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Making a Lost Island

Lost Island Board

This weekend was my wife's birthday, and the thing she really wanted to do was pursue a big arts and crafts project with our friends. She loves making things with people, so this was a golden opportunity to make another board game with Fimo playing pieces, using the cardboard hexes I bought near the start of the year.

So I designed the board game, named Lost Island, on Friday night while she was out at a Zero 7 gig, and we made the pieces on Saturday afternoon. We were playing it within 24 hours of my starting the game design. It turned out really nicely, and was good fun to play. It's been made in the style of a pulp adventure movie, something like the Doug McLure monster island flicks The Land that Time Forgot (1975) and The People that Time Forgot (1977), or Ray Harryhausen's Mysterious Island (1961).


The Fimo playing pieces are especially cute - my favourite is probably the Yeti.

If anyone is interested in a write up of this game (in the manner I did previously for Black Sun), do let me know, and also whether you want the designer's notes as well as the components and rules. I think it would be possible to make this game with square tiles instead of hexes, if anyone is foolhardy enough to want to make their own game set. I won't have time before December, but I'm happy to do it if there's a genuine interest.

(Incidentally, Doug McLure is one of the real life actors that Troy McLure in The Simpsons is pastiched from - his catalogue of cheesey movies is truly a phenomenon. He died in 1995).


Nature_1 The expression of the Artisan temperament is related to a need for freedom, a desire for impact, and a hedonistic drive to enjoy life, and avoid boredom. Those that express this pattern of emotional response strongly are happy-go-lucky free spirits with a natural competence for quick thinking, and the skilled use of tools and machines of all kinds. It is the driving pattern behind the many arts and crafts, as well as fire fighting, piloting and professional sports. 

Please read the Statistical Disclaimer before proceeding (which also includes the copyright notices). Remember that what is provided here is effectively a detailed definition of an adjective, ‘Artisan’, which has been defined in line with a psychological model. 

Conversion from Myers-Briggs Typology

To anyone familiar with the Myers-Briggs inventory, the Artisan temperament is expected to be the primary Temperament pattern for any preference code containing SP (Sensing and Perceiving preferences), and a supporting pattern for any code containing NP (Intuitive and Perceiving preferences). 

1. Profile

In the Introduction to Temperament Theory, we saw how the Artisan temperament was related to Concrete language use, a Pragmatic approach to taking action and a focus on Motive. We will begin by reviewing these three axis in the specific context of the Artisan temperament. Throughout this piece we shall be referencing the work of David Keirsey, marked [K], and his student Linda Berens, marked [B] (complete references are provided in the disclaimer). Where quotes talk of “an Artisan” as a type of person, they have been rewritten to talk of people expressing Artisan as a pattern, i.e. the use of ‘Artisan’ as a noun has been rewritten such that it is used as an adjective. 

Concrete language use reflects a focus on tangibles rather than ideas and concepts:

The communication [associated with the Artisan pattern] can be said to be concrete in that [people expressing Artisan] are apt to talk mostly of what is going on at the moment and what is immediately at hand. Most [such people] spend little time considering things that cannot be observed or handled. This means that they are likely to take things literally rather than figuratively and, when making comparisons, to use similes more often than metaphors. Their everyday speech is typically filled with details and devoid of planning, and they are more inclined to be specific rather than to generalise. [K] 

Berens emphasises the focus on immediacy:

In the Artisan pattern, concrete language is used to denote immediate or near future events or experiences in a more random fashion. [B] 

Concrete language is common to the Guardian pattern as well as the Artisan pattern, but in the Guardian pattern the focus is more often on the past, sequences of events or how one fact is linked to another.

The second aspect of the basic profile is a bias towards a Pragmatic approach to taking actions:

In implementing their goals, or as they say, “going for it”, [people expressing Artisan] are primarily interested in what works, what fits, and only secondarily in what meets with social approval… a thing must be useful to interest [such people], immediately useful, concretely useful, otherwise who needs it? If some action doesn’t fit your intention and advance you towards your goal, then why do it?

Because of their [Pragmatic] character, [such people] will strike off down roads that others might consider impossible, tackling problems, making deals, clearing hurdles, knocking down barriers – doing whatever it takes (authorised or unauthorised) to bull their way through to a successful outcome. [K] 

Put succinctly:

For the Artisan pattern, pragmatic roles give the freedom and autonomy to act according to the needs of the moment. [B] 

The Rational pattern shares this Pragmatic focus with the Artisan pattern, but with a greater focus on the theoretical which delays action while the contingencies are considered:

[People expressing Rational] share this utilitarian, whatever-works mindset with [people expressing Artisan] but functional utility in the concrete differs from functional utility in the abstract. [People expressing Artisan] do not map out the relationship between means and ends as do [people expressing Rational]. [Those expressing Artisan] simply and without hesitation give the chosen operation a try, put it to the test, give it a whirl or a shakedown cruise. If it works it is used, if it doesn’t it is set aside without a second thought. [K] 

The third and final aspect of the basic Artisan profile is a focus on Motives:

In the Artisan temperament pattern, attention is paid first to what an individual “gets” out of a situation. Motives are the reasons people do things. They must be paid attention to in order to get the desired results. Knowing a person’s motives provides [people expressing Artisan] cues to freely respond as the other person pursues his or her wants or needs. [B] 

Keirsey sees this focus on Motive as essentially cynical:

[People expressing Artisan] can be cynical about human motives… they harbour no illusions about people being noble or saintly – “come off it”, says the [archetypal Artisan], no matter how virtuous we think ourselves, we all have feet of clay, we are all ultimately corruptible and self-serving. [K] 

(When the Artisan and Rational patterns are expressed together, the result can be especially sardonic, as the cynicism associated with the Artisan pattern and the scepticism associated with the Rational pattern can feed upon one another).

