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Author Topic: How do I decide who plays?  (Read 1943 times)

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Offline NastaraTopic starter

How do I decide who plays?
« on: April 01, 2016, 11:01:19 PM »
So, I did something that may have been a little stupid.  I posted a thing with a general 'Hey, would people be interested in this?' and I got about twice as many people as I can fit into a game.

I'm considering trying to run two games, but I'm not 100% sure that I can keep up with that.  Is there a general way that Elliquiy does it?  Just the first X number of people?  Putting together a group that looks like it would fit?


Online Thorne

Re: How do I decide who plays?
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2016, 11:20:55 PM »
Hi! Welcome to GMing.

So. First - let me congratulate you on getting a good pool of options! That's usually the first hurdle. Choosing a functional group is the next, and when I'm doing it, I tend to look at the offered characters from the perspective of 'how well are these people going to mesh as a group?' and 'are they going to have a good blend of skills for whatever they're going to get into' - and around here, I usually like to try and have a fairly even blend of genders and preferences, because even when it's not the focus, around the E, it often comes up.

The E offers you the unprecedented advantage of checking up on people, so you can see a little bit of their posting habits and how they interact with people. This can be useful, but it probably won't save you from player attrition, so ... the people you can't take now? Find out how many are okay with going on a 'waiting list' - for the gaps that will eventually open up.

Personally, I don't like first-come, first served - I don't like it as a player, and I don't like it as a GM. Too much a risk you're going to get an unbalanced group, or something even less functional. But in the end, you go with what works for you.

Offline NastaraTopic starter

Re: How do I decide who plays?
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2016, 11:26:29 PM »
Thank you!  Turns out there's a little demand for Dungeon World!  I didn't bring much beyond that. 

Okay, that makes a lot of sense.  I think I'm feeling awkward about not adding people in, but that may just be a thing that kind of sucks and is weird.

First come, first served felt a little bleh to my mind as well.  Waiting list could be a good way to do things, though I'd love to have a consistent group!

Offline Faeli

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Re: How do I decide who plays?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2016, 11:35:40 PM »
I am gonna ditto what Thorne said, because I <3 Thorne

There are three general ways to narrow the playing field.

1)  Look at the potential player posts.  How much time passes between a GM post and the player response.  How detailed are their posts?  Generally speaking, you shouldn't penalize people for not being the first person to respond to a GM post, but if it is taking them 5 days to post something OR you see games that they are in having to move on without them ever posting those are definite warning signs.

2)  Ask the applicants to submit a character concept.  Just a quick sketch.  Class, Race, Picture, and very brief history.  See which characters strike you and see who YOU want to run a game for.  However, don't ask for a complete character.  It is important not to ask people who will potentially not be playing to invest a lot of time into a game they may be rejected from.

3)  Write a sample post and ask potential players to write their response.  Its interesting, we are all asked to submit writing samples to join E but almost never afterwards.  Like 2), don't ask too much.  I would even tell them to limit their response to 100 words or something, but it will help you pick players who you want to play with.

Ultimately, we're all here to have fun, and you finding the players that you will enjoy running for is just as important.

Oh, also,

4)  Always accept players whose avatars involve handcuffs and adorable butts ^^

Offline NastaraTopic starter

Re: How do I decide who plays?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2016, 09:39:37 AM »
Faeli, Thorne thank you both so much!

These insights have been wildly helpful.  I'm going to go ahead and write up some kind of further information regarding the game I want to run and then put up a brief prompt for people.  Getting the nicely meshing group makes sense to me (as someone who runs games out in the real world), I hadn't really considered that I'd be doing the same thing here!  Definitely going to do a little snooping around too!

You both rock!

Offline Ebb

Re: How do I decide who plays?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2016, 09:50:40 AM »
In my experience, the most successful group games are the ones where the GM selects the right players, not the right characters. You're better off looking at the players' past writing to see if you think they're going to get the feel of your game and whether you think their styles will mesh well with yours. Most players should be willing to alter their characters a bit in order to get a coherent group, or to play with skills or equipment or what have you in a system game in order to make things work. I think Dungeon World actually has fewer concerns in this area than something like Pathfinder.

An approach I've seen on other boards but not used much here is to first recruit the players and then do character creation as a group only after you've gotten your players signed on. I'm not sure why this isn't more common -- the tradition here seems to usually be the opposite, where people build characters as sort of an audition to get into a game. Part of that is that people just like to build characters, I suppose, but it seems like an awful lot of wasted effort in the aggregate.

I would not recommend potentially overextending yourself by running two groups. I've seldom seen that work out well. If you do decide to do it, I'd recommend running two completely different scenarios. It's very hard to maintain interest in GMing the group that happens to lag further behind the plotline if you're doing the same thing in parallel. There's much less of the "oooh -- I can't wait for them to see this" element, which is a big part of keeping the GM's interest up.

One positive note -- People here are generally very accepting of the reality that GMs are a scarce resource, especially system GMs, and that there's no guarantee that they're going to get into every group that they apply for. So you shouldn't feel bad about having to limit the number of acceptances, and you won't be insulting anyone if you have a cutoff like that.

GMing is a huge amount of work and can involve a lot of headaches. If it's not fun for the GM then they won't keep up their end and the game fails. Making your players happy is a great thing. Making yourself happy is mandatory.

Online Thorne

Re: How do I decide who plays?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2016, 11:54:18 AM »
I've done a variant on selecting the player first, and having the resulting group build together, but as my Sunday group could tell you, even that can backfire (ended up with a party that technically meets the 'arm/hammer/anvil' layout, but lacked a couple of key skill sets... whoops), despite having told them ahead that I wanted a balanced party.

Invite-only also works for this, but it's harder to do if you're just starting out and you don't know people. ^^;

Offline NastaraTopic starter

Re: How do I decide who plays?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2016, 12:07:24 PM »
Just wanted to post a thank you!  This was all wonderful advice and we've got a group chug-chug-chugging along now!  Thanks! <3