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Dellyn Goblinslayer: You have Improved Unarmed Strike?
Minmax: I got it by trading in my ability to rhyme on purpose.

The art, much beloved of munchkins, of optimizing a character's abilities during creation by maximizing the most important skills and attributes, while minimizing the cost. This is done by strategic decrease of stats believed to be less important in game (called "Dump Stats"), exploiting hideously overpowered but legal combinations of the Game System, obtaining the best toys and magic weapons accessible to a character, or by stacking flaws and handicaps until your character's Backstory looks like a Joss Whedon character's resume.

Seen from a purely mathematical and gamist perspective, it's an elegant process of minimum expenditure for maximum result.

Seen from a more narrativist perspective, the process may end up creating a character with absolutely no unifying reason to have the abilities that it does.

Of note is the "Stormwind Fallacy,"note  which states that a min-maxed character and a well-roleplayed character are mutually exclusive: it is a fallacy because an effective character is not necessarily something that gets in the way of the narrative. Similarly, purposefully weakened characters may not always be better for the narrative. If anything, it can be the opposite; a character who is wholly incompetent can drag down the rest of the party and make it hard for them to roleplay, and in most adventuring groups, it's assumed that the main characters are at least good at their jobs, making the minmaxer's stronger builds Gameplay and Story Integration. It's also important to note that a min-maxed character still requires quite a bit of ingenuity from the player to accomplish what the player wants to during the actual game.

When minmaxing results in a character that's ineffective early on but becomes a Game-Breaker by late game, you have a "carry" character who must be supported by their party to become useful. (See Magikarp Power.)

Not to be confused with the decision theory strategy of Minimax or Maximin where one tries to maximize their minimum gain or minimize their maximum loss. Employing one of these strategies is more likely to bankrupt your company than make it stronger.

Related to Disability Superpower, Crippling Overspecialization, Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training. Often the reason for wearing Rainbow Pimp Gear. See Whoring for the Video Game equivalent trope. Several Player Archetypes, notably the Munchkin but also sometimes the likes of The Real Man, may employ minmaxing to achieve their goals, or even treat it as a pleasure in itself. Compare Necessary Drawback and Fantastic Fragility.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Wonderweiss from Bleach was engineered by Aizen for one single purpose: negating Captain Yamamoto's sword. It worked, albeit at the expense of his speech, intelligence, memory retention, and rationality.
  • BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense
    • The protagonist Maple puts all her stat points in vitality for purposes of boosting her defense, because she doesn't like the idea of getting hurt. And we mean ALL points; she has big fat zeroes in pretty much everything else. As a result, she can't fight normally, she can't cast spells, and she moves at the speed of frozen molasses... but she's pretty much invulnerable, and can often defeat powerful foes by sheer attrition, the use of Status Effects skills she's gained from surviving constant attacks, unique boss equipment she's acquired, and the ability to summon an incredibly powerful poisonous hydra. Even better, she didn't even realize she would be able to do any of this when she started.
    • Similar to Maple, the twins Mai and Yui put all their stats points in one attribute, with them putting it towards strength. Because of them being Glass Cannons, they are initially low-level players who were unable to join any quest parties. However, once they meet Maple, they manage to grind their levels and gain abilities that not only increase their strength, but also allow them to use two giant hammers at once (with them eventually being able to wield up to eight hammers after receiving an accessory that provides them with an extra set of hands and equipping it in all of their accessory slots). As such, the two become some of the strongest characters in NewWorld Online, with them being able to take out numerous game bosses with just one blow and giving the second-best player of the game, Dread, a run for his money during the fourth event.
  • In Hunter × Hunter, Nen abilities can be made more powerful by imposing limits on them when they're created. The stricter the limits, the greater the power gained. Thus, min-maxing is an important in-universe talent for anyone seeking to give themselves a particularly powerful ability and yet also get good use out of that ability. While doing a poor job of selecting the limitations will result in either a weak ability, or one that's theoretically powerful but can't actually be used because the limit was too strict.
  • Nodoka of Negima! Magister Negi Magi starts doing this after joining an adventuring party, gathering a collection of seemingly useless magic items which synergise extremely well with her artefact. To be specific, her artefact is a large book which displays someone's thoughts if Nodoka knows their name. One of the items tells her the name of anything she points at and another is an earpiece which reads the book for her while it's in her backpack (allowing her to make use of it in combat). This combination gives her de facto telepathy.
    • To give an example: if we sum up her speech during chapter 280's fight: "What is your name? Ahaa, Dynamis. How do you use this artefact? So this is what I can do. How would you escape from this situation? OK, teleporting away." — without the opponent saying anything meanwhile. Real quote: "Thank you very much, mister Mage."
    • She even buffs herself beforehand — flashbacks showing her learning magical reinforcement from her party members — giving her enough temporary speed and agility to steal Dynamis' artifact from under his nose.
  • Overlord (2012): While many of Ainz' YGGDRASSIL guildmates were minmaxers, he himself was more of a roleplayer, meaning he's only in the middle tier of level 100 players. However, as the game was extremely stingy with information and encouraged exploration, Ainz ended up gaining very powerful spells and classes that he would never have discovered if he'd been more focused on combat rather than roleplaying (including some that allow him to beat the combat-MinMaxed Shalltear). While most of the higher-powered spells are useful or even more powerful in the new world (undead summons no longer have a time limit if corpses are used as resources, Contractual Boss Immunity to One-Hit Kill attacks is almost unheard-of), his more mundane ones are more useful (such as translating written words or modifying memories), and he has hundreds of spells.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: Satoru Mikami ended up doing this entirely by accident when he was reincarnated as Rimuru Tempest. The skills he inadvertently chose for his reincarnation (Predator, Pain Nullification, various elemental resistances, Great Sage) make a perfect combination with his status as a slime for endless growth into a nigh-unstoppable opponent that gets stronger with each unique opponent he defeats. Being named by Veldora, one of the most powerful beings in the world, and getting a power boost from it was just icing on top of the cake.
  • Zatch Bell!: The Big Bad of the last story arc, Clear Note, has a baby named Vino for his human partner. This gives him a nearly unlimited supply of energy for his spells. To make up for his partner's vulnerability, he keeps him inside an indestructible bubble during battle, which cuts his own strength in half, which isn't too much of a sacrifice because he is still ridiculously powerful even at half power.

    Fan Works 
  • Personal Optimization a.k.a. Munchkinery 101, a popular class in Harry Potter and the Munchkins, is all about min-maxing students' lives and ensuring they have the skills to reach their optimum stat growth.
  • Deconstructed in RPG-Style Naruto, where the canon series is a tabletop RPG and all of Team 7 decided to min-max in different ways, which regularly screw them over individually and as a whole. Sakura made an intelligence build that makes her almost constantly useless in the combat heavy campaign. Sasuke chose a fairly competent combat build but took a bunch of social flaws, including five anti-loyalty flaws, and is worthless against any enemy that's too high leveled. Lastly, Naruto's character took every flaw from "Tasty" to "Hunted By Evil" in order to balance out his ridiculously high charisma and luck scores as well as his charisma and luck based perks, which he refuses to properly abuse because it goes against his chosen alignment.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, when Juni is given the option to bring one person into the game world with him, he chooses his wheelchair bound grandfather under the logic that grandpa's being paralyzed from the waist down would double the strength of his arms, heart, and brain. Shortly after arriving grandpa receives a powerup that cures his paralysis and gives him super strong legs.

  • It isn't explicitly stated, but this could explain why so many of Lois McMaster Bujold's heroes are Handicapped Badass, particularly Miles Vorkosigan and Dag Redwing.
  • Not to mention Twigleg in Dragon Rider. You can imagine the conversation:
    "Sorry, but with the level of language skills you've asked for, I can't just accept 'short' as a compensatory flaw. How about adding 'extremely timid' and 'taste good to birds'?"
    "Well, in that case I want super-sharp senses of smell and hearing."
    "Sure, no problem. (Beat) You do realise that means you'll become over-stimulated in noisy environments, and panic if you hear a sound in the background that might be a hungry bird, don't you?"
  • Cradle Series: Every Path of the sacred arts at least tries for this, but the main characters stand out as being pretty successful at it.
    • Lindon learns the Path of Blackflame, a Dangerous Forbidden Technique that ravages the minds and bodies of anyone who uses it. Not only was he given an overpowered Healing Factor in preparation for this, but he has two cores; one is filled with Blackflame, while the other remains pure, which is good for Anti-Magic. He can switch to his pure core and cleanse his body of Blackflame corruption, allowing him to use it with minimal danger. Likewise, having two cores is usually a bad idea because they won't be as deep as a single core, but Eithan teaches him an advanced cycling technique that makes them very deep.
    • Yerin's Path of the Endless Sword is extremely powerful, but it has one glaring weakness: It relies entirely on the presence of Sword aura, which comes off of edged weapons. This means that if she doesn't have a sword she is severely weakened, and if her opponents don't have one either she's practically helpless. Except that her goldsign is a large arm with an attached sword growing out of her back, meaning that she is never without a weapon.
    • Eithan uses pure madra like Lindon, but unlike Lindon doesn't have a second core. Pure madra cannot be restored through cycling aura, making it extremely slow to regenerate, and it can't affect physical objects either. He gets around the regeneration issue by using the same cycling technique he taught Lindon, meaning he has deep madra reserves. He has so much power that he appears to be the first person to ever realize that pure madra can be used to kill someone by attacking their soul directly (most people lose their pure madra before they are teenagers, so they'd never discover its benefits). He covers the other weaknesses of pure madra through the use of soulfire, a versatile power that anyone of Underlord rank gains access to—again, far later than most people ever use pure madra.
  • Interactions of the three magic systems of Mistborn frequently becomes this. The world of Scadriel has three rules-based magic systems that all hinge around the magical properties of the same sixteen metals. Allomancy and Feruchemy are inherent gift magicks inherited from ancestors. Allomancers swallow metal shavings and "burn" them in order to gain specific abilities like heightened senses and physical strength. Feruchemists have the ability to make "metal-minds," metal objects that allow a Feruchemist to store an attribute and withdraw it later at a slight loss of efficiency, though the Feruchemist can withdraw faster than they contributed (for example, Wayne spends several days sickly in order to heal bullet wounds in seconds). Hemalurgy is the act of placing a metal spike in a person during their moment of death (including killing them with said spike), sucking up the attribute associated with the spike's metal, including Allomantic or Feruchemical powers. Impaling someone else with that spike will grant them the attribute stored on the spike without hurting them, though spikes need to be arranged correctly to avoid them interfering with one another.
    • If an individual has ancestors who were Allomancers and Feruchemists, they may inherit some amount of talent with both. Compounding happens when an individual has the ability to use the same metal with both Allomancy and Feruchemy. This allows the compounder to burn the metal like an Allomancer in order to manufacture the Feruchemical effect of that metal without storing it first and in quantities far beyond what a traditional Feruchemist could store. For example, Miles Hundredlives is an Arc Villain who is a gold compounder, able to burn gold to miraculously heal any wound, even fatal ones, without having to spend time sickly first. It's also how the Lord Ruler and Marsh/Iron-Eyes live for centuries, burning Atium create youth, de-aging themselves.
    • The Inquisitors of the original trilogy work this way. They're assembled using a base person, usually an Obligator demonstrated to be intensely loyal to the Final Empire, then adding spikes in specific patterns to augment their existing powers.
    • Hemalurgy can be used to bolster existing Allomantic ability, stacking it up multiple times. This turns out to be a plot point late in the original trilogy.
    • Koloss are the result of stacking mundane Hemalurgy multiple times. Each one has four spikes, all pulling the strength of a normal person. As a result, they're as strong as five people, but also easily confused or angered because there are four extra people's worth of emotions in each one. This also leaves them with a natural weakness to emotional Allomancy, which the Lord Ruler put their intentionally so he could easily mind control them.
    • Post-Catacendre, using too many Hemalurgic spikes allows the god Harmony to take direct control of the Hemalurgist. Much Min-Maxing is done by this era's villains to avoid or subvert this limitation.
    • Word of God has said that Hemalurgic spikes are compatible with the forms of Investiture found throughout the other worlds of the Cosmere, as long as the spike was made of the correct material.