Although this focus on Motives is shared with the Idealist pattern, the interpretation of motivations by someone expressing Artisan is more down-to-earth than by someone expressing Idealist. Viewed through the Artisan pattern, people’s motives might be a source of suspicion, but viewed through the Idealist pattern, motives express the unique identities of individuals. 

This combination of a Concrete and Pragmatic focus (with particular emphasis on the immediate benefits to be acquired) creates behaviour which is very much focussed on the situation at hand, and determining the best action from what is immediately available. It is this focus on action in the present that underpins the type of intelligence associated with the Artisan pattern.

2. The Tactical Intellect 

According to Temperament Theory, each of the patterns is associated with a particularly kind of intelligence. The Artisan temperament is related to Tactical thinking:

What [people expressing Artisan] do most and best is work on their immediate environs in a tactical way. Tactics is the art of making moves to better one’s position in the here and now, whether those moves are dabbing oils on canvas, flying in rough weather, dishing off the basketball on a fast-break, or skirmishing on the battlefield. Indeed [Artisan-style] battle leaders are no different from [Artisan-style] painters, pilots or point guards: they are always scanning for opportunities, always looking for the best angle of approach, and so are able to come up with that particular action which at the moment gives them the greatest advantage, and that brings success. [K] 

Spontaneous creativity is the essence of this Tactical approach:

[Those expressing Artisan] tend to be gifted at employing the available means to accomplish an end. Their creativity is revealed by the variety of solutions they come up with. They are talented at using tools, whether the tool be language, theories, a paint brush, or a computer. [Such people] tune into immediate sensory information and vary their actions according to the needs of the moment… They can easily read the situation at hand, instantly make decisions, and, if needed, take actions to achieve the desired outcome. [B] 

The Tactical thinking associated with the Artisan pattern is also associated with skilfully using tools, controlling equipment or animals, and operating equipment:

…whether on the battlefield or on stage, in the corporate suite or the political arena, [people expressing Artisan] are busy making manoeuvres with equipment of all sorts, from paint brushes to basketballs, jet planes to tanks – even singers, dancers, and actors call their voice or their body their “instrument”, and comedians describe their skill with an audience as “working the room.” Artisans can handle their equipment in an expediting or an improvising way – or both – but they are interested first, last, and always in working with equipment. [K] 

In general terms, Tactical thinking can be understood as the capacity to read the current situation and produce a desired result. The immediate circumstances can be interpreted rapidly, a variety of possible solutions considered and then action taken accordingly, with any obstacles circumvented as necessary. A particular competence with tools, vehicles, and equipment is also associated with this particularly intellect.

When the Artisan pattern is supported by the Rational pattern, the focus of the tactical intellect tends to be machines and tools specifically. Examples of this side of the Artisan temperament include carpentry, mechanics, electrical engineering, plumbing, computer repair and all manner of careers with a tool focus, as well as those skilled professions that focus on vehicles, such as piloting and race car driving. 

Conversely, when the Artisan pattern is supported by the Idealist pattern, the focus of the tactical intellect tends to be artistry and self-expression, but particular in art with a practical side (less so the wild excesses of modern art, which is more abstract in nature). Examples include painting, sculpting, pottery, gardening, music and acting. Many of the musicians, singers, actors and actresses that have become the focus of our modern fame-obsessed culture express the Artisan temperament as either a primary or a secondary pattern.

Other examples of the expression of the Artisan temperament include the exceptional physical skills of professional sports players of all kinds, and heroic professions such as policing and especially fire fighting, and as we shall we the theme of risk taking is intimately connected with the Artisan pattern. 

3. Motivations

Those who express the Artisan temperament as their primary pattern generally display a strong need for the freedom to act on their impulses and, relating to this, a desire for their actions to have an impact. This need for freedom is not the abstract desire for autonomy expressed with the Rational pattern, but rather a more immediate form of independence – the freedom to act on impulses: 

[People expressing Artisan] are impulsive. They like being that way. To be impulsive, spontaneous, it to be really alive… Life for [such people] means having impulses and acting spontaneously on those impulses. Since an impulse, by definition, is ephemeral, [those expressing Artisan] must live in the immediate moment. [K] 

Whereas the Rational pattern’s desire for autonomy is associated with a need to express independent thought, the Artisan pattern is more concerned with being unconstrained:

[People expressing Artisan] value freedom and pragmatism above all else. As a result, they often appear to avoid ties, plans, commitments, or obligations that can get in the way of being spontaneous. [B] 

The goal of someone strongly expressing Artisan in acting impulsively is generally to have an impact:

[Those who express Artisan strongly] need to be potent, to be felt as a strong presence, and they want to affect the course of events, if only by defying, shocking, or mocking the establishment. For [such a person] to be without impact, to make no difference in human affairs, is like being deprived of oxygen… [they] hunger to have a piece of the action, to make a splash, to make something happen, to hit the big time… [K] 

The freedom being sought is thus the freedom to act spontaneously and produce an effect:

In an energetic mood, [people expressing Artisan] crave activity and the freedom to act on the needs of the moment in a spontaneous way. Dull routine and structure put them to sleep or force them to “act out” if they cannot escape. They prefer activities with an immediate or near-term payoff or those that impact themselves or others. The payoff or impact can be tangible or take the form of feelings of risk for themselves or others. [B] 

This desire for risk can be problematic (as we will see below), but may be expressed as a harmless search for stimulation:

[People expressing Artisan] spend a good deal of their time seeking stimulation because they need it. As much as possible, they live in their five senses, and they seem to like their music a little louder… their clothes a little more colourful, and their food and drink a little stronger…. [They] believe that variety is the spice of life, and they want their lives to be filled with new sensations and experiences. [K] 

One can see behind the Artisan pattern a hedonistic influence:

[People expressing Artisan] do things for the fun of it; to them, a life without pleasure is not worth living, and the hedonist’s motto of “eat, drink, and be merry” are words to live by. To wait, to save, to store, to prepare, to sacrifice for tomorrow – that is not the Artisan way… today must be enjoyed, for tomorrow might not come. [K] 

While someone expressing Rational may analyse the contingencies in order to avoid failure, and someone expressing Guardian may plan and prepare for the worst, people who express Artisan often trust in luck instead:

The past is water under the bridge, so forget it. The distant future is a long way off, so don’t waste time planning for it. But the next moment? Here [people expressing Artisan] shine with a natural confidence that things are going to turn their way. [They] feel lucky: the next roll of the dice, the next move, shot, or ploy will be a lucky one, never mind that the last few have failed. What comes next is bound to be a break, a windfall, some smile from Lady Luck. And once on a roll or a hot streak, [such people] believe their luck will hold, and they will push it to the limit.

