5. Kopfy: what you describe seems much like myself. I know several systems really well… and preach them ardently… I think we’re a different clade than the alphas… and not omegas, either, tho’ somwhere in between. How about Xi-gamer?

  6. I would take some issue with your definition of “power gamer.” One of the attributes you give it is better classified under alpha gamer. I am a gamer who could care less about winning, but I am the gamer who owns the largest collection of games and game books I know. Seriously, I own a ton of games.

    I am an alpha consumer, and early adopter, when it comes to gaming. I am also a proponent of the hobby writ large. Power gamers may have an extensive library, typically devoted to one game, but I have a game museum.

  7. I highly enjoyed reading your blogpost, keep up creating such exciting stuff!!

  8. You and me Christian. You and me. 🙂

    Maybe I should charge an entrance fee to my home…

  9. Definately an Omega player. They’re all fun (at least for a little while) in their own right, and no one genre dominates my interests.

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