We tested the questionnaire J. Matias Kivikangas has written for Alterations yesterday with mainly positive results. There were some minor complications that made me wonder afterwards:
Firstly, we tried to use the questionnaire for an already existing game. That means that the conventions being considered through the medium of the questionnaire were already in place, and so we mainly ended up with an uniform view of the game. It may also mean that our play-group is next to perfect when it comes to common conventions and playing habits, but I doubt it in light of earlier experiences.
The second problem was that there was one question that we all understood differently. I think the wording may need some revision and I think I will talk to J about this.
Third, we never did feel the need for anonymity although it is suggested in the questionnaire. This is mainly because it is rather hard to discuss about our preferences without defending or commenting them. I’m unsure what was the function of anonymity in the questionnaire in the first place.
Fourth, and this is the biggest problem I came to notice, is how we are - and in this case, we were - culturally conditioned to prefer some choices over others. The first question adapts in to the options given quite directly the conventions recognized in popular role-play study: narrativism, gamism and simulationism. And in Finland, it is a rather brave gamer who chooses to defend gamism openly, although it still is the preferred mode of gaming for some. This means that these opinions aren’t probably expressed during the discussion about the game, but they will definitely impact the way the game is played in the end. This decreases the value of information gathered during the discussion about the conventions, and may lead to problems when the game doesn’t correspond to the ideas presented about it.