I want to introduce some new games to my group. But when I broach the topic like, "Howdja like to play Dogs in the Vineyard?" they balk - not at the prospect of trying something new, but at the prospect of committing a big chunk of time to a total unknown.
So, we're going to try "gaming tapas" - We're gonna set a short, limited number of sessions to try out some new games so people can get an idea of what a given game is like, and whether they'd like to come back to that game for a longer campaign.
My question, as GM, is - what's my ideal number of sessions to try a game out? The more sessions you have, the better idea you really get about the game. The fewer you have, the more games you can taste before settling in on one. What's the best balance?
I'm thinking 6. Apocalypse World at some point mentions that you haven't really started playing until you're six sessions in, and I figured independently that we needed 1 session for character creation, and at least 4 to play. Burning Wheel suggests 4 or 5 separate "teaching" sessions (tests, versus, range and cover, fight!, etc.,), so there's barely enough time in 6 sessions (including chargen) to try all of that. But that means (with weekly sessions) that trying out 4 new games (BW, AW, DitV, Leverage) will take six months!
Anyone have any direct experience with this problem? Does anyone have any concrete information on questions like the following:
Do "short circuit" techniques like If after the third session, three people want to abandon it, we move on to the next game at the next session. work? Or do they just cut down good games before the group has acclimated to them?
Would I be better off spending a session on character creation, to give my group a sense of what's possible in a given system, or handing out pregens, to avoid wasting a whole session on creating characters?
Specifically, this question is not only about the games that I've mentioned here - it's about techniques for testing the waters with any new game for a group. I have listed games that I intend to try in the sort-term, however, answers should focus more on the concept and less on individual scenarios or adventures for any one particular game.