RPG Design Feature Survey

I’ve put together a survey of features that players and designers often talk about in RPGs. The idea behind the survey is to give recommendations to GMs and potential game designers on what to focus on when making a game. At the end of the survey I will be making the analysis of the survey public. This is done with survey monkey so I won’t know the names or emails of anyone that takes the survey, I’ll just get a list of responses.

So if you want to help independent game designers make better games, if you want independent designers to make games you’ll like. . .

Take the Survey!


Filed under GM Advice, News

10 Responses to RPG Design Feature Survey

  1. Awesome survey! Taking it was a useful experience, since it got me to think through my preferences for things that I don’t often consider. For instance, reading all of those questions about dice made me realize that I don’t really have a preference, unless we’re talking about custom graphic dice (like in WFRP3e or Mouse Guard.) Those I REALLY like. πŸ™‚

    • Loc

      Thanks Llanwyre! It looks like you got your survey results early! πŸ™‚ I hope that when the survey is over there’ll be a bunch more insights that a lot of us wonder about but don’t normally have the ability to ask. If this survey is successful (useful to the community) there may be more. I’ll have to include questions about custom dice in the next one.

      Tell your friends about the survey and thanks for participating!

  2. J.Mosher

    Just did the survey. Not sure if I really understood the “Aspect” questions, but it was worth while to go through.

    A Question on if RPG’s should only be played face to face as opposed to via “online (ie email, play by post, netmeeting)” would be useful.

    Anyway good survey, hope it generates some useful data for you πŸ™‚

    • Loc

      The aspect question is a little hard to ask concisely without falling back on the term. Well at least for me, maybe someone who’s thought more about aspects than I have would do better.

      I wonder if questions about playing online should be along the lines of if a game should be designed with alternate rules for PBP or G+.

      Send the survey link to a friend and have them take it too!

  3. Darkholme

    Some good and some bad. I think you missed many qquestions that mattered, and mentioned some that didnt seem terribly important.

    2. For all the price questions (except for free, cause everyone likes free), it depends what you’re getting.

    When I see a book I look for a preview and a page count, and compare that to the price. A hard copy for 50$ is alright for a 450 page book with lots of art and good writing. A hard copy of a 200 page book or a 400 page book with little, no, or bad art for 50$ I’m not interested in.

    I dont care about the page count, but I do care about the page count and art quantity/quality in relation to the cost. Though I will view a book under 30 pages as only being good for a one-shot.

    4. One thing I noticed is you ask questions about the setting, but you don’t ask whether you want the setting included with the core rules or as a separate book. I want a detailed setting, but I dont want to be tied to a setting by merit of buying your game, I like the idea of not having to use one setting, and being able to choose a different one instead, or easily make one up. I want the rules and the setting as separate books. Definitely. If they’re in the same book, I want them isolated and in their own little section. This is actually one of my pet peeves with the World of Darkness books, and many others.

    As for the game PDF, I’m someone who will usually want a hard copy and a pdf, so the amount I’m willing to pay for the PDF is low. if ALL I want is the PDF then I’m willing to pay more. If I want a pdf with the hard copy, I’m likely to see paying more than 10-20% of the hardcover price as unreasonable. Bundle Sales, or redeemable PDF coupons or free PDF with hard copy is essential. The latter two options allow me to support my local gaming shop, whereas making me get the bundle online means my choices are not supporting the local shop or piracy, so the local shop will suffer for it, because I won’t be willing to pay 1.5 to double the price to get the pdf with my hard copy.

    For the price, again, the price I’m okay with paying is tied to what I’m getting for it.

    You also don’t mention some things I really like: “PDF Comes free with hardcopy” or “PDF has guaranteed unlimited downloads in the future.”

    And I dont care what *KIND* of dice are used in the game, but I do care what kind of rolling mechanic is used. Step-Die, Dice Pools, d100 roll under, dice+numbers, success levels; those matter to me My opinion is that step-die and dice pools are bad.

    I’m not familiar with Aspects. I think theyre some kind of keyword system.

    88. Was not clear whether you meant together or each. took closer reading. I imagine you’ll get garbage answers for that one.

    109: I had no idea what this meant.

    111. Shared Pool: I answered assuming you meant shared pool with the other players. If you mean shared pools between your various powers, those answers change.

    116: Like dice?

    • Loc

      These are mostly questions that I hear new game designers ask. I give certain advice, but sometimes I wonder if what I’m telling them is really true. This is one way to find out. To peel back the layers of confusion.

      I like the question about a separate setting and rules book. I saw that mentioned a little bit ago at rpg.net. I’ll have to keep that in mind if there are more surveys coming. Thanks!

      As far as the dice questions, I know it sounds a little goofy, but there is some interesting data coming off of it or at least it looks that way so far, it could get washed out by later results. I needed to as a baseline set of questions before getting more information on more complicated subjects. Also a lot of new designers walk in saying “My game uses d12s” thinking that it makes a big difference. Neutral answers are just as important as negatives and positives.

      • Darkholme


        I was responding from a publisher than a “What do I like seeing, What do I dislike seeing, what do I wish I saw?”

        How you price things and bundle PDFs & Hard copies is important, for example, but the page count(implied wordcount) and quality of art is not an unrelated factor.

        Some of the questions were really unclear in the survey; I tried to point out which questions those were.

        One more note about the Setting: Depending on who you ask, Setting books with crunch can be good or bad. Personally I’d prefer a setting book with no mechanics whatsoever (and any necessary setting specific mechanics in yet another separate book, albeit potentially a tiny one) – the Idea here, is that even if I don’t like the game, or later decide I don’t want to play the game, I can still use the setting. If rules-neutral, I could easily use the fantasy setting in D&D, RuneQuest, or whatever. But a rules-lite setting book like the Conan Setting by Mongoose, or to a lesser extent, the Song of Ice and Fire Campaign setting is acceptable, if not preferred – if this approach is taken; shunting all the mechanics to their own isolated section with page references would be my preference.

        Did you post this survey on RPG.net? that’s likely the least biased community online; though you could link it on ENWorld, the D&D forum of RPG.net, the Paizo forums, the Unisystem Forums, and a few other places, for maximum information collection.

        • Darkholme

          * Less from a publisher’s, than a β€œWhat do I like seeing, What do I dislike seeing, what do I wish I saw?” perspective.

  4. Darkholme

    One last comment here for now that I should have mentioned: I can see a few reasons people would have dice preferences:
    d4s don’t r0ll well, they just kindof plop, unless you’re using gimmicked d8’s or d12s to do it; and d10s, d20s, and d100s make it immediately apparent what your chances of success are. Particularly in roll under systems, and particularly in the d10 and d100 systems.

    I hope your quiz yields useful results. I was trying to give constructive input to make it more informative, or make a future quiz better.

    • Loc

      I hear you. Personally I have the hardest time with filling out surveys, I pick apart the questions because I’m super literal. Turns out it’s really hard to communicate a complex question in a few words. I’ll be going over these comments when I go to start another one.

      I do have a post on RPG.net but I’ve never used ENWorld or the others. I’ll check them out.

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