So it should come as no surprise that I know a lot of gamers. A lot of a lot.
And while tags like "simulationist" or "immersion" or even "rollplayer vs. roleplayer" get thrown about like they are important, there is one classification that actually interests me.
System Specialist vs. System Generalists.
The System Specialist plays one system only and that is it. So they only play AD&D 1st ed or d20 or GURPS. This is not to say they have tried other systems. I am going to bet many have, but they have found one system that they have decided that is all they need.
I like the System Specialist because they usually become experts of their chosen system. They in a sense achieve in their system that elusive "fade into the background" element that so many designers strive for, whether it was a design principle of that system or not. Great system specialists seem like elder sages of their system, knowing rules or situations at such a higher level to even surprise the designers.
The System Generalist (wish I had a better name) plays a large number of systems and may have tried even more. They are comfortable using True20, FUDGE or Rifts in any given situation and they can often give you informed opinions of why X system is perfect for Y situation. A lot of game designers I know fall under this category.
I like the System Generalist because they are usually able to adapt to newer systems easier and transfer over concepts from one system to the other to improve their own game play. Game play details are often rendered in short-hand, "oh it is like BLANK from Call of Cthulhu" or "BLANK from Kult".
There are negatives too, but I am not so much interested in those to be honest.
It should not surprise anyone, but I tend to view myself as a System Generalist. I like having multiple systems laying around, I like reading new ones, playing old ones and even mixing them is strange and odd ways.
I come very, very close to being a System Specialist when it comes to Cinematic Unisystem. But I still forget some esoteric bit during play, and sometimes even important ones. For example, for the life of me I can never remember the formula for life points. I know it is a function of Strength and Constituion. I know there is addition in there, and some multiplication and 3 and 10 work into it. I know you 3 extra points per level of Hard to Kill, but that is it. Pathetic huh? I have made what, a few hundred characters for CineUnisystem?
The nice thing though outside of that I can run a Cine Unisystem game without books. If it Ghosts of Albion chances are I don't even need to look up the spells. I used to be like that for AD&D first ed, but those memories have faded over the years, or more to the point supplanted by similar rules in other versions of the game.
Where do you see yourself? Generalist or Specialist? What do you think are the pros of being...well you?