I posed a very simple survey to my gaming group and a few other members that have moved away but still game. Below are the results and some observations.

For context, yes, we’re 100% male and Central Illinois Caucasian. We live in a very rural area chocked full of corn and soybean fields as far as the eye can see. Definitely NOT Chicago. One member is just starting his 20s while the majority of us are over 40.

Question 1:

You can see we mostly have fantasy roots. The Vampire answer is from a player that joined during one of our GM’s World of Darkness games. He’s now happily GMing Fantasy and d20 Dredd.

Question 2:

We are, by and large, a very old group of gamers. In typical IT firm parlance we’d have over 200 years of combined gaming experience. A large portion of those years is combinations of the same people so we are truly friends and gamers.

Question 3:

Most groups have a hard time finding game masters to run their sessions and campaigns. This leads to serious burnout and often breaks groups that can’t easily provide that one person a chance to relax from game prep and just play. Our group has been blessed with at least three GMs throughout our history. Players come and go, life forces change but we’ve always survived and welcomed players back.

Question 4:

Mechanics, crunchiness and how many dice you roll to resolve a task are important to the simulation of reality within a game system. We’ve played nearly every system out there in some form or another (Yes, even the old rock, paper, scissor LARP system). The majority of our gaming has been on leveling systems through AD&D. The forays into skills based systems were mostly World of Darkness and West End Games Star Wars. All have merits and flaws but the biggest thing was the story and fun.

Question 5:

Big surprise, we’re a strong fantasy group. We’ve explored all the other genres and always come back to our touchstone. Fantasy is a true escape from reality providing a complete replacement of reality with magic, swords, dragons and hoards of treasure. Modern and Sic-Fi genres tend to enable more real world knowledge and are thus a little less escapist.

Question 6:

This is a MMO-esque question asking people to pigeonhole themselves into a single role. It’s annoying because a wizard is not always just a spell slinger and a fighter doesn’t have to be a DPS/Meat shield. I was just trying to get a look at how people prefer to escape the real world by assuming a typical fantasy role. I might expand on this at some point but for the few of us in the group, I was happy to see the spread of answers.

Question 7:

I tried to open this one beyond the MMO style class question above. It was more about how far out of the normal does a player look to explore. Again the spread was a solid overview of our group with simple humans all the way to anything goes.

Question 8:

This question flies in the face of the narrative that straight males are afraid of exploring cross gender characters. I probably play female characters around a third of the time simply because the opportunities to role play outside of my norm are greater. It’s not a superficial mechanics benefit or stereotyping experience when we have a male playing a female role.