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Pen&paper RPG: Italian Market – Italian Role Gamers (Part 3/6)

Traditionally, Italians are not the best target for tabletop role games. There are three reasons for this:
– They prefer outdoor activities;
– Italians are not strong readers (only 45,3% of the population read at least a single book in the 2012);
– Usually Italians give low priority to mechanics and strict rules.
This explains why, unlike to what happened in Anglo-Saxon countries, at the beginning most Italian role gamers were not former board games or war/strategy games players but just a small number of fantasy comics and game book readers, dispersed and unorganized.

Player identities
After 25 years of experience in role gaming in Italy we can roughly divide the gamers in three classes or attitudes:
“Retired dreamer”: a person usually in his middle to late thirties that began playing during the golden age. He’s not subject to the “D&D seduction”, he’s more exigent in terms of rules and setting and he can spend more than he can actually play due to lack of time. It’s a sort of retired gamer who is waiting for a new chance to play. This kind of players are well acquainted with old blockbusters, especially if based on novels. They usually play games like:

  • Call of Cthulhu;
  • Cyberpunk 2020;
  • Any Middle-Earth based RPG.

“Dragon fodder”: a younger person that follows the mainstream products. He’s sensitive to advertising campaigns, he’s often a videogame player (or better, he’s mainly a videogamer) or generally influenced by other media and social networks. He’s more competitive and interested in rewards, a bit more open-minded that the previous class, less exigent in terms of mechanics and rules but more in terms of graphics and readiness. These kinds of players usually play with:

  • D&D/Pathfinder (together they take at least the 60% of the whole RPG market);
  • Vampire or any WOD product;
  • Warhammer series.

“Dice harder”: he’s a role gamer of any age that takes his hobby seriously; he can be a theorist or a simulationist as well as an indie or a new wave player. Usually these players are focused and organized, they are not afraid of experimenting new games neither of reading rulebooks in foreign languages. Chances are that they belong to a gaming association or at least an online discussion forum. They usually play:

  • GURPS, Savage Worlds or other multi-universe system;
  • A “New Wave” RPG;
  • A strange and almost unknown foreign RPG.

Facts & Figures
Aside from this classification there are other traits that portrait the Italian audience. Last year, a survey taken by an Italian online RPG association ( on a sample of about 800 players supplied some interesting information summarized in the following percentages:

14-19  : 6%
20-24 : 30%
25-29 : 27%
30-34: 22%
35-39 : 9%
40-44 : 4%
45+     : 2%

Male     : 82%
Female : 18%

Geographical partition
North : 52%
Center : 33%
South : 15%

Players’ preferences by genre
Fantasy : 38%
Sci-fi : 23%
Superhero : 6%
Horror : 21%
Thriller : 5%
Historical : 8%
Other : 1%

Usual gaming location
Home : 67%
Clubs : 9%
Game Associations : 7%
Private spaces : 9%
Fairs and Events :  2%
Other : 6%

Usual gaming partners
Family : 9%
Close friends : 74%
Gaming friends : 5%
Acquaintances : 5%
Other : 7%

On average, Italian gamers appear to be male, their age concentrate around thirty years, and participating to 2 or 3 different games with single game preferred on the others modes. Groups of gamers aggregate on the top of pre-existing friendship and are closed circles with nearly no connection with other groups (only the 22% belong to a gaming association).
Word of mouth and social networks have the same impact of distributors and official press releases in spreading information about new games while game shops have a minimal influence on RPG choice.


Table of Contents

  1. Pen&paper RPG: Italian Market – Foreword
  2. Pen&paper RPG: Italian Market – Short history of RPGs in Italy
  3. Pen&paper RPG: Italian Market – Italian Role Gamers
  4. Pen&paper RPG: Italian Market – Main Events and Fairs
  5. Pen&paper RPG: Italian Market – RPGs sales and shares
  6. Pen&paper RPG: Italian Market – Publishers and distribution

2 commenti su “Pen&paper RPG: Italian Market – Italian Role Gamers (Part 3/6)

  1. pennymaster
    9 luglio 2013

    Interessante… però fatico a trovare la mia collocazione in una delle tre tipologie di giocatore. Si può appartenere a tutte e tre?

  2. Imbrattabit
    9 luglio 2013

    Certo, sono insiemi logici che si sovrappongono 😉

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Questa voce è stata pubblicata il 28 giugno 2013 da in Approfondimenti, English con tag , , , , , , .
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