One of the many mad thoughts coursing through my skull yesterday was probably the title of an unwritten essay – “Civilization and Myers-Briggs: a study in partnership”.  Nope, this isn’t about _human_ civilisation but rather the Sid Meier’s game series; the non fans of video games may wish to switch off now. 

I first came across Myers-Briggs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator – can’t insert proper links on this crude version of IE…) back in 2007 through a work awayday where my profile came out as an INTP.  The facilitator explained what this meant to us and whilst pleased by the outcome and what it meant, I wanted to be more ENTP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ENTP) so I worked on how I interact in social situations and training myself not to clam up but to open up more.  Finally I could truthfully complete a personality questionnaire and have it come out as a definitive ENTP. 

The middle two letters in the four-letter combo, often referred to as the “Function pairs” are the most critical as they indicate how a person thinks and subsequently acts on those ideas.  As there are four combinations (NT, NF, ST, SF) to work with, they broadly correlate with how people would approach a game of Civilization (or frankly any other strategy game).   

The ST (Senser/Thinker) is someone who focuses very much on the bottom line, seeks to be efficient where possible and will work within a defined set of procedures.  When playing a game, they will adhere to a set of rules, probably those of the game rather than any personal rules.  I would go so far as to say they will look after their economies, making sure that they are well resourced and can support sustainable growth. 

The SF (Senser/Feeler) looks to take more of a supportive role for the benefit of a group.  They will be practical to a point but will maintain cohesion and will be more likely to compromise to maintain the status quo.  In gaming, they make valuable allies but easy opponents because they generally get to a point where they give too much away and a determined, focussed opponent will just roll over them.  Look for them to go for team/diplomatic victories. 

The NF (iNtuitive/Feeler) looks to be a leader and enjoys working with others, taking the role of a teacher or mentor.  They will look to maintaining a sense of balance but in a very broad context which allows people to be themselves.  Instinctively, they will want to be number one but won’t put down anyone for being numbers two, three or four.  An NF likes to help everyone reach their potential so again they can be good diplomats or scientists. 

And lastly, the NT (iNtuitive/Thinker) type are the big-picture, scheming bastards who enjoy unconventionality and shaking up the system just to try new ideas properly.  They want to find the answers for themselves irrespective of cost but will always consider all sides of a problem and can think three-dimensionally.  Probably the worst sort of opponent to play against because they are harder to predict and are adept at misdirection and guile. 

So what does that all mean?  Look at a game such as Civilization – there are four basic models: the Explorer, the Builder, the Attila or the Hybrid.   

Explorers race to uncover the map and subsequently the tech tree, utilising every advantage in diplomacy and city construction to do so.  They are more defensive than offensive but want to maintain a scientific lead. 

A Builder is more of a turtle who seeks to wring out every advantage from developing their infrastructure.  They are somewhat self-sufficient and often neglect their militaries in favour of another Wonder or city improvement but when war comes, they generally have enough cash in the bank to buy their way out of any trouble – or at least slow it down to blunt an advance costing the attacker far more. 

The Attila is the war-monger who see cities as tools to churn out units and throw them into battle.  They often neglect their overall development and seek to overwhelm their opponents through numbers rather than quality and finesse. 

The Hybrid player is a combination or two or all of the above player types – more adaptive, more resilient and is happy to yield an advantage in one area to have dominance in another.  Of course they are experienced in all trades, masters of none to quote the old saying.   

Based on the above, it’s not hard to see how those sorts of players tee up to Myers-Briggs personality types.  And if you know who or what you’re playing against (at least when playing humans rather than the AI), you can pretty much tailor your strategies to suit them and alter yours so that you’re not too predictable.

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