When my friends and I get together for a night of board games, we often have a bunch of options to pick from, and we show some consistent patterns in which games we vote for. I'm good at drawing and clue-giving, so I often vote for games where you excel or win by making useful drawings or giving useful clues. My friend Catherine is very good at juggling rules and numbers in her head and maximizing the point values of her actions, so she often votes for complex thinky games where we compete for the most victory points. We all do this -- we all prefer games which allow us to prosper by our particular skills.
When it comes to picking RPGs, on the other hand, I've never had quite the same experience. I have very rarely picked through the pile by going, "Ooh, I'm good at that," and I haven't observed my friends doing that either. Maybe this difference is real, or maybe I'm just missing a similarity.
What do you think? What sorts of skills allow you to thrive* in different RPGs?
* As opposed to skills that are mere requirements, like "have an imagination" or "be comfortable talking in a group" or "parse this rules text".