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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Game Day: Changing Times

by Ken Newquist / September 2, 2012

One of the great challenges in running a campaign in your 30s and 40s finding the time to game. Our group's been lucky in this regard as we've been able to pick schedules that worked for most of the group, and still let us game on a weekly basis.

For most of our 16 years as a group we've followed a weekly schedule -- first Mondays, then Fridays -- that was role-playing game heavy. Originally we played all Dungeons & Dragons, all the time, but as our appreciation for board games grew we split the schedule to one board game session for every three RPG sessions. Or something like that. We found it was hard to stick to that schedule because people's time got crazy, and suddenly we were sacrificing board games in the name of advancing the campaign.

As we enter our late 30s and early 40s, we've found the schedule must change again. Weekly RPG sessions are no longer possible given folks work and home schedules, so we've switched to biweekly games. The plan is to alternate RPGs and board games on a weekly basis.

It's worked out well on the RPG side -- we now consistently have 5-6 people for RPG sessions, sometimes 7 -- but it's been harder with board games. Right off the top we lose 3 players who aren't interested in board games (and whose schedules likely wouldn't let them play anyway). That leaves us with a core of about 4 people who want to play board games ... if their schedule allows it.

And there's the problem. We schedule board game days, but despite best intentions they don't always hit the critical mass of 3-4 players. When that happens, those game days either don't go off or we migrate to Xbox Live.

To help with this, I proposed the Blackrazor Guild Board Game Auxiliary. This is an extended mailing list of everyone who's gamed with us in the past, and who's expressed an interest in board games. My goal is to setup up a gaming schedule for the fall, mail it to the auxiliary, and then send out biweekly reminders. With luck we'll be able to get enough players to guarantee our Sunday games, and we'll expand our gaming universe by a few more players.

This Sunday is the first time we've tried it, and so far it looks like it's working. We've got six people coming tonight, only two of whom are part of the core Blackrazor Guild. Everyone else is either a friend or a significant other.

Of course, this gives rise to other problems; most of our games top out at 5 players, so we'll likely need to split up into two groups when we have more than that. It's a happy problem to have though, and I think the game room (or the game room plus the dining room) can accommodate the surplus.