I have been both a player and GM for a long time. Currently, life takes up most of my available gaming time. Thus when I do get a chance to game, I'd like to make it as close to optimal as possible.

What adventure ideas/styles do you use in a short game (1-3 hours)?

What adventure ideas/styles do you use in a long game (4+ hours)?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This varies incredibly from game to game, group to group. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Aug 27, 2012 at 14:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've personally played in games up to 6+ hours, but I find shorter ones leave me wanting more. I'm just wondering if there is a sweet spot on the short side of things, or a saturation point on the longer ones. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 27, 2012 at 14:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Ben, this question is entirely subjective. I don't believe there is an answer that will work for every, or even most gaming groups. \$\endgroup\$
    – C. Ross
    Aug 27, 2012 at 15:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed. Please mull over for a moment what your real problem is and what people could tell you that would help you. How other busy professionals schedule in their gaming? What's the most effective length of a game session in your experience? Etc. I would defend the latter against claims of subjectivity, and I suspect it's what the above is trying to get at, but it's asking weird other questions instead. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Aug 27, 2012 at 18:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, if your group likes to have a lot of combat, then the combat mechanics of the system you're playing determines how best to structure your game. E.g. if your D&D 4E games tend to have 1hr combat encounters, then a short (1-3hr) game should only have one combat encounter, with the rest of the time filled by skill/social/story bits. This is only an example for a specific playstyle for 4E though, so you can imagine how the advice varies with system and style. Hence needing more specifity. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 30, 2012 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


I've run the gamut of game times from a half hour because character creation took too long and we just did a quick fight scene to say we played, all the way to a weekend long marathon game where we stopped for a few hours of rest and to grab food.

From my playing experience, and ideal game is roughly four hours long if we're staying system agnostic. If the game is more socially based, I've found that its much more preferable to keep it shorter because the DM may not have enough material to keep up with the party because social interactions tend to be the most malleable of situations and easily veer from the intended path. Conversely, combat oriented games should probably allow for a little longer sessions. Several games I know can turn a five minute battle in game into an hour long ordeal without even trying.

Since you didn't list a game system or a focus that's the most specific I can give you.


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