One facet of running a successful campaign is actually meeting up and playing. While it might sound stupid and incredibly basic, in today’s busy world sometimes just managing to meet up to play a game can seem like a Herculean achievement.
A successful GM makes certain he has enough players to run a game. He also makes certain the players know when and where the next session is taking place. As with many things in life, the key to organising a campaign is consistency:
- Play on the same day and at the same time wherever possible. Getting your players to keep every Wednesday night free (for example) enables them to plan ahead and to fit the session in with their other commitments.
- Use the same method of communication to organise each session. Include only relevant information and highlight any changes to the set-up, time or composition of the session.
When it comes to organising a session, not all communication methods are created equal. Some of the best for coordinating a gaming group include:
- Pre-Session Email: One of my friends sends out a weekly email a few days before each session reminding the players of the start time and venue. He also often includes comments about previous or upcoming sessions, a relevant picture to whet the players’ appetites and information about any new rules sources he is now allowing in his game. This is a great way of making certain that everyone is on the same page. Emails are particularly handy for large information dumps – like handouts – that text messaging cannot handle.
- Text Message/Whatsapp: Everyone’s got a mobile phone these days and even the most basic model can send and receive text messages. More advanced phones can run apps such as Whatsapp (or other messaging apps). The beauty of such communication methods is that the recipient doesn’t have to log onto a computer to get the message. This makes it virtually impossible for the recipient to miss the message.
- Facebook Page/Google Circle: Setting up a Facebook page or Google circle (and making certain all the players are subscribed) is a great way of keeping your players informed.
Case Study: In my Campaign
For my campaign, I use a mix of emails and Whatsapp messages to coordinate the herd of recalcitrant cats that are my players. I use Whatsapp to answer questions about sessions, characters and so on, taunt them mercilessly about their upcoming horrible deaths and generally keep them up to date with any sudden changes to the schedule. Emails, I reserve for sending out campaign documentation such as handouts, updated house rules sheets and other stuff too big to handle in a short Whatsapp message.
Help Your Fellow GMs
Do you have any tips to help GMs organise their sessions? Do you do it differently? If you do, leave your thoughts in the comments below and help your fellow GMs play more!
This post is part of a week-long celebration of my 10-year-old son starting his first campaign for a group of his friends. He’s been slaving away over his dungeon for weeks and hopefully, they all enjoy themselves and become life-long gamers. I also get to play in the campaign, but of course I’m playing the cleric…