5 Things you Learn with Too Many Game Masters Around the Table

Since JADE started playing Tabletop Roleplaying games, we have had a serious problem: Everyone wanted to host their own Campaign. In my past experiences with the 3-4 other game groups I have played with, there were normally only 1 or 2 people who were interested in Hosting... Which was normally just me. I had never played in group where everyone wanted to host and it presented some unusual challenges.

After three years of handling this, we seem to have finally figured it out (sort of), and I have learned these 5 interesting things along the way.

Not that kind of calender...

1. Scheduling is a Nightmare

All four of us at JADE are in our late twenties; And as young professionals, life can be hectic. Between work, social obligations, my upcoming wedding, etc. Getting time in for gaming can be difficult, especially when everyone has their own life going on at different times.

But it is not only just timing, it is also scheduling what we are going to do. At JADE we have over 100 different Board game titles to choose from, 15 different RPG Series, not too mention another 100 expansions and boosters. It can be really over whelming, and I find that what people want to do can change from day to day. So sometimes an RPG will be scheduled, and we end up playing Magic the Gathering all night.

How JADE Solved it:

Truth be told... We haven't. With everyone's different work schedules, and gaming obsessions it is still our biggest challenge to over come. What helped a little bit was standardizing Game Day to at least one day a week (we picked Sunday) and then having another "float" day that moves around throughout the week to accommodate for peoples schedules.

It is not perfect to say the least, but it has increased the number of games being played by all members.

2. Participation can be a Touchy Issue

Knowing that everyone can't make it to every game, the question often comes up: Do we wait for everyone to be there or do we go ahead with the game?

While having the full group always makes for a really awesome game, it also makes games drag on, and on. For example, it took us an entire year to finish my 10 game Interstellar Exports campaign because we waited for everyone to be available for each game.

How JADE Solved it:

This caused quite a stir in the group, as Jeff and myself were more on the side of "the show must go on" regardless of who is there, while Dave and Elijah leaned more towards waiting for the whole group to be there.

With a 50/50 split we had to compromise. First we shortened the amount of games each GM gets from 10 to 6. and agreed that everyone has to be present for the first and last game of the campaign. On games 2-4 the game will go ahead so long as the GM and 1 Player are present.

Now we have not tried this system yet, but I will keep you posted.

3. Choosing a Game is Hard

We were pretty naive when we first started at JADE. Everyone wanted to be a GM so every week cycled through a different game. It was a catastrophe. The schedule became muddled, and the games ground to a halt. We realised quickly, that we needed to play one game at a time if we wanted to get anything done.

However, everyone had a lot of ideas for campaigns and we didn't have the time to play them all. Thus, it was difficult to come to a consensus on what campaign we wanted to do.

How JADE Solved it:

We decided to put the games to a vote. Each member is given three strips of paper to write down the top three games they are interested in. The most commonly selected campaign becomes the game we play. Any ties are settled by a round of voting, and there is often an apparent crowd favourite at that point.

This has worked splendidly, and I recommend it if you have a similar problem.

4. Different Game Masters Mean Really Different Games

I have been GMing tabletop RPGs for more than 10 years now. I have my standard tropes and concepts I fall into. Not that I am inflexible, rather I have a distinct style. Seeing other GM's bring their ideas to the table was really refreshing, and I got a taste of all the different ideas that can make an RPG campaign exciting, mysterious, or dull.

That being said, while there is diversity, there can be a little too much at times. Every GM has different ideas about what makes a good game, and will choose to focus on those elements of roleplay. Occasionally one or more players might not be all that interested in what the GM is focusing on, and they will lose interest.

How JADE Solved it:

Deal with it. Just because you are not enjoying the game doesn't mean that other players aren't as well. Wait the game through, and try your best to pay attention. A game you like will come along soon.

5. People get Better at Playing and GMing

Having experience on both sides of the GM Screen gives everyone a unique perspective. As a GM, regularly being a player lets you remember what it is like to not have all the answers and have to solve riddles and problems based only on verbal clues and descriptions. As a Player, regularly GMing a few games will remind you how much work goes into each campaign, and how to work with the story structure rather than against it. All in all you will get better players, better Game Masters, and better campaigns.

Do you guys have too many Gm's around your game table? How did you solve it?

Written by: Andrew Gregory

5 Things you Learn with Too Many Game Masters Around the Table 5 Things you Learn with Too Many Game Masters Around the Table Reviewed by Jade GamingNews on 3/07/2016 02:05:00 pm Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. It certainly does help to game with other GMs. I learned great deal when I finally broke out of my own group and played with others who knew how to run a game.