…[Such people may] have an incorrigible belief that they lead a charmed life… which can get them into trouble. [They] are more subject to accidents and downturns than other temperament, injuring themselves through inattention to possible sources of setback, defeat or loss. [They] often live a life of violent ups and downs, winning a fortune one day and gambling it away the next, trusting the fickle goddess Fortune as she spins her wheel. [K] 

(The influence of other temperament patterns can disrupt this trust in luck – Rational scepticism may lead to doubt, or Guardian temperance to pessimism – but even when depressed, someone who expresses Artisan can often find a way to regain their trust in luck under the right circumstances).

If one imagines that this trust in luck represents an extension of the desire for freedom, then the extension of the need for impact is a desire for perfect expression of abilities – what might be considered finesse:

Since [people expressing Artisan] are the ultimate pragmatists, everything, including people, theories, and ideas, can be tolls for reaching the exhilaration that comes with the execution of a perfect act, an act full of grace, dexterity, or finesse. [B] 

Keirsey seems this desire for finesse as an aspiration to virtuosity:

[People expressing Artisan] so covet skill in technique that they tend to aspire secretly to becoming some sort of virtuoso… [this] aspiration becoming less secret as the technical mastery increases. [K] 

Freedom and impact are the recurring themes of the Artisan pattern. When a person who expresses this pattern strongly is self-confident they are audacious and adaptable, which further feeds into these feelings of confidence. Confidence is in some respects the natural state for most people who express Artisan strongly – and hence it can be a serious problem if this confidence is disrupted in some way.

4. Problems 

Everyone is stressed by different circumstances; one of the advantages of looking at behaviour in terms of the patterns of Temperament Theory is the capacity to identify different stressing factors that relate to the patterns.

According to Berens, those who express the Artisan temperament strongly are stressed by feelings of constraint or boredom, and when stressed they are likely to retaliate against what is limiting them (with their angry responses expressed verbally or physically) or to become reckless: 

Kretschmer was the first to take a careful look at the dark side of character. So he named [people strongly expressing Artisan] “Hypomanics”, thinking of them as recklessly impulsive… If [such people] are forced by untoward circumstances to become recklessly impetuous they tend to do so as if compelled by irresistible urges which overcome their will. [K] 

Keirsey does not view this risk-taking as necessarily problematic, but observes that people who express Artisan often push themselves as close to the edge as they can:

[People expressing Artisan] are the world’s great risk-takers. They delight in putting themselves in jeopardy, taking chances, facing hazards, whatever form their endangerment might take… [Such people] say that “life is too short,” that they must “make hay while the sun shines,” and that “he who hesitates is lost.” [They] do not hesitate; on the contrary, they often find risk-taking so irresistible that they court it again and again, pushing ever closer to the edge. It is likely that most skydivers, race drivers, and mercenary soldiers [are expressing Artisan so strongly they] have become compulsive in risking themselves. [K] 

Ironically for a pattern associated with taking action, the Artisan pattern is also associated with procrastination. Whereas the expression of the Guardian temperament is associated with supplying what is needed, and doing what must be done, that is, with obligation, the Artisan desire for freedom from constraint is such that things that must be done will generally be ignored or put aside in favour of what is immediately stimulating or enjoyable. The logistical concerns of the Guardian do not generally matter to someone expressing Artisan (unless they express Guardian as a supporting pattern) – there is no capacity for impact in the menial realities of day to day life.

Hiding from obligations can also lead someone expressing Artisan into a state of imbalance; turning to familiar comforts instead of attending to tasks or chores that are not inherently stimulating. Thus, when out of balance the need for a freedom from constraint can lead to compulsive behaviour: 

Under stress, [people expressing Artisan] will sometimes claim that they have to behave in a particular way, that they can’t help themselves. Thus hey may admit to being “compulsive gamblers,” for example, or “compulsive drinkers,” and are likely to be labelled as such by therapists who encounter them. [K] 

Furthermore, the focus on the present associated with the Artisan pattern can lead to people expressing this temperament repeating their mistakes:

Since [people expressing Artisan] do not reflect very much on their errors or analyse their mistakes to any great extent, it is difficult for them to learn from their errors, and so they can become caught in a loop, repeating their mistakes. [K] 

This combination of natural recklessness and a capacity to become stuck in compulsive behaviour is the darker side of the natural hedonism associated with the Artisan temperament. When balanced, and hence confident, the person expressing Artisan can be ‘the life of the party’, enjoying life to its fullest – but when out of balance, the compulsive indulgence in hedonistic pleasures – alcohol, drugs, gambling as well as anything that gives a solid hit of adrenalin – can place such people in psychological or even physical danger.

Finding fresh options and new ways to have an impact in their lives – new and exciting activities to engage with – can help alleviate the problem, but it can be tricky for someone expressing Artisan to accept help from those around them. Their essential need for the freedom to orchestrate their own actions can make it difficult to others to render aid. 


