Can you have too many games?


Online Campaigns General Discussion


2 people marked this as a favorite.

PbP is slow and many games die in the first six months so as a natural consequence most of us are in multiple games.

I don't really have a problem with it but its come to my attention that some prolific posters are in 15+ games. I wonder how on earth can you keep up with that many story threads at the same time? I know I couldn't do it :) I think I'd struggle to keep even half that many personalities in my head without them all blending into one.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

It really boils down to how much mental energy you can spare on gaming, since every new game also comes with a responsibility to either keep posting (and making quality posts), or bow out if you can't keep up.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Gosh, that's so true. There are posts and there are quality posts. The two are completely different


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Silas Hawkwinter wrote:
Can you have too many games?

Yes. Hard yes.

I've encountered people with that many games on this forum, and they definitely don't consistently bring a lot to every one of their games, or sometimes any of them. Basic actions, dialogue is stilted Tolkien-english, very little creativity or camaraderie brought to the game.

I mean, I get that it can get competitive for players to get accepted into a game on this forum, which lends to people over-applying, which can lead to a lot of game commitments. I've fallen into that myself, but I also see people with far too many games for that scenario to likely apply to them.

And considering that most of the PbP games here prefer a one-post-per-day frequency, I can't imagine squeezing 15 or more quality posts into a single day. Even if you have the time available, that would take a LOT of creative energy to maintain consistently. And for most of the players with "too many" games on their plate, I'm not seeing a lot of creative consistency when I've encountered them.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Absolutely. If I have more than two, my focus really degrades.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have rather more than that, but many of mine are slower than 1 post per day, all of my kids are out of the house, and I have time during work to make short posts. Even with that, I'm past my typical limit now; OTOH, one is almost done and the Game Day game hasn't started yet.

In addition, I don't have ready access to f2f games, so the boards are my only gaming outlet. If I had a regular in-person game, I wouldn't have anywhere near as many on here.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

As GM and player, I have seen some of the worst flakeouts from people in many games at once, and as others say, even if they don't flake out, these players (or GMs!) are more likely to phone in a post. If you're expected to post every other day, they'll post every two or more. If you're waiting on someone to reply, the one with the most games will most likely be the one who missed that you're waiting on them. The cutoff seems to be, based on my singular and probably faulty observation, at about six games (presuming most of these are slow to medium pace)--more than that, most folks just get overwhelmed and barely show up.

I learned the hard way as a GM as well: I had someone once reach out to me to ask to be in a game as I was short a player, I said yes but didn't think to check their profile. Turns out they were in something like 16 games, and they almost immediately disappeared from my game. Like, we took time out of the story to introduce the character, and the player and PC immediately disappeared after they were introduced. Checking their campaign tab they were also flaking out of the other games as well, or only regularly posting to one or two out of the over-a-dozen.

It also, pisses me off when people who are already accepted to 10+ games apply for a new game and get chosen over folks who have far fewer (but who also have excellent applications). Frankly I think it's selfish on the part of the applicant--hey, uncrowd the playing field and give someone else a chance!--and it's bad foresight on the part of the GM (see my own bad foresight, above) who lets in someone who is in a dozen games and likely won't contribute well or consistently, and ditched the applicants who were in low or no games who likely would have had more and quality posts. Whether I get in or not (I promise this is not about me), I've literally sometimes seen some awesome applications from folks in new games who deserved to get in and the GM chooses a player or two who are in 12 games, running 3 of them, who then doesn't show up. It screws everybody over.

I know there are some folks who basically live online and can take the time to juggle a large number of games. But in my personal experience they are in the minority--and again, even if they can handle the commitment, I also think they are being selfish anyway: so many people who could be regular posters and have good applications and add to the pool of good PBP players can't get in because of serial applicants who are already in 15 games and taking up all the open slots. I'm sure they don't see it that way; they likely see it as a competition they have to "win" and for them part of the thrill is getting accepted, and it sucks to be you if you didn't get in. Or they just don't care that other people also want to play--they're still going to take all the balls and crowd the playing field. Meanwhile a lot of newbs who have the potential to become good PBP players get stuck on the sidelines, especially as they don't yet have the skills to make their application more eyecatching, and the more they get overlooked, the less likely they will try again.

Yeah, I know I sound overly mad. But seriously? Yeah, f#*$ lots-of-game-havers. (This is not directed to any one person.)