  • A common happening in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA); while every fighter is supposed to have at least some proficiency in each of the three basic phases of the fight — striking when standing, the clinch (grappling while standing), and on the mat — usually fighters tend to have specialized in, or at least developed reputations for specializing in a particular area or method. Besides training and natural aptitude, having a clear way to "finish" the opponent tends to be more exciting (read: more pay) and is usually less risky than letting a fight "go to the judges," especially if it's hard-fought by both fighters. Due to the nature of the fight sport however, it's possible for minmaxing attempts to result in a Crippling Overspecialization.
  • Krav Maga is basically a Martial Art that trims away all of the non-combat aspects of other self-defense forms to focus on almost exclusively on getting in close with short powerful blows to vitals and hard kicks that rarely go above the knee (but focus at the knee). Being a created-for-the-military martial art, it's objective is not self-discovery, inner peace, a good workout, or self discipline; it's to end the fight in the fastest and most definitive way possible. What this means, for the min side of things, is that it's use is only to end a fight in way that will most likely break your opponent (literally), and unless highly, highly trained and controlled isn't good for simply stopping or incapacitating an enemy with minimal harm.
    • This makes it highly popular with women's self-defense classes, where even smaller framed people can execute painful quick strikes to end an attack and get away rather than engage in any continued combat. This also makes it unpopular with martial art competitions, where the goal of points, show demonstration, and sustained battle is counterintuitive.
    • The LINE martial arts system used by the US Marine Corps through the 80s and 90s up until 2000 when it was officially replaced by MCMAP, was even more brutal. The LINE system was intended to be used by marines in low visibility scenarios and its objective was to kill your opponent by breaking an appendage, tripping him to the ground, then finishing him off with a vicious stomp to the face or head. The Marine Corps had to abandon it because it didn’t give marines deployed in peacekeeping scenarios any means to non-lethally subdue an enemy.
  • Baseball teams may go one of two ways in this vein: be "built for the homerun", which sacrifices contact and speed for power, or be a "slap hitting" team that sacrifices power for getting on-base more often and better running. Arguably both styles can work if done correctly, but when they fail they do so spectacularly.
    • Moneyball in action; using a limited number of points (money), selecting the players at specific positions that will maximize your team to the best of their abilities while keeping their more negative skills or traits at the minimum level of playing interference.
  • NASCAR has "start and park" cars which are good enough to qualify for races but only run a couple of laps. This earns the team prize money for competing, but reduces wear and tear on the car to maximize profits. The sanctioning body eventually broke this in the Cup Series by decreasing the prize money for the bottom handful of finishing spots and redistributing that among the top 35 spots, which by 2015 had stopped the practice completely. It's still common in the Xfinity and Truck series, though.
  • The Sri Lankan Cricket team of the 1996 World Cup won the tournament by min-maxing a lot. First, they loaded their batting order with left-handed batsmen in order to neutralize the leg spinners deployed by their league opponents (Australia, India and Zimbabwe) as well as to gain the usual Southpaw advantage over pace bowlers. They interleaved left-handed and right-handed batsmen in the order to ensure that oppositions always faced an LH RH pair and had to waste effort altering their fields as well as the bowlers' run-ups, disrupting them from settling into a rhythm. They also loaded up with attacking pinch-hitting batsmen who took advantage of the flat "dead" pitches in the Indian subcontinent to attack pace bowlers while field placement restrictions were in place, and then used the left-hander right-hander combos to sneak singles when those restrictions were lifted. This min-maxing strategy was exposed in the years after the World Cup win where the same team got shellacked on bouncy pitches and damp weather conditions which assisted swing bowlers. The lack of defensive technicians meant that the pinch hitters were outfoxed by bouncing swinging deliveries.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Steve Jackson Games published The Munchkin's Guide to Power Gaming, a humorous look at how to fold, spindle, and mutilate the rules (and if that didn't work, cheat).
  • Dungeons & Dragons, obviously.
    • Spiked Chains were once thought to be nearly mandatory for optimized Fighter builds. This is not because they are a badass Improbable Weapon User's dream. It's because they are mechanically superior to almost any other melee weapon, with special properties that make them well-suited to a range of effective melee strategies... of which there are few to begin with. It has since been realized that charging or pouncing (charging with a full-attack at the end) are far superior, and since spike chains aren't useful for this sort of strategy, they have been dropped in favor of weapons better suited for those tactics.
    • In the fourth edition, things have been toned down; however, the Swordmage class almost seems like it was meant to be like this: sink all your points into intelligence, and choose a race with a racial INT bonus as well, leaving you with INT 20. Then take the Intelligent Swordmaster feat, select an origin in the Forgotten Realms locale of Thay, and wear cloth armor; your AC (which gets a class bonus anyway), HP and attacks then all draw from the one bloated stat.
    • To give an idea of how toned down 4e is on this front; the current big thing in minmaxing is a feat that gives you +1 to attack rolls with one weapon or implement. A similar feat in 3e, Weapon Focus, was widely considered by optimizers to be garbage.
    • Highlights of (ab)using all 3e sourcebooks include infinite stats, ascending to divinity at level 1, running faster than the speed of light to throw an enemy to the moon, doing thousands of points of damage per round, and leveling cities with a 4th-level spell.
    • Pun-Pun, the kobold: ...Oh god where to start. Read about it here.
      • A nearly complete list of Pun-Pun's abilities can be found here.
      • The creator of Pun-Pun specifically says that it was never meant to be played because it was way too powerful and that any Dungeon Master foolish enough to allow such a character deserves what he gets.
      • Of course, even if the DM was inclined to allow it, that build only works in Forgotten Realms and only if you can somehow justify having encountered the creature whose abilities you're trying to copy (its a single unique creature who only exists in that world). Also, this creature was introduced in an obscure supplement such that if this one player hadn't found the exploit, the book would be mostly forgotten.
      • The most ridiculous of the above mentioned builds generally rely on exploiting an unintended alternate meaning of a word or phrase within a written rule. Min-maxers are now in the habit of distinguishing between RAI (Rules As Intended) and RAW (Rules As Written).
    • In earlier editions, darts. Yes, darts. A warrior character could throw three per attack and there was no rule preventing them from getting their full strength bonus from each one. Additionally, weapons had a "weapon speed" which worsened the initiative of the use for clumsy weapons, and darts were fast. This meant that if a fighter at mid-high level had +7 damage from Strength (magic, etc), he could trade a single attack with a two-handed sword (avg damage 12.5) for three attacks (avg damage 9). They were also more likely to beat the enemy to the punch and blow out a wizard's defensive spells. Darts were more than twice as damaging and left you with a shield to boot. The Player's Option series tried to warn the DM about this kind of minmaxing, but given just how lethal 1st and 2nd Edition were...
    • 5th edition is not without the phenomenon either. Warlock and Fighter dips, the Lucky feat, and other silly things get added to characters all the time, though it's not nearly at 3.5 levels.
      • The problem with Warlock multiclassing is as such: most classes get a powerful class feature in the first three levels that scales with class level, but the Warlock's best feature, Eldritch Blast, scales with total character level. And while many of the Warlock's Invocations are gated behind Warlock level, several useful ones, including all the Eldritch Blast-enhancing ones, are available at level 2. Thus, a wildly disproportionate amount of the Warlock's power is available to anyone who takes two levels in the class.
      • The later addition of the Hexblade Warlock took Warlock level dips to another level. With a single level, characters can get Eldritch Blast, medium armor, shields, martial weapons, Hexblade's curse (a subclass ability that gives bonuses to crits, damage rolls, and gives you temporary hit points upon the targets death), and the ability to use your Charisma bonus for weapon attacks. With a single level, Sorcerers, Bards, and even Paladins gain the ability to completely ignore every stat except Charisma while having a good armor class, attacking stat, and spell casting ability.
  • GURPS is very easy to Min-Max in unless the GM sets firm limits on what options are available to the players. Characters are also theoretically balanced by their point total, but this is only really true in fairly narrow circumstances.
    • One of the specific ways to min-max in GURPS is by balancing the points spent on IQ with the points spent on IQ-based skills. (The same principles apply to DX-based skills.) A +1 to IQ typically costs 10 to 20 points (depending on edition and the exact number involved), and will also raise your IQ-based skills by +1. Paying to raise all those skills individually by +1 could cost lots more. Optimizing this way was so standard that an "optimize" button was built into the official character-building computer program.
  • HERO System/Champions has pretty much the same situation. A Game Master who's willing to veto really game-breaking characters is essential in such cases. It's notable that the game manual itself anticipates min-maxing and provides a few examples of character builds that illustrate the point — for example, N-man, who sits at the centre of the universe and does nothing but gibber. He sees what he wants with his n-ray vision from lightyears away and blasts it.
    • Champions, especially 4th edition, is legendary among min-maxers for what could be done. Among other things, a flaw in the way Aid (the generic term for any power that augments or repairs another) was implemented allowed one min-maxer to use 175 points to give everything he had, including a Variable Power Pool, ten times that. Just as a way of explanation, an area of effect Ranged Killing Attack at that level could destroy something on the order of 2 times 10^20 UNIVERSES or so, and horribly damage ones far beyond that.
  • Mutants & Masterminds, being a point-based tabletop RPG, is very easy to min-max. However, the creators seem to realize this and go out of their way to point out potential abuses and give advice for GMs to deal with problem players ("don't let PCs take this" is one such piece of advice). This is, after all, a game where one of the official variants is unlimited points to buy abilities — as in the only limit is what the player thinks is reasonable.
    • The points costs is also ludicrously unbalanced; for instance, having a character speak three languages costs more than having them speak every language.
  • In the rather less popular game Necromunda, a Spyrer gang with fewer members became considerably more deadly than a larger one, due to the cost of their upgrades. A 3-man team would challenge even experienced gangs of more conventional origin, and 1- or 2-man Spyre hunts would be nigh invulnerable.
  • In Paranoia, it is recommended that the GM treat any player that displays knowledge of the rules beyond what has already come up in the game as treasonous and have their character summarily executed, wiping the line. Because of that, the only way for a player to really use the system is to get their own copy of the rules before character creation and gear their character creation towards a better character. The game also recommends that players do this, both because it means they have to buy their own copy of the rules (and that's more money in the writer's pockets!), and because having a hard rule against reading the rules and then encouraging the players to break it and desperately pretend they haven't is so in spirit with the game it hurts.
