What would you consider as the max amount of players at the table for AW?

  • 5 Replies
The book gives a minimum amount of players but it doesn't give a max. I know there are 11 characters available in each game but my first thoughts is that having that many players at the table at the same time can be a challenge, but my lack of experience with the game doesn't allow me to make a good guess what that limit might be.

The reason I am asking is because its possible I might have 3 new players joining my game (which already has 3 players and me the MC).  I know there won't be a definitive answer but I want to get an idea of what people think.

in my personal experience the minimum is 2 but 3 is better... then with 4 you have a good fat group of players, and 5 is the functional maximum and might already be too much depending on STUFF*.
Anything more makes the game too slow, fragmented and chaotic, although I've heard of people claiming to be able to run 6+ groups "with satisfaction" (your mileage may vary :P )

*STUFF being the personal ability & expertise with AW of the MC, the general behaviour and attitude of ALL the players, the relative calm of the location where you play, etc.
The more people you have at the table, the more time each will have to WAIT to play, while their PC is not in the current scene.
Also, the more people you have at the table, the more DISCIPLINE they need to show in order to not have the session degenerate into an unpleasant chaos.

Remember that AW is supposed to be a highly immersive and emotional game, punching you in the gut with harsh decisions.
The more people at the table, the harder it is to have everything run smooth, feel personal, and to keep the general mood and immersion at the right tune.



  • 609
Yeah, I would say 5 is a bit too bloated to be optimal. Six or more and the game would suffer too much for me.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."

Our current game is about to go from 4 to 5 PCs, so six including the MC (me). I consider this a functional maximum, but it depends quite a bit on the players themselves, and also the characters' relations.

Once you get past 3 PCs you definitely want to start focusing on framing scenes with at least two PCs almost all of the time; with six PCs, you should be aiming for at least three. This will be easier if PCs have strong connections and a pre-established history of either working together or butting heads over particular areas in the fiction.

If you are beginning a new game with that many, the initial Hx choices should be a starting point for building very strong connections between the characters; if you are bringing in a bunch of players later, I would encourage them to make a set of connected PCs, especially if you are going to end up with 6 in total. An Operator + crew, Hocus + cult, Angel + assistants -- anything along those lines, so that at least at the beginning you can start fitting them in to the existing scenes/setting as a unit.

I played a first session once with eight or nine players. That was... not optimal. I believe that in an hour or two of actual play, after character creation and Hx, we got something like ninety seconds into the fiction. :P



  • 415
Anything more then 5 is probably going to suck for someone. It requires people playing in pairs and no one breaking off from events to do their own thing. 5 is really the maximum, and even then it's going to make everything run sluggish.

AW is best with 3-4 players and 1 MC.

I've tried 6, and 8 before. I ran 5 for months. I've been running games for 15 years, and most of the players were veterans used to playing with each other, I think that--and extending play for solo events to a forum was the only reason it worked. Not recommended, especially if you've got a tight thing going on. Better to have two different games imho.