Problem Players, how do you deal with them?




I have had a handful of these people in my games (okay, more than a handful) and it is never fun or easy to deal with them. So the question is: how do you deal with them? Further to the point who is them? Well, I can outline four types of “problem players”. 

First is the attention whore. Attention whores have to have the spotlight all the time. They do things that cause you to focus on them, to the detriment of the rest of the group. These players can be hard to manage because if they feel that they are not getting enough of your attention then they find ways to fix it. They will make you pay attention. Not that they are “bad” players but instead that they just don’t understand how bad it can hurt the game. I tend to avoid having these players in my games, but if I must I let them know ahead of time that the game is for everyone, not just them.

Second is the drama queen/king. These people blow everything out of proportion. Everything is a plot to make them look bad. They can take a simple misstep and turn it into a whole night of lost gaming. They generally are not great players, but that is not always the case. They create drama to draw attention away from their bad roleplaying (in general). If I get one of these players, I tend to throw them to the curb before they cause the rest of the players to bail.

Third is the guy (or gal) who flys by the seat of their pants. They never come prepared and often ruin the game by having to look up everything. Where most players know their limits (along with all relevant stats) these players know nothing. They frustrate the other players and can cause them to leave. I tend to ensure that these players know their information. I will give them a card or something with all their relevant information on it.

Finally is the gamer who knows everything. I do mean everything. Need to know a rule (or not) they have it memorized. They can override a whole table of people, just because they know it all. They often do not understand the rule “have fun”. For them the whole game is about rules, rules, rules. I ensure that these players know who is in charge from the word “go”. If they have a problem with “Rule 0” or a table ruling then they can go get bent.

So that is the four types I have found. Have you found anymore? How do you deal with problem players at your table? 


7 thoughts on “Problem Players, how do you deal with them?

  1. My least favorite players are the ones whose characters indulge in disruptive behavior, and when other players object, protest, “But I’m role-playing! That’s what my character would do!” The really objectionable part, though, if if the other players have their own characters react to the disruptive/evil/stupid behavior of Character A, then Player A whines that they’re not letting him/her have fun. Sauce for the goose, buddy!

  2. I have a sub-addition to your list. Under #4’s “Rules Lawyer”, there is the “Rule Exploiter”. I once had a player in 3.0 DnD create a completely legal weapon/enchantment combo that allowed for crits on a 9-20 on the die. Did I also mention it was Vorpal? Shortly thereafter, my party found themselves meeting up with an unusual amount of contructs and undead. You know, things that are “immune” to crits. I can use the rules too. 😛

      • Good thing he was a Ranger with Favored Enemies of Undead, Constructs, Plants, and Oozes, then. 😛

        I’ve wanted to play a Ranger Rogue for the sneak attack to most things and favored enemy for that which can not be critted, but it would just make the character a more well rounded adventurer, not some über-character.

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