  • 7th Sea looks to have been designed with stopping min-maxing in mind. The game provides players only one chance to gain extra Hero Points for the game's Point Buy System, called a Hubris. Hubrises are all open-ended and allow the GM to force the character either reroll or deliberately make a bad decision. In addition, taking a Hubris forbids taking a Virtue, a surprisingly powerful ability that a character can only have one of. In addition, the game has characters generate "Drama Dice," which can be added to rolls, used for specific abilities (Virtues, Glamour magic, etc.), and become XP if unspent at the end of a story arc. Drama Dice are assigned based on the character's lowest primary stat, meaning that a well-rounded character has a pretty decent chance of gaining XP faster than one with an obvious Dump Stat. Lastly, all five basic stats are relevant more or less constantly—Brawn affects melee damage and ability to tank damage, Finesse governs all attack rolls, Wits is used for defense and almost everything out of combat, Resolve resist fear and determines how badly wounds slow you down, and Panache sets how many times you act per combat round. Since everything is bought on a Point Buy System, this motivates all but the most specific builds (for example, a character specializing in pistols has limited use for Brawn) to avoid having a Dump Stat.
  • Shadowrun offers some opportunities for min-maxing. For example, melee weapon damage is based on the STR score. A Troll character gets +4 STR beyond the normal human maximum of 6. Assume your Troll is a Physical Adept with 6 points in Armed Combat skill. You buy a Spell Lock focus and have your Mage friend cast Increase Strength +4 on you - which remains on you as long as you have the Spell Lock item. You spend 1 karma to bond the lock (a pittance compared to the 12 karma it costs to raise your skill from 6 to 7). You do the same for all five other stats, and Reflexes +3d6. Your melee weapon is a Combat Axe. Out of your 6 Magic points you spend 1.5 points to get +6 to Armed Combat rolls. The axe has a damage code of (STR)S. Your Strength is 14, so your damage code is 14S, equivalent to a sniper rifle or a really nice shotgun. With your natural reach and the reach on the axe (total 3), you just need to roll 2 or better on a die for a success unless you're fighting someone who has a long weapon or is a troll with a sword. This means against most people and critters you roll 12 dice and succeed on 10 of them. Even if the target wears the best possible armor he will still die automatically unless he is also a beefed-up Troll with cyber or magic. It's quite possible to destroy cars completely with this Troll.
    • A more terrible version comes in when you pick up a Weapon Focus (6) combat axe and suddenly roll 18 dice, with 15 of them usual successes. If you toss in Combat Pool you're rolling 24 dice, 20 successes. Slap on a Spell Lock for Armor from a min-maxed Shamanic Sorcerous Adept and you could see a Body score of 25+, like a Great Dragon.
    • Of course, the DM can just as easily turn this back on the Troll due to the simple fact that, on a d6 with a target of 2, all "failures", by definition, are rolls of 1.
    • Shadowrun's character creation system is generally built for this sort of playstyle. In Shadowrun, more successes is always a good thing (especially in physical combat), as unlike in D&D it's not a "succeed/fail" duology but "fail/barely succeed/increased degrees of success" gradient. Also, character creation is points-based, not class-based, so your ability to toy with your character's capabilities are much better. On a whole, Shadowrun veterans recommend making a character who is the best that he/she can be at his/her role, instead of trying to make a Jack of All Stats — sure, your troll melee adept can't open the right side of a first aid kit, read beyond a grade school level or solve any problem not involving "hit things really hard", but that's what the other players are there for.
  • Vampire: The Requiem: The Moroi Vampire Variety have access to Super-Strength, Super-Toughness, and several other combat-focused Disciplines, but suffer penalties to all mental and social dice rolls. Their Sourcebook even points out their overspecialization and the challenges it can cause them.
  • More iterations in Warhammer 40,000 than you can count, and that the designers have spent literally decades trying to balance. It is best to say when the Min-Maxing build was in effect, since many examples will not make sense to newer players. Examples include:
    • Lasplas: a Lascannon and a Plasma Gun in every squad (patched by making it so you need a 10-man squad to have a Lascannon and a Plasma Gun, as well as making both prohibitively expensive compared to other guns)
    • Stealer Shock: using Genestealers with a previously only moderately helpful upgrade called Scuttling to move your entire army onto the table from the board sides, effectively jumping a castled enemy and assaulting without even being shot.
    • Assault Cannons: using tons of units in as minimal quantities as possible to ensure that there are as many Assault Cannon upgraded models as possible (patched with recent fixes to limit the spam of Assault Cannons to every Marine faction except Black Templars.)
    • The first splat book of Second Edition, featuring the Space Wolves, allowed for a single unit of up to 20 veteran Terminators (who, back then, saved on 3+ on two dice), and each of them could be equipped with an Assault Canon or Cyclone missile launcher. The cheese factor was pretty high, even if such a unit was ridiculously expensive pointwise.
    • Wraithlords: it was a common practice amongst Eldar players to spam Wraithlords because in a previous edition they were completely imbalanced for how powerful they were (patched by a new army book coming out making the Wraithlords significantly less powerful than they were; the current unit-to-spam is the "Holofalcon")
    • Nidzilla: a Tyranid list that fields little to no Gaunts, while taking as many Carnifexes as possible, capable through a rule in the army book that allows Carnifexes under certain points costs to be taken as Elites instead of Heavy Support choices, effectively doubling the amount of available Heavy Support slots there are.
    • The Tyranid Codex spawned a number of "broken" units due to an apparent lack of playtesting. The most infamous of which was the Doom of Malan'tai. The beast can be dropped in the middle of the enemy and deploy a death aura that automatically hits all enemy units within range before any shooting is done, even on your opponent's turn, and THEN it shoots.
      • This was counteracted by an update of the official FAQ; it was basically one gigantic stompfest on the Nid's rules. The final nail on the coffin was the Dark Eldar Codex, where the horrendous amount of poison weapons seems to be tailor-made to kill what's left of the wimpering Nidzilla lists.
    • Chaos Space Marines, circa 2011. As a whole, many units and unit builds are simply so powerful (the "Lashprince" being the most common, also Obliterators and Plague Marines) that they are used in exclusion of other units that are otherwise perfectly decent (Chaos Space Marines themselves, Chaos Raptors, Lesser Daemons), and others that are so terrible that no one dares use them (Dreadnoughts, Possessed, and Spawn). As such, the most commonly-sighted Chaos Space Marine army features two "Lashprinces", nine Obliterators, and the remaining points are spent entirely on Plague Marines, when other armies would kill to have even some of the less-popular units in the army book.
    • Orks get a big cheese with their new codex. A unit called Nobz (essential Ork "nobles") are able to be put on bikes. You take 9 of those, add a painboy (doctor), also on a bike. He allows the Nobz to ignore wounds, and gives them Cybork armor (which gives them an invulnerability save of 5 or higher). The Nobz on bikes are able to move really fast, very easily, give the nobs extra toughness and a 4+ Armor save (compared to the normal 6+), and a 4+ cover save, so you always have a chance to negate a hit. Combine this with their 2 wound and the painboys making them Feel No Pain, they are very, very good, and the winner of the grand tournament field these. Their only downside is their ludicrous points cost. Also, due to rules regarding wound allocation, an Ork player can usually distribute numerous wounds among individual Nobz with different equipment, drastically reducing the chances of outright killing a Nob in a round of shooting or combat. Eventually answered with the Imperial Guard codex, which readjusts the Guardsmen in such a way that they are the worst enemy of the Nobz. When you're facing forty-plus hits, even the most judicious wound allocation is still going to cost you the entire unit. The Nobz Mobz have essentially evaporated.
    • Dark Eldar's "Dark Light Storm" the whole army exists to spam as many Dark-Light Weapons (It sort of makes sense in context, Dark Light being the closest we can describe it) in the army as possible, taking 6 units of Kabal Warriors, each unit is 5 Warriors with one carrying a Blaster, all mounted in Raiders armed with Dark Lances, take 3 Ravagers for heavy support, each carrying 3 Dark Lances, In the Elites section 3 units of 6 Trueborn, 4 carrying Blasters, 2 carrying Dark Lances, again mounted in Raiders armed with more Dark Lances. As for the mandatory HQ take whatever you feel like, you've already got 24 Dark Lances and 18 Blasters. The whole point of this is that Dark Light weapons are Lance weapons, which means they ignore any armor value above a certain point, with very few exceptions (3) they will glance all vehicles on 4s and penetrate on 5+.
      • An evolution of the Dark Eldar Dark Light Storm is the Venom Spam build, the key difference is fielding much smaller Venom instead of the Raider for transport, but equipping it with 2 Splinter cannons, this gives every unit 12 poison shots, in addition to their normal shooting instead of a single dark lance shot. The Trueborn are fielded at 1 less, being 5 with 4 blasters and 1 dark lance, but overall the army retains its fearsome anti-tank presence whilst boosting its ability to make infantry hordes evaporate. A secondary bonus is that the venom is much smaller allowing for more hijinks with terrain and LOS. At this point it becomes less min-maxing as the only thing the army can't deal with is hand-to-hand combat, which it avoids by shooting at a distance.
    • As of Sixth Edition, many builds focus on spamming flyers; Chaos Heldrakes, Necron Flying Circus, and Imperial Guard Vendettas are amongst the most popular.
    • Seventh edition has seen Eldar players spam Wraithguard, a unit that is tough to kill and can put down templates of Strength D weapons. What does this mean? The unit has an attack that never misses, can strike multiple enemies, and inflicts shockingly high damage on anything that it hits as long as you don't roll a 1 on a six-sided dice. Strength D weapons instantly kill most infantry and almost always damage vehicles. Their only weaknesses are being vulnerable to big blast templates, short range, and being unable to hit fliers.
    • As of Seventh, GW basically gave up balancing the game at all. Following the force organization rules became optional, Lord of War and Forge World units previously limited to massive-scaled Apocalypse games are allowed in normal lists, and books started including special formations with increasingly ludicrous bonuses for using certain mixes of units. The tournament scene has had to turn to highly detailed house rules to keep things remotely under control.
    • This actually spawned two terms within the fandom (that has since bled into various other wargames as well): "Taxes" and "Target Saturation". The former refers to units that you must take in order for your army to be considered legal; traditionally this was the minimum 1 HQ choice and 2 Troop Choices (which is why good units in those slots are often the most spammed and came at a premium). The reason for the name was because they're often chewing up huge chunks of points that could have otherwise gone to more useful units. With the advent of formations and unbound, people min-maxing their armies have come up with entire spreadsheets of ways to minimize Tax units. Unfortunately part of the balance issue with the current game is that these units were explicitly used to chew up points in an army to balance out the otherwise extremely powerful abilities of other units (A tactical squad and a devastator squad are mechanically identical, except the latter can take four times the heavy and special weapons the former can take and without restrictions on squad sizes either, but the tactical squad is a troop choice and thus manditory). On the other end of the spectrum is "Target Saturation", which means taking duplicates of a single, cost-effective and useful unit in multiples; the idea is that while one or two of them would be killed pretty early on, as long as one of them survives and deals some damage, it justifies taking all of them. If little to none of them die, then it's an even bigger bonus. One of the most infamous cases of this is the Eldar "Scatbike" (A scatter-laser equipped Jetbike); on top of being Troops (and thus bypasses "the tax") it's functionally a bike mounted with a heavy machine gun capable of mowing down heavy infantry and light a game dominated by heavy infantry and light tanks which are slower than bikes. While putting one down within a turn or two of shooting isn't much of an issue, their low cost means that you can feasibly bring a few dozen of them to a match.
  • While Werewolf: The Apocalypse was mostly good about preventing such abuses due to the point build system it used, it did have one major flaw: starting Gnosis, Rage and Willpower were each controlled (respectively) by the character's chosen Breed (3 options), Auspice (5 options) and Tribe (13 options), which awarded variable numbers of points in each of these three primary stats. There were a total of 193 (one tribe allowed only 1 of the breeds) possible combinations The particular combination of Lupus (Breed) Ahroun (Auspice) Stargazer (Tribe) gave the highest starting points in all three stats.

