The smart play or the thematic play?
I was thinking about games where either through the theme or just play interaction tend to tell something of a story, games like #Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game, #Archipelago, #Eldritch Horror, #War of the Ring (Second Edition) and the like: Where you often embody a character or faction that either inherently has traits or you end up developing them over the game. Often I find at some point in the game I am torn between doing what I believe to be the thing that gives me the best chance of winning and doing what feels 'right'. Be it charging in (hello my Rohirrim army, come to save helms deep) or leaning into my engine in a thematic way rather than mechanically (I need more boats if I am to be the pirate king of the archipelago! Do I need them, well no, but I'm a pirate!). I come down on different sides of that question on different days and love it when the two line up so that I can go all cinematic without and doubts.
Is this something any of you also grapple with and if so where do you tend to come out and why?