View Full Version : How many players ?

20 April 2002, 03:43 PM
How many players is in your group ?. And which do you prefer, a smaller or larger group ?.
And what affect do you feel the number of players have on you campaign planning ?

I am asking this because right now, i am playing a 1 on 1 game. We each takes turn gamemastering. It makes for very intense playing, since the whole campaign revolves around one person.
But it also requires us to soup up our chars some, because there is nobody to fall back on (sure we have some NPCs that help us, a little, but its not the same as other players).

20 April 2002, 04:41 PM
I've got four players, sometimes 5. Sometimes I've even got as many as 6 or 7, but those times are less often now.

All in all, I prefer a smaller to medium sized group over large or small groups. Let me explain why.

I've GMed really small groups (one and two) and while a "solo" game was fun (actually, I highly recommend them for causing a GM to grow in the ability to roleplay NPCs) the single player had a tendency to lack some inventive ideas. This left it up to me, the GM, to essentially spoon feed ideas to the player. Solo player games are difficult, to be sure, and it takes a special player to actually have fun with it.

Two player games (with a GM and two players) are also a bit too small for my tastes, as you have two players that will largely decide on the same course of action all of the time.

My preferred amount is 3-5, as there are enough brains in the players to offer up a couple of different resolutions to ideas. This keeps the group dynamic and offers a good amount of player interaction.

Once you start getting into the 7 or 8 players (I've gone as high as 12 before...ugh.) you start having too much "downtime" for the players. Three or four players can start hogging the GMs time, or there can be divergent plots in the game, where half of the group just sits there for a portion of the night. I personally feel that if people start losing interest, the game group is too large.

So that's why I like where I'm at right now....4 players.

20 April 2002, 06:32 PM
I said that I had 4 players. This is the truth... from a certain point of view.

On most occassions, at least 2 of my players show up the game. This wasn't always the case. At one time, all 4 of my players regularly showed up for 2 sessions a week. Then a pair of my players, who had been dating for some time, broke up. Rather messily too. From that point on, I've received a weekly phone call from one or the other of them asking if "he" or "she" is going to be there.

I've done my best to stay out of the conflict, but it pisses me off because we had a KILLER game going and they are both really good players. Can't we all just get along?

20 April 2002, 06:43 PM
Well I got two campaigns. One has one player with 4 chars. THe other has 2 players, 1 with 3 chars the other with 1 (he just learned the rules and only wants one, while my other player wants 3).

Reverend Strone
20 April 2002, 07:12 PM
I'd echo the sentiments expressed by Grimace. I've run adventures with all number of PCs, but my preference would always be between 3 and 5, for the same reasons he expressed.

My current campaign has 5, which means even if one player can't make it along to a particular session, we still have a reasonable number at 4. We actually started the game off with two groups that I GMed independantly, one of 2,one of 3, but I'll admit it was harder work with the 2 because they needed more spoon-feeding, as Grimace so nicely put it.

The most I've ever played with was 16, back in my young and foolish (as opposed to now- old and foolish) days, using the old FASA Star Trek RPG- Not recommended. While some of the players had fun, others did not enjoy the experience, and had to wait so long between turns that they became frustrated. I'll admit it was seriously hard work too.

At the climax I had to keep track of three situations, each with 5 or more players involved, simultaneously. We had a space combat going on involving a bunch of guys crewing a carrier vessel in the thick of a space battle, a large ground battle in progress with more players involved in that, and a group of starfighter pilot players split running air-support for the ground battle, supporting the carrier in the orbital space battle and chasing a fleeing enemy spacecraft out of the system.

Needless to say, I've been sticking with smaller groups since that day over a decade ago.

Another interesting experiment in playing large groups occurred when i ran the same one-off adventure twice over a weekend, each time with different players. I had 12 guys wanting to play, and didn't want to get into another situation like the above example, so I split them up and ran the game twice. It was fascinating to see how the same adventure could turn out so differently. I'd recommend trying it one day just to see for yourselves. It was almost like an exercise in exploring alternate realities!

