INFJ versus INTJ: Board Games


My mother is an INTJ. She likes to learn games a few rules at a time, learning them as she goes. While INTJs and INFJs both share Introverted Intuition as our dominant process, the auxiliary differences. For my mother, an INTJ, he auxiliary process is Extroverted Thinking. For her, she can use her Te auxiliary process to think about the game as she goes. Extroverted processes work in real time and don’t require a sophisticated internal process. 

In contrast, I’m an INFJ. My auxiliary process is Extroverted Feeling. This process, Fe, is practically useless (so far as I know) for learning the rules of a board game. I don’t have feelings about board games; I have intuitions which appear to me as sophisticated maps which are half-unconscious within my mind. I’m using my dominant process – Introverted Intuition – to understand them. Because of this, I do not enjoy learning a game as I go – at least, not if I care at all about winning. Ni works best when the whole pattern is internalized, so the more of the pattern I have at the outset, the better Ni can work on the puzzle.

My mother and I both dearly love board games, so it has always been a little odd how differently we relate to them considering that I literally grew up playing games primarily with my mother. In fact, despite being thirty now (and living a fair distance from my parents), I’ve played more board games with Mom than with anyone else.

This isn’t to say that Mom’s Ni doesn’t ever show up when playing board games, because I’m sure it does. She often builds a vision of what a game is and doesn’t want to change that vision when she learns she misread the rules. (Whereas a Te dominant would certainly want to be sure of knowing the rules exactly as they are.) And this isn’t to say that I don’t use Fe during games, as I surely do. In fact, games that involve influencing other people are often games where I excel. Unfortunately, I prefer to be honorable, but if I game calls for deceit I can be incredibly convincing, which isn’t surprising given my Fe auxiliary.

Side notes: It isn’t surprising that Mom and my’s mutual friend who introduced us to the wider world of newer games (often called Euros) is also an INTJ. This friend seems to more heavily live in his auxiliary Te as he is very attached to strictly following rules, almost as you would expect an ENTJ to be. (An ENTJ friend of mine is also highly insistent on following strictly agreed upon rules.)

It also isn’t surprising that with board games being such a positive part of my childhood that I became a board game creator in my early twenties with my debut game, Heir to the Phoenix Crown. I’ve now published enough games with expansions that I have to count on my fingers to try to figure out how many I’ve made. 

The photo at the top is me playing Tikal (which is not a game I made, but a game I very much like which was given to me by my INTJ friend).

You can find more Myers-Briggs insights and reflections in this log, by visiting the psychology section of my website, or by clicking the Myers-Briggs tag below.

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