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© 1998-2001 Dru
high point of my gaming career was probably in college, when I ran an
RPG during the week, played Friday nights, ran Saturday mornings, played
Saturday nights, and played Sunday mornings. Ah, the good old days, when
we had a college club that welcomed fresh new faces every year and nothing
to worry about except getting a passing grade in order to remain in this
a Game Date. One answer is to contact all of your friends who still
want to game, even though they have a hard time finding time for it, and
set up a regular date. After all, these friends probably already have
some regular dates in their lives ... hockey practice every Thursday night,
poker every third Wednesday, church every Sunday. If these things can
be calendared and treated as priorities, why not gaming? Okay, you probably
won't be able to schedule five games a week. But how about one game a
month? If everyone in your gaming group knows that the first Saturday
of every month is "RPG Day" -- starting at 1 p.m. at so-and-so's
house -- then scheduling around it suddenly becomes much easier.
the Game Flexible. In a group where some people might not be able
to make the game, it's best to run campaigns that don't require everyone
to be there. Keep your plots fairly open, so that it's easy to accommodate
different players, and avoid making any one character central to the campaign.
If a player doesn't show up or comes late, you could give the character
to the GM or to another player to handle or "poof" the character,
pretending the character isn't around until the player rejoins the game.
Work with Others' Needs. If some players can't stay late to a game, then move your gametime up, starting in the morning rather than the afternoon, and put a cup of coffee on for everybody. If some players need to leave the game briefly to run an errand for an hour or so, go ahead and let them, continuing to play while they're gone. If some players have a child, invite them to bring the child with them, especially if you have an adjacent room where the child can be put with some toys, movies, or books. If there are several children in your gaming group, you might even want to hire a babysitter to stay in the other room with them while you game. If players can't afford to order food every time you game, make the games potluck. The point is that most problems can be worked around, if everybody is willing to be patient and make compromises.
Your Group. Another answer is to find other groups to game with. If
that tried-and-true gaming group of yours can't get together more than
once every four months, then go find someone else you can play with in
the interim. It's a great way to meet new friends and try some new RPGs.
Many hobby and game stores open space for players over the weekend; if
they don't have an RPG group already, ask if you can start one.
originally written January 5, 2001