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%


My hroup tends to go somewhere between 4 and 6 hours with an occasional 30 minute meal break.

Personally i can occasionally do longer if im really into it but i find that the average session at about 5-6 hours my mental reserves and energy start to flag (im also forever DM which i find takes more mental energy. As a player i can go pretty much all day).

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I used to like 3-4 hour sessions in my youth, with my kids (8yo boy narativist, 11yo girl dramatist, 12yo girl murder hobo) my sessions are 90 min to 2 hours. Anything longer and the 8 yo and 12 yo get bored. If I could fine a group of adults (age wise, maturity level is negotiable) to play with I think 2-3 hours would be my max now.

Session length is also hugely dependent on the game you are playing and the players at the table. A session should last at least one major event, ie clear a couple rooms in the dungeon or discover a significant lead in the mystery, etc. A games event cycle and how long it takes to resolve events like combat, social, or exploration have a huge impact on how long a session should be. DnD is the king of long sessions because combat generally takes a long time to react a conclusion vs BITD or many other story forward style games where combat is resolved swiftly.

Players and how they like to play are a huge part of this as well. Big role players are going to spend a lot of table time acting… I mean role playing vs a group of roll players.


For me a minimum of 4 hours is preferred to really let us sink our teeth into it and get absorbed into the world and inhabit our characters. :)

(Our current gaming sessions are around 4-5h each, though the actual play time is of course slightly less with the start of session hellos and the end of session keeping/updates.)


The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
Yeah I can't handle 4 hours anymore. 3 hours is more than acceptable.

Currently all I can run are 50-60 minute lunch break games, which works for games that don't get bogged down in combat

I won't game less than 4 hours. We take a quick break every hour. Played weekly.

But frankly, anything less doesn't interest me. I would prefer 6 or so, but that's tough to schedule for a weekly game.

I keep the socializing down to an absolute minimum during the gaming time, although before and after the session usually sees quite a bit of BS'ing and there's daily chatter on Discord.

That's yet another advantage of online gaming: you trim back on the social aspect of the hobby.
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A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Like @Jd Smith1 , 4 hours is the absolute minimum. But 4 hours feels unsatisfying to me. I want at least 6 hours. For my main campaign I run an 8-hour monthly session. 6-7 hours of that is actual game play, usually closer to 7 hours. About an hour is taken up by breaks, housekeeping, non-game-related chatting, etc. What's surprising is that we more often go over than end early. I suppose that is partly because with an 8-hour session, you tend to block of the day for gaming.


Moderator Emeritus
So many factors that can influence what is ideal but speaking broadly I’d say 4 to 5 hours for face to face and 3ish for online (which are I find more exhausting).

I am willing to go longer for face to face games if we are really into it and time allows (something that is not as common since jobs and children put a crimp in that option).

Both current groups (one in person and one online) only meet about once a month. I’d love to play every two weeks on the regular but current schedules don’t allow for it.

Guy Milner

I think my ideal is 2hrs online, 3hrs face to face. Break in the middle in both cases. I do occasional double-slot games at cons where we'll play for 3hrs, break for an hour and a half to eat, and another 3hrs.

I think you get diminishing returns from longer sessions sometimes, especially in one-shots. I've played 4.5 hr sessions at cons with less than 2hrs of actual content - when we're playing, I want us to be playing.

Really interesting to hear about how many 1hr sessions people are doing.

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