When chasing that elusive full table of eager players, there is one question that often comes up: do people want one-shots or campaigns?
You might think running one-shots make more sense because they allow users to vet a Game Master. But then a consistent campaign is hard to find, making it the dream of many players. So which is the smarter choice for pro GMs?
StartPlaying data shows that an average of 70-80% daily bookings are for campaigns, with the other 20-30% being for one-shots. That leaves campaigns the clear winner. That checks out when you consider that people often hire a pro GM for regularity–they know you’ll always show up prepared because it’s your job.
There is one caveat, however. While general demand is for campaigns, StartPlaying does monthly events like Learn To Play Pathfinder or Evil Hat Game Night. Since the focus of these events is trying a new game, there’s a big spike in one-shots. So if you’re looking to use one shots to welcome new players into the fold, monthly events are the time to do it.
A similar question asked by GMs is if homebrew campaigns stand a chance. After all, how do you get eyes on your unknown world when there’s a shiny new Dungeons & Dragons book coming out soon (and aren’t they always?).
Surprisingly, only half of surveyed StartPlaying users prefer published adventures. That leaves a whole other 50% down for homebrew. There is one BIG “but” in this statement, though. Our data shows that players actively avoid game listings featuring the word “homebrew.” Instead, they react better to phrases like “Custom Setting” or Custom Campaign.” So feel free to run your personal setting, just avoid the “H” word.
So now you know! Campaigns are definitely the way to go if you can spare the time, and you can find people interested in your personal world. Just make sure to write a great game listing description and feature cool art for the thumbnail.