Board Games and Personality Types: Part 1: INFJ/P

  Last week,  we talked a little bit about the different theories on personality types and and small experiment that might help us predict board game preferences (If you already read it, be sure to check back in on it to see the changes we made with the release of this article).  Today, we're going to get right into it.  If you have no idea what we're talking about, go check out our previous article, or better yet, visit our friends at and take the test yourself!

  Before we get started, I do want to give a warning to our readers:  I am by no means an expert on this subject.  The information I am presenting is my interpretation of the types, and I freely admit that there may be hints of Myers-Briggs and other theories scattered throughout these.  If you want to hear from the experts, check out their page!

  16 Personalities released an article which explored how the personality types correlated to preferences in video games.  Much of the data they presented matched the data that we found in our study, so I will mention it from time to time, even though my focus will be board games.



  We're going to start with Diplomats, the intuitive and feeling types (_NF_ s).  These individuals are often more in touch with, or prefer to relay on, the feelings and emotions of the people around them, rather than cold rational.  Diplomats tend to get the most frustrated when others act against the wishes of the group for personal gain, or disregard opportunities to compromise. They are often very influential, and are great at getting groups to work together.  They tend to focus on the future, rather than the present.  This can manifest itself in games by valuing the long game over the short game, such as drafting card advantage over tempo in CCGs.  This can be a double-edged sword for the Diplomats, as planning for the long game might mean losing in the early game.  Often, Diplomats prefer games with a strong story, immersive world, or the ability to make an impact on the outcome.  Perhaps for this reason, RPG-styled board games were "liked" the most by Diplomats.


Advocate - INFJ

  The Advocates' most striking feature is the tendency for them to champion a cause.  In real life, this is often displayed by career choice: The advocate is most likely to be a counselor, volunteer, or doctor.  Advocates often have a very strong morale code, and might find it difficult to engage in activities that act against their beliefs, even in games.  While they do like people, they tend to prefer one-on-one interactions, rather than group settings.

  Magic:  (For our readers who are familiar with Magic: The Gathering, I thought it would be fun to try and associate each personality with the magic color that best matched them.)

  White/Green (Blue).  Advocates' strong sense of morality and desire to help clearly point to a white alignment.  They tend to treat everyone as equals, while also expecting everyone to follow the same code of ethics that they themselves do.  Advocates have an aversion to the mundane and following "the system" when it flies in the face of their own beliefs, however, so I could see a strong case for Green as a base color, depending on the individual.  I believe that most tend to have a blue methodology for achieving their White/Green goals, however, being perfectly happy to spend time quietly contemplating how things should be, and how they could be made better.  


  Likes: Advocates appear to appreciate games that allow them to creatively solve problems, rather than reward the use of brute force.  Having said that, simple puzzle games tend to lack the substance that an advocate craves.  Games that allow the Advocate to quietly contemplate their own strategy without the risk of needing input from others, though still enabling interaction, seem to be the clear contender for the types of games Advocates prefer.  Pure co-op games topped the list, with purely competitive ones being second.

  Dislikes:  Games that muddled between pure competitive and pure coop were almost universally in the "Dislike" category.  Advocates sense of fair play often cause them to target a player due to a betrayal or hurting of feelings, rather than focusing on the victory.  Often this betrayal may not have effected the Advocate, or in some cases, it may have even helped him!  Regardless, an Advocates will often turn his sights away from winning and towards what he believes to be justice.  Games that require diplomacy or incentive back stabbing, such as Risk or Diplomacy, frustrate Advocates, who tend to keep their word and stand by their allies, even when that might be the losing play, or worse, as their allies actively stab them in the back.

Verdict: Pandemic.

Recommendations: 7 Wonders, Puerto Rico, Path Finder


Mediator - INFP

Like their fellow INF, Mediators are marked by their strong sense of conviction and dedication to morality and those around them.  However, one of the biggest points separating the two is that while an Advocate is more interested in acting on the world around him to cause the change he wishes to see, the Mediator is more interested in experiencing the world as it is, and exploring and expressing their place in it.  Because of this, Mediators are famously the most common type among poets and musicians.  Further, while an Advocate is likely to act in a way to seek justice, the Mediator is the most likely type to avoid conflict as much as possible.  In video games, they were most likely to play supports and appreciate games that allow them to explore their surroundings, such as Minecraft.

Magic: Green/Red: Mediators have a strong desire to see the world as it is, and to seek harmony both in their interpersonal interactions, and themselves, revealing a very Green side.  However, their deep passion and natural ability to express themselves leads many of them to the emotional spectrum of Red.


Likes:  It should come as no surprise that Mediators tend to dislike most competitive games.  Cooperative games with beautiful artwork that allow the Mediator to lose themselves in the world, or more free form games that allow the Mediator to creatively express themselves in a variety of ways were the highest ranked games.  RPGs, party games, and team based games all scored well.

Disliked: Mediators, like Advocates, dislike the politics that often come with multiplayer games.  Games with thick, complicated, and unintuitive rulebooks, such as Star Fleet Battles or many war sims, have too much book keeping  and rules lawyering to maintain the Mediator's interest.  Games that force you to screw over others, like using the robber in Settlers of Catan or the entire end game of Munchkin, were also ranked highest in the "Dislike" section.

Verdict:  Dungeons and Dragons

Recommendations: Scattergories, Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, Xcom: The Board Game.

Next Week

So, how did we do?  For those Advocates or Mediators reading, let us know if you agree or disagree.  This is a topic that we will probably review again in the future as we get more data on the subject.  

Join me next week when we check out the rest of the Diplomats!