What are things you see good players do?

Monsterhearts 2 retails for $25, or roughly the cost of 2 movie tickets.

A Player’s Handbook is $50, and that’s all you need as a player.

For one-shots and short campaigns, pbta is great in that players really only need their Playbook and the Moves in order to participate. At some point, though, it’s absolutely true one thing I see good players do is buy the game if it’s something we’re going to play more than a couple of times experimentally.


My friends and I are making an actual play podcast right now, so being a good player is something we’ve talked a lot about. For me good players make strong choices that advance the plot and find ways to support other players in their own goals. Something I’ve had to learn is to not be precious about my character. I think of the Monsterhearts core principles a lot but specifically: Make your character’s life not boring. I don’t always have to make the safe choice. I can make the wrong choice on purpose because it’s interesting! Failure is interesting.

Unrelated to play specifically, but I always appreciate if players bring snacks, offer to host the game, help schedule games.

I am also delighted when players do things like draw their character, write 12 pages of backstory, make a pinterest board, playlist, etc. As a storyteller, it tells me that they are excited and engaged in the world we’re creating together.


I’m pretty new to this forum, and just finding some wonderful threads like this one. Great to see so much top-notch discussion of practical gaming concerns!

This thread has covered a lot of ground, but I’ll add one player skill (or attitude) that I find really important:

When you start playing a game, you examine and then learn to embody the particular stance and approach needed to play that game. (You do not simply attempt to play it the way you played some other game you have experience with in the past, in other words.)

This might be a question of knowing how to interface with the game’s mechanics. It might be a question of seeing how the group handles in-character conversations, or how players face challenges.

Take a look at the rules, the structure, the relationships of the people involved, and the creative goals of the whole enterprise, and then play to that.

Sometimes it means understanding whether the game is about honest competition, screwing over your friends in order to win by any means necessary (cutthroat competition), or supporting everyone at all times. Sometimes it means mastering the rules and being able to make the right mechanical choices when your turn comes up. Sometimes it means noticing the attention to detail and doing your homework; at other times it’s noticing who looseness and creativity are valued here and letting go of your own attention to detail. Sometimes it means noticing that there’s one player at the table who always gets overlooked, and doing something about it.

But, in short, a good player takes in a new game and a new group and, first, observes and reads the vibe and the way it works. They do not assume that it’s just like something they played before.

They recognize that every combination of game-and-group takes its own form or its own ‘culture of play’, and, therefore should be played as its own particular, unique “instrument”. It may need a different “touch”, a different attitude, or a different perspective.

The player who recognizes the uniqueness of each game and each gaming situation and plays to its strengths is someone I am much more likely to enjoy playing with.


A few larger-scale points come to mind, informed by my experiences doing improv with a wide variety of people:

  • Quickly read, learn and adapt to the culture of play of a particular group.
  • Show interest in learning rules, source material and/or the general craft of playing narrative games.
  • Leave your personal issues aside for the duration of play. (“Check your baggage at the door”)
  • Know what you like and don’t like and opt in or out accordingly

Here are a few things I didn’t spot in this thread.

  • Willingness to be a game master.
  • Wanting to improve what they are bad at, or at least challenge themselves in some way.
  • Brings something to the table, instead of being served by the others.
  • Don’t try too hard all the time. Sometimes it’s good to do something boring with your character or obvious.

“Be into it”, as @Maezar mentioned cannot be stressed enough how important it is. Bring energy, because that will smear off on the others … up to a certain point anyway. See last point again. :slight_smile: