Blades for Big Groups

I think my group would love Blades in the Dark, but we’re well above the recommended size for a crew. We’ve got seven players. Does anyone have any experience running Blades for big groups? Is it possible or a fools errand?

What mechanics would need to be tweaked for a larger group? (For example, if payoffs are built expecting a 2-4 player group and you’re dividing that payoff among twice as many characters that changes the whole economy of what characters are expected to be able to do with coin.)

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My group played it with 6 players, though we often had one or two absent.

It slowed things down, certainly — but not so much as that many players would slow down most rpgs, to be honest.

The biggest slowdown was probably with the downtime actions. Even if you’re going quick, that’s still 14 actions to go through. What I just started trying in my own group was to give everyone a single downtime action on their own, and then one downtime action to be performed as a group (mostly to speed things up and for roleplaying, not as an actual “group action”). It helped unify the experience and keep everyone engaged.

I’d love to hear how this goes. Good luck!

Beyond the time it takes, do you find that many downtime actions changes things? For example, with that many actions in play I could see the group being able to ‘buy off’ their accumulated heat between each score. Which is fine, but not having to deal with as many heat related complications would, I imagine, reduce some of the sense of risk associated with clawing your way up the ladder of the criminal underworld.

Did you have to alter the size of payoffs? Or did the desire to go for bigger payoffs encourage the players to go after only the biggest scores, possibly before they had the ability to handle the challenge?

If the size of the group imbalanced anything with the downtime actions, I didn’t really notice it. Maybe they were able to buy off more heat, or could afford to get better assets, or some such thing, but it didn’t seem to impact play. And, after a few games, once their characters had gotten a little more beaten up, they rarely had time for much other than healing and vice indulgence. My main concern with downtime was the amount of time spent on isolated actions, rather than interacting as a group.

As for the rewards, I usually based it on a per-player deal (1-3 coin per player, per score). It makes for a larger sum, overall, so you can probably afford to pay for the tier increase more easily, but it didn’t seem to break the game, by any means. Players still found themselves wanting for coin.

Some links regarding this topic from the (maybe a bit dusty) archive:

Disclaimer: I have not re-read all those postings. I just assume from their titles that they might be relevant.