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Subject: Designed characters VS. general characters rss

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I hope I described it right in the subject...

I'm talking about the difference between using general character types like "Explorer" and "Engineer"(ex. Forbidden Island)vs. specific characters named and illustrated specifically to the game/theme (Ex. Dead of Winter).

My question is... If the abilities of the character are the same in both instances, does it effect your enjoyment of the game? Do you always prefer that your character be pre-ordained with a visual design that has its own miniature/pawn to represent you? Or would you rather "be" the player and use only a colored pawn to represent yourself. Does it only matter depending on the game or would you not care either way as long as the game plays well?

Thanks for the help!
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Vaughn Egge
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I suspect this will be quite split. However...


...I usually prefer general characters. I'd much rather the identity of characters to be abstracted so as to be more identity-flexible. That said, it also likely depends on the game. I very much skew Euro-style games and and am not looking for multi-dimensional characters. When I want that, I'll read a book or watch a film.

That said, I often enjoy basic details about my characters that provide a metaphor for what I'm doing, why I'm doing it, and why I do it with a specific level of effectiveness.

Hope that makes sense.
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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Some other threads on this issue, if you're interested:

Character design: generic vs. fully developed vs. diversity --> POLL!!!
Do you prefer named or unnamed characters in your pseudo-RPG board games?
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Oblivion Doll
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It really, REALLY depends on the theme and the type of game.

For larger-scale miniature wargames, it can be good to use a hybrid of the two - general "types" for the normal soldiers, with special unique characters as leaders/heroes on the field.

For asymmetric games, using both can be a way to contrast the two sides - one force of faceless "grunts" and the other a small team of unique characters.

It's also worth noting that for games with a strong storytelling component, you can still go either way - a strong cast of pre-made characters works particularly well if you're working in an established setting. Licensed games that do this well can be amazingly successful if they do the brand right. Similarly, historical settings can use named personalities in this way. On the other side, games which are more about letting players create their own stories will often benefit from letting players develop their own character, using less detailed tokens/models to give the player a better ability to insert their own character into the role.
 
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Antistone wrote:


Thanks for these!
 
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