Do you survey your players?
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  1. #1
    Novice (Lvl 1)

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    Jan 2002
    Lancaster, PA USA
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    Block Grundle


    Do you survey your players?

    Although it seems a bit "dorky" I was thinking of sending a "survey" to all the players for my upcoming campaign. I'm hoping that they will be more likely to think about respond in writing then if I just throw out some questions before the game.

    I want to milk them for info on things they'd like to do in the game, places to adventure, magic items they've always wanted to play with, creatures they would like to encounter, etc, etc.

    So, my question to you uber-DMs out there is have you ever done something like this? How did it turn out? Do you have any material I could repackage?

  2. #2
    I did this with Shadowrun and also once with D&D3E. It met with varying success. With Shadworun, I would hand out a lil sort of questionairre with like 3 questions on it. These were about how the players weree enjoying the game, how they felt the plot was going, and where they'd like to see it go next. It was fun and it helped me out. I think I did that a few times. The thing was, we were all really into the game anyway, and in the midst of a big campaign.

    I tired the same thing with D&D 3E and got little response. I had to bust on em to answer the questions. One guy did, another guy just talked to me about it, and the rest pretty much ignored it. We hadn't even started the game, weren't into any story yet, and the game fell apart really fast.

    So, uh, yeah. I think it's a good idea, it just depends on the excecution of it. I'd say, do a simple survey at the start, then after the game gets going, do "input polls" or whatever occasionally. It's a theroetically good idea that bears more testing.

  3. #3
    I used to poll my players, and found it really useful. I gave out a 50exp bonus to everyone who contributed - enough to make it worth while, but not enough to put those who didn't at a great disadvantage. I also wrote a report on the feedback I had got, and a lot of the players said they found this really interesting.

    We also used to Rate the other players performances and then a further experience point bonus was given as a result of that. This could have worked out very badly, but fortunatly we have a mature group.

    You can have a look at the form I used here:
    Feedback Form

    The only reason I stopped doing it was because I just ended up not having the time to update my website.

  4. #4
    Acolyte (Lvl 2)

    Leopold's Avatar

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    I Defended The Walls!

    Block Leopold

    i talk to my players once a week, ask them how they are doing, some tidbits on how to make the game better, what they want to see, how to improve on the game, etc.

    they like that...the communication flows both ways and makes gaming fun!

  5. #5
    Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)

    Piratecat's Avatar

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    Block Piratecat

    Here's the one I recently sent out:

    • It's time (way overdue, actually) for our annual 21 question "are you having fun" survey. As always, I do this to fine-tune the game to your preferences.This is your chance to tell me what you like, hate, and want to see. You can comment on magic levels, experience point gain, challenge levels, and the like. In particular, while I always like to hear about good stuff, this is the place to tell me if you want more or less attention paid to your character (such as sub-plots.) I'm asking specific questions because I want honest answers, so please be honest. I'm not worried that the game is horrible or broken; on the contrary, I'm having great fun. I just want to jigger and fine tune things.

      1. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being best), how much fun are you having in general? ___

      2. When you just thought "the game is fun except for 'this'", what was the "this" that sprung to mind?

      3. Using a total of ten points, please give me your ideal proportion of role-playing vs. combat vs. puzzle/problem solving. (For example, I'd say that in general I try to make the campaign role playing 5, combat 3, puzzle/problem solving 2.)

      __ role playing
      __ combat
      __ puzzle solving

      4. Is the general pace of each session too fast, about right, or too slow? If too slow, what do you suggest I do to pick up the pace without pushing or railroading?

      5. Are you getting bored with the current plot arc? If so, what in particular is getting tedious?

      6. Are you getting enough role-playing encounters? More specifically, are you getting the kind of role-playing encounters you prefer? (I refer to personalities of NPCs, roles of NPCs, etc.) Outside of wearing silly little outfits - well, sillier - what can I do to improve role-playing encounters?

      7. Should I award XP more often? Is your rate of level gain (roughly every 10-12 sessions) about right?

      8. Do you want more handouts and the like? More maps?

      9. Are you getting enough attention paid to your character plot-wise? It would be great if you could suggest some additional plot hooks for your PC.

      10. Are you getting enough attention paid to YOU when we game? It's a relatively big group, and I try to spread my attention equally. If I'm not doing so, please make sure you tell me.

      11. Is the general pace of combat too slow? If so, what can I do to speed it up?

      12. Is the variety of combat encounters okay? What kind of beasties would you like to run in to?

      13. Is the danger level of combat encounters okay? Would you like to see more hard, moderate or easy combats?

      14. What do you like the least about the campaign? what one thing would you change if you could? What one thing can I change to make myself a better DM?

      15. What do you like the most about the campaign?

      16. Do you feel your character is on an equitable power level with the rest of the party? Do you feel effective? If not, what in particular needs beefing up?

      17. Is there anything you want to change about your character, either personality-wise or role-in-the-group-wise?

      18. What do you think about the magic item level for both you and the group as a whole - too low, about right, or too many? Any particular magic items/effects you're drooling to get?

      19. Do you like logic puzzles, such as riddles and sneaky traps? How about prophecies that you have to figure out? How about figuring out what your enemies are up to? What other "puzzle/problem" things would you like to see in the game?

      20. Do we play often enough? About right? Too often?

      21. What question should I have asked that I didn't?

    Hope that helps.

  6. #6
    Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)

    Silver Moon's Avatar

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    Oct 2002
    New Hampshire
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    Block Silver Moon

    Love the survey PC!

    The only survey I conduct with my players is when I've got several module ideas running around in my head, so I put them all down on paper and have the players vote on what they want to play. I did this last year using the trademarked "That's Damn Easy" rating scale, which reads like this:

    "Tell me how badly you want to play something, using the kid-tested, parent-approved, new and improved That's Damn Easy (tm) system. Use the following ratings:

    ++ I REALLY want to play this!
    + I want to play this
    0 Ehhh. Okay.
    - I'd prefer to play something else.
    - - I'd rather milk pigs than play this.

    See? That's Damn Easy! (tm)"

    Of course the drawback to using this scale is that I live in rural New Hampshire, and one of my players actually thinks milking livestock is a fun activity.

  7. #7
    I frequently solicit feedback from my players regarding our current campaign, but I've never considered using an actual survey or questionnaire. Now I probably will. Not a dorky concept at all, Grundle.

    Thanks for sharing your examples Pigeon and PC!!

  8. #8
    I also generally ask for impressions, good/bad points, etc. after each session, but I've never done anything as formal as an actual survey. With changes to fit my group, however, I could see a modified version of Piratecat's survey being an excellent tool both before and during a game (to establish preferences and fine-tune the experience, respectively). Thanks for the idea.

  9. #9
    I get a lot of feedback from my players. its great. I have never done a survey, but may do a quick 3 ? one about what they like, don't like, and want to see more of just to get some more feedback

  10. #10
    PC ... did you ever think about writing a regular GM advice column?

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