Well, my plan had been to have the first session of my sandbox campaign be a plenary session with all players present so that they could be introduced, have the general layout introduced, and then discuss how they might divide into two groups and begin exploring.
As I said, that was the plan. Instead, only two showed up, one an hour late.
Part of the problem is the time that I like to game: Sunday afternoon. Sunday afternoon seems to me to be the perfect time to game–most people are done with Church, there’s nothing on TV outside of football season, etc. Instead what happened was I lost three players to soccer, two more were running in a marathon in Cincinnati, and two others were doing the Relay for Life. Oh yes, and one was busy with Church.
So I’m having to do a little regrouping here. I’m going to shoot again for next Sunday, realizing I’ll still be down about five players, but appear to have four on the docket. I’m giving out all the background info in advance, including stuff I was going to roleplay out at the plenary session, and just get the campaign underway.
I’m also thinking I should not worry about two groups and play with whomever shows up. I had to absorb the scathing comments from the two who did come, one of whom wryly said, “oh yes, let’s split up this group of two.” The only thing that makes me really grumble is as I was doing the “which edition should I go with” I picked 4E because it worked better for larger groups and because certain people favored that edition. But what it doesn’t have is the ability to be dialed down to two or three players easily. For that, I should’ve picked Labyrinth Lord and let the players say to themselves “four orcs–I think we need to skip this room” instead of my having to dial down 500 XP worth of monsters to make a level 1 encounter doable for two players.
If next week craps out with only two or three players, I’m going to obviously have to revisit this whole idea.