D&D General How long should an after work online gaming session be ideally?

If I wanted to get a longer session I think I’d need to bring earlier and try and start at 6:30. Though then you’re butting up against work.
That's the main problem. Personally, I often work until 7pm, and I need at least an hour to ramp down and have dinner before we start. Similarly, as @Burnside mentions, the players with kids can only really start once those have been put to bed.

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He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Depends on the game. For D&D or Pathfinder I dont like anything under 3-4 hours. Other games like Traveller and PbtA style games can move a bit quicker so 2-3 hours works for them.

We are discussing moving our start time to 6:30 and playing until 10:30. I have player with. 4am wake up for work job though. It would be rough on him.


After work and dinner, on a weeknight (and online), the most I can do is around 3 hours. That includes built-in time for socialization and breaks, so around 2.5 hours of actual gameplay.
Comparatively, in-person, I can go around 5 hours before I'm exhausted. Of course, I'm a middle-aged guy running a table for 7-8 players, including teenagers.

For our weekday online game (using Discord for audio/video and Owlbear for battlemaps/images), we start at 6:45pm for tech check and banter. Gaming starts promptly(ish) at 7pm. We might take one 5 minute break in the middle. We most often end somewhere at a natural breaking point between 9:45pm and 10:15pm.

So, roughly 3 hours of gaming works well for us.

My weekly, weeknight games run two hours and I have to say I kinda prefer that length to my twice-a-month four-hour weekend game. Even though it's at the end of a day's work, I find I'm still fresher and sharper at the end of the session.

Many years ago, I would run four-hour sessions on Fridays, and by the end, everyone was dragging. Will never do that again.


What is the sweet spot for you in your online games? Two, three, four hours?
RE: a weeknight session I think it depends on a few factors. First whether its online or in person, peoples availability/scheduling, campaign type and DM preparedness, amongst other things. Our group meets in-person every other week on Mondays from 4PM until we reach a point that's ideal to quit and reconvene next session. On the average I'd say we get together for 3 to 3-1/2 hours sometimes less sometimes more, but we do get sidetracked quite frequently during the game, with someone cracking a joke, something in the game causes us to deviate the topic to something real world, etc. So, we usually get in 2 to 2-1/2 hours of actual gaming which is fine with us. we do take the game seriously (to an extent) but we also play just to get together, have some drinks and hang out. As long as the adventure is good, which it usually is, we're not overly concerned with how much we complete or accomplish. We run more of an episodic campaign than over-reaching arcs with an ultimate end game, so we don't have any expectations of moving the campaign forward we just see where things end up. It's fun and worth the few hours a couple times a month to play. I think the question you need to ask yourself is whether you're playing either 2 or 4 hours on a weeknight, is it fun and worth setting aside your time to play in the weeknight game rather than doing something else.


I prefer four hours. I am certainly willing to drop to three hours to accommodate people who still have jobs. Two hours just doesn't seem worth it, but maybe with players who are really focused on the game. I just haven't had players like that in a long time.


Online games generally go 2-3 hours - usually closer to 3 hours. Live games typically go 3-4, at our age, but they are also social events in a way that online games can't be.

My after school games are 1.5-2 hours, which has to do with parents picking up kids, but also with it being a long work day for me, with a lot of talking.


Dusty Dragon
For several years now, my pattern has been 3 hour sessions, 7-10 pm, 6 sessions a month. (edit: on weekdays). Two of these are face to face (a game I run) and the other 4 are online (a game I'm in). In the online game, we have players from California to Newfoundland, so this game is 4-7 for some, and 8:30-11:30 pm for others.

I would love to play more but it's not realistic for me due to other commitments etc.

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