Sunday 24 March 2024

Jenny (and Spike, Timmy and Jonny)


I briefly explained the Timmy, Jonny and Spike concept to my wife for some reason the other day and without missing a beat she just asked me "What about Jenny?"

Jenny is someone who doesn't care much about winning, she just wants everybody to have a good time. A Jenny will help the Spike to feel good, share enthusiasm with the Timmy, and not interfere with the Jonny. 

Admittedly there is the social element of gaming baked into the Timmy definition. There is good reason for Jenny just being rolled into Timmy and not having a distinct term as it were in Magic. Why a Jenny is just a footnote of Timmy is likely that there are very few Jennys playing magic, or at least there were not when the design concepts came about. For one, Magic is a very male dominated game and the Jenny characteristics do seem to be more common elsewhere! That being said, I have a tiny and statistically irrelevant sample size to be going with. For what it is worth, Jenny is a real person we know and game with whom my wife was referring to, it just seems to work well with Jonny, Spike and Timmy as a name to use.

There are aspects of Jenny that are distinct from Timmy and why are why they should probably be more that a footnote therein! Jenny cares about the social aspect of the game more than the competitive or the mechanical. Timmy wants to win big and Jenny wants Timmy to win big too. They are fairly happy being the martyr for a suitably good win for another player. They are getting things from other people's positive experiences and from cooperation and teamwork. Jennys are great in social settings for helping everything go smoothly. The natural neutron as it were of the atomic game analogy.

The main thing making Magic a low Jenny game however is that a 1v1 game of any sort is not all that well suited to Jenny players. A nice four player game of Agricola is one where a Jenny can really have a great experience. Or indeed, one of many mechanically cooperative games where the whole group can win. Magic does now have a strong multiplayer scene and in those the Jenny is much more able to enjoy magic. The "Group Hug" player is just the EHD terminology for a Jenny as there isn't need for the term outside of the EDH community. Wizards are well aware of the Jenny in that they produce and print group hug cards. It just feels like they should be acknowledged within the classic categories as well as just getting cards designed for them. 

This was just one of the many random discoveries I found along the way in my homemade cube project. It has little baring on either my cube or my design projects in Magic as I am not making them for multiplayer use at all. It is however something useful to take outside my Magic life when I tinker with other game designs. I remain impressed at the degree of transferrable skills I have procured from Magic over the years, and the fact that there is still so much to uncover. 

1 comment:

  1. this is exactly how I feel. My main focus is ensuring everyone has a good time!