    Video Games 
  • Choose a MMORPG at random, regardless of the available options for class/race you are expected to choose the best combination for either DPS, tanking or healing, you are also expected to get the best possible build, the best possible skill set and the best equipment, god forbid you use a weapon because you like how it looks (even if it's the second best).
    • Final Fantasy XI is particularly horrible at this, because you get a massive amount of options for weapons and subjobs, yet you are going to be picking the same weapons and handful of subjobs as everyone else. The reason is that any weapon below A skill level (very, very few classes get more than one, several don't even get one at all) basically is going to never reliably hit an enemy no matter how you are equipped. Furthermore, every job has a "best choice" subjob and picking a subjob that's not that particular choice is frowned upon. Note, however, that for the longest time, the game was Nintendo Hard and these things were learned the hard way.
    • In Dungeon Fighter Online, This is not so much a problem in PVE, because you aren't expected to use the claws of evisceration +10 with the blood metal set, also upgraded, with only points in skills that allow infinite juggle. The PVE is fair enough that nobody cares what build you use as long as you can do decent damage to the enemy. PvP, on the other hand, you need to because everybody else is going to as well, because any seasoned opponent is going to be optimized for PvP, meaning you need your best skills if you want to get more than 2 hits in.
    • In Dynasty Warriors Online this is a bit of a problem. Issue: Everybody plays confront (direct PvP). Answer: Damage (That stat that governs damage to structures) becomes a dump stat that nobody considers useful. Now, PvP is good a mode or everybody wouldn't be playing it, that's for sure, but every single weapon that will be used commonly needs to have perfect PvP stats. If attack isn't tier 6 or 5 (each stat has a slot it gets upgraded at and the more it takes to upgrade the higher the upgrade will be) then that weapon better be tanking or it's useless. While the fanbase isn't strung up like other games where you get a 16 minute lecture from random people about why you need optimal attack so you can kill them quickly and how anything else is just worthless, but unless you're playing with friends you don't have any freedom to experiment or people won't join you.
    • This is absolutely a given in Wizard101. Although the ingame Bazaar has over 50 pages of items for each type of gear (hat, robe, wand, etc), there are many that aren't useful. Ask nearly any experienced player what the best gear for certain levels are, and they'll usually all say the same things for levels 30, 60, 100 and 160 (and potentially 130 depending on how much you like grinding) where 160 is currently the highest level for a player to achieve. Most people use certain gear combinations that allow for extremely high damage, like over 190% damage for ice (which is the school with the LOWEST amount of damage output) and over 210% for storm (the school with the highest output). On top of that, there's a system called spellements (a heavily pay to win feature that essentially gives permanent upgrades to spells) which is basically required if you want a chance in the game's player vs player scene. There are even pets which if trained in certain ways and hatched enough times can give insane stats like 33% damage to your own school, 21% resist to all schools, 51% resist to a single school, 30% resist to multiple schools (and 15% resist to the others or similar variations depending on the set up), 25% damage to your own school and 17% resist to all schools and other combinations depending on your set up (the resist versions are especially popular in player vs player modes to counter certain schools).
  • Non-RPG, fighting examples come in from certain team based fighting games.
    • Team building in The King of Fighters usually revolves around how the characters work with the franchise's various super meters. A character designated as a battery is one that consumes less meter and builds more for the rest of their team, they're usually placed first or second in a team. Meanwhile, an anchor is usually a character who can deal a lot of damage but requires a lot of meter, meaning they're saved for last.
      • Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium takes this a step further with its "Groove" system. Each "groove" has its own kind of super meter, on top of additional skills. The most important skill is rolling, since a glitch allows the invincibility of a roll to be transferred over to a move. This means that the best characters in the game are those that work well with the grooves with rolling (C, A, N and K). Team building then involves finding characters that work best with these grooves, while also considering the traditional rules on team composition and meter build.
    • Tag team fighting games, especially those with assists, are the king of this trope, especially some form of assist or team attack is involved. This is most prevalent in the Marvel vs. Capcom games where team composition is based on how well characters work with each other.
      • The infamous "Team Clockw0rk" in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, named after the player who invented it, of Strider and Doctor Doom worked so well because of the latter's "Ouroboros" hyper that had him surrounded by a pair of orbs that fired projectiles. This synergized well with Dr. Doom's Molecular Shield assist which had him generate a field of rocks that he then threw at his opponent. Using these two, a good player could lock their opponent down, keeping them blocking while they ate chip damage.
      • Morrigan and Dr. Doom was the dominant team in Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Similar to Strider's Ouroboros trap in 2, Morrigan could use her Astral Vision hyper to create a clone of herself behind the opponent, and then use that to create a barrage of fireballs, using a technique called fly-cancelling. Meanwhile, Dr. Doom's Hidden Missiles assist would launch a number of missiles into the air that would then come down from the sky on the opponent, keeping them from jumping out of Morrigan's fireball barrage.
  • Ace Online is full of minmaxing, with A-gear players comparing the power of their mighty Bigsmashes in terms of volume of fire, B-gear players competing for either the most powerful, accurate, or fast-firing missile (bomb) barrage, and the numerous semi-serviceable weapons being sold at low prices due to market inflation on weapons with the crazy Super or Hyper fixes.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura's Point Build System allows for a lot of flexibility when designing characters, so minmaxing is inevitable.
    • Notably, it's very easy to create a close-combat nightmare of a character right out of the gate by choosing to play as a half-ogre with the "Raised in the Pits" background. Your character won't be much of a conversationalist, but he will be able to kick a wolf in half with a single blow.
    • However, the absolute king of minmaxing backgrounds is "Beat With An Ugly Stick." The reason is that Beauty is an absolute dump stat; it only affects reactions, and if you start out at a low reaction from someone and you chat them up properly, you'll be instantly raised to neutral with them. In exchange for a low Beauty, you get a major boost to combat-useful stats.
    • "Raised By Monks" increases your perception by 1 in exchange for half your starting gold. You start with 600 gold by default, so you're essentially buying a permanent (and inherent) +1 boost to perception for a measly price of 300 gold. Perception raises sight range (how far you can scroll the screen) and is an important stat for both Technologists and Roguish characters, as it's tied to Firearms and Prowling (Sneaking). Perception is also hard to raise by magical means. A no-brainer for most character builds, 'though close combat specialists who don't worry about backstabbing may find "Beat With An Ugly Stick" to be more useful.
  • In Armored Core, going for "Best Rating" can hurt you in the long run.
    • Depends, it just paints an impression of a numbers game, you also got to calculate what type of firing radius the gun can pull off (Missiles are good example) and the cost/benefit ratio it has to that build.
  • In Bloodborne, your starting classes have various specialized stats, some have stronger Strength, some have high Arcane and low Bloodtinge, and some have high Bloodtine and low Vitality. You can level up one stat on purpose while maintaining low level for better multiplayer PvP experiences, as most stats have softcap at 30-40.
    • Strength:, if you are a Cannon user, all you need to do is to raise your Strength to 30 under Military Veteran class, grab all 3 Formless Oedon runes, and farm as many Bone Marrow Ash as possible. Now, you have a Cannon which fires 4 times. Being Level 26, you can grief newcomers with your new toy.
    • Bloodtinge: Firearms and Chikage scale with Bloodtinge, when it reaches 40, Evelyn, the pistol with the best scaling will outdamage most firearms except the aforementioned Cannon. Chikage on the other hand can deliver One-Hit Kill to most PvP opponent if you tuned it well. If you start with Noble Scion as starting class, you can reach 40 Bloodtinge at Level 30. The only runes you need are Oedon Writhe (all three variants) for replenishing Quicksilver Bullets.
    • Arcane: Perhaps the most useful stat, not only it raises item discovery, most spells allow you to defeat bosses at ease, resulting in the situation of Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards. a notable example includes A Call Beyond. If you chose Cruel Fate as your starting class, you gain access to all Arcane Tools at Level 25 (40 Arcane). Similar to Bloodtinge build, the only runes you need are Oedon Writhe (all three variants) for replenishing Quicksilver Bullets.
  • A common strategy in Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II, since classes are geared towards specific skills, there wasn't much room in dialogue choices and plot twists based on your stats, and party composition could cover any deficiency. There simply wasn't reason to have 11 strength and 18 intelligence as a fighter rather than the opposite (or 18 strenght and 11 intelligence as a wizard). The only limit was that if you re-rolled your stats you risked to get a worse result, and trying to get a better one would soak up a lot of time. The Enhanced Editions made it even worse by giving the option to store your dice rolls when creating a character, so that it wasn't a problem if you never got higher rolls again as you could recall your previous throw.
  • In the Borderlands games, skill trees require a 5 point investment to reach the next tier. Each individual skill is maxed out at 5 points (bar some major skills that only take 1), and as a result, many a player tend to put all their points into one skill to make their way down, instead of spreading their points more thinly among the other skill(s) per tier.
  • Masters in Breath of Fire III and IV, aside from teaching you skills, would adjust your characters' stat growths upon level-up with both bonuses (highlighted in blue) or penalties (in red). Obviously, physical-oriented masters would help with turning your physical fighters into powerhouses (and some would also increase their HP and defenses) while the magic-oriented ones boost your spellcasters' Int. and AP. Of course, the roles can be reversed to adjust a character's statistical weaknesses as well.
  • Champions of Norrath's sequel, Return to Arms, has set of items called figurines which provide bonuses to your stats depending on the type of figurine so long as they're being carried in your inventory. The way to make the absolute strongest character possible, regardless of class, isn't to spend points in areas your class would normally use, but rather to simply pump every single one of your stat points you get at level-up into strength. With all of your stat points going into strength, not only do you hit harder physically but you're also able to carry more, meaning you can then collect tons of perfect-type figurines and get a higher number of overall stat points than you would have if you'd spread out your stat growth. Yes, the best way to get make an Erudite Wizard with a huge intelligence score is to boost his melee damage and carrying capacity just so he can lug around tons of perfect owl figurines. Alternatively, the strength bonus bestowed by bull figurines is such that not only is their weight completely moot, there's still some of the bonus left over to increase your effective capacity. Put two and two together with the item duplication glitch and go nuts.
  • Taken to hilarious extremes in Bloodborne's precursor, Dark Souls. Wearing heavy armor grants you poise, the ability to take advantage of hyper armor and not flinch from enemy attacks. Heavier armor grants more poise, letting you tank hits from Zweihanders without budging at higher values, with the downside being that heavier armor slows your stamina recovery and makes dodging attacks harder since you're encumbered by the weight. Endurance, the stat governing equipment load (how much weight you can bear before you start to feel the effects) and maximum stamina, stops granting more stamina at 40, but it keeps giving you higher equip load all the way up to 99. One common strategy is to find a weapon that has high base damage but low stat scaling, so you can keep your Strength and Dexterity low while putting all of your points into Endurance to crank up your equip load. With the right rings, you can ninja flip around the battlefield with a greatsword and armor carved from rock.
  • In Devil Survivor, there is no weapon or equipment system, making the effectiveness of combat skills depend very heavily on innate stat differences between characters. As players get to distribute stat points to the protagonist each time he levels up, many tend to focus on continuously raising a single stat at the cost of neglecting all others, often resulting in very specialized, but unbalanced stat builds. The same applies for the game's sequel.
    • As a whole, this tends to be the approach to the main character in every Shin Megami Tensei game, especially the earlier ones where you can't use magic. The reason behind this is that the series has, until the fourth game, had a case of We Cannot Go On Without You, so Endurance is the single best stat for him. After that, there's Strength so he can do damage, plus some occasional other, game-specific things, like Intelligence in the first game to help with demon recruitment. If the main character can cast magic, you simply replace Str for Int, unless it's the Demi-Fiend. The Nahobino does not get this luxury, since he can only allocate one point per level with the other three automatically distributed, and the Essence skill acquisition system leaves him with a variety of physical and magical skills at his disposal.
    • Soul Hackers is unique in that it gives you a magic character to allocate stat points to...that isn't the MC. Since you don't get a game over if she gets killed, the best way to manage her is to give her points in Intelligence and Agility so that she ends up steamrolling random encounters you don't want to recruit demons from. While this can cause trouble in boss fights, good enough gear tends to make up for that.
  • Diablo II is pretty much an exercise in minmaxing.
