Board Games & Type

By Tiffani Warren

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We have entered the Golden Age of Board Games.  As the hobby has expanded, game shops have turned from a small niche filled with only the most dedicated players to a fun place to hang out on a Friday night, filled with people from all ages and walks of life.

Alongside this expansion of player numbers, new kinds of games are being published all the time, catering to various play styles and preferences. ¬†In this blog, we’ll look at some of the most popular kinds of games and what personality types they appeal to.

This topic is much more in-depth than I can do justice in this post, so think of this as a springboard for further discussion and research.  I would love to hear about your preferences, experiences, and theories in the comments!

Most Important Elements

Tactical vs. Strategic.  Tactical types (ENxP, ESxJ, INxJ, ISxP) prefer games with a quickly-changing landscape, requiring flexibility and maneuverability in tactics, but more straightforward win conditions.  Strategic types (ENxJ, ESxP, INxP, ISxJ) tend to prefer games with a variety of either win conditions or play styles (such as deck-building games) where they can plan their approach in advance.

Static vs. Dynamic.  Static types (xxxP) prefer games with a limited number of options on each turn but a deeper underlying structure, which allows for more long-term calculation.  Dynamic types (xxxJ) prefer games with a wider landscape of available choices on each turn, where noticing and seizing opportunities outweighs a more calculated approach.

Carefree vs. Farsighted.  Carefree types (ENxx, ISxx) prefer games with quick decision-making and shorter player turns.  Farsighted types (ESxx, INxx) prefer games with more time to prepare their next move in advance and longer, more complex player turns so they have more time to anticipate the future ramifications of their choices.

Rational vs. Irrational.  Rational types (ExxJ, IxxP) prefer games where their decisions matter more and have consequences, making decisions either proactively or at least decisively.  Irrational types (ExxP, IxxJ) prefer games with an element of surprise or mystery, where either the decisions are less likely to have a permanent or predictable impact, or else the context of the game itself implies an obvious best approach and the challenge is in the implementation.

Functions.¬† The games that people enjoy and excel at are also largely determined by function. ¬†Review Function Position¬†if necessary. ¬†People tend to be best at (more likely to win) games that utilize their strong functions (especially dominant, auxiliary, and demonstrative). ¬†People also tend to enjoy these games, as well as games that make use of their inferior and role functions, although they have less stamina and acuity in these realms. ¬†Specifically, they enjoy games that make use of their inferior function when they’re good at it, but may be more sensitive to failing, but are happy to replay games that make use of their role function, even when they’re not good at them, because this function can be more easily trained. ¬†In fact, the role function may be in some ways particularly appealing to us in games more than any other situation, because it is both non-threatening and a chance to improve something we normally struggle in. ¬†Games that make heavy use of the tertiary, ignoring, and vulnerable functions are likely to be seen as boring, tiring, or uninteresting.

Below are some themes and mechanics that I believe are associated with each function.  These are my best guesses, and I am open to suggestions and improvements!

Fe:

  • acting, bluffing, and hidden-role
  • social deduction
  • various cultures or factions, variable player powers
  • focus on aesthetics
  • visually-appealing components
  • party games
  • themes: ‘cozy’, pastoral (family/village), dark (murder/scary monsters/death), generic culture (e.g. medieval, Arabian)

Ne:

  • lore and storytelling
  • elements of surprise
  • wordplay, conceptual games
  • abstract components (dice, cubes, etc.)
  • themes: fantasy, adventure sci-fi, superheroes, fun monsters

Se:

  • dexterity games
  • unpredictability – no ability to thoroughly consider mechanic interplay
  • quick reaction time
  • auction, bidding, selling
  • gambling, luck-based games
  • themes: strength, domination, winning

Te:

  • worker placement
  • resource gathering
  • hand management
  • trivia or fact-based games
  • themes: economics, pragmatic/practical (e.g. trains, farms, factories), science

Fi:

  • strong¬†lesson or message
  • player/group preferences and dynamics (for instance, preferring a game because it has room for all six “regulars”, or disliking a game because some find the themes distasteful)
  • pen-and-paper games
  • power play, drama between players (sudden upsets, etc.), “take that”
  • themes: empowerment narratives, specific culture (e.g. Haitian Revolution, Henry VIII)

Ni:

  • mystery and deduction
  • looking ahead, anticipation
  • guessing games
  • themes:¬†dark (psychological, existential), speculative sci-fi, time travel

Si:

  • memory
  • negotiation, trading
  • detailed mechanics that require more consideration of interaction
  • tile placement, mazes, visual puzzles, alignment/configuration
  • artistic games (building things, painting miniatures, etc.)
  • themes: historical, realistic

Ti:

  • logical consistency (mechanics make sense with the theme and with each other; for instance, a game where you usually ¬†must eat meat to travel, ¬†but you can also use a boat to move sometimes, lacks thematic/logical consistency)
  • deck-building
  • abstract strategy and war games (mechanically)
  • math and calculation games
  • themes:¬†simulation

Best Games for Each Type

Note: These games are guesses based on my own library and experience.  They will be continually updated.  I would love your input!  In the comments, let me know your type and your favorite games, and also which games you hate and why.

***

ENFJ: strategic, dynamic, carefree, rational.  Strong Fe, Ni, Ne.  Enjoy Te and some Ti.

