Sunday, February 10, 2008

Snapshot Of A Gaming Community

This is sort of a pet project I've been working on for a while. Over here, in my little slice of Indy suburbia, we have several little gaming groups and sub-communities that I'm in contact with. It's been a pain in the ass to do so, but over the last 2 months or so, I've managed to get 34 survey responses completed and compiled. This is extremely unscientific, the questions are just sort of stuff I was curious about, but I think the results are interesting (to me, anyway). What follows are the results of those surveys and responses. Please, understand I'm not promoting any movement, taking any position, or saying any game sucks by doing this (well, except Cyborg Commando, but that's a given). I've tried to be as upfront and stated possible influences where I suspect them:

Top 10, Area Games

Voters were asked to list their 10 favorite RPGs, with a first-place vote worth 10 points, a 10th-place vote worth 1 point. (1st-place votes are in parantheses).

1) D&D 3.0/3.5 (9)
2) Rifts* (9)
3) Spycraft (4)
4) Savage Worlds (Deadlands) (4)
5) AD&D 2e (3)
6) Paranoia (1)
7) Rolemaster FRP* (1)
8) Hollow Earth Expedition
9) AD&D 1e (2)
T-10) Palladium Fantasy (1)
T-10) Castles & Crusades

*-I have recently run games using these systems. It is also worth noting several 3.x D&D games are running, and another Rifts game is being formed. D&D beat Rifts by two points, and Hollow Earth Expedition finished 1 point ahead of AD&D 1e. Burning Wheel actually garnered 6 points from a few different gamers, which made it the highest "indie" finisher (someone besides me must run it around here).

I also want to note our local store does not stock any White Wolf titles, which definitely could help explain their absence in the results--all the WW lines finished no higher than 14th (Vampire).

Do you ever check out or visit tabletop RPG message boards/communities online?

More Than Once A Week: 2 (5.8%)
Around Once A Week: 2 (5.8%)
Occasionally (Less Than Once A Week): 2 (5.8%)
I Have Before, But Almost Never Do: 8 (23.5%)
Never: 20 (58.7%)

Have You Heard Of "Indie" RPGs (Such as Dogs In The Vineyard, The Shadow of Yesterday, Sorceror, etc.)

Yes 3 (8.9%)
No 31 (91.1%)

I also directed as many as I could to the "What Type of Gamer Are You?" ( quiz. I received 23 responses back. The respondents, broken down by top result on the quiz, were as follows:

Storyteller 7 (20.5%)
Character Player 6 (17.6%)
Tactician 4 (11.7%)
Weekend Warrior 2 (5.8%)
Power Gamer 2 (5.8%)
Casual Gamer 1 (2.9%)
Specialist 1 (2.9%)

What Attracts You Most To A Game?

How It Inspires Me/Gets Me Excited About Playing 15 (44.1%)
Affordability 6 (17.6%)
Production Values 4 (Good Art, Layout) (11.7%)
Familiarity 6 (17.6%)
Other 3 (8.8%)

What Is Your Age?

Under 14 1 (2.9%)
14-18 5 (14.7%)
18-20 (Post High-School) 10 (29.4%)
21-30 9 (26.4%)
31-39 5 (14.7%)
40+ 4 (11.7%)

What Is Your Reaction To The News Regarding D&D 4th Edition?

Strongly Positive 1 (2.9%)
Somewhat Positive 2 (5.8%)
Neutral 10 (29.4%)
Somewhat Negative 8 (23.5%)
Strongly Negative 13 (38.2%)

(This was pretty close to the response I got from my gaming group as well, minus the "F*** Wizards!" postscripts. Interesting when you consider many of the respondents profess to not really following 4e development, as indicated here--)

How Closely Have You Been Following 4th Edition Updates?

Very Closely 2 (5.8%)
Somewhat Closely 1 (2.9%)
Only A Couple of Times 2 (5.8%)
Not Very Closely 10 (29.4%)
Not Following At All 19 (55.8%)

For Whatever Reasons, Are You Happy With Your Current Gaming Situation?

Very Happy 10 (29.4%)
Somewhat Happy 6 (17.6%)
So-So 6 (17.6%)
Somewhat Unhappy 3 (8.8%)
Very Unhappy 1 (2.9%)
Unhappy, But Only For Time Reasons/Constraints 8 (23.5%)

Just For Fun, With Which Player Stereotype Do You Least Like Playing?

Power Gamer/Munchkin 5 (14.7%)
Attention Whore/Drama Queen 5 (14.7%)
Hack N' Slasher 4 (11.7%)
Metagamer 7 (20.5%)
Cheater/Fudger 11 (32.3%)
Other 2 (5.8%)

So, that's what I found. I'm guessing every little RPG circle has its own faves and dislikes, and goes against the grain or common perception in one area or another. That's just how "we" shake out, I guess.


DNAphil said...

Great article. It's interesting to see such a large negative response to 4e, but at the same time, most of the respondents, are not following the updates or the are engaging in online communities, like EN World, which are actively talking about 4e.

From personal experience, my 4e reaction was quite negative, until I started reading the developer articles and playtest stories.

Nice work.

Zachary The First said...

Thanks, Phil. I was kind of surprised, too, but again, I think a lot of those folks have certain perceptions through the grapevine or are just fine with their current game. What'll be really interesting is how it looks in 9 months or so...

BTW, check your email!