22 April 2002, 08:35 AM
I currently run a game, as of last mission, with 6 players now. One of the PC's died last mission. Heh. Good news is one of the guys currently playing doesn't have the time to play anymore, so in the next mission (which is the end of an epic saga) he will die a dramatic death.

Also, my character (who I use to play before I took over GM role and assigned him to someone else) will now be playing in a game with a different GM (so I get to play my character again .. yay!). Which means I will be GMing 4 PC's. Looking forward to this as it will allow for smoother game play and cause me less of a headache.

Talonne Hauk
22 April 2002, 02:29 PM
My group has five players, but we each have a character, and I run mine as an NPC whose sole purpose is to add a little firepower to the group.
We meet once a month, which provides a lot of downtime. In that downtime the players who want to pursue independent goals have the opportunity to play one on one or in a smaller group, usually two players.
I guess my real answer may be none of the above, but since it all revolves around the main storyline with five players, I voted five.

Dan Stack
22 April 2002, 03:20 PM
My current Star Wars game has ranged from 2 to 5 players. Though when it was at its peak of 5 it wasn't that often that everyone showed up.

I tend to prefer about 3-4 players - a small enough number to keep the game intimate and manageable but big enough for some diversity of characters and ideas. Currently my group has 3 players, though one is on a long European vacation. :D

When we have just two, the dynamic is interesting, since the pair of players are running two half-sisters, one a Imperial Senator-turned-Jedi Knight and the legitimate daughter of a former senator; the other his illegitimate smuggler daughter - makes for some interesting dynamics. :D

22 April 2002, 04:03 PM
My campaign currently has four players, with the occasional "guest star" player. Five is a good number. Six is a little much, and seven is almost impossible for me to deal with, because I like to give everyone a lot of screen time, and doing so with a group that big is exhausting. Plus, I hate to see players idle for too long; they fidget, pull out their PDAs, start rattling snack bags, etc.

I used to play a lot of one-on-one games, too, and it's a very intimate and intense way to play. I agree, however, that you do have to have the right kind of player(s) to make it work. I haven't done any one-on-one in years -- I should give that a shot again.

One thing I've had a lot of success with is running one-on-one games in tandem with group games -- letting everyone have an "origin" or "secret" adventure that furthers the plot of the group effort. Takes things to a whole new level, developmentally :)

Mad Tech
26 April 2002, 09:32 AM
I have 6 players in my group. Two are only part-time players though. I prefer about 4 or 5 players in my group, but if my group is too small and several are unable to make the game, then I'm stuck with either having to rework the scenario for fewer players or cancel the game. I would prefer to have 4 players that showed up to every game, but since this doesn't seem likely, I expanded my group to 6 players.

Mad Tech

27 April 2002, 08:46 AM
Well, I've got to deal with 4 players. I find it a bit short for a good team but well, good rping and sensible playing can make up for the numbers.

In fact I like to have more like 5-6 players in a group even if it's a bit harder to make the game smooth. I guess the major problem of large group is that everyone is always arguing for anything.
So if the players can play a game and not only bicker I enjoy a 6 players' group, else 4 is fine.

30 April 2002, 02:24 AM
In my experience i've found smaller groups are easiler to get everyone involved. i start neglecting people who arn't strongly part of the plot past 5 players. though i've found making privite one on one sessions remideies this and makes up for lost time frames. (which in my current camp is the biggest deal considering people decided to sleep during a hyperspace trip so we got 5 people that are 4 days behind the rest of the 8 person group. ... a funny thing i've noticed my players make assumptions and cause a self fullfilling prophocy and then blame me. very odd...