Recommendations:

  • 7 Wonders
  • Codenames
  • Fluxx
  • Lewis & Clark
  • Lords of Waterdeep
  • Pandemic
  • Spyfall
  • Stone Age
  • T.I.M.E. Stories
  • Village
  • Werewolf

ENFP: tactical, static, carefree, irrational.  Strong Ne, Fi, Fe.  Enjoy Se and some Si.

Recommendations:

  • Battleship
  • Codenames
  • Coup
  • King of Tokyo
  • The Resistance
  • Revolution
  • Saboteur
  • Spyfall
  • Stone Age

ENTJ: strategic, dynamic, carefree, rational.  Strong Te, Ni, Ne.  Enjoy Fe and some Fi.

Recommendations:

  • 7 Wonders
  • Codenames
  • Concordia
  • Fluxx
  • Lewis & Clark
  • Lords of Waterdeep
  • Pandemic
  • The Resistance
  • Spyfall
  • Stone Age
  • Village
  • Werewolf

ENTP: tactical, static, carefree, irrational.  Strong Ne, Ti, Te.  Enjoy Se and some Si.

Recommendations:

  • Battleship
  • Chess
  • Dead of Winter
  • King of Tokyo
  • Patchwork
  • Saboteur
  • Settlers of Catan
  • Stone Age

ESFJ: tactical, dynamic, farsighted, rational.  Strong Fe, Si, Se.  Enjoy Te and some Ti.

Recommendations:

  • Dead of Winter
  • Forbidden Island
  • Lewis & Clark
  • Pandemic
  • Patchwork
  • The Resistance
  • Settlers of Catan
  • Sheriff of Nottingham
  • Stone Age
  • Village

ESFP: strategic, static, farsighted, irrational.  Strong Se, Fi, Fe.  Enjoy Ne and some Ni.

Recommendations:

  • 7 Wonders
  • Codenames
  • King of Tokyo
  • Kingsburg
  • The Resistance
  • Revolution
  • Stone Age
  • T.I.M.E. Stories
  • Werewolf

ESTJ: tactical, dynamic, farsighted, rational.  Strong Te, Si, Se.  Enjoy Fe and some Fi.

Recommendations:

  • Coup
  • Forbidden Island
  • King of Tokyo
  • Kingsburg
  • Lewis & Clark
  • Pandemic
  • The Resistance
  • Sheriff of Nottingham
  • Stone Age
  • Village

ESTP: strategic, static, farsighted, irrational.  Strong Se, Ti, Te.  Enjoy Ne and some Ni.

Recommendations:

  • Concordia
  • Dominion
  • Lords of Waterdeep
  • Netrunner
  • Revolution
  • Stone Age

INFJ: tactical, dynamic, farsighted, irrational.  Strong Ni, Fi, Fe.  Enjoy Si and some Se.

Recommendations:

  • Coup
  • Forbidden Island
  • Kingsburg
  • The Resistance
  • T.I.M.E. Stories
  • Werewolf

INFP: strategic, static, farsighted, rational.  Strong Fi, Ne, Ni.  Enjoy Ti and some Te.

Recommendations:

  • Dominion
  • Kingsburg
  • Lords of Waterdeep
  • Netrunner
  • The Resistance

INTJ: tactical, dynamic, farsighted, irrational.  Strong Ni, Te, Ti.  Enjoy Si and some Se.

Recommendations:

  • Battleship
  • Chess
  • Dead of Winter
  • Forbidden Island
  • Lewis & Clark
  • Pandemic
  • Patchwork
  • Settlers of Catan

INTP: strategic, static, farsighted, rational.  Strong Ti, Ne, Ni.  Enjoy Fi and some Fe.

Recommendations:

  • 7 Wonders
  • Concordia
  • Dominion
  • Kingsburg
  • Netrunner
  • The Resistance
  • T.I.M.E. Stories
  • Village
  • Werewolf

ISFJ: strategic, dynamic, carefree, irrational.  Strong Si, Fe, Fi.  Enjoy Ni and some Ne.

Recommendations:

  • 7 Wonders
  • Barenpark
  • Coup
  • Fluxx
  • The Resistance
  • Saboteur
  • Spyfall
  • T.I.M.E. Stories
  • Werewolf

ISFP: tactical, static, carefree, rational.  Strong Fi, Se, Si.  Enjoy Ti and some Te.

Recommendations:

  • Chess
  • Dead of Winter
  • Forbidden Island
  • Patchwork
  • Saboteur

ISTJ: strategic, dynamic, carefree, irrational.  Strong Si, Te, Ti.  Enjoy Ni and some Ne.

Recommendations:

  • Barenpark
  • Dead of Winter
  • Dominion
  • Fluxx
  • Lewis & Clark
  • Lords of Waterdeep
  • Netrunner
  • Pandemic
  • Patchwork
  • Saboteur
  • Settlers of Catan

ISTP: tactical, static, carefree, rational.  Strong Ti, Se, Si.  Enjoy Fi and some Fe.

Recommendations:

  • Chess
  • Coup
  • Dead of Winter
  • Forbidden Island
  • Patchwork
  • The Resistance
  • Saboteur
  • Spyfall

2 thoughts on “Board Games and Type”

  1. An online quiz out me as ESFJ, some of my favorite games would also include Sentinels of the multiverse, PAndemic legacy, Colt express. I find that engaging new people in gaming is as important as other aspects of gaming. I really enjoy getting people social and find Games help people get out of their shells, perhaps that is why I enjoy some of the more crazy programing type games like colt express, it is more about the experience than the game for me.

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