I need a break from PBPs myself, but if, down the line, I recruit as a GM for a new game one of my requirements will be that applicants are in no more than five games.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
GMDQ wrote:


It also, pisses me off when people who are already accepted to 10+ games apply for a new game and get chosen over folks who have far fewer (but who also have excellent applications). Frankly I think it's selfish on the part of the applicant--hey, uncrowd the playing field and give someone else a chance!--and it's bad foresight on the part of the GM (see my own bad foresight, above) who lets in someone who is in a dozen games and likely won't contribute well or consistently, and ditched the applicants who were in low or no games who likely would have had more and quality posts. Whether I get in or not (I promise this is not about me), I've literally sometimes seen some awesome applications from folks in new games who deserved to get in and the GM chooses a player or two who are in 12 games, running 3 of them, who then doesn't show up....

My 'favorite' is when applying for an AP and people who apply write, "The last time/two times I played this AP..." Really? If you've played it before how about letting someone who hasn't played it have a chance?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So I agree with nearly all of the above two posts, but I'll just add this caveat: If you're checking a players number of campaigns, be aware that not all of them may be "active" campaigns or they could be very slow-moving campaigns. If a campaign has died (or is in the process of dying), those campaigns don't move to a player's inactive listing unless the GM takes an action to de-activate the campaign or if the Gameplay thread doesn't see any activity for a certain length of time.

If a GM were to view my campaigns page, for example, they would see that I'm in twelve campaigns, when the reality is that five of those are dead and two are very very infrequent (and in fact were dead at one point).

This is just an FYI for anyone who is taking the advice to consider the number of a player's existing campaigns.


Andostre wrote:

So I agree with nearly all of the above two posts, but I'll just add this caveat: If you're checking a players number of campaigns, be aware that not all of them may be "active" campaigns or they could be very slow-moving campaigns. If a campaign has died (or is in the process of dying), those campaigns don't move to a player's inactive listing unless the GM takes an action to de-activate the campaign or if the Gameplay thread doesn't see any activity for a certain length of time.

If a GM were to view my campaigns page, for example, they would see that I'm in twelve campaigns, when the reality is that five of those are dead and two are very very infrequent (and in fact were dead at one point).

This is just an FYI for anyone who is taking the advice to consider the number of a player's existing campaigns.

This is all a very fair point. There is always context worth considering.


Yeah. For example, I'm currently in 6 games, including one a friend of mine started up yesterday because our weekly live games are on hold for the foreseeable future. Only two of them update with any real regularity, due to various factors (one is on hiatus due to the GM going through some life stuff, others are the result of delays that should be resolved shortly, one other I'm pretty sure the GM has just lost interest entirely).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shadow Dragon wrote:
My 'favorite' is when applying for an AP and people who apply write, "The last time/two times I played this AP..." Really? If you've played it before how about letting someone who hasn't played it have a chance?

I don't see that one a lot, but I sympathize. Speaking only for myself, I zero interest in playing through the one AP I've finished again, and I don't understand wanting to do that.

OTOH, there are a lot of us who have *started* APs and not gotten through them...I've had four or five RotR games flame out before finishing the first part, and I'm far from unique in this.


This is a very valid point and when I started recruiting for my first games I gave it a lot of weight.

On the long run though, those people started to accumulate more and more games anyway. There are multiple factors for this to happen, but basically the thing is adventures last for many years, and every year it passes there is more chances you like a recruitment, apply and get recruited there. So games start to accumulate, the more years, the more opportunities to get in more games, and because those are long runs, you keep up with the previous ones, and if people sees you keep up good with those games and you are still in the forums after years of playing, they want you in your games. So here you have the magic circle: more years, more games, better reputation, more people you know, more people accept you in their games. I have been what in these forums? 7 years, and from all adventure paths I have participated in, only one reached the end and two died before the end, all the other ones are still running. So APs have accumulated for me through the years and I think this is what mainly happens to most people here. People does not just start and decide to go into 10 long running campaigns in a year or two.

But there is a limit for everyone, and there is a point when you cannot add more time to the hobby, and then, your attention starts to get divided, and as this process starts, you start posting less and worse. Some people realize they are burning out and stop applying to new campaigns, some do not and one day realize they have to drop some of the games in order to keep quality on others, some do not and their bad contribution ends affecting their campaigns, if the GM is self-conscious finds the way to kick out those people out of the campaign, if not, the campaign starts having serious problems as people loses interest and abruptly ends. Some other people reach the point they burn out and just disappear from the forums. Because life changes and suddenly things are different and you do not have the same energy available for PbPing.