Rigil Kent
30 April 2002, 03:22 PM
I currently have 8 players in my group and it is rapidly becoming apparent that there are at least 2 too many. Having a group of larger than 6 is, in my opinion, an invitation for disaster, especially if you have two or more who desperately seek the spotlight, even if they don't realize it. Breakdown of my group is:
2 Spotlight hoggers
2 Quiet guys
3 "I'm just here to have fun and to hell with the story" types
1 "GM! GM! Can I do X? Yeah, I realize you're talking with him, but I want to do X!" type.

Naturally, the two spotlight hoggers bump heads constantly and it doesn't help that their personalities are such that they are ALWAYS at odds. The 3 who are just there to amuse themselves unfortunately bounce off of one another and get louder and louder and louder and so on.

Small comfort that three of the players are leaving the area next month, one permanently. What is really frightening is that there once existed the possiblity that two more players wanted to join!

My personal preference for game size is anywhere from 4-6, with a newly established maximum limit of 7. I will NEVER again run for more than that.

30 April 2002, 05:59 PM
I find 1 person (plus me) to be very fun but thats only because i live in the smallest town in the world and only my best friend and I play. It works fine for me though.

Ghost In The Holocron
30 April 2002, 08:09 PM
I remember back in my old AD&D days, there was one time when I had 12 -- yes 12 -- players on the table and everyone was so bloody-minded about playing (too much beer didn't help either). It took one hour to make one full turn around the table! It was a mess -- but it was fun! (in that messy kind of way; someone just had to cut off the thief's thumbs; and we just kept laughing and laughing our heads off!)

I've since learned my lesson. :)

I'd agree, for the same reasons already brought up, that 5 is a good number. I usually don't start a full session with less than four and sometimes we have up to eight. However, I'd really really much prefer 5.

Sometimes, when there are too many players, I split them into two groups and jump from one table to another! At least I get to exercise that way. So I'm now a really sexy dude with great muscle tone! ;)

30 April 2002, 08:21 PM
Well I've run games running anywhere from 1 player to 10 players. Although I've decided I will never run a game of over 6 again. It's just too many for me to handle. I love games in the range of 1 to 4 people. It allows for maximum focus on characters and their personal stories. At least for me. Currently my game ranges from 2-4 people, mostly at the 2 people point right now.

1 May 2002, 04:56 AM
I GM two groups. One (my regular gaming group) has 8 people and this works out pretty well most of the time. Occasionally we get a bit crazy and sometimes stuff can take a while (usually downtimes for each player). These are all experienced gamers though, so we move thing along pretty well most of the time. Besides it's rare that we actually get all of them together at once, usually at least one misses for some reason or another. My other gaming group has only 4 people (and myself as GM). It works pretty well, but they don't get much more done than the others do because they're all new gamers. I would have to say that 6 plus a GM is the best number...

1 May 2002, 08:30 AM
our "gang" when we used to play as most was about 8-9 ppl, and 8 was the most we actually was when we played.

but still, firefights tend to be quick, and have to throw in much of it, with strong opponents to offer the players some resistance.

i prefer smaller parties where its more on the roleplaying level rather than hardcore extermination

ah, a couple of weeks ago when were where playing D&D we where 11 ppl ;) a round took like... 10-20 minutes? :)

8 May 2002, 09:34 PM
I've got three players in my current campaign. I decided to bring in a thrid player not too long ago. For the past four or five years, my group has been made up of myself and two others. We felt that we needed a new player to see how it would affect our games. And its went good so far.

I've also thought about bringing in another new player, but I'm not sure if I will for two reasons. First, I'm not sure of what my players think of the idea (they just got use to a third player), and second, I don't know anyone to invite.


9 May 2002, 02:29 AM
Well currently I have one player in my SW campaign, also One player who just wont make it because hes in love...awww bless him. And another who would love to play, is desperate to play....but over 5000 miles away. And also have my friends kids who want to play...theyre 9 and 10 and not quite yet understanding roleplay and are proper little stat demons. Still unsure whether to let them play, or wait till they learn a bit more by sitting in watching and listening to us play ;)

So at the moment to cut to the chase..I have 1 player ;)

9 May 2002, 03:13 AM
5 to 8. 3 is the smallest i have played, and i had to do some major toning down of the bad guys just to make sure they survived. 13 was the biggest when me and 13 others did a 600 tons each person battle tech game (took over 90 hours)!

