Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What Makes a Good Player? with Ariana Ramos

Hello all!

In this new feature, What Makes a Good Player?, I'll be covering the experience and practices of good players nominated by their fellows and GMs. All of the players were asked the same questions, but it's interesting to see where those vary. 

The first interviewee is Ariana Ramos!


What do you try to do most often while playing games to enhance your experience and the experience of others?

This varies from game to game and also the frequency of how much I've played it. If it's a brand new game, I will go with a class/skin I am excited for after maybe figuring out the setting the GM is aiming for and trying to get a feel for the players. A lot of times when new players come into play I will play more of the aggressive player or the one who tries to push others by taking the lead or prodding them into action, and this is more or less to let them know it's okay to jump up with ideas. Other times I tend to like playing the outsiders, the characters that for some reason don't belong but at the end don't seem to care and continue with the challenge despite all odds stacked up against them. I also like making sure that the relationships/bonds characters have with do mean something beyond what is written and explore them as much as possible.

Do you use any specific play techniques (narrative tools, improv tools, etc.) in your play sessions?

A lot of improv, I try to use 'yes and' as much as possible in the game to give a good flow between players. My significant other and I listen to a lot of improv comedy, so that's been a huge inspiration in where it's okay to let games become silly or strange. I also do listen to music and secretly have themes for characters or try to shape their backgrounds in my head. Say the GM will make an item of great importance to my character I will ask myself why beyond just it being a thing of power, what sentimental value does it hold? All characters should have a drive, a reason to be there no matter how silly or small it may seem to someone who isn't them it's something that motivates them to continue.

How often do you like to game, and what is most comfortable for you to maintain good energy in games?

It depends on what's going on in my real life. I've got two to three games per weekend or spread out during the month. I've had one game every other week or now I have a game every weekend, it's knowing I am gaming with good people, and I can ultimately be myself. I only did Con gaming last year, and so far I was relatively lucky that I didn't feel uncomfortable during my two visits to Origins. I have had uncomfortable situations over hangouts with people arguing over rules, forcing relationships or just being rude in general. You have to know when to cut your loses because gaming is supposed to be fun although it can be used as a learning and therapy tool. I never force myself to game with people I feel uncomfortable with, and I've learned to listen to myself in case feelings do come up and approach it calmly as possible. I also make sure that if by chance we're touching hard themes that do come up that the other players are fine because although the X-card does exist when you have a personal relationship with someone, the automatic response is to laugh off any awkwardness that could harbor into bigger feelings. Just make sure people are okay, give it time and be open to conversations.

Also play games you're excited for. Try new things!

What kind of games do you feel you are most comfortable with and enjoy the most?

I feel like every game is a good game with a good GM and good people. I don't enjoy games that are solid combat, but I also am not a fan of games that are pure emotion. I do play a lot of Apocalypse World hacks because it's the quickest system I can get into but there have been games I thought 'no, thank you' but have surprised me because the GM had an amazing way of sucking me in. I love world building with the players at hand; I love the feel of something being ours and it's something we're all exploring together.

Can you share a special experience in a game where you felt like you did a good job playing your part in the overall story and game?

There are so many. From my Flame Princess mourning the loss of her Dead Knight and in that pure platonic love and not romantic. I think my favorite was we were playing FATE in a joky horror setting with kids going to camp. This was my second time playing 'Heather Sweets aka Sweets' who is still one of my favorite characters and the GM had said someone had intercepted her care packages from her parents, and so she was out of candy. In a complete meltdown, I had my character laying on the floor claiming her parents didn't love her anymore as I was trying not to laugh it made me sound like I was sobbing as I was asking for just one piece of candy. In the game, the monster is Big Foot, after having stolen some candy and shared it with a camper my character needs sugar to run fast to get away and so I reach for my friend's hand and LICK IT to get some sugar off of it.


Thanks so much to Ariana for agreeing to the interview and for sharing her experiences! I hope all of my readers find the interview enjoyable and useful, and hope you like those that come along soon!

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