I have two groups that play in different parts of my campaign setting once a month. One player from the Friday group also plays in the Sunday group. I try to keep the campaign wiki up to date with recaps (although I’m behind right now), and the Friday game at least falls pretty consistently on the third Friday of every month.
Still, it’s a challenge to keep players up to date and informed about what’s going on in the campaign. Some of that stems from the different levels of player involvement, which includes factors like interest, attendance, and general RPG savvy (a few of my players play RPGs very rarely.)
In contrast to my own campaign, Wednesday night D&D Encounters at the game store have a core group of three to four players that show up nearly every week. Encounters features short sessions, and a fairly linear story, so it isn’t too difficult to keep up to date on the details. Frankly, I’m a bit envious that I can’t run my own campaign this way, but it just isn’t realistic to be able to get everyone around the table at home on such a regular basis.
When I consider the campaigns I play in, and those I run, there is a wide variety of campaign awareness. That is, players that are following the story, and/or events of the game world around them. It ranges from totally unaware, to immersed. As a GM, I have to assume that if players keep returning to the table, they are entertained. And that’s my primary goal, that playing an RPG provides entertainment to players and GM alike.
November and December, along with the Summer months, can be challenging times to get people together for gaming. Given that only a few of my players seem to be actively involved beyond the sessions themselves, I’ve grown to accept these little breaks in the flow, and use them to renew my creative energy.
I’d be interested in your thoughts about campaigns, session frequency, and your experiences with alternative meeting systems (e.g., Skype, and the like.)