An often overlooked part of creating a multi day event is time for players to rest.
Players need to sleep. But often players will not allow themselves time to rest at a multi day event. This might be because they are trying to get the most out of their time. Especially if your event has a dedicated following.
Without sleep players may have more negative experiences at your game. While well rested players:
- Are more active & engaged
- Less likely to injure themselves
- Will enjoy your event more
- Be safer driving from the event
- Have a better experience overall
You will always have players that want to continue play when you have built in time for rest … and that’s alright. If those players make up a small percentage of your game, you can keep them engaged with fewer resources. This leaves the bulk of your resources available to engage the majority of your players.
When Are Your Players Tired?
Periodically take a break from running your event to see how it is running. Learn as much as your can from your player’s perspective. This is easier to do in a chronological or monthly event, but is still possible at episodic events.
Is there a time every event when players aren’t engaging mods? Have you noticed times during your event where players seem disgruntled? Are you running into injuries more often during certain hours? These are times when your players are either trying to rest or are already fatigued.
Once you’ve figured out these times, you can begin working a solution into the way you run your game. There are a variety of ways to keep players better rested. The method you choose should be one that best suits the style of your event.
Releasing a Schedule
There are many reasons that players attend multi day events. Releasing a rough schedule of planned mods allows them the agency to chose where to best spend their time. And it allows them to chose when to rest. The more allowance or notice you give the player base on activities the better they can prepare for the event.
This shouldn’t mean that you are scheduling yourself into a corner. A mod or activity that you’re confidant can go out on time should will have a set time on the schedule you release to the players. Larger, more involved mods can have a more flexible time on the schedule. As an example: a large threat is arriving in the late afternoon, but a contest of wits is at 3pm.
Dedicated Quiet Hours
Some LARPS include ‘down times’ in their events. During these hours it is understood by the players that there will not be a threat of combat. And that significant plot points won’t occur. This allows the players a time to rest without worrying about missing important play time.
While this can work well in Role Play focused events, it isn’t the best approach high combat events.
Building in ‘quiet times’ into the event is way to incorporate this method into high combat events. Action and combat do not need to stop during these times. But you need to mindful of the kind of action you are providing. Threats at these times should be scaled for low engagement or quick resolution.
Areas of Play
Separating the space of the event into distinct areas of play can give players the security of knowing they can sleep undisturbed. Instead of changing any story aspect of the game, this method creates areas where players can rest without being interrupted.
This can be achieved as simply as having sleep areas be out of game areas. You can also expand this method by further separating areas of play. By designating combat areas, role play areas, and interactive areas, players are able to seek out the types of play that they enjoy the most. They can chose to sleep or to rest in one of the areas that they would not be disturbed.
Pacing the Event
A road block that many event runners find is the need to have something going on every hour of the event. This doesn’t need to stop --- but it does need to be balanced.
Pacing is often one of the most difficult options, but one of the most rewarding when done well. It works best in a sandbox style event. Keep in mind that it does require you to be aware of the mood of your game. And if what you had planned doesn’t match what is happening in game, you need to be able to adapt your plans.
Since the action changes based on how the event is going, players will not know when to expect to rest. You’ll need to show your players why they are able to rest. Otherwise they will continue to act as though the next large threat or plot point is about to come out. And they will avoid resting to make sure they don’t miss it.
This best done as a direct communication to your players that there will be a lull in the action. Done well, this method also builds up the world. For example: An NPC group that is often around asking for assistance could now tell the players about large threat that they has been removed. Things are or will be quiet for the next few hours.
At Your Event
There may not be a single method that works best for you. Instead you may find that combining parts of two or more of these gets the best results for your game.
By using the ones that best work for your event, you will have a better rested group of players. And they will be able to fully engage in the game you have put together for them. This will create a better experience for them and for you.