Poll Results

So last week I asked a question; “Do you currently play an ‘old school’ RPG?” with the definition of what constitutes an old school RPG left to the individual responders. Before I take down the poll, I thought I’d repost the results and offer a wee bit of commentary.

There were 226 votes, with the poll lasting one week. Not too shabby. The answers were as follows (respondents were allowed to choose more than one answer):

No: 44 (19%)
Yes, I am a player in a face-to-face game: 69 (30%)
Yes, I GM a face-to-face game: 125 (55%)
Yes, I am a player in an online game: 25 (11%)
Yes, I GM an online game: 18 (7%)
Other: 7 (3%)

The poll was originally set up to put the lie to the assertion that people in the OSR just talk about games, rather than actually rolling dice. It is a self-selected sample, of course, but I think the question is solved to my personal satisfaction, pending some other, better, source. 81% of the respondents play in some capacity.

I personally find the preponderance of GMs (as opposed to players) interesting, and I mentioned this in the original comments. 62% of the respondents were game masters. Does this mean that more GMs frequent my blog in particular, or OSR blogs in general? It’s possible, as blogs like this tend to be written by, and thus have more to offer, game masters.

I am gratified at the number of face-to-face games happening. Fully 85% of the respondents either GM or play in a face-to-face game (or both). Being an old-fashioned coot, I think that’s the best way to play, and it seems like most of my readers agree.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

8 thoughts on “Poll Results

  1. Interesting results, thanks for sharing! I didn't realize you could vote for more than one thing – I chose DM f2f, but am also an online player so that would bump that a bit.

    I'd agree that most blogs offer more for the DM than Player, but in many cases are interesting readers for any OSR fan.

  2. "Yes" to all those questions in your penultimate paragraph.

    First, you have three categories: player-only, GM-only, and those who do both. So, when you say "GMs", you're covering two of the categories.

    Second, those two categories cover most of the people who take them time to read about and discuss the game outside of the game. Also, these are the people most likely to buy the most products. (Which is why targeting products at players isn't going to greatly increase sales, although a naive view thinks that it should.)

  3. I suspect people who read and post blogs are much more likely to be GMs. They are the ones who are usually looking for new material and adventure ideas. I certainly know I am the only person in my group that has RPG blogs of any sort set up in an RSS reader. I missed your poll, but I run a weekly Pathfinder game face to face. I like to pay attention to what's going on in the OSR, even though I'm not a hardcore OSR player. Good adventure/monster ideas transcend rules.

    Other games I like (but not currently playing/running) include Traveller, Earthdawn, Talislanta, and Dark Heresy.

  4. I think any online discussion forum naturally is predisposed towards GMs. We're the guys looking for new ideas and settings and games to play. The players just show up for the ride.

    Not that all players are like that, of course, but it's kind of like saying that art supply stores see more artists than art critics. It's the nature of the thing.

  5. Yes, yes you are an old coot. 🙂

    More seriously, while I do DM an online game it's entirely by circumstance, rather than by choice. I had the chance to run a face to face game for some friends here during my visit and it was an absolute blast. I had actually forgotten how much of a pleasure it is to DM across a table compared to the interwebs.

  6. There has been criticism of bloggers in some circles (forums) that we are a bunch of people who talk, but don't do. I would love to see the results of a similar poll conducted at those forums. I wonder if there would be such a high percentage of respondents who actually play a regular face-to-face game, as well as those who are GMs? From what I've read I would doubt it.

  7. Fully half of the players in our group are GMs of other games. I think in general the old-timers are more weighted to GMs than players. So I also play in friends' games.

  8. One of the things I love about GaryCon is that it gives me a chance to sit on the outside of the screen for a change.

    I suspect that's fairly typical for this crowd.

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