The Waving Flag: DBMM Report Card Results – Part 1

Monday 17 August 2009

DBMM Report Card Results – Part 1

Between 29th July and 15 August 2009 I ran an online survey to look at players’ attitudes to DBMM after two and a half years of playing version 1.0 and to establish a benchmark prior to the release of version 1.1 later this year.
  • Phil Barker’s views on customer feedback
  • Original DBMMlist post launching survey
Overall, the survey proved popular with 128 DBMM player’s taking part.  To draw my conclusions I’ve set up a database to analyse the results in a bit more detail. 
I’ll be posting my finding here in four  or five parts over the next couple of weeks:
  • Basic findings
  • The rule book
  • Playing the game
  • Issues
  • Wishes – not yet sure if this will be need a separate post.

Basic Findings
Six questions in the survey were designed to create a picture of the overall health of DBMM:
  • Overall rating - 72.6% respondents rated DBMM as either good or excellent with an average score of 2.27 ± 1.21 (1 is excellent, 3 neutral and 5 poor).
  • Residence – Players from 17 country took part with the UK, Australia and the USA accounting for nearly 70% of the replies – full breakdown.  The UK provided the biggest group of respondents (59 of 128).
  • Why play DBMM – The two main reasons given were enjoyment (80.4% agreed or strongly agreed) and that players used to play DBM (60%).  Surprisingly speed of play (47%) came in fourth (just) behind my friends play (48%).
  • How often – 41% of respondents had played a maximum of one game a month in the last year.  23% had played a maximum of once a fortnight.
  • Favourite period – Book 2 (Classical period) is by far the most popular period (42%) whilst Book 1 is the least popular (12%).  The balance was split evenly between Books 3 & 4.
  • Best & worst – the use of elements and the PIP system were the most highly rated features (14% each); closely followed by the combat system (12%).  Spontaneous advance, deployment and the weather rules were the least highly rated (4 - 5%)
As with all surveys generalising is fraught with difficulties but it’s also great fun.

So from the survey I see the average (dangerous word) DBMM player as a former DBM player who is more than happy with the rules and playing somewhere between one and two games a month. Their favourite period is the classical period and they like DBMM because it’s element based; uses PIPs for command and control and has a good combat system.

One thing that struck me was that despite Book 4 (22%) being much more popular than Book 1 (12%) the former has still to be published.

Relationships & Correlations
Using the data I dug a bit deeper so see if there’s a relationship between the overall rating and the number of games played and there is:

Games Played Overall rating Std dev Count
0 3.82 1.47 11
1 – 12 2.53 1.16 45
12 – 26 2.03 0.98 29
26 – 52 1.84 0.96 19
52 – 104 1.25 0.62 12
105 up 1.00 1
All 2.27 1.24 117
I can see two ways of looking at this result:
  • The blindingly obvious – the people who play a lot of DBMM like it more than people who don’t.
  • A potential barrier – players who play less than once a month tend to rate the rules lower than those who play more often.
The data in the table fits both views but the latter carries a bit more weight if we are looking for ways to increase the number of DBMM players and their enjoyment of the game.

Digging even deeper (I’ll spare you the details) showed that 27% (15/56) of players who played less than once a month rated DBMM as either fair or poor.  In contrast only 6%  (4/61) of players who had played more than once a fortnight rated DBMM as either fair or poor.

Summary & Conclusions
To me all this suggests that there is a barrier to overcome for some players who don’t, or can’t, play often.  I hope the next parts will uncover some clues as to why this is so.

Coming next: the rulebook.

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