Who Is Your Gaming Soulmate? Here’s My Top 10

Out of respect for Dax, I haven’t cropped him out of this photo.

Do you have a gaming soulmate?

By this I mean: Is there a person–or a type of person–with whom you prefer to play games with?

I’m generally happy to play games with anyone. Though, if I’m honest with myself, there are certainly some types of people with whom I have more fun when playing games. I’m talking specifically about gaming-related behavior, not other traits/characteristics.

So I’ve compiled a list of the gaming-related behaviors that appeal to me the most. In no particular order, here are the top 10 traits that define my gaming soulmate:

  1. Someone who puts their phone away and never looks at it (except maybe to take a quick photo of the game).
  2. Someone who is conscientious of time. That is, they think about their turn in advance so they’re pretty much ready to go when it’s back to them, but they don’t rush the game along.
  3. Someone who tries to win competitive games but keeps trying and doesn’t quit when they feel like they’ve fallen behind without much chance of catching up.
  4. Someone who treats their significant other–if they’re also in the game–with respect, but without any special privileges or concessions.
  5. Someone who helps with setup, cleanup, and in-game maintenance.
  6. Someone who is willing to learn games on the fly (i.e., they don’t need to know every rule in advance).
  7. Someone who doesn’t quarterback in cooperative games.
  8. Someone who is aware of rare moments of analysis paralysis and instead of letting the game grind to a halt, they simply make a decision and make the best of it.
  9. Someone who pays attention while learning the game and during the game.
  10. Someone who is able to make light of tough circumstances and commends other players for making impactful plays without taking it personally or blaming everyone else (or the game) for their misfortune.

Those are all things I try to do. I don’t always succeed, but I try. How many of those categories match with you? Would you add or change anything on your gaming soulmate list?

14 Responses to “Who Is Your Gaming Soulmate? Here’s My Top 10”

  1. Jeff Spenner says:

    Does this mean all game group members are graded on a 10 point scale? 😉

    Seriously, though, great list. Several of your points are time related, and I agree – I, too, like to play with people who are ready for their turn when it gets to them and doesn’t delay. This in particular makes some of my gaming experiences a bit grating… However, I also like when the game isn’t TOO hurried and I can get into and enjoy the theme. It’s a delicate balance to strike, for sure.

    Somewhat related to your #10, I have a huge issue with people who bring down a game while playing because they don’t enjoy it. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it in the past, but I try to be very cognizant of it in the rare instance I don’t particularly enjoy a game. If you can’t enjoy the play, enjoy those you play with.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      I just invented the scale tonight, but I’m happy to grade you if you’d like! 🙂

      • Jeff Spenner says:

        I shall await my report card. I feel nervous – should I feel nervous? Maybe this can factor into Survivor: Game Day…

        • Jamey Stegmaier says:

          You’re good to play games with, Jeff. I would say the only category where I’d give you 0.5 instead of 1.0 is #6, though it’s more about your style of teaching games than your style of playing games. 9.5/10.0 is quite good!

          • Jeff Spenner says:

            It’s an interesting spectrum of learning / teaching games, isn’t it? I do tend to skew more towards the “here’s more information than less to do with what you will” because I personally like to know more before I start playing (I give your teaching a .75ish of 1.0 😉 ) I’ve also had more negative experiences of “I wish I would’ve known this” than the opposite.

  2. Mike Belsole says:

    That’s a great list, and I match with every single one of them. (I really like #10.) I am the kind of person who wants everyone to have a good time and never wants to get in the way of that – which I think is the essence of each point on that list. I would add, “11. Someone who doesn’t derail the teaching of the game.”

  3. Tyrell Wood says:

    I agree totally with all of those. If I could add one, makes the game more fun to play based on their tasteful humor and maybe a little sarcasm to lighten the mood when things go south for everyone. Maybe one day I will achieve this “gaming oneness” we all seek!

  4. Scott Hall says:

    #4 might be my #1. Playing Terraforming Mars on Sunday, an opponent plays a card that will lower someone’s energy production. I have 2, another player has 3. I take the hit because he “is dating her.”

    Meanwhile, my wife tells new Lords of Waterdeep players that Mandatory Quest cards should all be played on me to keep me from winning.

  5. joepunman says:

    Dude! We’re totally gaming soulmates Jamey! J/K, but I do agree with those guidelines. I can be a little AP at times, but I’m trying to get better. The worst is when I know I’m being AP, but I still can’t pull the trigger on a decision, causing even more AP.

    I’ll add one more: .Someone who doesn’t (even playfully) suggest that the teacher is holding back rules so he/she can win, rather than giving him/her the benefit of the doubt that they just forgot to mention it.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      I like that, Joe, and I’ll piggyback on top of it: Someone who doesn’t (even playfully) suggest that someone cheated. I think when people say that, they really mean, “You unintentionally made a mistake and it benefited you,” but by saying “you cheated,” it diminishes that player’s accomplishment and accuses them of something much worse than what they actually did. A few of my friends casually throw this term around, and I know what they mean, but there are some words you just don’t throw around.

  6. Joseph E. Pilkus III says:


    Great list! I’m blessed to have a gaming group that meets most, if not all, of the items on your list. Even my daughter, who would profess to be a non-gamer also subscribes to all that you have laid out on the list of outstanding gaming attributes. If I had to add anything and it’s really because I’ve attended many more Game Nights of late and that’s 11. Others take care of your game as if it were theirs. That’s significant for me. On any Friday night, in Crystal City, just outside D.C., more than 50 folks show-up with their games to play. They leave them in their game bags on the floor (as table space is at a premium) and anyone can come by, grab the game, play it, and return it. On any given Friday, there’s somewhere around $2K worth of games…and I’ve never (after more than a dozen visits) heard anyone get upset about how someone treated their game. Impressive.


    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      That’s awesome, Joe! Lucky you. 🙂 I like your addition: “Others take care of your game as if it were theirs. “

  7. […] that some of these are distinctly unique to my game night, and they’re different than the list of preferences I recently posted. For example, while I love to play games with people who help with setup and cleanup, it […]

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