The Artisan temperament is defined as Concrete Pragmatism with a focus on the immediate benefits that can be won. Driven by a desire to have impact through freedom of action, those affected by this temperament tend to be hedonistic free spirits who don’t wish to become tied down. The Tactical intellect associated with this pattern is capable of tremendous spontaneous creativity – an enormous capacity to achieve immediate goals through inventive action. This intellect appears to be the force behind arts and crafts, as well as high risk professions such as fire fighting, and challenging machine control professions such as piloting. Furthermore, most of the modern cultural heroes – singers, musicians, professional sports players and actors – express the Artisan temperament to a tangible degree, making this perhaps the most celebrated temperament pattern. 

Stressed by feelings of constraint, ineffectiveness or the boredom that results from a lack of stimulation, the Artisan temperament is associated with recklessness and compulsive behaviour when it is out of balance. Procrastination can be a problem for people expressing the Artisan pattern, as such people would rather be doing something exciting and stimulating than attending to the mundane. Always requiring their own freedom, and needing to have an impact on the people and world around them, the expression of the Artisan pattern can be filled with a joy of life, and a reckless abandonment that can be intoxicatingly rewarding for those who share in the life of everyday adventure and excitement that this pattern inspires.

Do you recognise yourself in this pattern? Feel free to share your perspective in the comments. Don’t recognise yourself? Check out the other three Temperament patterns and see if they fit you better. For more information, see or check out the books referenced here.

Note: If you have any comments specifically regarding justifications or criticisms of Temperament Theory, please use the comments to the post entitled Justifications and Criticisms, which has been set aside for that express purpose. Thank you!

The opening image is Nature by Pattana Changkaew, which I found here. As ever, no copyright infringement is implied and I will take the image down if asked.

Almost There

About to put up the penultimate temperament pattern, Artisan. These profiles have been hard work, but it's useful to have these done as it will enable me to talk more about how this relates to play and hence to game design. The way I see it is that I needed to do these at some point, and the blog is a good tool for the job. It's readily apparent that they are completely disrupting my regular blogflow, but the last one should go up next week.

After next week, I'm going to be away for a while and the blog will be on hiatus, but I'll try and get in some posts on the design issues for Reluctant Hero, as it looks like I will be doing a lot of work on this over the next few months. Also, I hope to be announcing a release date for Play with Fire (fingers crossed).

It's my wife's birthday tomorrow, so I fully expect to have a magnificent weekend - I hope you will too!

Shuffling Cards

It looks like disrupted blogging this week; I lost this morning for various reasons, and I'm away for meetings tomorrow. I might be able to get something up later this week, I guess we'll see. Time for some random comments:

  • Finished watching Fruits Basket yesterday. *sigh* I can't believe there are no more left to watch... Easily the best anime I've seen in years. Looking forward to watching it again.
  • I feel like I'm barely playing any videogames at the moment... a little Lego Star Wars here and there, and some Micro Machines too, but for the most part I feel like I'm between games.
  • Taped Torchwood at the weekend; first Dr. Who spinoff since the short lived and ill conceived K9 and Company. I don't appear to have any expectations for it, so I guess it will be hard to be disappointed.
  • Supposed to be getting a master candidate for Play with Fire soon, but no sign of it yet.
  • Some interesting news about Reluctant Hero recently, but I don't think I can really share it publicly yet. I've been sketching out some more of the game design on paper recently though; might share some of the details for discussion soon.

Enjoy your week!

Happy Diwali!


Happy Festival of Lights to any Hindu readers!

Diwali (of Deepavali) is a major festival in Hindu,  Sikh and Jain traditions.  It symbolises the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and oil lamps  are lit in celebration as a sign of hope for all mankind. The timing of the event depends upon the phases of the moon; Diwali for 2006 will fall on Saturday 21st October.

Shubh deepavali!


Mthe_guardian The expression of the Guardian temperament is related to a need for to belong to organisations, a desire for order, and a drive to be dutiful. Those who strongly express this pattern of emotional response make up roughly half of the populace and collectively provide the dependable backbone of our societies. It is the driving pattern behind commerce, shop keeping and sales, libraries and museums, as well as law and law enforcement. 

Please read the Statistical Disclaimer before proceeding (which also includes the copyright notices). Remember that what is provided here is effectively a detailed definition of an adjective, ‘Guardian’, which has been defined in line with a psychological model.

Conversion from Myers-Briggs Typology

To anyone familiar with the Myers-Briggs inventory, the Guardian temperament is expected to be the primary Temperament pattern for any preference code containing SJ (Sensing and Judging preferences), and a supporting pattern for any code containing NJ (Intuitive and Judging preferences). 

1. Profile 

In the Introduction to Temperament Theory, we saw how the Guardian temperament was related to Concrete language use, an Affiliative attitude and a focus on Structure. We will begin by reviewing these three axis in the specific context of the Guardian temperament. Throughout this piece we shall be referencing the work of David Keirsey, marked [K], and his student Linda Berens, marked [B] (complete references are provided in the disclaimer).

Concrete language use reflects a focus on solid and sensible topics. For people expressing Guardian as their primary pattern, conversation will frequently be concerned with tangible elements such as money, goods and services, weather and housing, accidents and disasters, poverty and wealth, famous and infamous, and what is going on in the current TV shows or the popular movies.

