I’ve had a few GMs reach out to me in the last couple of weeks with players dropping last minute, dropping without notice, or even just not showing up. Our Open Table game sign-ups operate on a trust basis, and we have some best practices for that.
Player responsibilities and best practices:
Signing up is a commitment to play. Taking a seat means someone else doesn’t get that seat. Be fair to other Gauntlet Members in your attendance.
When you sign up for a game (waitlist or not), please put it in your calendar. This is not currently automated, and is an important minimal step you should take. The system does not prevent you from waitlisting to multiple sessions in the same slot. If you do get into one of those events, please drop yourself from the others.
We understand that both life and scheduling can be hard, and that many factors may force someone to cancel. We don’t ask or judge someone’s reasons for doing so. We do, however, expect you to make an effort to drop with the most notice for the GM. If you’re uncertain about making it, err on the side of dropping, if people are waiting on the waitlist. Or talk to the GM about it (for example by sending a direct message on Slack).
If you drop within a few days prior, contact your GM to tell them, especially if you’ve already played a session or if there’s a waitlist. This gives them the opportunity to go out and recruit people to fill in or plan around your absence. You’re under no obligation to explain a drop, but if you swap to another session and don’t say anything, there’s a chance your GM or fellow player will spot that. Try not to burn bridges.
All games are “open table”. If you didn’t enjoy a session, you don’t have to return for the other sessions. But do inform the GM of your absence and do drop yourself from the list. Be understanding of other players who have to drop. Help the GM integrate players from the Waitlist to the session.
In short: Try to look ahead and try to handle attendance with respect for the GM and fellow players.
GM responsibilities and best practices:
Show up and be ready. If you can’t make your session, see if you can get someone to fill in. If that’s not possible, reach out to all of your players and tell them. Do this as early as possible to give them time to find another game. If the game’s already had a session or two, consider checking if one of the players wishes to take over.
Expect an open table. Don’t plan on your line up to be the same from session to session. If you have a minimum number and don’t have that many, consider preparing and offering back-up entertainment. For more information on this concept and RPG B-sides, see https://www.gauntlet-rpg.com/blog/rpg-b-sides.
If a player drops, be understanding about that. Don’t judge. Sometimes it will be at the last minute and that sucks. But the overall attendance rate is pretty great in the Gauntlet, so don’t let a few bad incidents sour you.
That being said, if you have a player who repeatedly drops at the last minute or without notice, give a me heads up. I will check in with them if that’s a repeated problem.
Remember that even if you’re not a $7+ Patreon backer for The Gauntlet, you can still sign up for games. Events have a one week hold period for patrons, after which anyone can sign up. Waitlisting works-- each month I have several players who have moved up from the waitlist after I initially posted. That works best when everyone’s good about sign ups and dropping.