How many games can you actually run?

Have you ever had one of those ideas that seemed like a brilliant one at the time, but then in the cold light of day, maybe not so much?

I’m sure we all must have done right?

Well I had one the other day, it was late, must have been nearly midnight, i’d got up early at 6:00am to play in a StarWars Edge of Empire one-off run by Runeslinger (you can find a link to the AP of that session here) and really enjoyed that, banged a load of energy drinks down me, went to a local RP convention then I came home, did some blogging, drank some more energy drinks and kept writing until near midnight. It was as the witching hour approached that I was sitting at my keyboard, Edge of Empire corebook tantalisingly within reach that a thought occurred to me:

“I could probably run an Edge of Empire campaign at the same time as my Jadepunk game”

I was chatting to a couple of people online at the time, but the idea seemed like a really good one as I started to crash, the last of the caffeinated goodness from my earlier feast of energy drinks spent; I went as far as to start writing down the skeletal notes of a campaign outline and began musing idly about what day I could run it on – Saturday was out because otherwise i’d be running games on both days of the weekend and I’d never manage to get into a one-shot, how about Tuesdays? I was going to be playing in a bi-weekly StarWars game run by somebody else on Tuesdays, but perhaps I could slot my game in on the other weeks; i’m pretty sure that some of my Jadepunkers would be interested and I could always look for other players on the many RP Facebook groups I’m a member of.

Luckily for me it was at that point that I really started to crash and, making my excuses retired to bed. When I woke up the next morning the idea of running another campaign seemed a little silly in the cold light of day, after all, it would effectively halve the planning time that I’d have for Jadepunk and would mean that I’d have to organise two groups of people, with all the scheduling difficulties, correspondence and other things that entails.

If you find yourself in the situation where you’re thinking about running another campaign, I’d suggest asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you have the energy to run another campaign?
    Although running games is fun, a lot of effort goes into them and it can become exhausting if you take too much on, leading to the dreaded GM burnout.
  2. Do you have the time to run and plan another campaign?
    There’s only so many hours in the week, work and other real-life stuff tends to eat up a lot of time for most of us, so seriously consider whether or not you have the time to devout to it, keeping in mind that you’ll be splitting this time between your new game and any current campaigns you’re running.
  3. Is your significant other going to murder you?
    A very important consideration, whilst playing non-stop RPing games would be a dream come true for some, even if you have a very understanding other half, they may frown on the amount of time you have to devote towards running yet another game.
  4. Could you get your fix another way?
    If you’re just looking for a change of pace or maybe want to try out a new system, perhaps running a one-shot or one-off session might help to scratch that itch and, since it’s only a one-off it won’t chew up so much of your time.

    If you want to run a one-shot I highly recommend giving the Tabletop RPG One Shot Group Facebook community a look.

Hopefully once you’ve answered those questions you’ll have more of any idea of whether running another RPG campaign is actually desirable and feasible…

…and I definitely can’t run another game…

…nor do I want to…

…definitely not…

…mmmm …Starwars.


8 thoughts on “How many games can you actually run?”

  1. I worked out my limit was two games a fortnight, one a week. So far it doesn’t matter if I’m running it or playing in it.

    I tend to do a certain amount of prep, both as a player and a game runner. What helps is that when I am running things, I tend to have a sort-of script, I follow. I have a loose outline of events and I tend to follow that. Towards the end of the campaign, things make less sense, because I’ve adapted, tweaked, changed so much on the fly. I leave quite a lot of the narrative in the hands of my players, at least without admitting it. They help me write the story as I go, so I guess my style also helps me keep things going.

    Having a good memory also helps.

    While saying this, I also have a tonne of ideas for new campaigns, things I want to do. I file them away and type things up when I feel they’re ready for it. I have ideas for a BattleTech game, both skirmish and role playing, I’ve got plans for CthulhuTech, Eclipse Phase, down the line, Pathfinder again, Edge of the Empire, more Shadowrun to continue on the story line of my current campaigns. I also want to read up on Jadepunk, as that the rules I think would support the Big Trouble in Little China campaign I have in mind as well. The most adventurous idea I have is for Spycraft 1.0, requiring two groups. I’d run them on opposite weeks.

    1. Sounds like your future is going to be very busy roleplay-wise Leon, hope all the games go well for you 🙂 At the moment I’ve gone from running my own #Jadepunk game bi-weekly to running it pretty much every weekend, which is great because I really enjoy it; however, I am considering the possibility of moving it back to bi-weekly and then using the free up Sunday to perhaps run a different campaign – this would hopefully stop running the game eating into my time too much 🙂

      1. Fortnightly is the my preference, it means I can go and do other things.

        That being said, I wouldn’t mind running more, but I know I start to loose….. I get less happy with how things are going, what I’m doing. There’s always a feeling of needing to have done more, never being able to keep up, ergo why I keep myself to two campaigns.

        I should stop prepping a campaign while running something. It’s not that it’s distracting, it’s easy to get caught up in the new stuff and forget about the old stuff. I’m a little behind on a few projects, but it’s nothing severe. It doesn’t hurt the campaigns either, but I still feel they could be better for having completed them.

        That and I do want to get back into the long sword fencing.

        1. I can appreciate that, it is very easy to get distracted by a new shiny game or project and neglect current ones, I’ve certainly been guilty of that in the past myself.

  2. In terms of how many can you run, it’s not really something I’ve had a problem with. When I was unemployed, I was running a one shot every night of the week, sometimes even two. Now I’m running two campaigns (admittedly in the same world) and playing in three. It’s more than I’d like, but I made commitments. Once the campaigns wind down I’ll hopefully have more time! Nice post John 🙂

    1. Cheers dude – it’s something I seriously have to think about since I have to balance work and other responsibilities, tabletop, LARP weekends and actually getting to spend some time with my better half; I’m far from the only one who has trouble balancing all aspects of their life, but I do seem to be in that awkward “far more game ideas than I have time to run them” position a lot 😉

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