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The Four Hobbies of TTRPG's

DollarD

Long-time Lurker
I read an interesting piece by Marc Brooker, where he postulated that every hobby has basically four hobbies in itself that intertwine:

The first axis is doing versus talking, and the second is the hobby versus the kit. In nearly every case I've seen, people roughly sort themselves into one of these categories.
  • Doing the thing. These are the folks who enjoy doing the actual activity: taking photos, skiing, golfing, hiking, hunting, whatever. You'll find them out in the forest, on the slopes, or on the course.
  • Collecting the kit. These folks enjoy collecting, maintaining, tuning, and fiddling with the kit. They tend to be attracted to kit-heavy hobbies like photography, but it seems like you can find them everywhere.
  • Talking about the thing. This group enjoys discussing the activity. In-person, on forums, on Twitter, on Reddit, or anywhere else. They'll talk technique, or pro competition, or about their day on the course.
  • Talking about the kit. Like the previous group, these people enjoy the discussion. Instead of talking about the activity, they'll talk about kit. Whether it's if this season's model is better than last's, or the optimal iron temperature, they want to talk gear.

And based on the communities I form part of, it seems to match up. You have people who:

Play TTRPG's: These people spend a lot of time playing, and as such, don't have a lot of free time left on discussions.
Collect: These people collect books, systems, miniatures, paint them, etc. And you'll mainly see them when they post something new they've painted, got new dice, have a new sourcebook, etc.
Talk about playing: These people play, so that they have something to talk about, and can discuss their game with the rest of their group. They don't generally belong to more than one group, since discussing the details of the last play session is what gets them going.
Talk about the 'meta': These are the people that have knowledge about the best dice to use, the best system for every situation, the best builds and whether the changes to our 'kit' will be for better or worse.

Or, at least, that's how I see it. What's your experience? Does it ring true?

Link to the article: The Four Hobbies, and Apparent Expertise

Of course, he goes on to connect talking about something with expertise in it, and about that section I will decline to comment. :)
 

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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
I read an interesting piece by Marc Brooker, where he postulated that every hobby has basically four hobbies in itself that intertwine:



And based on the communities I form part of, it seems to match up. You have people who:

Play TTRPG's: These people spend a lot of time playing, and as such, don't have a lot of free time left on discussions.
Collect: These people collect books, systems, miniatures, paint them, etc. And you'll mainly see them when they post something new they've painted, got new dice, have a new sourcebook, etc.
Talk about playing: These people play, so that they have something to talk about, and can discuss their game with the rest of their group. They don't generally belong to more than one group, since discussing the details of the last play session is what gets them going.
Talk about the 'meta': These are the people that have knowledge about the best dice to use, the best system for every situation, the best builds and whether the changes to our 'kit' will be for better or worse.

Or, at least, that's how I see it. What's your experience? Does it ring true?

Link to the article: The Four Hobbies, and Apparent Expertise

Of course, he goes on to connect talking about something with expertise in it, and about that section I will decline to comment. :)
On Talk about the 'meta': Is Marc Brooker an Advanced Squad Leader player? Because talk about the meta is HUGE in the ASL community. The discussion about chit organization methods alone would fill volumes the size of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Personally, I've favored Plano boxes and I've got my system chits in one smaller one that's easily portable while I've got my various national OBs in larger ones with infantry squads organized by quality...

So, yeah, I think he's right on about the 4 intertwined hobbies.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
What's interesting is understanding which of the 4 (perhaps all) you personally belong to. I mean, at the moment with D&D I collect, discuss play, and discuss kit. I do not, however, play at the moment. Then, I think of Battletech which for a very long time I talked kit and playing, but didn't collect or actually play. Throughout time my involvement in numerous bobbies goes through a flux of interest and involvement.

Its further interesting to think of the impact on the hobbyist based on the level of the 4. I know plenty of folks interested in collecting, but have little desire to talk about collecting. They want one paragraph telling them about the product and that is the extent of it. They do not wish to talk past, present, or future of the hobby product. They certainly do not want to discuss meta issues such as company ethics and public standing. Although, more and more folks seem to be expanding well into the development and nuances of the company producing.
 

Voadam

Legend
I think I do 1-3 and maybe 4.

1 I DM a weekly D&D game and play in a bi-weekly game.

2 I have a weekly/monthly RPG budget. I get mostly PDFs and not miniatures or dice or a complete WotC collection or anything like that, but I get stuff pretty much weekly.

3 I talk about playing on here a bunch.

4 I am not sure whether I qualify here. I almost never talk about miniatures or dice but I do talk a lot about relevant RPG books as game resources.

I could not really identify myself as one type, I could see all four aspects as fairly distinct parts of the hobby however.
 

Or, at least, that's how I see it. What's your experience? Does it ring true?
It is missing one aspect of TTRPGs: preparation time. This is something that GMs usually have to do, at least a bit, but I do it as a player, too, for games that I'm highly engaged with. Thinking about what the new plot elements from recent sessions might mean, what I want to spend experience points on, what would be cool things to do, and so on. Writing them down, of course.

For games set in something resembling the real world there's also reading history, finding maps, trying to construct scenarios to test my understanding, and so on.

I only do this for games I'm strongly engaged with, but that's usually several of the games I'm playing and always the one I'm running.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
It is missing one aspect of TTRPGs: preparation time. This is something that GMs usually have to do, at least a bit, but I do it as a player, too, for games that I'm highly engaged with. Thinking about what the new plot elements from recent sessions might mean, what I want to spend experience points on, what would be cool things to do, and so on. Writing them down, of course.

For games set in something resembling the real world there's also reading history, finding maps, trying to construct scenarios to test my understanding, and so on.

I only do this for games I'm strongly engaged with, but that's usually several of the games I'm playing and always the one I'm running.
I'd argue that's just part of playing the game. It may not be a direct at the table part of it, but its all in preparation for it.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I read an interesting piece by Marc Brooker, where he postulated that every hobby has basically four hobbies in itself that intertwine:



And based on the communities I form part of, it seems to match up. You have people who:

Play TTRPG's: These people spend a lot of time playing, and as such, don't have a lot of free time left on discussions.
Collect: These people collect books, systems, miniatures, paint them, etc. And you'll mainly see them when they post something new they've painted, got new dice, have a new sourcebook, etc.
Talk about playing: These people play, so that they have something to talk about, and can discuss their game with the rest of their group. They don't generally belong to more than one group, since discussing the details of the last play session is what gets them going.
Talk about the 'meta': These are the people that have knowledge about the best dice to use, the best system for every situation, the best builds and whether the changes to our 'kit' will be for better or worse.

Or, at least, that's how I see it. What's your experience? Does it ring true?

Link to the article: The Four Hobbies, and Apparent Expertise

Of course, he goes on to connect talking about something with expertise in it, and about that section I will decline to comment. :)
I agree those four aspects are archetypical, but they're nowhere near as exclusive to each other as you imply. Then again, I don't paint minis other than to protect them.
I do collect games. Several m³ of them now.
I'm running 3 games - tho two of them are not as consistent as I would like.
I spend about 3-5 hours a week on RPG forums. used to be about 8-10 hours a week
I talk meta mostly online.
 


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