Keirsey notes how the flow of conversation becomes highly associative when it is dominated by the Guardian pattern: 

When [people strongly expressing Guardian] are reminded of something, however distant from or unrelated to the topic at hand, they mention it. And often this reminds others of something else, who then mention that. And so the conversation goes from topic to topic, by contiguity rather than implication, like a row of dominoes, each toppling the next… no single topic is pursued at length, and issues, if surfaced, tend not to get settled. [Such people] are very good at this sort of small talk, something [people expressing Rational] are very poor at… [K] 

Furthermore, the Guardian pattern is associated with remembering facts (what some would consider trivia):

On topics that interest them, [people expressing Guardian] are able to store an enormous fund of facts, which they will call up and, again, freely associate in conversation. They can remember people’s names, birthdays, the names of the friends’ parents and children, how those children are doing at school, who their relatives’ friends are, who’s gotten what job, who’s recently been born or has died (when, and of what), the date, time, and location of family, social, or civic events, and so on, one bit of information easily calling forth another. [K] 

Berens reiterates this point:

In the Guardian pattern, concrete language often references the past, the sequences of events, or how one fact is linked to another. [B] 

Another aspect of the speech patterns associated with the Guardian temperament is an orthodox tendency, favouring both time honoured phrases, and local sayings:

[People strongly expressing Guardian] tend to use a rather conventional vocabulary and phrasing, often throwing in old sayings, proverbs, and adages (particularly about value and amount) such as “a penny saved is a penny earned,” “a stitch in time saves nine”, “one bad apple spoils the barrel”, or “it’s either feast or famine” [as well as using] words and sentences common to the area they call home. [K] 

The focus on their home region is critical to understanding the Guardian pattern; as we shall see later, a core need associated with this pattern is that of membership – and this need to belong means that people strongly expressing Guardian generally stay in the area they grow up unless other forces tear them away.

Concrete language is common to the Artisan pattern as well, but the language use associated with Artisan is less structured, and more focussed on immediate events (or the near future), with none of the tendency for quoting maxims or recalling trivia. 

The second aspect of the basic profile is a bias towards an Affiliative approach, that is, towards identifying with other people, and particularly with organisations and their appointed leaders – that is, with favouring the group over the individual:

For the Guardian pattern, affiliative roles have clear lines of responsibility and authority. This makes it easy to know where we belong and how we fit in. The concern is to maintain the group. [B] 

The method by which the group is maintained from the perspective of the Guardian pattern is upholding the socially agreed rules:

[People strongly expressing Guardian] work hard to make and enforce the laws that govern actions, insisting that only by establishing and obeying rules and regulations can we hope to maintain civil order, and thus safeguard our homes, communities and businesses…

[Their] grasp of regulation is exceeded only by their faith in regulation as the cornerstone of society. [Those expressing Guardian] have confidence that legal authority is the only proper means of sanctioning action or solving problems, and indeed, the numerous laws, bylaws, codes, ordinances, statutes and charters found in every community or institution exist for [them] as the best hope of maintaining civil order. [K] 

This focus on rules and law is in marked difference from the focus of the other temperament patterns – the Artisan and Rational pattern favour a more pragmatic approach, which will take precedence over any obstructionist rule encountered, while the Idealist pattern shares the Affiliative focus but is unconcerned with rules, being more interested in ensuring that individuals know themselves, and have the freedom to express their unique identities.

This is not to suggest that only people expressing Guardian will be law abiding – those that do not express Guardian are either quietly thankful that there are people out there maintaining order; observe the rules as long as it is to their benefit (especially in the case of expression of Artisan); or (often in the case of expression of Rational) harbour rather grandiose notions of how things should be run, with little or no capability to implement or enforce such wild ideas. 

(Anyone who has lived in a house with peers who express Guardian will have encountered this rule-based approach to life through such people's attempts to regulate household chores, often by means of a rota or some other agreed distribution of labour).

The third and final aspect of the basic Guardian profile is a focus on Structure, which further underlines the influence of rules and law on this temperament:

In the Guardian pattern, the interest in structure is concrete and procedural, Guardian structures provide rules, norms, roles, and responsibilities. Examples include sequential outlines, family tress, and organisational charts. These structures serve to inform others about what is appropriate and what can be expected. [B] 

This focus on Structure is shared with the Rational pattern, but as we have already seen, the abstract language use associated with the Rational temperament leads to very different interests. The Guardian pattern is associated with maintaining rules and laws, while the Rational pattern is more interested in uncovering the laws of nature (as in science) or creating systems of rules (as in game design).

The Guardian pattern's association with upholding rules and law may sometimes seem officious to those who do not express Guardian to any great degree, but it should not be doubted that in general terms those who express Guardian firmly believe they have the best interests of their family, organisation, town or country at heart, as we shall see by examining the type of intelligence associated with this pattern. 

2. The Logistical Intellect

According to Temperament Theory, each of the patterns is associated with a particularly kind of intelligence. The Guardian temperament is related to Logistical thinking: 

Logistics is the procurement, distribution, service, and replacement of material goods. Logistics is vital to the success of any institution – a business, a household, a school, an army – and [people expressing Guardian] can be enormously creative in seeing to it that the right personnel have the right supplies in the right place at the right time to get the job done.

[Such people] care about being reliable, particularly in the maintenance and continuity of materiel. In other words, [they] are less interested in fitting things together in new ways than in holding things together as they are… [Anyone that expresses the Guardian pattern] knows as well as others that change is inevitable, necessary, and even, on occasion, desirable; but it should be resisted when it is at the expense of old standby products and time-tested ways of the institutions that have served us well. Better that change occur through slow evolution than sudden revolution. [K] 

Without the Guardian pattern as a force working to maintain the agreed upon procedures, any large organisation simply could not function. Society in a very real sense depends upon logistics for its function:

[People expressing this pattern] excel at noticing when something required or agreed upon is not done and then following up to make sure it happens. Regulatory activities within society such as conserving, policing, guarding, counting, stabilising, and ritualising often come under their jurisdiction. They recognise that establishing and articulating the rules, sanctions, standard operating procedures, timelines, predictable routines, and protocol makes things easier for people and institutions. [B] 

Berens summarise the talents behind logistics quite succinctly:

[Those who express Guardian] masterfully get the right things, in the right place, at the right time, in the right quantity, in the right quality, to the right people, and not to the wrong people. [They] know how things have always been done, and so they anticipate where things can go wrong. They have a knack for attending to rules, procedures, and protocol. They make sure the correct information is assembled and presented to the right people. [B] 

When the Guardian pattern is supported by the Rational pattern, the focus of logistics tends to become administration:

Tough-minded [people expressing Guardian] are particularly interested in the role of administrator, that is, they are given to regulating those procedures and products in their charge in the light of a standard of performance. These administrators are the directive [side of the Guardian pattern], which means that their first instinct is to take charge and tell others what to do. [K] 

In general terms, this side of Logistical thinking can be understood as maintaining standards. Faced with operational problems, the logistical intellect can establish or standardise policies that will provide stability for the group, and oversee the implementation of these procedures, monitoring the plan as it is executed. This administrative side of logistics includes investigating what has happened before, examining and assessing the situation, before instructing how to meet the required standards.

