Gamer Preferences Quiz
M. Joseph Young

In studying role playing games, players have noticed several ways in which they differ.  These have become the basis of many discussions about the nature of gaming and games.

Your contribution via
PayPal Me
keeps this site and its author alive.
Thank you.

One outcome of these discussions is the theory that gamers should be matched to the games they play and the people with whom they play them.

This quiz attempts to identify a player's preferences in relation to two distinct models of game concepts:

Gamist, Narrativist, and Simulationist Goals (G/N/S)
Drama, Fortune, and Karma Mechanics (D/K/S)

The Gamist/Narrativist/Simulationist (G/N/S) paradigm is about gaming goals.

Gamists focus on the competitive aspects of a game.  The adventure is a challenge constructed of obstacles to overcome in an effort to obtain a prize or reach a goal.  Character development involves gaining advantages to assist in this effort.  The object is to win the game.

Narrativists are developing a story.  Winning and losing is irrelevant; what matters is that something memorable emerges, a tale worth telling again.

Simulationists are experiencing a world, a time and a place.  The game is a set of rules that define the world and the people and events within it, such that as you play you discover what might have happened in such a world.  It doesn't matter whether we like what happened; it is the discovery itself that has value.

The Drama/Fortune/Karma (D/F/K) paradigm is about event resolution, the mechanics which make the game run.

Karma mechanics are a straightforward comparison of character values:  the character with the higher score wins a competition involving that score; in-game obstacles are overcome by those whose scores beat a difficulty rating for the obstacle.

Fortune mechanics use dice or cards or other randomizers to add a bit of risk to the outcome--there is usually a chance of failure even for the best, and the underdog might defeat a superior opponent on a lucky chance.

Drama mechanics place outcomes solely in the hands of people, usually the referee but often the players individually or collectively.  Outcomes are based primarily on the decisions of people, not directly on either a die roll or a score comparison.

It should be understood that most games blend more than one goal and more than one mechanic, and most players do so as well.  The outcome should indicate the degree to which you as an individual favor one aspect of play or another, but most players will find they are indifferent in several areas, indicating that they probably accept and appreciate those aspects, although they favor others.

This is a mailto form version of the quiz.  If you fill this out and send it, the author of the quiz will receive it, process it, and return the results by e-mail to the sending address at his earliest convenience.  By using this form, you are providing information directly to the author which will help him to understand and improve the quiz.

AOL users and others whose browsers are not configured for mailto forms should use a different version of the quiz.  Your information is unlikely to be delivered correctly, and so cannot be processed.

You may share your thoughts, results, and impressions with the author by e-mail at

The answers to these questions will facilitate processing the quiz and interpreting its results:

Under what name would you like the results processed?

Please predict, based on the above descriptions, how you expect to be identified as a gamer:
AverseSomewhat AntipatheticIndifferentPreferringStrongly Preferring
Drama Mechanics
Fortune Mechanics
Karma Mechanics

Quiz Begins

For each question, a statement or situation is given, followed by a series of statements about it.  For each of those statements, rate the outcome from 0 to 4, where 0 does not represent your feelings or thoughts at all and 4 is a very close representation of your thoughts and feelings.

In selecting your answer, consider both what the question specifically asks and the idea behind it.  If you see an answer that is exactly what you think, that clearly gets a 4; however, if you see an answer which seems to agree with a principle you think is important but isn't exactly the way you would do it, you would probably give it a 3.  A 2 should indicate things about which you are either genuinely conflicted or genuinely apathetic.  1 should show some degree of distaste for the idea expressed, but 0 should be used for those answers in which you would not only not do that but would object to the reasons for which it might be done even in a less egregious situation.

Answer each question based on the best games you have played, and on what you would like your games to be like in the future.

