One of the more intriguing of the latter is a plastic bag full of print-outs that turn out to be a hundred or so blank copies of a survey, all neatly hole-punched for placing in a binder but all blank. I remember the management at TSR had a great aversion to surveys, since the results inevitably contradicted their pre-formed opinions about our audience.* Nonetheless, I did do the occasional quiet surveys among the staff in the R-and-D department at TSR, to satisfy my curiosity about gaming habits among my co-workers, such as one in which I asked folks which rules they did and didn't use in their ADandD game.**
I forget the context for the survey I've just re-discovered, which is geared more towards habits among gaming groups: probably I printed this up to hand out at a GenCon seminar (circa 1994, '95, or '96). But if that's the case, I don't know why they weren't ever distributed. In any case, I think some of the questions still highly relevant, so I thought I'd share. Here's the Survey:
What was the first role-playing game you ever played?
What is your favorite role-playing game? Why?
What role-playing game do you play most often? How often do you play?
Do you ever use modules, or do you make up your own adventures?
Do you ever run the same adventure more than once (i.e., with different groups)?
What's your favorite module of all time? Why?
Last favorite? Why?
Have you ever bought the rules to a game because you read and liked one of its modules?
Are there any games you regularly buy just to read, not to play?
How much influence does cover art have on whether or not you buy (or play) a game product?
Outside of a tournament, how often do you run or play a game using pregenerated characters from a module?
What is your campaign's most useful "home rule"?
Does your regular gaming group stay with one game system (e.g., AD&D), or does it "graze", continually moving from one game to another?
Within your group's favorite system, do you rotate between various settings (for example, AD&D's Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, & Planescape; GURPS' Supers, Space, & Horror; Call of Cthulhu's 1920s setting, Cthulhu by Gaslight, Cthulhu Now), or do you stay in the same game "world"?
How does your group usually integrate new characters into an ongoing campaign?
Are they usually 1st-level/unskilled/beginners, or a compatible level with the rest of the party?
How often does the whole group roll up new characters?
How many people are in your regular gaming group?
What's the usual male/female ratio in groups you've played with?
What's the racial mix of your regular gaming group?
How often do you play a character of the opposite sex?
How often do you play a character of a different race (e.g., Caucasian)?
Have you ever played in an all-male or all-female group?
Was it noticeably different from your regular campaign?
Is there more than one GM in your gaming group? If so, does this affect the quality of play? Do the various GMs take turns running the same campaign?
When was the last time your group invited someone who'd never played a role-playing game before to join in?
current reading: IRON TEARS
*as in one DUNGEON magazine survey, which showed that the average DandD player was the age of a college student or recent graduate therefrom, whereas management was gearing product lines towards an imagined audience of ten year olds
**two rules nobody, but nobody used were encumbrance and weapon speed factor.