I was just listening to the 3.5 Private Sanctuary podcast, Episode 220, about rotating campaigns. It struck me because we rotate campaigns, and have been doing it for so long that I don’t really even think about it any more.
We always have two campaigns going on at a time, alternating Sunday afternoons. (Various people in the group also have other campaigns going on – like Chris runs one for some other folks we don’t know on Friday nights). Right now, Paul is running Carrion Crown and I’m running Reavers.
It’s pretty helpful. As busy professional and dad, I can barely keep up with prep running every other week. It allows us to get different gaming experiences, too – sometimes different systems, different types of characters and campaigns – at once. Some players get twitchy when they play one PC/campaign for too long and campaigns founder, or they want to switch PCs, or other unfortunate things – I feel like the swapping keeps it fresh for everyone.
And, we’re all busy adults. For a while a number of years ago, I was a single dad with a pre-school age child. I had to pay a babysitter to be able to get out and game, and I could only realistically swing that once every other week.
The down sides are around “not remembering what’s going on” or “not being able to differentiate between campaigns.” We keep up a rapid enough cadence where remembering is OK, plus we do these wonderful session summaries to help our memories. If we were only gaming monthly and then alternating on top of that, that would be a lot more of a problem. In terms of remembering – eh, we all also play video games and read books and stuff like that, I can distinguish between what happened in the Pathfinder novel I just read and what happened in our campaign, and similarly I can distinguish between campaigns. It does help to play different game systems, or kinds of campaign, or at least type of character to make them more distinct.
So give rotating campaigns a try and see how you like it! I don’t think I’d want to go back, really.