1) The characters are pursuing their enemy in a modern-day gritty secret agent RPG (no magic).  They have been on his trail for many months (game and real time) and are about to raid his secret headquarters when his car bursts out of an underground garage and hurtles straight at them.  They scatter, and one of them pulls his gun and fires a shot at the fleeing car.  It explodes.  The bad guy dies.  End of story.
A) This is a bad ending because there was no climax to the story.
B) This is a bad ending because it's unrealistic for a car to explode on a single shot.
C) This is a bad ending because the players didn't get to defeat the enemy in a challenging confrontation.
D) This ending is acceptable if it came from a very lucky die roll.
E) This ending is acceptable if the character making the shot is extremely skilled at destroying cars.
F) This ending is acceptable if the players are tired of this story and want to move on to other things.

2) You are finally up against the chief villain, what some call the big boss of the whole game.  Combat begins, and it's going to be a massive fight.
A) At this point, the flow of the action is more important than the details of the rules.
B) It's vital that combat accurately follow the rules for a true and honest outcome.
C) Game mechanics matter to the degree that they can be used tactically as part of the strategy.
D) The only reasonable outcome is for the more skilled, better-equipped, better deployed side to win.
E) Dice are essential, because they add that touch of unpredictability to the situation.
F) The referee should skillfully steer the situation to assure the best outcome.

3) At the beginning of the new adventure, the characters are to be delivered to the new planet in cryonic suspension capsules.  The module indicates that they have no choice, but must travel this way in order to continue the adventure.  This mode of transport is not safe; two percent of those who attempt to travel this way, according to the rules, are never revived.  A key player character, the party's best fighter, dies.
A) The rule should not apply; this is plot exposition, explaining how the party traveled.  The adventure begins when they arrive.
B) The character may die, but only after he fails a saving throw.
C) The players knew the risk when their characters boarded the ship, so the result stands.
D) These unexpected twists are an important part of the game experience.
E) A fairer result would be obtained by basing the outcome on character constitution rather than pure chance.
F) The players should designate a non-player character to die instead of one of the player characters.

4) Your character is arrested and put in prison for a year.  The game continues with the other players.
A) There's an opportunity here to try to escape.
B) It will be important that my character does what he can to keep healthy and fit while incarcerated.
C) The situation is tolerable if my character can develop through interaction with the other prisoners and guards.
D) I should have had a saving throw to avoid this.
E) I play my "improve outcome of events" card to reduce the sentence to parole.
F) I will be fine if my stealth score beats the guards' perception scores.

5) Role playing games are in some ways a lot like...
A) Fictionary or Malarky, where description is a valuable skill.
B) Stratego, because the trick is assessing opponent strengths.
C) Risk, where a lot depends on luck.
D) Civil War Reenactments, because it seems so real.
E) Improvisational acting, as you craft the story together.
F) Football, in that you give it everything you've got to win.

6) Fleeing pursuit through some caves, you must cross a chasm wider than your height.  You have no special gear, and there's no running room.
A) My character sheet should clearly state whether I will successfully jump that far.
B) I remind the referee that my character is a renowned acrobat.
C) No matter how good I am, the dice could go against me.
D) The chasm is a natural part of the terrain which makes the caves more real.
E) The chasm is a challenge to overcome to reach the goal.
F) The chasm increases the dramatic tension at this moment.


The results will be processed by the author at his earliest convenience, and returned by e-mail for your reference.

Explanation of the questions and answers appears in other versions of this quiz.

Thank you for trying this gamer quiz.  The author is interested in the results you've obtained.  You may contact him by e-mail.

The author would also like to thank many of those who contributed through the Gaming Outpost forums and articles to his understanding of these concepts and to the questions used to approach them.  Of particular mention should be Sorcerer author and narrativist Ron Edwards, whose exposition of these concepts in the article "System Does Matter" is invaluable; Scarlet Jester, whose defense of games which avoid fortune mechanics is enlightening; Seth Ben-Ezra of Dark Omen Games, who devised part of question one; avowed simulationist Balbinus; avowed gamist Lugzan; Hunter Logan, Jared Sorenson, JohnB, and too many others to name.

You are also invited to try Multiverser:  The Game, the role playing game designed for flexibility, in which all worlds are possible and many styles of play are supported, of which the author of this quiz is co-author.

Writings of M. Joseph Young.

Multiverser Information Center:  The Experience.

Valdron Inc, publishers of Multiverser and other works by M. Joseph Young.