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A group of my friends often play semi-long term strategy video games together online. These games often span several play sessions a couple of times a week over a few months. Recently, one of my friends, George, commonly involved in this game has taken on a new aspect of his life that makes it very difficult for him to play consistently. We often desire to play, but since George's schedule is very firm/not accommodating, it's very rare that we get to play anymore.

As a group, we've decided that we'd like to start a new game together and would like to tell George.

However, my friends are very non-confrontational and have trouble telling him.

Normally in this situation I would take it upon myself to tell George on my own. However, due to the specifics of the dynamics of this friend group, I'm not in the best position to deliver this news.

How can I convince my friends that they need to assist me in telling George that we'll be continuing without him if they want him to be informed?

I've tried to take initiative and let him know that we'd like to start a new game, but none of my friends backed me up on my "claim" to which he just assumed that I was just joking.

I'm specifically looking for language/reasoning to effectively communicate to my non-confrontational friends that in order to achieve what they want they need to be somewhat confrontational and communicate as a group.

Additional clarififcation

Our group finds large amounts of time between play sessions to be extremely detrimental to our play experience, which is why we do not wish to continue the current game with George. To put it in perspective, a full playthrough of the game we play would normally take roughly two months. However, if we continued the game at the rate that George is able to participate it would take more than a year to complete which is unreasonable to us.

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    You might find better answers to this on: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/absent-players – apaul Mar 12 '18 at 16:28
  • You're asking two questions here. Why do you need to convince your friends? Are they willing to wait for George? IPS is not about making people do things they don't want to do... – Tinkeringbell Mar 12 '18 at 16:52
  • Sorry if I'm not being clear. It's not a secret. We decided we want to start a new game. However, we all also wish to make sure George is aware of this before we start. HOWEVER, my friends are very non-confrontational and have trouble with this. The language in my question makes sense to me, so please feel free to edit it with language that makes more sense to you all. – Arthas Mar 12 '18 at 16:54
  • How are the specifics of the game? Can one only join at the beginning of a game? If not, how big are the disadvantages to join late (if possible)? – XtremeBaumer Mar 13 '18 at 10:02
  • @XtremeBaumer You can join at any time by taking over the role of an AI player. Sometimes this is really advantageous and sometimes this is really disadvantageous. – Arthas Mar 13 '18 at 13:37
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To make it easier for your non-confrontational friends split this into two parts. First shut down the current game, it goes too slowly. There is no confrontation no exclusion, so it should be easier to convince your friends to participate in that part.

Once that's done you can start talking about starting a new game (wait a week or two if you want to make it less obvious) and when discussing this potential new game stipulate that the pace needs to be good and fast-ish, after all remember what happened to the last game, no one wanted to play it anymore?

Your question is how to convince your friends, so I would suggest making the process as de-focussed from George as possible. Now he may or may not see through that, but it should be easier for your friend group to focus on "Let's see how we can make this fast-paced" rather than "you're ruining it for everyone, George, get out", because in the first case you are not excluding him, he decides not to join for his own reasons

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It sounds like you're talking about "banning" a friend from your group just because he has another hobby he likes. You might lose him as a friend if you continue on that path.

Instead, why not organize the new game when he is not available, and play something everyone enjoys when he is?

EDIT: after comment: I don't necessarily suggest you to continue the old savegame when he is there, since I can also imagine it would be too slow or infrequent but just play something else everybody enjoys. That way you can exclude him from the game you and the others will play, without making him feel excluded from the group. I suggest breaking the news in this way.

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    We're not banning him from anything. He is of the impression that we will be playing the current game whenever he is available to. We just want him to understand that we would like to start a new game and that we don't have any intention of continuing the old one simply due to the slow pace at which it would be played. Also, this doesn't answer my question. – Arthas Mar 13 '18 at 13:53
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It seems your friends are not keen on taking part in that conversation, and no matter how you construct your words, you can not really force them.

However, there might be some middle ground you can reach. Since your friend is very busy lately, it might be an option for the very active people to start a secondary game. When your friend is available, continue on the primary game save.

When not, use the secondary game save.

I do this myself, since I have this issue often. And it works really well.

EDIT

As I said before, I do no believe there is a way to convince your friends into this. You could be blunt and matter of factly, but I don't think they will change their opinion, regardless of how you ask it of them. Being persistent may help though, but at the risk of being a nuisance.

I do not know why you are not the right person of bringing this, but if you chat/ voice chat as a group often, I would try bringing it up then. I am sure your friend will understand it, since he can not be there to play the game.

Alternativly, you could just play the game and talk about it when he is able to hear/read it and let him connect one and two himself, although this might hurt his feelings.

Also, there is no need for this to be a confrontation. There is no obligation from either side to have to play the game together. It was just easy so far, but now it is not.

Simply tell your friend that since he has so little time to spend on the game, you guys will be playing games without him.

Also, is it an option for him to hot-join in progress games? Taking up the role of an AI player?

  • I've added some additional clarification to my question to address the reason why we don't wish to maintain two games. The pace at which the game with George would be completed would be so slow that it would severely affect our ability to immerse ourselves into the game and enjoy it. – Arthas Mar 13 '18 at 13:55
  • I edited my answer. Also out of curiosity, which game is this? – Robin Mar 13 '18 at 14:01
  • Stellaris. We're not exactly good players, so we often play the game at slower speeds/pause very frequently. Players can hotjoin as an AI, but often times they'll end up in a really bad position or a really good position instead of where they "should" be. – Arthas Mar 13 '18 at 14:05
  • The same game I run multiple saves for haha. But yeah, if the time in between is too long that is not an option. – Robin Mar 13 '18 at 14:14
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    Yes, the new DLC and patch have changed a lot of things. To me it is basically a new game, however the changes are for the better though and allow you to play faster, unless you insist on micro managing everything. There is a new learning curve though. – Robin Mar 13 '18 at 14:17
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Maybe you shouldn't.

You're not your friends' parent. If they don't want to say anything to George it's their responsibility. You've told George. That was your decision. From what you've said it seems George is bound to find out anyway.

I understand why your friends are hesitant to tell him. It's not nice to exclude a friend from a social activity. Trying to convince them to say to George that he is excluded from the team could make you look like the instigator.

Sometimes not taking an action is the best course of action.

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