    • Every build has optimal stat and skill placement and item choices. Deviating from the build in any way, or heaven forbid trying to make something unique or using whatever equipment you pick up off the ground, ensures that you will have to use effort to get through hell difficulty, which only a few builds could realistically do even if you did min-max properly.
    • This is basically because the HP of the monsters continues to increase exponentially through the game even as your skills do; spreading your skill points around and putting less than the maximum number of points in a few key skills effectively create a character who is unable to deal with 'anything' on its own beyond Normal difficulty. There is just no room for a Jack of All Stats.
    • Minmaxing extends to the items as well as characters. Getting items with stats that are perfect or near perfect cost many times more than the going rate, even if the difference is only a 1%.
  • Disco Elysium deconstructs the concept, and even has what can be considered a sort of an Anti-Min-Maxing mechanic. The Detective's skills is not merely "skills", but also semi-automonous parts of his personality, heavily implied to be based in his different sensory-organs. Investing points in skills leads said skills to become voices in the Detective's head, who gives him advice on the situations he is facing, but the problem is, their advice, helpful or otherwise, will almost always pertain to their specific bodily function with little understanding of situations that do not call for them. The game treats this as a Logical Weakness, as the Detective's adrenal gland does not understand the finer points of social protocol, and his mirror neurons are little help during a physical altercation, but that won't stop them from chiming in if they are strong enough, and the more points put into them, the more powerful their voices are. This results in all of the skills being double-edged swords — the higher they are, the more they shape the Detective's thoughts and control him. What begins as advice can eventually become a compulsion, restricting what dialogue options the player can choose in certain circumstances or just becoming overbearingly loud compared to the other skills. The end result is that Min-Maxing results in less a character excelling in one specific area over all others, and more a character who becomes completely subsumed by that area — as the strongest skill manifests itself as a personality abberation, encouraging potentially harmful acts and even blocking off crucial dialogue trees.
  • Dofus. Ever since the patch that gave characters 5 HP at each level-up, putting points in more than one attribute is almost always a waste. A very few builds support two attributes. Furthermore, one of the first things a character is expected to do once he gets enough money (or resources, etc.) is to "scroll" himself, which allows him to get 101 free points in an attribute. This is extremely expensive, especially for the most common builds (Wisdom, Intelligence, and Strength cost around 3 times as much as Chance or Agility). Some builds REQUIRE being scrolled from the start, otherwise they are completely worthless.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has this, but only for two-handed warriors and the strength stat (sword/shield and dual-weapon warriors need a good amount of dexterity for the abilities), while mages need only magic/willpower, and rogues dexterity/cunning. On higher difficulties, mages need some constitution in order to survive Area of Effect attacks, though, and any Player Character should have some cunning for persuasion skills.
    • This becomes more viable in the Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening Expansion Pack, first, because you can now pick skills that increase hit-points and mana/stamina, and secondly, the abundance of equipment that gives a flat mana/stamina increase, regenerates it, or reduces fatigue, meaning that mages can put all ability points into magic, and rogue archers can put them all into dexterity.
  • Dungeon Crawl partially counters this with stat death: if any of many temporary stat draining effects lowers your stat to 0 or lower, you die instantly. This forces troll berserkers to get a modicum of Int, mages to get some Str, heavy armor fighters to get some Dex. You need at least 8 in all stats to avoid being drained in one hit so you can somehow cure the loss.
  • This is practically mandatory in Dungeon Defenders due to the limited number of level-up points. If you try to build a purely balanced Hero (of any class) your result will be sub-par at best when you reach the higher levels. It's better to choose between a battle-based build or a tower-based build right away, and configure your characters' numbers accordingly.
  • The various Dungeons & Dragons video games suffer much the same issues as their PnP progenitors, but with added twists.
    • Dungeons & Dragons Online provides the usual diminishing returns point assignment variant on character creation.
      However, as with most MMOs, most players come close to minimaxing their preferred stat anyway in both creation and leveling. This ends with the usual game treadmill where the raid bosses get the normal MMO insane stats assigned to them to offset the unlikely, by PnP standards, primary stats and ACs in the 40-70+ range by the level 20 endgame.
    • Single-player games typically have optional "roll the dice" choices on character creation. The true mini-maxer can click dozens to hundreds or more times, looking for the elusive roll with multiple 18s in the primary stats. Especially insidious was the elusive 18/100 "percentile" roll for the earlier editions' STR stat for melee.
  • Dwarf Fortress Adventurer Mode recently added the ability to adjust physical/mental attributes during character creation; since most of the attributes have no effect whatsoever in Adventurer mode (as the game is under constant development), it is common to drop them all to minimum to permit boosting important attributes even higher.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Daggerfall:
      • The game allows you to take various advantages or disadvantages during character creation. Stacking advantages makes you more powerful, but has the drawback of causing you to level up much more slowly. Stacking disadvantages has the opposite effect. As such, it is possible to take disadvantages that your race or class cancels out, while still getting the boost to level up rate. One prominent example is to play as an Altmer (High Elf), who have a natural immunity to paralysis, then take "Weakness to Paralysis" as a disadvantage. The game considers it a significant disadvantage, greatly boosting the speed at which you level up, but you never actually experience the consequences.
      • Taking all of the various "Weakness to Fire", "Weakness to Frost", etc. disadvantages grants you a greater boost to your level up rate than taking the "Immunity to Magic" advantage penalizes you. Immunity to Magic makes all of these weaknesses completely moot.
    • In Morrowind, you level up after getting skill increases to 10 of your Major or Minor skills. When you level up, you get to select bonuses to three of your attributes with multipliers based on how many times you increased skills that are governed by those attributes. (For example, the Strength attribute governs the Long Blade skill. If you increase the Long Blade skill 10 times in one level either through use, training, or skill books, you'll get a x5 multiplier to your Strength attribute.) As such, in order to level in the most efficient way possible, many guides advise you to tag skills you rarely or never intend to use as your Major/Minor skills. While you'll miss out on the bonuses these tagged skills receive at the start of the game, you can easily make up the difference using the game's numerous Disc One Nukes and plentiful Money for Nothing to get through the Early Game Hell. This way, you can increase the skills you do want to use freely without having to worry about "accidentally" leveling up and costing you the max multipliers per level.
    • Due to Oblivion's horrifically flawed Level Scaling system, Empty Levels are a serious problem and it is quite easy to fall into a Parabolic Power Curve. Enemies level scale based purely on your level, but your actual strength in combat involves many factors besides just level (health gain per level, attributes, equipment, and skills). As such, leveling up with too many non-combat skills is likely to result in an insignificant bonus to your abilities, but all enemies still increase in strength. Even if you've been careful in your leveling, damage caps at a certain point while health does not, meaning high-level fights become increasingly drawn-out with even standard foes becoming damage sponges without providing much challenge. While becoming a full blown Munchkin is only necessary to max out all of your attributes, it is encouraged that you incorporate some elements of Min-Maxing toward your combat skills in order to have a less difficult time.
  • Fallen London encourages this. Most equipment gives a bonus to one attribute and a penalty to another. However, since storylets only test one attribute at a time, you can just equip whatever gives the most bonuses, and ignore the drawbacks. Or even help yourself with the drawbacks, if you want to keep a certain storylet at appropriate difficulty levels if you want to Level Grind.
  • Fallout franchise:
    • The character system of the original two games gave plenty of opportunity for minmaxing courtesy of skills and traits (chosen at character creation) and perks (upgrades gained in-game) which varied enormously in usefulness or effectiveness:
      • Most memorably was the Gifted trait, which sacrificed skill points (which with a good intelligence score you should have plenty of already), to instead gain a bonus to all the SPECIAL stats, that play a much greater role than in the third game. Part of the reason Gifted is so powerful is because Tagging skills doubles the rate they level in those two games. In addition, any particularly useful skill in Fallout 1 has a skill book that could be purchased from a merchant that restocked her inventory. Even with the time limit, you could max every really useful skill and then Tag any one that couldn't be easily raised with skill books.
      • Fallout 2 generally lent itself even more to this sort of thing because, despite featuring basically the same character creation system as the first game, the game was about four times as big. Consequently many of the traits or character build choices that offered legitimate tradeoffs that needed careful consideration in the first game became complete no brainers in the second, such as taking Gifted as described above, and not taking Skilled (all but useless in Fallout 2 where you'll be swimming in skill points anyway) or more than about 4 in Endurance (in the long run it only meant a few extra hit points).
      • The Fast Shot trait, which allowed you to shoot more quickly at the expense of not being able to make targeted shots (i.e. aiming for particular body parts). There was no downside at all if you planned to use burst-fire weapons like machineguns or flamethrowers which you couldn't target.
      • Depending on the weapons you kind of character you wanted to build, there were a number of dump stats such as strength for non-melee characters, endurance for everyone, and charisma. If you needed to raise a particular stat to get a one-off bonus (e.g. needing high physical stats to become a porn star), you could generally just boost them temporarily with drugs.
    • Fallout 3:
      • Each level the player gains grants a number of "skill-up" points. The number of points you gain is dependent on the character's Intelligence stat, so many would-be min-maxers treat it as the One Stat to Rule Them All and max it out as early as possible so as to maximize skill gains. Subverted: high Intelligence early on won't make a character much stronger by end-game. Many skills are nearly useless. It is literally impossible to lower Intelligence enough to prevent the PC from eventually getting 10's in all SPECIAL and 100's in all skills. Then again, a high Intelligence early on will allow the character to max out their useful skills very early, without gaining a huge number of levels, using DLC, or hunting down hundreds of skill books, so you might say that Intelligence is the ideal stat of Brilliant, but Lazy characters. Doing a "Rivet City run" to grab the Intelligence bobblehead as soon as possible after leaving the tutorial is still de rigeur for min-maxers, as there's no down side to doing so other than the bother of avoiding encounters on the way there.
    • Fallout: New Vegas takes steps to avert this. Armor and weapon choice play a much bigger role in your combat success, and it's a lot harder to min-max your stats, forcing you to either focus on a few choice ones or get a decentish spread over half a dozen or so skills. There are still a few exceptions in the form of Min Maxers Delight perks and Dump Stats, though.
      • The Good-Natured trait is still an example. Trading in combat for non-combat skills is a good way to reallocate points from weapons you never intended to use for an edge in skills that will always be useful. Every good build specializes in a chosen weapon anyway, and the loss there can be recovered in one level.
      • A huge boon to min-maxers is the Skilled trait, which raises all skills by 5 points. The cost is a 10% penalty to experience earned, but it's not nearly enough of a hit to counteract the sheer number of quests (to say nothing of the DLC add-ons (which do raise the level cap by 5 each)) that will allow level 50 to be reached before the end of the game.
      • Perception can be treated as a Dump Stat, unless you are doing a Critical Hit Class in which case you will want at least a 6 PER stat to get a perk that boosts critical damage. It increases the range that your radar can detect places, NPCs, and enemies. This typically would be a decent reason to raise it, except that having ED-E as a companion gains a perk that essentially simulates having maximum Perception, even if your actual stat is sitting at a measly 1. And with the significant amount of utility in other respects that he was given with the Lonesome Road add-on, you scarcely have any reason not to go with him.
      • Endurance is the One Stat to Rule Them All, as it determines how many cybernetic implants you can get, and cybernetic implants increase the other S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats, essentially making each point spent on Endurance two for the price of one. END 7 will get you +1 to every stat except the Dump Stat Charisma (including END itself, for a final score of 8) plus a nice bit of Damage Resistance.
      • Charisma can still be used as a Dump Stat. It does about three things: Increase a speech and barter a little bit, add some dialog options and increase "Companion Nerve", which is a semi-hidden stat that increases the damage and defense of your companions by 5% for each Charisma point. All but the third one are absolutely useless, since a character can easily reach 100 Speech and Barter even with 1 CHA. The Nerve stat can be nice, but companions still do plenty of damage without it and you can just put (most of) them in better armor to up their defense, so the points needed to raise it are better spent elsewhere. This is true if Boone is your companion, and especially true if you pair him with ED-E mentioned above. His low defense doesn't matter when he annihilates every red blip on the radar before it can even enter your draw distance.
