To illustrate this point if you ask 1000 randomly selected people which would they rather play:
(1) A game with 15 pages of rules
(2) A game with 600 pages of rules
The majority of that group will say 15 pages.
Then you check actual sales and the core book for Pathfinder is generally the #1 selling rulebook at Amazon lately clocking in at nearly 600 pages. There is a psychological reason for this I believe and will go into detail about if anyone is interested.
Modern demographics fall apart on this level more often than not. There are many cases in history where focus groups tested the opposite of what the actual outcome was.
What I have done I refer to as the 'grains of sand' or 'buzz' theory. I feel the information in the initial period is more accurate than after time passes and people begin to be affected by others opinions that muddies the initial reaction.
I gather a wide amount of information, find the talking points and then rank most talked about to least talked about and rate them as positive or negative and make note of the distance between the two points. For an overall reaction I add all the positives and subtract all the negatives and compare this number to the total number of talking points observed. What follows is the distillation of hundreds of posts and comments made during the first 24 hours of the release of the DCC RPG beta. I hope it proves of some use to the games creators as they prepare a final commercial version.
the #0 = a negative response
the #1 = a positive result
TOP TEN DISCUSSED POINTS W/ REACTION
01. LIKE THE ART (+23)
02. DISLIKE THE NUMBER OF TABLES (-13)
03. DISLIKE THE ZOCCHI DICE (-13)
04. LIKE THE MAGIC SYSTEM (+11)
05. DISLIKE THE ART (-10)
06. DISLIKE THE SYSTEM (-8)
07. DISLIKE THE 0-LEVEL START (-6)
08. DISLIKE MAGIC SYSTEM (-6)
09. LIKE THE SYSTEM (+6)
10. LIKE THE 0-LEVEL START (+4)
TOP FIVE DISCUSSED POINTS (POSITIVE / NEGATIVE)
ART - (23 LIKE) (10 DISLIKE)
TABLES - (13 DISLIKE) (2 LIKE)
ZOCCHI DICE – (13 DISLIKE) (3 LIKE)
MAGIC SYSTEM – (11 LIKE) (6 DISLIKE)
OVER ALL SYSTEM – (8 LIKE) (6 DISLIKE)
0-LEVEL START – (6 DISLIKE) (4 LIKE (3 LIKE AS OPT +4=7)*
*A third reaction began to surface on the 0-level start mechanic of it being positive if added as an optional feature thus the extra added above.
Also, individual likes and dislikes have been counted together for a more uniform view of the overall reaction. For instance the dislike of the artwork was split about even between there being too much of it or they didn't like the style, etc.
An overall positive reaction to the artwork both in quantity and quality (the most discussed point which I found very interesting).
A very negative reaction to the number of tables included.
A very negative reaction to the use of Zocchi dice and the added cost and complexity they felt was unneeded.A positive reaction to the magic system.
A marginal positive reaction to the overall system of mechanics.
A negative reaction to the 0-level starting point of PCs but when added as an optional mechanic the reaction turns marginally positive.
There were many other talking points that appeared in smaller numbers and thus make them more difficult to sample but are included for the overall reaction rating. This is the complete sample list:
ART 1 (+23)
TABLES 0 (-13)
ZOCCHI DICE 0 (-13)
MAGIC SYSTEM 1 (+11)
ART 0 (-10)
SYSTEM 0 (-8)
0-LEVEL 0 (-6)
MAGIC SYSTEM 0 (-6)
SYSTEM 1 (+6)
0-LEVEL 1 (+4)
0-LEVEL AS OPTION 1 (+3)
RACE AS CLASS 0 (-3)
SYSTEM MECHANICS 0 (-3)
ZOCCHI DICE 1 (+3)
ALIGNMENT 0 (-2)
CHARACTER CREATION 0 (-2)
CHARACTER CREATION 1 (+2)
DEEDS 1 (+2)
RACE AS CLASS 1 (+2)
TABLES 1 (+2)
TRYING TO COPYRIGHT TABLES 0 (-2)
ALIGNMENT 1 (+1)
BFRPG MORE MODULAR 0 (-1)
CARTOONS 1 (+1)
CHARACTER MECHANICS 0 (-1)
CLASS MECHANICS 0 (-1)
COMBAT 1 (+1)
CORE MECHANIC 0 (-1)
D20 MECHANICS 1 (+1)
DUNGEON CRAWL 1 (+1)
EPIC LEVEL 0 (-1)
FUNNEL 0 (-1)
FUNNEL 1 (+1)
INDIVIDUAL CHARACTER RECORD SHEETS 1 (+1)
LIKES BFRPG BETTER 0 (-1)
MECHANICS 0 (-1)
MONSTERS 0 (-1)
NO ‘WHAT IS ROLEPLAYING’ SECTION 1 (+1)
ROLEMASTER-LIKE BETTER 0 (-1)
TARGET GROUP FOCUS 0 (-1)
THEME 0 (-1)
XP TABLES 0 (-1)
TOTAL POINTS: 129
POSITIVE TALKING POINTS: 48
NEGATIVE TALKING POINTS: 81
In my own work in the past I look at this type of analysis to help tag and track different aspects of something that causes strong feelings for or against. It is a small sample but can be used as a heads up to further test and narrow the two extremes and bring the points closer together (I see a -2 and a +2 as par and canceling each other out while a -13 and a +2 shows a strong dislike of the topic being discussed and resources can then be directed to understand the situation better,etc).
This is not a value judgment nor does it reflect my own opinions on the subject. It is meant as a simple tool among many that can be used to better understand the subject and initial reactions to it. I hope it proves useful.