View Full Version : Help me create a game selection survey

2012-09-10, 10:00 AM

I have at long last assembled a (small) group for some pen and paper gaming. The role of GM has fallen to me. At this point our charter is simply 'you up for some role-playing?'; as we intend to start playing in a few months I think it would be beneficial to flesh this out a bit more in order to set up a game that maximizes everyone's enjoyment.

Can y'all help me come up with pertinent questions (with minimal bias in the phrasing) to discuss via e-mail. I'm particularly interested in determining what elements of a game people really like or detest.

Some of my current thoughts include covering:
- Preferred genre (swords and sorcery, gritty medieval, superheroes, steampunk, cyberpunk, space opera, etc?)

- Means of motivation : loot, power progression, wow-factor events, in game impact, character relationships, etc.?

- Power level : normal guys trying to get ahead, epic heroes, earth shattering demigods

- Game type : dungeon crawl, political intrigue, heroic quests, a mercenary's life

What other issues should we discuss? Please let me know of past successes and failures you've had choosing a game and setting expectations.

2012-09-10, 10:23 AM
While a condemnable commendable effort, just asking what people like or dislike, even with providing a list, can offer skewed results.

Most people don't have that clearly defined preferences and even if they more or less know what they like/dislike, most people (that I know, at least) are not that closeminded to rule something out just because it is not on their "like" list.
Also, general terms have the problem of being, well, general. Space Opera can mean a lot of things. Say someone has seen Star Trek and did not like it. Now, because this person has made some bad experience with Space Opera he/she claims not to like it. But maybe you had something more like Babylon 5 in mind, which the other person would like if he/she had seen it.

Also, do not forget, that DMing is a creative endeavor. Working solely on "community feedback" is a way ripe for disaster. Cooky-cutter definition are likewise not a great place to start.
The most important thing is a vision. A vision of what you, the DM, want to do, to DM.

Asking your players for their opinion is still a good thing to do. But my advice would be: brainstorm for some time, what you actually want to do. If you get a couple of ideas, try to condense them in short descriptive terms without saying too much. Then present those to your players to comment.

2012-09-11, 08:37 AM
Zombimode, thanks for the excellent advice. I've got three (possibly four) ideas I'm writing up to present to the players to at least narrow down genre and system. I'm hoping that the subsequent discussion will help shed light on player motivation and gaming philosophy.

2012-09-11, 09:07 AM
A very good starting point is to ask what games are already available.

If one has some D&D books, another Gurps, and one Burning Wheel, you can pretty much narrow it down to any of those three.
And when I am the GM, it is limited further by which games I already know. I know D&D 3rd Edition, Pathfinder, and Dragon Age RPG, and I wouldn't have any trouble getting into other OGL games like Iron Heroes or Midnight. But Gurps and DSA are straight out, even if someone has the books, because I don't have any clue how they work and have never seen them in action. If someone who does know the games wants to be GM, I'm fine with learning as a player. But learning to GM from nothing doesn't seem worth the effort and suffering through my poor GM job when other options are available.
It's something different when we decide "We should totally play shadowrun!" but nobody of us has never played it. Then there's not much of a choice.