Hot on the heels of yesterday’s guest article about keeping excitement up during extended game breaks, today’s article is all about keeping your players jazzed between sessions. The author, Grayson Davis, is a writer and gamer living in Chicago. He writes Edition Wars, a Tumblr lovingly dedicated to Dungeons & Dragons arguments, as well as Beeps & Boops, a video game blog.
As all GMs know, it can be tough to maintain excitement between sessions. Weeks or months may pass before you continue a game, and sometimes even the most enthusiastic players lose interest. Fortunately, the Internet provides many social media tools GMs can use to stay connected with their groups. You can use these simple and practical steps to keep players engaged and excited for the next session.
Step 0: Tools of the Trade
The first question, of course, is what social networking services you and your players use. Facebook, Twitter, Google+? Email also works in a pinch. I personally use Google+ because I can put all of my players in a circle and mark all of my gaming posts with hashtags, but use whatever you’re most comfortable with. Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be, or spread yourself thin over several websites.
Step 1: Follow Up
After your game, let your players know you had a good time and remind everybody of your favorite moments. Stay positive! If a player says something hilarious, write it down so you remember it later. Try to mention every PC so that nobody feels left out. I like to follow up within a day or less so that the game is fresh in everybody’s minds. Following up helps players remember the events of the session and also encourages them to share their own favorite moments. This can also be a good opportunity to schedule your next game or ask players any important questions.
Step 2: Reminisce
Do you like to take photos during the game? Did the players draw a great map, or record some great notes? Did the players really enjoy a particularly cool boss mini? Do you play online and save chatlogs? Maybe you enjoy writing recaps of games, or keeping track of your campaigns with a website like Obsidian Portal. Compile all of these memories and share them! Facebook or Google+ photo albums work well for this. Save this step for about halfway between sessions.
Step 3: Tease
Tease the next game as it approaches! Are you painting a cool skeleton mini or working on a beautiful handout? Take a quick picture and send it out, giving the players a taste of what they’re going to face. I sometimes share images of NPCs the players might meet, or a sample of a map the players are likely to see. Let everybody know you’re looking forward to the next game. This is also a good way to remind players when the next game is, in case anybody has forgotten.
Whether you play once a week or once a month, these three steps are an effective way to maintain excitement after a session, and build excitement for the next one. Social networks make sharing photos and other memories very easy, and give the entire group a way to connect and chat when they’re away from the gaming table. And remember: This is only as complicated as you want to make it.
Step 1 can be as simple as a quick Facebook post, or you can spend an hour writing a session recap. If you play every week like clockwork, maybe you think it’s better to combine steps 1 and 2. It all depends on what you find most rewarding.