I have four players in my Monday game but last night one of them sent the group a message saying he was ill and wouldn’t be able to play. This is of course fine, a roleplaying campaign is a big commitment and you really can’t complain that sometimes people just can’t be there. But then I realised that when you are planning around absent players, four or six players is the worst number to have. Three or five is the best. Let me explain.
With four players I still run the game on evenings when one of my players can’t make it three out of four is enough to follow through on the group’s plans and make sensible decisions for the missing player. If two players can’t make it though, the game needs to be called off, it just doesn’t work. For me anyway. So 50% absence is enough to postpone play.
With a three player group though, from one point of view the numbers are the same, I’m happy to run without one player and with two I’ll cancel, but I’m only relying on two players so there is less chance that I’ll have two players who can’t make the game. To put it another way, I’d need a 67% absence to stop the game.
Five players is better than four because I’d be happy to run most games with three out of five players. So it would take 60% to kill that one.
Then with six players (my sensible limit) you are back to having to cancel at 50%.
So there you go, maths says that three players is better than five, and either is better than four and six.
Now I either need to find another player, or give one of the ones I already have the boot.