How long should a gaming session be?

How long is your ideal session? (you can select more than one option)

  • 1 hour

    Votes: 2 2.1%
  • 2 hours

    Votes: 16 17.0%
  • 3 hours

    Votes: 46 48.9%
  • 4 hours

    Votes: 56 59.6%
  • 5 hours

    Votes: 22 23.4%
  • 6 hours

    Votes: 15 16.0%
  • More than 6 hours

    Votes: 10 10.6%

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Traditionally, I feel like '4 hours' is the kind of expected default. 4 hours is too long for me though. I start to get tired and lose focus after about hour 3.

I think a 3 hour session with a 15 minute break halfway through is about right for me.

That said, I have enjoyed some 1-hour one-shot demos at conventions and the like. That's a great length to try a new system without having to book out the afternoon.

You can select more than one option in the poll so you can choose a range if you prefer.
 

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Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
I remember the days of 18 hour gaming sessions back during summer break in High School.
Nowadays though, I find 3 is for the best. With 4+ hours you really have to take a meal break, and if you take a meal break everyone is going to be down for an extended period to digest, which basically cuts an hour out of the game anyway.
 

Distracted DM

Distracted DM
Supporter
I run about 3.5-4hrs, usually with a 15min break.
Sometimes I'll go longer if the session is really going well, or if the players request it. I have some players that DO request longer sessions- when we do that I'll add in an extra break.

As a player though, I'd probably be happier with 2.5hrs. I'm not as engaged as a player, though that does depend on the game and the folks.

In person does allow slightly more time than online.
 




I went with 4 hours, but that's because there's not 3.5 category. Which currently appears to be the norm. Also tends to be roughly the length of a convention time slot, oddly enough. If I'm running that's usually the length I try to prep for, although no prep survives contact with the players for long. :)

That said, I don't mind longer or shorter as long as everyone involved is okay with it. The absolute worst length is one that clashes with one or more player's preference or commitments. People with either zone out or be forced to leave early, and that's no good at all.
 

GamerforHire

Explorer
Even with breaks, I start running down after four hours. In terms of fully-engaged playing, maybe three hours as an maximum is better, but a “session” needs to be longer than that to accommodate slow starts due to socializing, breaks, and such.
 


R_J_K75

Legend
We play face to face and 4 hours is the maximum amount of time I'm willing to commit to regardless of the time and day we play. I'm not willing to commit to weekends on a regular basis anymore, nor is anyone else in my group, so we usually play on weekdays. That's not to say that we don't occasionally get together on a weekend. Our games have become more casual than they were in years passed. We try to play every other week, but that doesn't always happen. By the time everyone gets to the game, we catch up and have a drink or two, it's probably a half hour before we start playing. Some sessions are more productive than others depending on how much we get sidetracked. So, if we get together for 4 hours, we probably only actually game for 2-1/2 hours on average.
 

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