Over one in five American adults (23%) with online access have played a tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) such as Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), Pathfinder, or GURPs. While 45% of men under 45 years old have played, less than 10% of men over 55 have played; 39% of women under 25 have played, compared to 25% of women 25 to 34, and 10% of women 55-64.

Six out of ten of those who have ever played a TTRPG have played D&D, 25% have played a Star Wars RPG, and 17% have played Star Trek Adventures. For the small sample of those who have played D&D (n=144), 40% have played D&D 5th Edition, 32% have played 4th Edition, and another 32% have played the original edition (least played was the Basic/Expert Set).

One out of five have ever read any gamebooks, such as Choose Your Own Adventure, Fighting Fantasy, Lone Wolf, or solitaire RPG adventures such as the Tunnels & Trolls series. Those 35-44 years old are most likely to have read a gamebook (39%), and 56% of those who played a TTRPG have read a gamebook.

Another 20% of online adults have ever played any text adventures or interactive fiction games on a computer, tablet, or smartphone, such as Choice of Games, Infocom, or Twine games. Likelihood of having played declines by age, from 45% of 18-24 year olds, 36% of 25-34 year olds, and 26% of 35-44 year olds; 62% of those who played a TTRPG have played a text adventure.

Adult population estimates, July 1, 2018, (V2018) (Source: Census) 253 million
Online adults (Source: Pew Research) 89%
225 million
Ever played an RPG 23%
52 million
Ever played D&D 62%
32 million
Ever played D&D 5e 40%
13 million

Extrapolating from this, approximately 32 million American adults have ever played Dungeons & Dragons, and 13 million have played 5th Edition. (Conservative assumption: since the older, less affluent, and less educated are not online, this estimate assumes offline adults have not played.)

This survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was fielded online from April 22 to 23, 2019. For more, please check out the slides and general methodology.

Author Notes:

Researchscape International

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Jeffrey Henning, IPC is a professionally certified researcher and has personally conducted over 1,400 survey research projects. Jeffrey is a member of the Insights Association and the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers. In 2012, he was the inaugural winner of the MRA’s Impact award, which “recognizes an industry professional, team or organization that has demonstrated tremendous vision, leadership, and innovation, within the past year, that has led to advances in the marketing research profession.” In 2022, the Insights Association named him an IPC Laureate. Before founding Researchscape in 2012, Jeffrey co-founded Perseus Development Corporation in 1993, which introduced the first web-survey software, and Vovici in 2006, which pioneered the enterprise-feedback management category. A 35-year veteran of the research industry, he began his career as an industry analyst for an Inc. 500 research firm.