• The Transition Zone: Timmy, Johnny and Spike Part 1

    Timmy, Johnny and Spike in our world: The Dice Masters personas

    Part 1: Intro and Timmy (This article is written with homage to the original)

    Recently, @Dave introduced me to a new world of gaming assessment with the comment “That is a Timmy type of move." I didn’t get the reference, so I questioned him and he turned me on to something that really resonated with me - an article written by Mark Rosewater years ago in which creators and designers of Magic the Gathering tried to categorize their players in one of three personas. They further explored each persona as traits within each archetype. Those articles can be found HERE and HERE and they are an enjoyable read. Please stop reading this and read that first if you have not. I can wait.

    So let's first say what this series is not going to be-it isn't an all-inclusive, “all players fit into one role” labeling system. It isn't a way to limit explanations of players or styles. It isn't a way to stereotype all players into a specific type. Instead what it will be is a fun way to examine your own play styles and those around you to better understand what you want from the game and what others want as well.

    Ok, so now let’s talk Timmy, Johnny and Spike in the world we love: Dice Masters. Do these same personalities exist? Do we have others that sit outside that definition? Let’s explore each one and see if they fit the bill for the players you see at a casual and competitive level. Today, we will take a closer look at...


    When I sat down to think about this list and these personalities, Timmy was the easiest for me to identify. Not too long ago, we discussed the starter set cards from War of Light on The Reserve Pool podcast, and @Shadowmeld knocked this card in his discussion as not one he is interested in:

    I then interjected that my 9 year old son will love this card. “Look at the purchase cost, look at those stats - he is a big, beefy character and he will just be happy to say that he slapped him down. Ignoring the text and the details, he just wants a big ol’ puncher!” (roughly quoted from me). And it was true. This and Mogo and the Black Lanterns are his favorite War of Light characters.

    Without realizing it, I had just defined my son as the typical Timmy. Timmy loves the beefy big hitters or loads of creatures swarming in for big punches. He wants to win, and he wants to win big when he does. My son’s two favorite cards based on play and the ones he talks about the most are The Phoenix Force and Red Eyes Black Dragon. Why? Because they are big boys with big punches! He will buy the Red Dragon, Thanos, Red Hulk and other similar characters all day before anything else.

    By MtG’s definition, “Timmy cares more about the quality of his win than the quantity of his wins. For example, Timmy sits down and plays ten games. He only wins three games out of ten but the three he wins, he dominates his opponent. Timmy had fun. Timmy walks away happy.”

    This is the definition of the player who loves large beefy characters. He wants to absolutely overcrush an opponent, and although he may not do it all the time when he does it is magical for him.

    Timmy also cares more about the social aspects of the game then the competition. My son loves to play, but he isn't a hardcore competitive player. He plays to win, but not to the point of obsession. If he played to win as his main goal, he would have me make him the “best team”. But instead he wants to build the team he loves and play it out. He thinks less about the chess game and more about the swinging, punching Rock’em-Sock’em Robots game.

    In Dice Masters, I think we can add in that Timmy does not look for combos, he looks at the face value of a card to punch, overcrush or just otherwise go big. The bigger the smackdown, the more Timmy likes this card. Timmy likes to rush the attack phase-building a wall isn't even a consideration in his game.

    He is looking for a fun experience, and when I play with my son or others who fall into this category, I can see how that is the case. As I said before, my son doesn't always play to win, although he would prefer to win. He plays to have a good time and play with characters he loves. He doesn't want to hear why this card would be a better substitute-trust me, I have had this conversation. He is elated when he wins and celebrates it but is equally likely to say he had a good time even when he loses.

    Examples in our game of cards that would be appealing to the Timmy player might include cards such as:

    So that is our overview of Timmy-do you know someone with these traits when they play? Next time we discuss this, we will look at Johnny and his persona.

    (On a side note, thanks to Dylan for my new TTZ picture!)
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. Ressless's Avatar
      Ressless -
      please where are the other 2 guys!!!! I want to read it^^ and your comparison to DM!

      I am definitivly a Johnny-Spiker player. Testing, looking for even more ways to play some cards/decks, enjoying to create decks that are absurd. And ofcourse with an competive eye on it. More Testing! Maybe never playing it on a tournament because i want those special cards to win(dammit Vorthos/John go away!)
    1. joshaber's Avatar
      joshaber -
      I'm a johnny-spike. creating decks with good cheap combos is fun for me.
    1. jojodadevil's Avatar
      jojodadevil -
      Your forgetting my favorite timmy card Wolverine.
    1. Stormyknight's Avatar
      Stormyknight -
      I'm a straight up spike, perfectly okay with it!
    1. Flexei's Avatar
      Flexei -
      I am absolutely a Johnny, and have just luckily been a successful Johnny in Dice Masters so far.
      In Magic I was always a "homebrewer", usually showing up with some version of Zombie themed deck. Being a Johnny very rarely led to any winning results in Magic and that is very likely why I've enjoyed Dice Masters so much since I feel I have more room to be creative and still have success.
    1. Scorpion0x17's Avatar
      Scorpion0x17 -
      I'm a bit of all three.
    1. joshaber's Avatar
      joshaber -
      i have a bit of Timmy and spike, but i'm mostly a johnny.
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      I look forward to seeing what people think when we look at the others in future articles!
    1. TomF's Avatar
      TomF -
      Definitely a Johnny. I can't get myself to play with any card from the current meta! I like to win with cards people don't like. I also like tourneys with themes that limit the cards you can use, as that can force you to use cards you don't normally take.
    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      Nuts-and-bolts spike here. Hence my love of draft.
    1. Nazulleptra's Avatar
      Nazulleptra -
      I feel that this is a little bit of a narrow description. The player archetypes aren't defined by one sort of thing that they like, but rather by what they want out of the game. In Timmy's case, that's an experience. (For anyone unfamiliar with the archetypes or with thinking of them this way, Johnny wants to express something, and Spike wants to win something)
      So getting enough energy to buy and field Phoenix Force is something a Timmy would enjoy, but managing to field all 8 of their sidekicks at the same time, rolling all their dice in one turn, or fusing a Thousand Dragon all can be as well. The thing to remember when saying a play or card ties to one of the archetypes is what the player generally gets out of the play/card is just as important as the play/card itself.
      In the example of rolling all your dice, it's a pure Timmy moment if it just happened during a game and you remember it as being just so damn cool (an experience). It's a pure Johnny moment if you built your team to do specifically that, and any game it happens in is a good game (an expression). Finally, it's a pure Spike moment if it's just seen as notable because it's more dice, and more dice wins games (a way to win).
    1. Nemesis's Avatar
      Nemesis -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
      Nuts-and-bolts spike here. Hence my love of draft.
      Nuts and Bolts Spike he says. Been listening to that over sized monkey Marshall on LR?