Coord 353: Building Player’s Confidence

One of the many responsibilities of an officer  is helping a low confidence player shine in the game and get over their involvement hurdle.  A player can bring a new element into any game.  Many times what something that may be annoying or unengaging is just someone who is not confident with his actions.  This can be visible in many ways.

Identifying Low Confidence players


There are some players who arrive at the game and just watch. If it is a new player, an observer tag helps identify them to give the roleplayers an idea they are not an experienced player.  Sometimes this stretches beyond the first few games as a player remains nervous about jumping in. These observers hang out at the fringe of the site and just watch.  They may check their phone a couple times, but they do not really do anything to engage themselves in the story.

A way to get them involved is to walk over and talk with them in character.  They may just not know when would be a good time to talk, or they don’t want to pull anyone out of role play.  This is a good time to talk to them and give them an idea of what is going on.  One may even give them a tour and have them listen in to what is going on.  This is especially helpful when a player does not even know what the terminology is.

Players can be engaged and asked to take this player under their wing through background connections, though this must be done carefully as players also want to play their own story.

Lookie loos

The next group one may see are more involved than the Wallflowers.  They are willing to walk around and be more active in their observations, however, they generally do not talk to the other roleplayers.

Being there to tour with these types of players may prove easier. They are more comfortable entering play.  They may even be more eager to make a character and enter play.  They possess a trait that helps them overcome their low confidence.  This group is by far the easiest ones to bring into an event in the same methods used for wallflowers.

Invisible players

Someone has voiced excitement about showing up to the game, but they never show. It can be disappointing to experience. Every time you speak with them outside of an event they are eager but give a random reason to why they cannot show up.

Sometimes real life interferes with play.  By speaking with the player about their schedule, an officer may be able to help them find a game, perhaps a different venue that fits into their time. Once a player becomes engaged they are more likely to try to make the time for other venues that they would not have previously.

In situations that there is no real reason other than lack of confidence in the player, you may have to suggest a difference approach; setting up a social where all the players can meet in a place outside of the events.  This can help the new player feel comfortable interacting with a new group of people.


The next group of players to examine is often seen walking by the game.  They look long and hard at what you are doing while walking by.  You may see him every Saturday afternoon walking the same direction and looking for the same amount of time.  You may see them stop and watch.

This is when you approach and introduce yourself and introduce them to what you are doing.  Their curiosity has already peaked their interest enough to listen to you. You can easily offer them the ability to observe or give them a tour.


Low confidence is not always demonstrated by not getting involved. Sometimes there are traits exhibited that can be due to low confidence.

Diehard fans & Cosplayers

The first one has loved the various genres for years and years.  They know the color of Edward Cullen’s shirt the day he met Bella.  They know that Han Solo shot first.  They are passionate about what they know with an enthusiasm that is rather off putting.  They are discussing this, rather than the game throughout the evening. This passion can be due to overcompensating for a lack of confidence.

The easiest way to deal with these players is talk to them about their experiences and help them direct that energy towards the game.  Help them make the connections. Find out what it is that is distracting them from game and help them worth with that so they can enjoy themselves.

Rules Lawyers

These are the Eidetic memory & book bag gamers. They come into the game with rules in their head.  While this is not a bad thing, It could lead to issues.  Stories could be subverted for their constant reminders the rules do not include what the storyteller is portraying.

Another is someone who has all the books with them. They want to understand what the rules are when things happen.  They pause the game to research the rules.  While not a bad thing itself it can pause the other players’ fun.  Their need for understand can stem from low confidence.

These players are not bad, but may have problems overcoming their low confidence.  Having domain meetings to help explain the games or educating people can help these players shine.  Allowing them to use their abilities will help them grow and feel comfortable.

Power Gamers

Power Gamers Overcompensating for low confidence can result in characters that are really powerful.  This can lead to stressful situations when the character sheet is not performing how they wanted. They may feel they are not physically strong, they are socially awkward, or not as witty as the people around them.

These may be the hardest players to deal with. They may storm out when they feel their characters are not being respected or treated with the same respect as they would if they had the abilities as they thought they should. These players may need more conversations to entice them back to the games.  However persistence and patience are key with dealing with these players.


Players who are showing up want to be engaged but sometimes need that extra step to help them get over the hurdle of becoming positively involved. Take the time to work with them. Help them see that they are welcome and accepted for who they are, no matter what their experience is. Find ways to draw out their strengths so they have a chance to shine and will feel more comfortable with taking the next step.