Informal Survey Results

Last week I posted an informal survey across my social media, “What is the one thing you wish your DM did?”

The question came up after I had watched a video with the same question, but that was focused on 5th Edition players. I figured that, given my social media audience, the responses I received would be different.

Boy, was I right.

By far, the overwhelming response I got was “I wish I had a DM” (or words to that effect). A distant second was the notion that they were the DM all the time, and would like a chance to be a player. So, essentially a variation on the same theme.

This was obviously not a scientific survey, but the implications are very interesting if the trend is true across the OSR/AD&D community. Can it be true that there is such a shortage of AD&D or OSR game masters out there? I see studies about the games that are most popular on online tabletop services like Roll20, and 5th edition D&D outpaces all the other choices by a wide margin. Could that be simply because there aren’t enough people running AD&D or OSR games like Labyrinth Lord, Old School Essentials, or Swords & Wizardry?

Would it be useful to set up a website that would let gamers find gamers in face-to-face games? Something where you could plug in your ZIP code, click the games you were interested in playing (or running) and let players find DMs?

One would need to do some proper research before sinking any money into such a thing (even preliminarily), but I would imagine the coding would be pretty simple, using off-the-shelf modules for logging in, tracking games by location and system, filtering by your own location, and sending messages. Let the players and the DM work out the meetings on their own, just leave this as a game finder website.

Just an idle thought I had when I started to tally the results of my question. I know I’m guilty of it; I pretty much only run a game when I need to playtest something these days. What do you think?

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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.

7 thoughts on “Informal Survey Results

  1. I’ve seen sites like that over the years. Sometimes they get a quick wave of entries, but all of them just sort of peter out fairly quickly. I think to be successful it really has to get a lot of publicity, and have someone responsible for keeping it alive.

  2. I’m looking for other players and dms as well. I run 1st/2nd edition. My problem 7s finding players that will play around my work/sleep schedule. Everyone wants to game later at night but I’d rather game earlier in the afternoon. I’d love a system such as you described.

  3. We could always start throwing more tournament games. That’s how the old gang built popularity. They kept building new, challenging tournament games, which they’d run at Origins and GenCon and wherever else and then they’d sell them. Kind of like DCC is doing now and that property seems to be going gangbusters.

    More tournament games would lead to more people seeing how to DM AD&D and connect them with fellow enthusiasts in their area.

  4. I answered the survey question, and I really only play 5e. Before putting any money into your idea, it might be worth asking what edition(s) your audience is playing / looking to play.

  5. Meetup dot com has locality-specific D&D (and associated games) events in my town– I certainly wouldn’t have known to look there if my wife hadn’t found that in years past when we were looking for a group to game with, but now our joint account gets email every week or so with a list of games.

    Might just want to leverage an existing site. Craigslist?

  6. I found that even the Facebook pages dedicated to online games (and those are usually Discord or Skype rather than Roll20) aren’t that helpful. The Weekend AD&D Facebook group, for example, had over 700 members, but advertised only four active online games and the same four players were in every one of them.

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