My group that I GM for is currently only three players and myself. Four people at the table isn’t a huge group by any means, but it is still enough people to run some very good games with and I don’t like to GM for more than five players. I’m sure given a little time, energy, and luck that we’ll find one or two more members easily.
And that is what my group wants to see happen. They want me to increase the size of the group now and recruit more players. The reason is that we have been playing D&D 4th Edition. D&D 4e plays better when your group is diverse in both roles and character classes. I know because I play 4e with another group that has five players and there is a noticeable difference to the flow of the game. I agree that more players will improve the game.
But I’m not going to recruit more players.
Although I agree that more players would improve the game, my priority right now is improving the gaming group and those tasks are not one in the same. All three of my players were found and recruited by myself, or through my efforts such as fliers and Internet postings. Although everyone gets along, there are different expectations amongst the players for the group. I have to balance these expectations and help the group to bond socially. Not because I’m the GM (or perhaps because I am?), but because I am the point of initial contact for all of the individuals within the group. Until the group members become more comfortable with each other these players will be more likely to express what they want out of the game to me instead of expressing what they want to the group. No big deal, and it will diminish with time, but for now some of my time and energy must be spent playing the middle man.
Now that we are playing a game on a fairly regular schedule I want all of the players to join a Google Group  and Google Calendar  that I created in order to improve our communications and our scheduling of games. The reason being that we are all busy professionals and have very busy schedules. One of us has to fly to several locations every week, and I myself am often sent with last minute notice to remote office locations. When you don’t know if you’ll even be in the country next month, these online tools make it a lot easier to communicate with the entire group quickly and to ensure that we don’t plan trips that will fall on game day.
Coordinating the group, prepping for the game as needed, and running the games is what I am focusing on at this time. Finding new players where I live can be a real chore based on my past experiences. I am not going to increase my personal workload to start actively recruiting more players right now. With what I am already doing for the group, my job, my family, and life in general I do not want any more tasks on my todo list. I’ve explained this to my group.
So I’m not going to recruit more players at this time. The players are going to recruit more players themselves.
Just because I don’t want to recruit more players doesn’t mean that I should say no to the idea entirely. And who says that only the GM can introduce new players to the group? As a player I’ve recruited for other groups in the past many a time. Plus this helps to move my own agenda forward of creating a group of peers that communicate directly with each other instead of all communication going through the GM.
If my players recruit one or two more players that will be great, and if they don’t then once I am ready I’ll go find one or two more players myself. Either way the important thing is that the option is there for the players to fulfill their own request. It may not be what the players expected, but it is certainly better than no option at all.
That is my opinion on the matter, so what is yours? Leave your comments for others to read and share your own experiences with me and other members of the Gnome Stew community. And no matter what happens, don’t forget that the GM is a player too! Have fun with it!