As for the reasons people keep going into recruitment, I can only talk about my own experience. There are some periods of time where it seems I have spare time, so I just head into the recruitment. There are some adventures I want to play and I am conscious there are not many opportunities to play them, so when I see a recruitment it takes my attention. Then, there are some GM's and groups of people around them that you know they are going to do some great stuff and have a high chance of a successful and fun game. It is difficult on those rare occasions to not apply on there. Then, it is fun to build new characters, flesh a new personality and past, so those of use that we like it, we also sometimes like to apply just because of that exercise, because you know, the chance you end up recruited is low anyway. In fact, I have had to force myself not to apply to recruitments in some occasions even if it seemed fun.

My advise, if you are new: try to hold yourself and participate in slightly less games than you could. Because life changes and there will be a time you can do less. This is a years long run and the idea is to have fun all through, not to find yourself struggling at some point. If you are experienced and your number of campaigns are ramping up, it is perhaps time to stop a second and ask yourself what are you doing with your life, there are so many other things worth trying, and the mixture will help your own quality of life.


You also have to consider this. Being in 15 play by post bounties/quests isn't the same as being in 15 play by post scenarios or a mix of scenarios and adventure paths. The more games you are in the more energy it would take. Most bounties however end within 3 weeks or less, and they will probably end one or two at a time, spending less energy as time passes, while scenarios last 6 weeks or more. Some scenarios will take 3 months. Adventure Paths take years, even if you did only a single book, it will take you 3 months or more.
Dming 15 games however would take a lot more energy than playing 15 games. Don't think because you can handle playing X number of games, you can handle dming X number of games.
Another factor you have to consider is where you are playing your games. Even if you were only in 3 games, playing all three games on only the paizo site takes less energy than playing all three games on three different sites, cause then you have to visit and navigate each individual site.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm not sure I agree with that. The fact that some of them are bounties doesn't change the load on your attention while the bounties are ongoing. Your attention is still split 15 ways. Or, to put it another way, the GMs and fellow players in the bounties are just as deserving of your full participation while the bounty is going on as the GMs and players of the longer campaigns.

Dark Archive

I completely agree with Dennis. It can take an extensive amount of freetime throughout the day to be able to focus on a large amount of PbP games such as this. Start small and work your way up as each person's comfort zone is different. Take it one game at a time and focus on that game so that all of the players are able to enjoy it. The players are there to roleplay and have fun with each other.


The advantage of short games is you can adjust them down more easily if you find out your level of energy or motivation drops. If you are in multiple games and suddenly find yourself with appetite for more, it is actually a good advise to try first go for shorter adventures. If months pass and you find you have overdone it, with a small effort you can keep up until some of the short ones finish.

In the end it is as Tyranius says, everyone has a different comfort level. It depends a lot on how used you are to write, the time you have available and the tools at hand. In the time I write a couple of sentences in my phone I can update three of my games with a couple of paragraphs and some rolls when I have a keyboard under my fingertips. It is not the same to work on a low assistance museum than as a waiter in a place that is trending, etc.

For that reason, nowadays I give more value to what people actually write, their frequency and their past consistency when I am recruiting. I still consider the number of games people are in, but if someone with 10 games has a style that I do like, posts everyday and has maintained commitment to the games through the years, that is a good predictor of a successful contribution to my game more than other person in just a couple of games whose posts are one liners or just rolls, whose posting frequency is unstable or unknown, and has a tracking record of having dropped many games or constantly passes weeks periods absent without notice.


John Woodford wrote:
Shadow Dragon wrote:
My 'favorite' is when applying for an AP and people who apply write, "The last time/two times I played this AP..." Really? If you've played it before how about letting someone who hasn't played it have a chance?

I don't see that one a lot, but I sympathize. Speaking only for myself, I zero interest in playing through the one AP I've finished again, and I don't understand wanting to do that.

OTOH, there are a lot of us who have *started* APs and not gotten through them...I've had four or five RotR games flame out before finishing the first part, and I'm far from unique in this.

Yeah there's quite a thing with RotR games folding on these boards, been there myself. TBH it's not the fault of the AP it's just one of the more popular ones and most games fold before getting 10 pages of posts.

Silver Crusade

I keep hoping for another table of Wrath of the Righteous; I'm 0 for 2 in recruitment.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've started WotR 2 1/2 times (the half-time was because the GM for one of them was running two tables, lost players from each, and combined them before shutting down), and haven't gotten more than halfway into Part I.

This isn't really off-topic: the (lack of) longevity of APs on the boards can encourage players to pile up campaigns under the assumption that their current run through RotR is going to fail just like the last ones did. I've seen people nominally participating in more than one instantiation of the same AP, and the only thing I can figure is that they're sure one of them is going down.

Community / Forums / Online Campaigns / General Discussion / Can you have too many games? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in General Discussion