Examples include the management of any organisation (such as project managers, office managers, factory supervisors, school principals and so forth), highly procedural financial work (such as accounting and stockbrokers) as well as government and law enforcement roles (such as police officers and civil servants). 

Conversely, when the Guardian pattern is supported by the Idealist pattern, the focus of logistics tends to become people and not procedures:

The friendly [expression of Guardian is seen in people who] are prone to choose the part of the conservator, that person whose job it is to support institutions by insuring the supply and security of those persons and properties they are responsible for. In their support role, [these people] tend to be more informative than directive, giving information – reports, accounts, records and so on – first, and giving orders only as a last resort… [K]

In general terms, this side of Logistical thinking can be understood as providing support. Faced with people in need, the logistical intellect determines what is required and supplies it, whether in terms of providing service and care, or protecting against danger, dirt or decay. This side of logistics attends to people’s comforts, and aims to make things easier for others, while sheltering and protecting in order to ensure people’s safety and general well-being. 

Examples include all manner of secretarial work, the role of a librarian or curator, shop keeping (and other sales positions, including telemarketing or insurance sales), caterers and other providers of food and drink, as well as roles reflecting direct care (such as teachers, counsellors, social workers, and child care providers), not to mention religious roles such as minister, priest, imam or rabbi, all of whom support the needs of their community in their own way.

3. Motivations 

Those who express the Guardian temperament as their primary pattern feel a powerful drive to belong. This need for group membership is not necessarily consciously known, but it is essential to the expression of this pattern:

[Those who express Guardian] like to be included in what’s going on. Thus, they find membership in family, groups, and organisations satisfying. They often view organisations as either families or armies united for some useful purpose. [B] 

Keirsey suggests that this need to belong is a defence against insecurity:

Perhaps hoping in some degree to fulfil their search for security, [people expressing Guardian] are prone to join a number of social and civil groups. Maintaining their membership status in such groups is fundamental to [their] character; it is not too much to say that [people expressing Guardian] actually yearn to belong, needing each and every day to confirm that they are a member-in-good-standing. To this end, [such people], far more than others, create and foster the social arm of the institutions they serve: the church auxiliary, the PTA, the community service club, the lodge, the municipal or political organisation, the professional association. [K] 

As mentioned in the above quote, it is insufficient for someone expressing this pattern simply to earn membership – it is vital that they are seen as dependable, respectable and responsible. Their self-esteem depends upon this:

[For those people strongly expressing Guardian] self-esteem is greatest when they present themselves as dependable, trustworthy, or accountable in shouldering their responsibilities. “No matter what,” says [such a person], “you can count on me to fulfil my obligations and to honour my contracts.”

Self-confidence can be a problem for [them, however]. More than others, [such people] are innately modest, unassuming, even self-effacing – and putting themselves forward comes perilously close to showing off, a kind of behaviour which they find truly repugnant. But if having confidence in themselves is difficult for [such people], being respected by others is a great comfort, and public recognition is indeed the foundation of their self-confidence. Such recognition usually comes in the form of physical tokens of respect such as plaques, certificates, awards, and diplomas. [K]

This desire for responsible behaviour can become extended to others: 

Above all others, [people expressing Guardian] value the presence of order, lawfulness, security, propriety, bonds, and contracts. Activities that foster these principles keep life simple and insure the continuance of the world as it is known. Likewise the virtues of dependability, responsibility, obedience, compliance, and cooperation are necessary in their world, as these virtues add up to everyone contributing his or her fair share to the common good. As those who tend to make constant comparisons, [such people] are often concerned about everyone carrying a fair portion of the load for benefits received. [B] 

Indeed, the Guardian pattern is preoccupied with morality – determining right from wrong:

[People expressing Guardian], even as children, feel responsible for the morality of their group, whether it be their family, their classmates, or their circle of friends. And they are never able to shake off that responsibility, even if they sometimes what to. [B] 

The combination of a focus on morality and a need to belong is probably the reason that so many people who express Guardian tend to practice the dominant religion of their culture. In the United States, this is some form of Christianity; in India, Hinduism; in Turkey, Sunni Islam and so forth. If the family that someone strongly expressing Guardian grew up in practiced a religion, they will likely carry this practice into later life. This can be seen as an expression of the membership need: to be a part of the religion of the family is to be a dutiful member of the family. However, if raised without a religion, a person who expresses Guardian may still find their way to a system of faith, since agnosticism and atheism generally fail to deliver any sense of belonging. (This connection should be considered hypothetical, but would be comparatively easy to investigate).

4. Problems 

Everyone is stressed by different circumstances; one of the advantages of looking at behaviour in terms of the patterns of Temperament Theory is the capacity to identify different stressing factors that relate to the patterns.

