Game Over

So, the previous weekend should have been the next session of our monthly Traveller game set in the Trojan Reach. Instead it didn’t happen, and I’ve decided to cancel the campaign.

It started last summer, with a new group of people I met at WorldCon, which was an interesting experience for me. Normally I just play with friends I’ve known for years, and by now we’re all (mostly) quite reliable. Starting a new group is always a risk, and this one had challenges.

  • Some had not roleplayed before, or at least hadn’t roleplayed for a long time.
  • There was a 12 hour time difference between all the players – for one we started at 6pm in Australia, for another it was a 6am start in the US.
  • We didn’t know each other except for online, and only played online.
  • Communication outside of the game was spotty. We met on Discord, and communicated there, and it’s not a great medium for sending out reminders and things. Maybe I should have fallen back to email more.

For the last few months attendance has been random. Three of us are pretty much consistent, and I could run a game with just two players, but I have to plan for five players. Two have a tendency not to give warning if they’re not going to be around, and another has been busy (but at least would normally let me know the day before).

Missing players can sometimes be worked around, and there was very little combat in the campaign so that wasn’t too much of an issue, but I was running a modified Shadows of Sindal, and two of the less reliable players were the skilled biologist and the Aslan. The game involves an anti-Aslan plague, so whether the two characters were present or not could make a big difference to how things went.

Since I’m also running another campaign, I’ve decided that I’d rather have the spare time back. All the players seemed to enjoy it when they turned up, and always said they were enjoying it, so I think it was just life and timezones causing problems, but things like this do make me question whether the game is being enjoyed, which makes me enjoy running it less.

The reasons for cancellation seem to have been understood by the players, so no drama there, and the feedback was that they’d enjoyed it, but things just got in the way, which is good. And at least I did get a chance to introduce a bunch of players to an RPG which wasn’t D&D, or even fantasy.

Samuel Penn