A plaintive Twitter by one of the folk I am following lead me to consider the dynamics of the gaming group. Currently we have a core group of four on a weekly basis and one more every fortnight (we play our games on a biweekly basis, this being a happy medium between weekly Hosting madness and monthly Hosting doldrums). On a one off basis we number easily a dozen or more.
I don't think of any of the seven or eight people who don't come to every single game I play in to be any kind of slacker, or "not really part of the group", similarly I don't think of the hardcore four as being the "real group" or any of that nonsense. If you are a gamer reading this you may well be wondering how all this works. One thing having a gaming group is famed for is requiring a certain level of commitment.
I'm going to mention No Dice again, big surprise.
The fact is that one of the things that spurred me on to write down the No Dice way of doing things was that there are a lot of gamers who don't game any more because as they got older they lost the time required to be in a "proper" group.
I game on a weekly basis now but only because of an accident of scheduling. I game a lot more often that just the weekly session but only by being able to be flexible about who is there and who isn't.
Of course there are some things it's better to have everyone there for. No one likes to know their character is being NPCed without them. But No Dice was specifically designed to encourage "casual Role Playing". We are talking about one-off events and pushing one-off ideas because it's a feature of the system. One offs are awesome, a little taster of something that might be a little strong, strange or hard to sustain for a campaign.
We've also tried to foster campaign set ups where people drift in and out. We're working hard on allowing Hosts to cope with player characters who hardly ever meet, so if someone can't make it to a session then it's assumed their character is busily going about their life elsewhere.
All of these things have resulted in me having the largest group of gaming contacts I ever have, and it has also resulted in me gaming with a greater variety of people more often. It also has delighted me that people not traditionally attracted to the hobby have been open to getting involved because of the greater flexibility.
So as much as it does make me cringe to push the product again, if you're worried about maintaining a gaming group, or about starting one with many flaky members, then it might be you need to No Dice Up Your Life...
I can't believe I just said that.