Board Games and Personality Types: Background

[Editors note:  The kind folks over at reached out to us after we published this article with some more information and a few corrections.] 


A month ago, I begin asking people through social media and forums to tell me what their personality type was according to this test, and also what board games were their most/least favorite.  I wanted to explore what, if any, connection might exist between different personality types and the types of games enjoyed.  After collecting all the data and comparing the trends against the descriptions of the types, I have come up with a series of correlations and thoughts, which we'll begin sharing next week. 

As you may have guessed from the title, this article is about the background before we get to the good stuff.

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  So, what is that test that I asked everyone to take?  I'm glad you theoretically asked! There is a very informative section of their website that can tell you the details, but I'll walk you through the short version here.  Carl Jung came up with three dichotomies that he believed could be used to separate people into eight distinct personality types. This was further refined into 4 dichotomies, opening up 16 personality types, by Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers, into what is famously known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  Another very similar personality taxonomy was evolving as well, and in the 1980's was named the Big Five Personality Traits, which, as you may have guessed, actually uses 5 dichotomies. Our friends over at use a theory that shares many things in common with the MBTI, but actually leans closer to the Big Five.  

You can find more about the dichotomies at any of the links above, but here is the quick run down.

  •  Introvert vs. Extrovert: Introverts expend their energy by acting and interacting, whereas Extroverts actually draw energy by taking action and interacting. 


  • Sensing vs. Intuition: This dichotomy is based on how the individual receives data (Perceiving).  Sensing individuals want facts and data.  They want to see, hear, or touch the information themselves, and tend to act off what is tangible and present.  Intuitive individuals in this case prefer to ask "why" the data appears the way it does, and seek to understand the underlying theory or it's place in the larger scheme of things based on past or future events.


  • Thinking vs Feeling: This dichotomy is based on the decision making process of the individual, and not the capacity of experience feelings or ability to think (Judging).  Thinkers look at things more objectively, and tend to act in a way that is logical and in line with "the rules".  Meeting expectations and being "True" are very important to Thinkers.  Feelers, on the other hand, tend to view things more subjectively.  They make decisions based on the feelings of those involved and what will "fit" with the current situation.  They are more interested in achieving harmony.


  • Perceiving vs. Judging:   This dichotomy places an emphasis on the perceiving or judging method the individual prefers (sensing vs intuition/thinking vs feeling), as well as the tendency to prefer the act of perceiving/receiving or judging/acting. Individuals who score highly on perceiving are more likely to leave things open and undecided, and are also more flexible.  Judging individuals prefer to have things settled prior to moving on to another topic, and prefer predictability and organization.
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  The primary goal of this survey was to see what connections, if any, we can draw between the personality types and the types of board games they enjoy.  By doing so, we can attempt to create a library of game types that apply to different individuals based on the specific attributes of the games... something almost like the musical app Pandora, but for board games instead of music.  Obviously, every person is different, and things like past associations, player group, and social situation make huge impacts on what games will appeal to a person regardless of their personality type.  If nothing else, however, it will be interesting to explore.

  We first compiled a list of each person, their personality type, and the games they listed as enjoying and also disliking.  We mapped them to each individual letter in the personality type, so that we could see if there were any cases where a game would only show up as "liked" under one options, and "disliked" for the other option.  As an example, you might assumption that games requiring social deduction, such as Werewolf, Mafia, Resistance, etc, would be seen under the "Liked" category significantly more for individuals who were listed as Feeling and  more often listed under "Disliked" for introverted individuals.  It was this type of data I wanted to collect and present.

  We'll be exploring the first batch of personality types in our next article, but in the mean time, what do you think we found from this data?  What kinds of assumptions would you make?  And if you still haven't done it yet, feel free to take the test and tell us the games you like and dislike!  

Thanks everyone!