According to Berens, those who express the Guardian temperament strongly are stressed by both a lack of belonging, and the insubordination of others: 

Abandonment, exclusion, disrespect for authority, dereliction, and disobedience, all of which threaten the common bond, are particularly offensive and stressful to [people expressing Guardian]. [K] 

When stressed, such a person will complain to those around them (often privately), especially using words such as “sick”, “tired”, “sorry” or “worried”. This stress can be alleviated by the person in question being included in activities, or in current news (or gossip), or by expressions of appreciation such as the plaques and certificates mentioned previously. Alternatively, membership in a new organisation can help alleviate the stresses of the Guardian pattern.

A certain pessimism is also associated with the Guardian pattern:

Because so many of their efforts are holding actions, trying to maintain the status quo in fast-paced, ever-changing situations, [those who express Guardian] have learned to expect the worst. To be sure, even the most cursory glance at [someone strongly expressing Guardian] will detect a streak of pessimism colouring their attitude… they cannot easily shake off their worries about all the possible things that can, and often do, go wrong. After all, the Murphy’s of this world – surely [people expressing Guardian] -are the makers of the laws of pessimism. Remember Murphy’s Law, which says “whatever can go wrong will.” There are many variants of this basic law, such as “everything costs more and takes longer,” and Olsen’s addendum, “Murphy’s Law is optimistic.” [K] 

Oddly, Berens notes that many people expressing Guardian see themselves as optimistic, and that their pessimistic side may not be apparent to them:

[People expressing Guardian] frequently portray a mood of concern. While they see themselves as optimistic, the unknowns of the future invariably disrupt their world and give them plenty of experiences that can sometimes foster a pessimistic point of view. [B] 

Keirsey suggests that this pessimism is not necessarily negative:

Above all else, [such people] are prepared, and even though many of their preparations are for things to go wrong, we must not conclude that they are gloomily forecasting calamity and disaster. Rather, we might see them as being realistic about setbacks and shortages. [K] 

Conversely, however, if this pessimistic outlook is not kept in balance it can develop into depression, especially if the membership needs of the individual are not being met:

Kretschmer was first to take a careful look at the dark side of character and he named [those who express Guardian] “Depressives”… seeing them as somber, doleful, and solemn... If [such people] are forced by untoward circumstances to become downcast for no apparent reason, it is because they are beset by strong negative feelings that overwhelm them and render them immobile and helpless. [K] 

Another problem associated with the Guardian pattern is a tendency towards blind trust in authority:

[Those who strongly express Guardian] trust authority. They believe in a hierarchical structure of authority – rule from the top down. They believe there should be subordination and superordination, that the actions of members of communities, schools, churches, and corporations, but also of families, should be governed by those in the highest positions… Moreover, [such people] have an abiding trust in the heads of church and state, and popes and pontiffs, presidents and prime ministers, and royalty of all types seem to capture their trust and their loyalty. [K] 

When such figures are worthy of this trust, the support of people expressing Guardian is what allows these systems to achieve their goals, and in this regard this trust can be admirable. But when the figures are unworthy of such respect, it can be exceptionally difficult to convince such people that there is a problem:

They trust hierarchy and authority and may be surprised when others go against these social structures. [B] 

This blind trust in authority presents a possible explanation for the results of the famous Milgram experiment, in which some two thirds of participants were willing to administer what would have been a lethal electrical charge because they were told to do so. Since demographic studies show that 50-60% of the population display the Guardian pattern as either a primary or secondary pattern, the result of Milgram’s experiment seems less surprising in this perspective – although no less shocking.

A possible defence against this problem of “only following orders” is to encourage those who express Guardian to temper their loyalty with the scepticism of the Rational pattern, the empathy of the Idealist pattern, or the drive for freedom associated with the Artisan pattern, since we all have the capacity to express all four patterns to various degrees.


The Guardian temperament is defined as concrete affiliation with a focus on organisation. It drives those affected by it to seek membership and responsibility, and to trust in the authority of those institutions they have allied themselves with. The logistical intellect associated with this pattern is capable of establishing and maintaining procedures, as well as supplying support and protection. This intellect appears to be the force behind the law, commerce and the noble tradition of libraries.

Stressed by feelings of exclusion, or by the insubordination of others, the Guardian temperament is associated with pessimism and when it is out of balance, depression. Caught between a genuine desire to do what is good, and a need to be a dutiful and responsible member of the institutions and cultures they belong to, there is a danger that someone expressing Guardian will do what they are told without question. Nonetheless, the very fabric of society depends upon the assistance, protection and support of those that express the Guardian pattern, without whom none of the daily comforts we take for granted would be possible.

Do you recognise yourself in this pattern? Feel free to share your perspective in the comments. Don’t recognise yourself? Check out the other three Temperament patterns and see if they fit you better. For more information, see or check out the books referenced here.

Note: If you have any comments specifically regarding justifications or criticisms of Temperament Theory, please use the comments to the post entitled Justifications and Criticisms, which has been set aside for that express purpose. Thank you!

The opening image is The Guardian, by Leon Verdun, which I found here. As ever, no copyright infringement is intended and I will take the image down if asked.


I changed my mind about the sequence; I decided I might as well put together all four Temperament posts first, so I can focus on the play style content as a seperate endeavour. So all things being equal, there will be two more weeks with the big Temperament articles, then I'll start going through how all this relates to play. (You won't need to have read the Temperament pattern posts to follow the play discussions, although it wouldn't hurt!)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Verbs Revisited

Back at the start of the summer, I hosted a week long symposium on play specifications, exploring different people's perspectives on nouns and verbs in the context of games. (I'm thinking of hosting another symposium in the Autumn, but still haven't chosen a suitable topic).

I've been internally digesting some of the discussions we had during the symposium since then, and one particular point has stuck with me. Jose Zagal raised this point in connection with first person shooter games:

[This] is a bit of rant I've had brewing since hearing Chris Crawford talk a few years ago, there is usually a lot of talk about how "weak" games are in terms of "verbs". I tend to agree on one level, and disagree on another. Chris Crawford describes first-person shooter games as games where you move, aim and fire. If he's feeling generous...add jump. It's a valid critique, but I think that he misses the point...