      • Like Fallout 3's "Rivet City run," min-maxers will do a "Clinic run" trying to get to the New Vegas clinic and Doctor Usanagi to acquire the Intelligence implant as soon as possible before gaining any levels. Intelligence might not be needed to max all skills, but why wait any longer to start?
    • Almost averted in Fallout 4. High Intelligence is still really useful but simulated with an early level Luck perk, and there's generally no One Stat to Rule Them All. Min-Maxing is still very powerful as level 10 perks are generally VERY useful, but will be countered by equally huge disadvantages.
      • Played completely straight in Survival mode. Due to it's Nintendo Hard nature, you pretty much have to min-max in order to survive.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy II, the first thing you'll want to do in the First Town is to buy everyone a shield. Shields raise Evasion percentage; Evasion percentage determines chance of evading attacks, turn order, and raises the chance of gaining Agility; Agility goes point-for-point into Evasion percentage; Evasion get the idea. Simply put: the sooner you start raising Agility/Evasion, the faster you gain Agility/Evasion. This can also backfire hard: a late-game enemy is very accurate and has a lot of hits per attack, so if you focused purely on dodge tanking everything from the get-go, you'll need to pray that Exit or Toad gets all of them before they're able to attack.
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics, a character can step on a delevel trap using a class with low stat gains (such as, say, the Squire), losing the stats they would have gained from that level. They can then regain that level with a class with high stat gain, gaining a net increase in stats in the process. Do this enough, and you can max your stats. It's one of the more esoteric and obsessive ways in which FFT can be completely broken.
    • Final Fantasy X's Sphere Grid has fixed stat and ability nodes to modify its characters, but rare Purple Spheres can be used to fill up empty nodes and, with another type, Clear Spheres, can even replace ones with weaker yields. Aeons on the other hand have a more straightforward system of modifying their stats (by using even regular consumable items), but to do so the players must have the Aeon's Soul key item, obtained by beating Skippable Boss Belgemine when she is met in the Calm Lands.
      • Final Fantasy X-2's HD rerelease re-introduces using items to alter your party's stats. Aeons are out of the picture in this game, and you instead use it to customize the stats of Fiends you captured in the Creature Creator.
    • Done In-Universe with food in Final Fantasy XIV. In the scholarly nation of Sharlayan, local food is cooked to be as nutritious as possible at the expense of taste and texture, making meals that are great for your health but terrible to eat. One example provided is Archon Loaf, a recipe for bread that requires ground-up fish and vegetables in the baking. It's noted to be very dense and unappealing.
  • In Hades, you have several ways to improve your success on a run including the Mirror of Night where you can essentially buy different stats before the run starts, keepsakes and chthonic companions which have effects while on the run, and finally boons from different gods that you can pick up on the run. You can also get duo boons that have even stronger affects.
    • Vengeful Mood: Using any of the five revenge boons with this Duo Boon allows you to defeat Hades without even touching your key board. If you have Holy Shield, it also allows you to randomly block damage without filling a slot with Athena's dash or her call.
    • Bonus Damage: Maximizing Thanatos' butterfly, Ares' Urge to Kill, or a variety of Daedalus Hammer upgrades, you can easly get +%100 damage to all attacks. Artemis' Pressure Points can also give you a chance to crit on that damage.
    • Privileged Status: This Mirror of Night effect deals +%20 damage to any enemy under at least two status effects. This includes Hangover and Rupture, which damage them over time and also benefit from the +%20 damage.
  • In InfernoMOO, this is the name of the game for those who specialize in certain areas: brawny fighting types, brainy crafting types, support characters.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising allows you to minmax weapons by using the weapon fusion system, which allows you to combine two weapons into a different one, with some attributes from the two weapons to be fused being transferred to the new weapon in the process. As weapon value affects your team's life bar in Light vs Dark and gives your opponents more points for defeating you in free-for-all, a popular strategy is to fuse a weapon with a negative effect such as heart bonus -4 or status resistance -4 in order to allow for either a lower overall value or to put more useful stat bonuses on the weapon than you could otherwise. Since the effects that get passed on weapon during fusion are chosen semi-randomly, there are naturally guides out there which explain how the fusion engine chooses which bonuses get passed on when fusing two weapons, maximizing the player's chances of getting a perfectly minmaxed weapon that they are after.
  • MapleStory does this with certain builds. While normally it is very much still a min maxer's game (A mage for example can not put one point into DEX or STR, and no one ever puts points into MP or HP), there are dexless and luckless builds involve using stat increasing items for stat deficiency.
    • In the older versions of MapleStory, the INT stat dictated the amount of MP gained for each level or AP point placed into MP. This MP could be transferred to HP by spending real-world money on AP resets. What this meant was that all classes could gain more HP than normal by adding or equipping INT, accumulating extra MP, and transferring it into HP. Though this method, called HP washing, was ridiculously expensive and would make a character much weaker for a while, it was the only way for certain classes to survive high-level boss fights.
    • The Tempest update removed all secondary stat requirements on equipment, so now everyone can put all their points into their main damage stat with no consequence. But eventually, you'll hit the maximum base stat of 999—at which point you'd probably put the remaining points into HP/MP due to how little of an impact the secondary stat has on your damage.
  • The Mass Effect 3 multiplayer mode had all characters built with five skill trees: class, species, first power, second power and third power. The point system for each line went to rank 6 and the amount of points available at max level allowed you to have three lines at rank 6, one at rank 5 and one at rank 3. But an alternative was ranking up four lines at rank 6 and leave one skill tree entirely empty, as at rank 6 you typically got some massive bonus to the abilities offered to compensate for the one that's missing. Since class and species lines would improve your passive strength and durability, the question usually became which power you are willing to forgo. The result tends to be a more specialized character, but with the right play style and synergy of abilities is a much more powerful character.
  • In early Monster Rancher games, this was required. Trying to train a balanced monster took time, too much time and the monster becomes useless with old age or dies. Most of the enemies were also min-maxed to be more fair. Although the higher class monsters are good one every stats with one or two relatively lower(but on high numbers) stats.
    • In general the simplest way to finish the game is to make a Mighty Glacier (train everything in Lif, Def, Ski, and preferred offensive stats) mon. This is to minimize the luck factor while building a usable monster to end the game. Alternatively you can made a complete Fragile Speedster (use Speed instead of Defense) or a Glass Cannon (only train offensive stats and Ski) monster, but it takes more luck to do so.
    • The stats cap system in the DS games also means you need to ditch some stats. Most players go into Max Lif, Max Acuraccy, Max prefered offense, put the rest in Def and make Speed and the other offense as low as possible.
  • "Danger Mario" mode in Paper Mario is a specialized build based around making Mario have as little HP as possible in order to pump up both his FP and his ability to equip lots of Badges. Then you throw on lots of badges which boost attack and raise evasion when Mario's HP is low, making Mario the ultimate Glass Cannon who can dole out tons of damage each turn AND is nigh untouchable. You'd better keep your Partner up front against the rare enemy that can ignore evasion, though. The "Peril Mario" build takes it a step further, offering even greater destructive power, but only if Mario can stay at 1 HP.
    • In fact, this is actually a speedrun strategy for the game. Though instead of relying on badges for dodging, Bow's Outta Sight move and Repel Gel are used to avoid damage.
    • In the sequel, "Danger Mario" becomes "Game-Breaker Mario" After chapter five, the Pianta Parlor allows purchasing power rushes with tokens. Power rush gives Mario plus two attack power, as long as he has five or less HP. If the player takes their time, they can acquire enough power rush badges to deal 99 damage While having five max Hit Points may sound like a drawback, it doesn't really matter when every enemy is killed before they can retaliate.
  • Nippon Ichi games are built around minmaxing. In most games, you can min-max your character's base stats through Reincarnation (returning to level 1 with all of the stat bonuses accumulated through your original class' lifespan and, if you're not a named character, go into a class with better stat growths). You can min-max your weapons, armor, and accessories. In Phantom Brave, you can even min-max dungeons and titles (that give out extra statistical benefits).
  • Aside from the typical min-maxing shenanigans, Pillars of Eternity has a weird version of this where characters are sometimes min-maxed to achieve maximum narrative. See, the game’s plot frequently changes according to things like your PC’s race, background, and class. However, the balancing for this is way off, so certain combinations get vastly larger amounts of special dialogue than others. This leads to players making builds (most infamously, orlan ciphers) designed just to see as many conversation trees as physically possible.
  • Pokémon:
    • A good grasp on the once-arcane mechanics can allow one to create very specialized Pokémon. Even two members of the same species can function very differently provided that they can learn a large number of moves or specialize it certain stats, thanks to the power of Effort Valuesnote  and Individual Values note . Exploiting both types of values as efficiently as possible, in addition to making sure a Mon has an optimal Naturenote  is the key to playing competitively. It should be noted that you usually only have to engage with this system when prepping for competitive PvP. The single-player campaigns are merciful enough to not require such stat optimization, as 95% of your NPC opponents aren't going to have EV-trained Pokémon with perfect IVs, with the majority of such foes being saved for the post-game.
    • Some Pokémon naturally have one or two base stats that are exceptionally high while having a few Dump Stats. The biggest example of this is Shuckle, which boasts among the highest defense and special defense of any Pokémon in the series... which is balanced out by having among the worst everything else.
  • Project Zomboid's character creation system entails spending skill points for positive traits, and gaining skill points by taking on negative traits. Some traits, however, can either go away or become irrelevant over time (example: obesity), so a minmaxer can create a character with positive traits that don't go away and negative traits that do, resulting in an optimized character (assuming they live long enough).
  • Runescape has an unorthodox leveling system - Your player's overall Combat level is determined by a combination of your Attack, Strength, Defence, Hitpoints, Ranged, Magic, Prayer and Summoning. This combat level dictates who you can fight in the PvP Zone called the Wilderness (You need to be in a certain range of another's combat level before you can fight them). Some players, designated as "Pures", Min-Max by utterly neglecting certain stats, keeping their total combat level low while massively training specific others. For example, someone could be incredibly strong and accurate, but very bad at defending against things. This can sometimes give people an edge over more rounded people at the same Combat level. These pures are almost universally loathed by other people in the community, though this is utterly justified because GIFT is in full effect with them.
    • As of the Evolution of Combat update in 2012 this is no longer the case; the update makes it so that neglecting the Defence skill severely hinders pures as Defence is tied to Lifepoint total. This amounts to very little though, as PvP has become very unpopular due to the lack of will most pre-update PvPers had to learn the new mechanics.
  • Star Ruler allows you to juggle points to choose various traits for your faction at game-start. The Galactic Armory mod takes this to a new level with added Traits that allow you to improve or worsen certain weapon types, further encouraging you to specialise your research than in vanilla.
  • In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, you can gain extra Jedi levels by refusing to level up your non-Jedi class in the first fifth of the game. Taken to the extreme, you could delay taking all but level 2 (forced on you by the introductory tutorial mission) until becoming a Jedi, thus gaining 18 Jedi levels by the end of the game instead of the normal 8/12 split.
    • This was difficult with more than one or two levels shifted, though, because, as you approached the "expected to be level 8-ish" areas, you had to rely more on the support friends, who were not really up to the task, especially on hard. Having the actually inadequate Bastila-as-lead dragging around a level 2 piece of tissue paper is quite the experience.
  • System Shock 2's Impossible difficulty more than living up to its name? Forget useless stats like Research and Exotic Weapons and focus on Standard Weapons and the Hacking Skill.
  • In Ultimate Admiral: Dreadnoughts, you can design your own warships and then use them in real time battle. The Naval Academy missions tell you before the design phase what kinds of ships your opponent will have, and custom games allow you to choose your AI opponent's fleet. Having access to this information allows you to tailor-make your own ships to counter the enemy and eliminate excess equipment that would be needed for a ship that would have to defend against any conceivable enemy. Those ships would be useless in real life or in a campaign, but get the job done handily in pre-set missions.
  • Downright encouraged in Warframe by the presence of Corrupted Mods, a special type of rare mod thats boosts one stat at the expense of another. For instance, the rifle mod "Critical Delay" boosts Critical Hit chance while lowering rate of fire. This might force you to accept the tradeoff on some weapons, but for a powerful single-shot sniper rifle such as the Vectis, this is no problem at all, as its rate of fire is irrelevant—for single-shot weapons, the only thing determining how fast the next shot comes out is reload speed, which is a separate stat altogether. This sort of stat-juggling is necessry for some builds, as certain Warframes have a Dump Stat (such as Strength for Loki, or Efficiency for Inaros) which the Corrupted Mods let you exploit.

