METAGAMING: Threat or Menace?

Posted: September 28, 2010 in Table Top Gaming

So I have had a very long career in RP games even with a hiatus in the last decade, but in my current Shadowrun game is the first time in a regular game that I have encountered any real issue with metagaming, a little metagaming in combat situations I usually don’t have a lot of issue with.  Heck in games like Star Wars: Saga Edition,or D&D in its more recent incarnations, it appears nearly impossible to play with out a bit of metagaming because they are so filled with crunch and talents and feats loose a lot of the organic feel of other types of games, not that it is a bad thing on its own.

My biggest problem with metagaming comes when a player tries to metagame a strictly RP encounter, and other low crunch encounters.  How do other GMs handle metagaming? Do you use more subtle pushes, and punishments directed at the metagamer in game; or flat out calling the metagamer on it at the table; or take the player aside before or after a session and talk about the problem?  How can you make a gaming environment that discourages metagaming?

  1. BLuR says:

    [I guess today is going to be my day to comment on the older things that I stopped myself from responding to because I was sitting on the other side of the table from you.]

    There are a couple of options, I think, to being able to shut it down. Negative reinforcement by either making it much tougher for the meta gamer to get the reward he is seeking from his metagaming.

    Do not reward that behavior either by lowering the experience rewards at the end of the session, or normalizing their reward and increasing the reward for your role players.

    Another way is to remove a lot of the interaction and shift more from a GM to a Storyteller (ala Vampire the Masquerade).

    Again, I think you did fairly well with what you had available to you. It wasnt likely to get any better any time soon.

    • veganshane says:

      As it stands I did give the player in question lower Karma awards when the metagaming stuff was going off the rails, and I also would occasionally hit him with a bigger hammer when appropriate, but getting certain players to learn is a challenge when it never would occur to the person that metagaming is a problem.

  2. BLuR says:

    Now that I think back on this, I realize that he never took the hint that lower karma rewards was meant to give. I remember him making some comment to me that I’d taken as “off-handed” but in context I think it shows that he walked away with the wrong lesson. He said that I was being rewarded more than anyone else because I was obviously getting more air time and more karma than he was. I explained to him at the time that I was doing the in character notes and working within the story line, and even sometimes doing things on the side to flesh out my character even more and that maybe he should try that. He just kinda huffed and moved on. It wasnt that I was getting extra, it was that he was getting less.

    • veganshane says:

      There were very few teachable moments that actually lead to anything more positive in game with the player. Neither carrot or stick could get any movement.

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