Jose goes on to suggest that these games should be understood in terms of the verbs that emerge from the gameplay, and this is certainly one approach. But the reason this point has stuck with me is precisely the opposite:

Why should a lack of verbs be a criticism of a game?

If one is working in a narrative context, then a lack of verbs may reflect a lack of agency, but for play in general one needs only move and an action verb to constitute play. Consider Tetris (move and rotate), Res (move and shoot) or even Katamari Damacy (just roll, essentially!) The number of verbs is not an adequate measure of the play of a game. Play with Fire was intentionally built on a design with minimal verbs - move, jump and burn - but the play of the game does not suffer from it.

We can even scale back to single verbs. Building a sandcastle is engaging despite only being based upon one action - building with sand - and a hedge maze is entertaining even though it is solved solely by movement (and thinking, but internal thought processes are an entirely seperate issue to the actions taken). The idea that a multitude of verbs are a requirement for engaging play appears to be entirely erroneous.

I have not yet heard Chris Crawford talk, so I don't know if this second hand account accurately captures his position, but as far as I can ascertain there is no reason that one should judge a game deficit on the basis of a small number of verbs.

Fight or Flight

Janet_leigh Fear is one of the emotions that games have learned to evoke, often by borrowing tricks already developed in film and other entertainments, such as funfair spook houses. Biologically, the emotion fear leads to the infamous fight-or-flight response, and the expression of fear in games is no exception. Ironically, the expression of fight-or-flight in games means that fear is actually very hard to maintain, devolving into the more familiar emotions of play. Only the use of another related emotion – surprise – allows games to maintain at atmosphere of dread. 

Ordinarily, the play of a videogame induces a relatively common set of emotions. Nicole Lazzaro took the work of psychologist Paul Ekman and identified which of Ekman’s emotions related to videogame play. She concluded that the most important emotions to the play of videogames were fiero (triumph over adversity) and frustration (a form of anger), excitement and relief, wonder and curiosity, and amusement. The combination of excitement, relief and fiero are the stable trio of emotions that the play of a large majority of current videogames depends upon.

Caillois’ play pattern of agon invokes this central trio of emotions quite readily, as we have already seen. In order to cause a player to experience fear, it is important not to have the play devolve too readily into agon – for in agon, the fear is drowned out by the absorbing experience of striving to achieve victory. Fear, therefore, is evoked through the play pattern of mimicry – by creating the illusion of a situation where the player can feel afraid. 

One of the earliest instances of this is the Commodore 64 game Scarabaeus (Ariolasoft, 1986), tagged ‘The Incredible 3D Search and Survival Program’. It was also an early instance of 3D graphics, using a square-grid 3D maze as the basis of more engaging play in a manner not dissimilar to Doom, six years later. Now all but forgotten, this game evoked fear chiefly through it’s use of sound effects, in particular the sound of the player’s heartbeat, which increased when they were in danger. The effect at the time was quite spectacularly effective, and nothing else in the 1980s can stake so sure a claim as being the earliest evocation of fear in videogames.

When fear is triggered, it leads to the infamous fight-or-flight response – the individual must make a split second judgement as to whether to save themselves by running away, or to fight against what threatens them. (All this behaviour is related to specific primitive brain structures– the thalamus, amygdala and hypothalamus). Now in games, the player’s response when facing the fight-or-flight response is essential in terms of the ongoing experience of fear, because if every time this response is triggered the player’s response is fight, then the effect of fear is negated and the focus of the play of the game switches from mimicry to agon, with a corresponding shift of the emotional focus away from fear and instead towards fiero (and its companion, frustration).

One of the reason Scarabaeus was so effective at evoking fear was that the player did not have any capacity to defend themselves. When threatened, they had to run – and for the full experience of fear, this may be essential. 

Fatal_frame_3_ghostbust In modern games of fear, however, the player is almost always provided a means to defend themselves – whether playing Resident Evil, Silent Hill or Project Zero/Fatal Frame, the fight-or-flight response tends to lead to fight, not flight, thus undercutting the effectiveness of any fear that is invoked. Instead, such games rely on a different emotion to trick the player into feeling briefly afraid: surprise.

Ekman identifies surprise as the shortest of emotional responses, over in a fraction of a second, and relates it to fear while noting that it is physiologically distinct. Surprise is the secret weapon of horror movies and horror games alike. Distract the player or viewer briefly (and suspend the music) then pull a sudden shock – result: a rapid and confusing experience of fight-or-flight expressed as surprise. This trick is quite effective at keeping the player on their toes, although frequent surprises are quite distinct from a full experience of fear itself. 

It is an irony of modern horror games that by providing so much agon (which many publishers erroneously presume is essential to videogames) the capacity to evoke fear is undercut because the theme of agon tends to drown out the theme of mimicry. The problem is, if you remove the agon, then you risk key players (especially reviewers in the specialist press) not enjoying the game. It seems doubtful that even the indie game makers will attempt to make a game which evokes fear without devolving into agon.

This is not to suggest that modern horror games do not successfully cause fear – they certainly do. When I play a Project Zero/Fatal Frame game with my wife, it is readily apparent that her primary experience is fear: she will be exploring the environment, and when a ghost jumps out at her she screams and panics. The fight-and-flight response leads her always to the same action: pressing the pause button (the logical equivalent of choosing ‘flight’). She then hands the controller to me so that I can fight the ghost. 

My wife can enjoy the fear of games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill because she does not have to fight the monsters (she makes me to do the dirty work – which to be fair, I do generally enjoy). For myself, I get to experience the surprise, but rarely get to experience the fear, because I always must be ready to fight. Is it possible we might see a videogame deliver fear without agon in the future? Possible, certainly. But I am doubtful that commercial game development is ready for so bold an experiment.