    Visual Novels 
  • This is your best bet for succeeding in romance in Nicole. You pick your guy, you only do things that increase the parameter he's associated with and ignore the rest of the parameters. Increasing more than one would just be a waste of time, as the other parameters never make a difference. The exception being the Clues parameter, but that deals with the mystery part of the game and can be increased better, regardless of which parameter you initially increase.

  • Darths & Droids. In keeping with its concept of presenting the Star Wars movies as an RPG campaign, it imagines the player of R2-D2 (Pete) as a minmaxer. Think about it; high levels in all mechanical skills... at the cost of being a non-humanoid robot with no limbs, only able to talk in beeps. Later on in the series, he minmaxes his character even further by giving himself a few more flaws... that are completely unremarkable to a robotic character in a science-fiction setting. Like lactose intolerance.
    • Pete's minmaxing tendencies continue in the Rogue One adaptation, which sees him playing as Blind Weaponmaster Chirrut and having Baze as a deaf and mute Familiar. Splitting one set of senses between two bodies counts as a disadvantage (despite the fact that familiars have a Psychic Link), and in exchange Pete got ludicrous melee combat skills for Chirrut and a BFG for Baze. Unfortunately, this comes back to bite Pete in the butt: Chirrut's entire defenses are based around not getting hit, so when he's placed in a situation he can't dodge (by an enemy's critical failure, no less) he has no armor, too few HP to survive, and can't be revived. And as his familiar, Baze dies with him.
    • Then you have the "alternate" strips, where everybody does it.
    • Pete's roleplaying improves a bit in The Force Awakens chapter when he plays Rey, but the GM still gets a bit of mileage out of his taking "Never Gets a Good Parking Spot" to buy an extra point of Piloting.
  • 8-Bit Theater has Red Mage, who can minmax almost any situation, even mid-panel.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Elliot gains the ability to do this after Magic changes. He can put in and remove points from various abilities and characteristics of his superheroine spell.
  • Goblins features Minmax the Unstoppable Warrior, who amongst other things has traded in his ability to read for an extra attack bonus. He also traded his ability to wink to a higher weapon proficiency. Which proficiency? Furniture.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The comic brings us the valuable lesson that even a min-maxer won't go far without a clue. It's worth noting that an easily-missed sentence in the rules means that the half-ogre's trick shouldn't be as effective as it's portrayed: Moving out of more than one square threatened by the same opponent in the same round doesn't count as more than one opportunity for that opponent. Roy did get a C- in his Attacks of Opportunity class, so he is forgiven for missing it. And combat in the universe is shown to be affected by how good the being fighting is at remembering the rules and bonuses covering his fight.
    • Most major characters in OotS are baseline or hilariously badly constructed.
      • Durkon the cleric is the most average, only losing out on his highest potential because he's stuck being a healbot (albeit not entirely by choice).
      • Vaarsuvius is a wizard that specializes in what is considered the worst school in the gamenote  while banning two of the most powerfulnote . However, even with this build, V is powerful enough to be written out of most fights as a way of avoiding Story-Breaker Power.
      • Roy is a fighter who doesn't use Intelligence as his Dump Stat, and also has no weapon proficiency in anything other than two-handed swords — powerful when he has his Ancestral Relic, terrible with anything else.
      • Haley is a rogue who specializes in archery, which does not involve anything she does in battle, such as Sneak Attacking (which requires flanking that cannot be done with a ranged weapon or from more than 30 feet away), and she mentions that she took the Manyshot feat, one of the weakest feats ever printed in any book and all but completely useless to a rogue (you only get Sneak Attack once, instead of just attacking regularly and getting it with each arrow fired) - though in the instance in which manyshot was used, it saved Haley's life.
      • Belkar is a halfling (which comes with strength penalties) Ranger who specializes in Dual Wielding, usually considered an ineffective fighting style due to all the accuracy penalties, and with insufficient wisdom to cast spells or track worth a damn.
      • Oddly the ditzy Spoony Bard Elan is the one with the most optimization, with a good build as a Spoony Bard, before taking a Prestige Class to base nearly everything he does on a single very high attribute. This was used as a gag since his Evil Twin Nale achieved a less effective version of the same thing by taking levels in Fighter, Sorcerer, and Rogue (all of which rely on different base stats) due to his Complexity Addiction.note 
    • Thog goes so far as to claim that he is smarter than Roy because he has the right build for a Barbarian: Super-Strength at the cost of Intelligence being a Dump Stat. Thog also has two levels in Fighter to get a pair of bonus feats and access to plate armor, as well as the Dungeoncrasher variant class, which basically allows him to demolish the area around him when he gets really mad. His class build relegates him to the role of bumbling sidekick while Roy is a semi-effective leader, but is shown to be, on paper, far more effective than Roy's Jack of All Stats, Master of None build.
    • While it's not immediately apparent, and almost certainly wasn't intentional, Malack is also terribly optimized as a result of being a vampire lizardfolk. What it means is that he has a constitution bonus that is negated because vampires don't have constitution. He has a bonus to his climb and swim skills; the first is useless because vampires get Spider Climb for free, the second unusable because immersion in water kills vampires. He has an immense strength bonus and knows spells for life drain upon skin contact, yet prefers to avoid physical combat. He's a primary spellcaster with a level adjustment of eight, and the benefits of vampirism are vastly less than the power gained by another eight levels of cleric. On the other hand, when he actually decides to use that strength bonus we mentioned he's an enormous pale snake who can crush you with his coils, drain your life energy, and drink your blood all at once.
  • Josh from Chainmail Bikini shows how this is done. Note especially his Charisma score of 4 which comes back to bite him in the text-only final battle of the campaign — Casey, being a sadistic GM, targets that Charisma save to eject Josh's character from the fight.
  • In the same vein as Darths & Droids, Luke and Cory from One Piece: Grand Line 3.5 do this with their characters Luffy and Zoro. All of Luffy and Zoro's quirks from the original source are presented as flaws that were added in exchange for extra feats. This actually backfires on them quite often, most notably when Cory gives Zoro an Undying Loyalty flaw thinking it won’t matter since Zoro answers to no one... than promptly agreeing to be a first mate and not realizing what that meant until too late.
  • Knights of Buena Vista is a comic for Disney films as roleplaying games. Currently it's on Frozen (2013), and Elsa's player did this to get her the strongest ice powers she could, with almost no control to compensate.
  • The Gamer: Jihan prefers to put almost all his points into Intelligence, with only a small fraction put into his other stats to cover the bare necessities. This provides him with a massive mana pool and seriously overpowered spells (especially since passing the hundred-marks gives him optimizing abilities that make him even more powerful). The result is that while he's lacking in other areas, his repertoire of spells are more than enough to cover it. As an added bonus, all that Intelligence actually makes him smarter in general, although he's had to raise Wisdom for practical applications beyond memorizing entire textbooks.

