member, 144 posts
Sat 1 Jan 2022
at 23:53
GMs/mods- advice about short-term games?

I was thinking about maybe running some stuff this year, and had a technical question.

Something I read said the average lifespan of a PBP game is somewhere in the neighborhood of about 3-4 months, so I thought I'd intentionally work up games with a definite, limited beginning middle and end to take advantage of this. Something the players and I can just jump into, play til the scenario is done and then move on from (at least for a bit).

This also lets me try out a bunch of systems I've got PDFs for and am interested in- I don't know if I could run them indefinitely, so the idea of doing a Penny For My Thoughts or A Dirty World or Spirit of 77 or Stewpot game forever might not actually work out so well as having something with a real finale to it.

I might go so far as to have premade characters to prevent the chargen lull, but that'd have to be something I'd try out as we went.

My question is: Would it be better to establish one "game" that's where I do short-term, close-ended games (sort of like a channel) or would it be better to simply do a bunch of short games?

My main concern with the second is that it might look weird, like I can't commit to a game long-term, when the idea was to do it short term in the first place. And the thing about the first is, it might be weird 'branding'. Advice?

This message was last edited by the user at 00:04, Sun 02 Jan.

 member, 252 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Sun 2 Jan 2022
at 00:21
GMs/mods- advice about short-term games?
Many short games, else you're creating an enviroment that makes newcomers feel like they're barging in on a private table/have to look at all ten thousand threads of dead game to get what's going on in the current one. It'd be a nightmare in organisation and getting ads out, too.

You can edit [complete] into the titles of finished ones before deleting them if you desire, but if you're getting through a one-shot in 3 months you likely have a very high post rate, so you won't get that "collection of deleted games with 120 posts" that folk tend to look askance at anyway.
 subscriber, 749 posts
Sun 2 Jan 2022
at 00:50
GMs/mods- advice about short-term games?
If you're not going to be running them simultaneously, you can also "recycle" the game.

Remove the players, change the game name, delete the old posts and characters you don't need, and then start from fresh.

Not every player cares about the list of games under a wanted players post and what they may or may not say about a GM, but if you're unsure which way to go as a GM, it's probably better to err on the side of not having the long list of short span games.
 member, 62 posts
Sun 2 Jan 2022
at 04:28
GMs/mods- advice about short-term games?
I think running short games with a specific end is a fantastic idea. I've been thinking about doing something like that, myself.

I also think that creating a new game for each one you run is good. There's no guarantee the players from one will want to play the next one. Really, I think the advice you've already gotten is good.

But, I mostly wanted to say, I think this is a great idea and I wish you luck!
 member, 184 posts
Mon 3 Jan 2022
at 01:55
GMs/mods- advice about short-term games?
I would personally go with multiple games but make sure to label them clearly - maybe emphasise the term [One-Shot] at the start of the title and then add a [Completed] when they're done if you're worried that you'll put players off.

At the same time, I would probably also advise not over-stretching yourself too much to multiple games at the same time, especially if they're all using different and comparativley obscure systems and you're potentially giving a bunch more support to players than you might otherwise do.

You'll be more likely to get a decent core of players who commit, and you'll probably be in a better position to keep the momentum going as is.
 member, 145 posts
Mon 3 Jan 2022
at 19:41
GMs/mods- advice about short-term games?
Thanks everyone- this is all great advice.

It might be a bit before I get my act together to do it, but from what I'm reading, I'm thinking maybe splitting the difference- one "game" acting as a hub [upcoming game ideas, archives of old stuff, chat for 'regulars'] and using one or two as my temp games.

I'm sorting out some stuff I have here, by genre (for example I'd like to have something "mystery" on the boil most of the time- since mysteries are close-ended stories, even in a series- and have a few RPGs that approach that differently) and once I get regulars I can take their votes on what to do next, besides.

Incidentally, just as a "Market poll", if there's a genre you think is just underrepresented, let me know?
 member, 185 posts
Mon 3 Jan 2022
at 20:01
GMs/mods- advice about short-term games?
My only concern about that would be that you run the risk of juggling multiple games and accounts within those - if you want to have a core hub for admin and maintaining a player base, then I'd just run a single game from that and keep everything centralised rather than balancing that and then additional games on the side. But that's just me!

In terms of under-represented genres, I'd maybe say Sci-Fi is certainly not as widespread as it used to be, but really anything which isn't DnD or Adult Freeform would probably have an audience which hasn't perhaps been as solidly catered to in the last few years.
 supporter, 460 posts
Mon 3 Jan 2022
at 20:23
GMs/mods- advice about short-term games?
I played more than once in games by Gaffer, that runs Call of Chthulu games that start and end in a few months, then he deletes the game and starts another (often with some of the players from his previous game, plus a few newcomers).
He does great.

I usually run campaigns with a single overarching plot, but made by a number of short adventures that can start and end in few months. This way you can have multiple adventures ongoing, with different groups and, managing the calendar with fixed number of days for each adventure, you can mix up the groups each time the deadline comes. This way, all players feel free to come and go and return and mix up the groups as they like.
 moderator, 955 posts
 Whatever it is,
 I'm against it
Tue 4 Jan 2022
at 06:29
GMs/mods- advice about short-term games?
From a mod perspective, there's no problem with recycling a game slot rather than deleting and starting again.  I've done it myself.  :>