How to trim down a too large group?


Gamer Life General Discussion


The group that I'm currently in consists of about 8 people, including myself. Myself and another member of the group tend to rotate GMing duties, but I have a bit of a problem. 7 people is way too many for me to handle. As such, I want to try and trim the group down to a more manageable size (at least for the sessions I GM, the other guy seems okay with running for that many people). This is where things get tricky. You see, all of these people enjoy the game and are either good players or are noobs trying to become good players, but there's just too many of them.

So, my question to you is this: How do I trim down the size of the group, without hurting anybody's feelings? How do I tactfully tell people that I honestly enjoy playing with and GMing for that I don't want them to come to our weekly sessions when I GM?


I would first express this concern to the group, just let them know that it gets hectic for you with all of them there. Then try to see if they can tone down the craziness when you GM. Or, have the other GM there backing you up on your nights.

I know I always had to have a Rules GM when I was the Story GM. It seemed to help the flow better.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If you threw a dinner party and 8 of your friends showed up, but you only had food for 5 of them, would you ask 3 to leave because you really don't enjoy cooking for 8? Same problem.

I have 7 in my group, all of whom are friends. I GM almost exclusively. I prefer to have 5 players instead of 6, but I wouldn't ask anyone to leave because I remember when we had 3 players.

In your shoes, I'd try to recruit a couple more players, then split the group with the other GM.

-Skeld

Shadow Lodge

Since you have someone else in the group capable of GMing and willing to do so:

Break into two groups. Tell the entire group at once, explain the situation calmly and politely, and let them pick who they want to play under. Of course this runs the risk of people jamming up on one or the other, but that's always a risk.

I'd of course talk this over with the other GM in private first.


My gaming group is anywhere between 3-8 people, depending on who actually shows up, rather than just promises to. Sounds crazy, but I really enjoy a large group, cause then anyone I'm not talking to has enough friends to keep themselves entertained.

If you absolutely have to DM a large group yourself, my advice is to run 1-2 encounter sessions with a lot of different things to do, skill wise. shift your focus between "onscreen" characters every 10 minutes or so. Most importantly, if everyone's having fun, don't even worry about the rules, just don't let them forget that you're playing D&D.

Hope that helps.

Edit: you might also consider going totally old school and asking your co-DM to be the "party caller."

Silver Crusade

I mostly agree with Orthos' position. The players should have a say and so should the GMs, in an ideal world. :)

If both GMs can agree privately to split the group a certain way due to story purposes alone, and you maybe throw in the caveat that after this campaign ends people might switch groups, it might also work.

But then, I tend to think somewhat authoritatively about my groups...

Sovereign Court

I know of one sure fire way to solve this problem.

You can see the solution Here.


Question: How good are you in sync with the other guy that DM's?
I have run a couple of adventures dual-GM'ing with a friend (for a group of 8 players)... but this is not for everyone, and will not work with everyone.


Orthos wrote:

Since you have someone else in the group capable of GMing and willing to do so:

Break into two groups. Tell the entire group at once, explain the situation calmly and politely, and let them pick who they want to play under. Of course this runs the risk of people jamming up on one or the other, but that's always a risk.

I'd of course talk this over with the other GM in private first.

This. One would hope your group wants you to have a good time at the games, and recognizes that running them is a lot of work, and you all can work out a 2-DM / 2-game solution amicably. ...And, assuming your fellow DM is up for it, this is also an approach that'll keep everybody happier than singling out a couple folks to invite to leave.

Maybe add some board game nights into the mix so that everybody still gets to hang out at the same time/place.


I've DMed for as many as 12 people when I ran games in a local game store.

I used a note pad divided up into combat rounds, and rows for each character's name. I went around the table starting on one side, and went around to my other side. Each player got a chance to speak, their characters got to make decisions, etc.

As each round finished, I turned a page.

The narrow column with each character name stayed put, just the columns marking the combat rounds moved.

I wrote on it using wipe off markers. each page was covered with clear shelf contact plastic.

link to a photo of it:

combat-round-tracker

Sovereign Court

Maybe see if one of the players would be willing to run NPCs or co-GM for you. Otherwise give up GMing for this group and start another game if you really gotta scratch that GM ich.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

The last time this happened to me, I told the group we were too large and asked them if anyone could stand to drop out of the game. When that didn't work, I sent a very pragmatic email to everyone in the group listing logical reasons why four of our players should leave the table. There was only one player I wanted out for incompatible playstyles. With everyone else it came down to stuff like:

Player 1 - lives two hours away. this makes him late and it must cost a fortune to drive that far every week.

Player 2 - has a family, a full-time job and college. gaming might not be the best use of his time.

Player 3 - attends church and arrives two hours late every week. he should maybe decide which fantasy is more important to him.

It worked out rather well.

Barring that, I think you should have the ROLE-LYMPICS!

Make your players compete in several events that highlight the skills necessary to survive an evening of gaming! The players with the most points at the end, stay in the campaign. Everyone else goes home with a complimentary "participant" d20.

Events could include:

The 2-liter Chug - players race to chug a 2-liter bottle of a soda of their choice.

The Gaming Bag Lift - players must lift two or more backpacks filled with gaming books and other materials while maintaining a steady posture.

The Dice Spin - players earn points by getting a standard set of gaming dice (including d4) to spin the longest.

The Character Sheet Relay - players are given a random 3x5 card with a core race and class written on it. They must use the Core Rulebook to create a Level 1 character based on their card and receive points for speed and originality with points deducted for errors on the sheet.


Endure and get practice handling the group. It will come in handy in the future.

Beyond that, just lock it down and don't let anyone else join, even if someone leaves. Time is your friend. Given a few weeks or a month or two, someone will get a new commitment and be forced to start missing.

Grand Lodge

Velcro Zipper wrote:
Player 3 - attends church and arrives two hours late every week. he should maybe decide which fantasy is more important to him.

I know it's kind of cruel, but I chortled a bit at that line. Spoilered for derailment:

Spoiler:
Reminds me of when I got into some flak in my college prep course when they were doing an introductory seminar on time management. The imaginary student--"Bill"--needed about three more hours a week for homework and class, and when they showed how his time was divvied up both church and video games took up three hours a week. Turns out I was wrong for saying he should ditch church. Though I think my reasoning was solid. Video games weren't the best use of time, but at least they weren't actively detrimental to critical thinking.

Back to point, though, I'm usually against asking people to leave a game. Make it clear from the outset that you want ___ number of players MAX, and refuse anybody after that. Offer them a spot in the next game.

Or split GMing duties. With 8 you can have two parties of 4 with you and the other GM alternating playing/running.

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