    Real Life 
  • The various Naval treaties of the Interwar Period caused no shortage of Min-Maxing when it came to ship design. Because the treaties set strict limits on the number of and weight of ships, signatories spent a great deal of effort trying to work around the rules. One Min-Max technique used by the British and the French was to place all the big guns on the forward part of the ship to shorten the length of the heavy armoured citadel, at the expense of a 360 degree arc of fire. All or nothing armouring schemes were also employed to provide the maximum protection to critical areas with non-critical areas being deemed expendable. Guns were packed into triple and quadruple turrets to further reduce the weight overhead at the expense of redundancy.
  • Tank armor requires this because the Square-Cube Law is a lot harsher for land vehicles than it is for ships. If you made the armor the same thickness in all directions, you'd have one of two outcomes: either it's thick enough to protect against enemy tank shells from every angle, while being so heavy the vehicle can't move; or it's light enough for mobility, but not thick enough for any part to stop a tank shell. Therefore, you've got to add armor to the most frequently attacked places while removing it from others.
    • The front of the hull and turret should be the most armored because that's the side that the tank presents to the enemy regardless of whether it's attacking or defending. There's synergy between designing a tank to be longer than it is wide, and concentrating the armor on the front: because the tank has a smaller profile from the front than from the side, you don't add as much weight by making the front x thickness compared to making the side x thickness. Up through the first half of World War II there were some tanks like the KV-1 and Tiger I which had upper side plates of comparable thickness to their fronts, which made sense for their breakthrough role which involved taking fire in the sides as well as the front. However once the Lensman Arms Race of large, high-velocity guns really got going, there was no choice anymore but to lighten the sides in order to thicken the front, so at least that part would stand a chance against a full-sized anti-tank gun. The thinking became that the sides should stop anti-tank rifles and the lightest of anti-tank guns—and maybe even ricochet a tank shell if it struck the side at a steep enough angle—but stopping a square-on main gun shell was just too much to ask. The rear would be no more armored than the sides, and honestly if you were doing your job right the enemy wouldn't ever see your rear.
    • Tanks also came to be armored more above than below, since tanks tend to seek the low ground for protection and hide behind cover. When a tank begins to crest the top of a slope, the enemy will first see the turret front, then the hull's upper front plate, and finally the lower front plate. Depending on the slope of the hill and the maximum gun depression, the tank can hide the lower front plate or hopefully the entire hull so that only the turret needs to be exposed in order to fire at the enemy. Furthermore, post-World War II tanks tend to have only the driver seated in the hull while having the rest of the crew (or at least their upper bodies) in the turret, meaning a penetration of the turret can often do more harm to the crew than a hull shot. Thus, it makes sense for the turret to have better all-around protection than the hull, and to save some weight on the lower front plate. The hull's lower sides can also be thinner than the upper sides, partly because they’re more likely to be hidden by terrain, and partly because the tank's running gear provides a bit of a buffer against incoming ordnance.
    • The belly can be quite thinly armored in comparison because few threats come from below. There are anti-tank mines to think about, and US gunners during World War II figured out how to destroy heavily-armored Elefants by bouncing a high explosive shell to explode under the thinner belly armor, but you've got to make sacrifices somewhere. Another place where you need to sacrifice thickness is the top. It’s possible that a huge high explosive artillery shell will land directly on the roof and wreck you, but that’s fairly improbable compared to lesser threats like grenades, Molotov cocktails, and fragments from an artillery shell exploding nearby. Enemy dive bombers and fighter bombers became a threat during World War II, but their unguided bombs and rockets were inaccurate, and defense consisted mainly of evading or using antiaircraft fire to force them to evade and mess up their aim. There was really no protection against a large bomb landing right on top of or next to the tank, so why bother? To a large extent, even to this day, you have to rely on accompanying anti-aircraft vehicles and friendly fighters to shoot down the enemy fliers instead of overloading on roof armor for what is supposed to be a ground combat vehicle. The roof is just too large in area to heavily armor without making the tank overweight, and you wouldn’t want to make the tank so top-heavy that rollover would become a hazard.
    • Finally, the most vulnerable part of every tank: the running gear. Some tank designs have tried to protect the running gear with armor, such as the German Maus prototypes whose side skirts almost completely enclosed the tracks and suspension, but this can be impractically heavy and makes it more difficult to access the tracks for repairs when they do break. At some point, you've just got to accept the fact that the tracks will get blown off sooner or later: the important thing is that the crew survives and the tank is intact enough to repair.
  • Tank armament followed the same principle.
    • During the interwar period there was experimentation with multi-turreted tanks. These generally had one big gun and an assortment of intermediate guns and machine guns, divided between up to five rotating turrets. Unfortunately this made the weight, volume, and crew requirement of the tank excessive, while limiting the maximum size of the biggest gun. As the shape of tank combat in World War II emerged, it became clear that you needed a bigger gun than the enemy so you could not only penetrate his thick armor, but do so at a distance where his gun wasn't powerful enough to do the same to you. A medium turret plus two or more small turrets weren't as useful as one large turret that could mount a much bigger gun, and with enough space inside for a commander, gunner, and loader to work effectively.
    • The other benefit of having just one big gun was that you could fire larger high explosive shells, which were very effective against enemy infantry, artillery, and buildings. This, combined with proper combined arms tactics, meant that you needed at most three machine guns to protect the tank: a hull MG manned by the bow gunner, a coaxial MG paired with the main gun, and a commander's MG on an anti-aircraft mounting outside his hatch. This was further streamlined in the Cold War when the bow gunner was deleted, reducing the number of crew to four and allowing either more ammo racks to be put in, or a reshaping of the hull front to better deflect shells.
    • Another benefit relates to Easy Logistics; with a smaller variety of guns, you need a smaller variety of ammunition to keep your army properly supplied, which is easier for manufacturing back home to build it in sufficient bulk, less of an organisation headache for logistics in the middle, and less confusing for loaders in the frontline when they may not have time to think about the size of shell they've just picked up and why it doesn't fit the gun.
  • According to Richard Feynman an AI with heuristics did just this. Entered into a Naval war game tournament, it decided to use all available resources to make one giant battleship and won. Once this tactic was banned it proceeded, the next year, to make numerous tiny boats with one gun each to swarm the enemy; it won again. The next year the computer was banned altogether.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Min Max


The Pathway to Invulnerability

Kaede drops all her stat points into defense, breaking the game in more ways than one.

Since the subs didn't translate it, Giant Killing's effect doubles all her core stats (not HP/MP) if at least 4 of them are lower than her opponent's and since STR, AGI, INT and DEX are left at 0 it's always active.

How well does it match the trope?

4.9 (20 votes)

Example of:

Main / MinMaxing

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