15 May 2002, 04:15 AM
biggest sw d20 group is 7 but i also run a 3rd edition campaighn t5hats got 13 players but i have only ever had 10 of them at the same time and somehow no one got bored, but i average about 6 or seven players genraly

before i say this i am not taking a jab at anyone i am just making an obesvation. i have found that genraly people who rely of publised material tend not to be able to cope with big groups. My example being the man that introed me into roleplaying hes not a bad Dm just in about as flexable as a 60ft Oak and try his best to stick to whats written (even forcing players)

i dont find a big group a problem overall sometimes it can get to much when the entire group go's shoot him or hit it. but i think i am creative enough to handle them group sizes genraly come down to friends at are group and we do not want to boot anyone out because my roleplaying father wants to run.

what i am trying to say is that genraly a more creative Gm works with bigger groups. I must admit i can not run a group of less than 4 people to save my life i am god awful at it

I'll finish with by what i have wrote above i mean no offence its just an opinion


15 May 2002, 12:53 PM
I think it depends on the GM's wisdom and experience mainly.
I know alot about starwars yet next to nothing of the New Jedi Era (something Im in the process of rectifying).
However Ive had approx 10 over the past 15 years.
The older they are the better they become, with one exception.
I played my brothers game of Nightspawn he Gm'd (Nightspawn was renamed Nightbane later and was produced by Palladium) Now my Brother John had never Gm'd before, had only just bought the game, and was only 14 at the time, and it was one of the best campaigns I have ever played! He was a natural, but then he has a fantastic imagination which is half the battle.
Other friends have gmed for me some of them older who were really bad! One was a verbal dictionary, ask him the stat of any gun, ship character of West End Games version of star wars and hed answer immediately with 100% accuracy. However, He sucked at GM'ing. He changed one Scenario because there was a way the players could win, LOL. Anyway he never got the chance to Gm after that, even though we did win that scenario we werent meant to.
That leads to another point...Control. A Gm should be able to be assertive otherwise the players will just run circles around him. And some players are tough to handle, yourt effectively putting your own ego against theirs at times.

One other reason that goes against Knowledge = Good GM is that a scenario in Star Wars doesnt necessarily have to follow the official Timeline. Like every roleplaying game the Gm has full control to change anything and everything, even statistics. No Rule is final unless it comes from the Gm's mouth. This supports my wisdom theory, if he wasnt wise hes going to make a dumb rule and lose players because they think hes a bad and unfair GM. :)

Alot of Gms have been exploring the Infinities area of Star Wars for alternate timelines and events. Maybe worht checking it out ;)

But I agree that being knowledgable of the Star Wars Universe Helps alot, but I dont htink its the all of end all.

17 May 2002, 11:35 AM
Qwerty i personaly think that the smaller the group the better it adds more of a group feeling

but i do agree with the buy a book use it as is theory i hate when gms run everything by the book

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20 May 2002, 06:47 AM
I'm running 3 SW gmaes right now...

(Yes, three...there's a reason I chose the handle I've got)

I tend to run parties of 5-7 PCs. Yes, it's difficult to get everyone there, especially for weekend games, but my PCs reschedule their activities to play in my games. Also, with three different game, all my friends get to participate.

Tootin' my own horn *beep beep*

Darth GM

22 May 2002, 10:55 AM
I have played with as many as 15 OTHER players not counting my self or the GM. 17 people in one room is ordered chaos. I have also played with almost 30 people. We were split into two groups each with a GM and several time in the game the two groups ran into each other. That wasn't ordered chaos it was just chaos. Although in smaller groups less than 7 you get more done it is truely exciting and fun to play in large groups, over 7.

For the first couple of years we never played with a group under 7.