Or do they? What do you think and what do you feel are the good and bad points about using stats?
I first read CYOA stories as a kid and they had no stats. I enjoyed them immensely but as technology has grown, the use of stats and other methods to modify an individual’s character enable game developers to customize stories to the reader. Stats are quite powerful in that regard.
I believe story is the priority, though.
Stats can add a lot to a game when they actually do something - however, I’ve played a few games where your stats have little to no impact on gameplay. It’s as though they’re just there because it might feel odd to the player if they weren’t.
As an example of how stats can be used or not, some players like tracking their morality through a good/evil meter. Some players prefer to see it come out in the consequences of their actions. A couple games I’ve played have used them together. (they weren’t CYOA-style, but you definitely had to make choices)
I try to incorporate personality statistics in my games - for instance, if you’ve been nasty to people a majority of the time, is anyone who knows you going to believe it when you act nice? I think Choice of Broadsides does this to some extent (like frightening Beatrice/Brendan with violent tales of the sea, if you’ve been particularly bloodthirsty).
When stats don’t really mean anything to the game and are just a way to track what you’ve done, that’s where it gets a bit complicated. Some players like being able to measure how their character has developed, others think they’re mindless fluff. It really comes down to what your game is going to be.