What do want/get from a play report?

Do you write play reports for your sessions? Or read play reports from other people’s games? I’m interested to hear about your format or process, as well as what it is you want out of a play report.

I used to keep a fairly detailed log for my home table, but lately I’ve streamlined the whole process. These days, I take notes during the game, only jotting down events that make a narrative impact. Then, afterwards (maybe a day or two later) I clean up those notes, writing them out as complete sentences, and put them on a private web page so that the players can look over them if they want. Mostly, the point is to preserve a record of the ongoing narrative so that we can refresh our memories as needed.

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I feel I might be the minority here but I never write and very, very rarely read play reports, and when I do it’s only to get a sense for how a system I am looking into plays and how the mechanics work in play. Most of the reports I read will also be from people playing rpgs solo, to see what their method is since it’s a very tricky and personal thing to get right, and actually does benefit from seeing how other people do it.

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I try to write play reports for all my sessions. I do this on a google doc, for easy sharing with the players or other interested people. I haven’t found a consistent format yet, but generally I begin with the pitch/concept of the adventure, a list of players and their characters, and each session numbered and dated. I write in bullet points and from memory (generally soon after the session), but I try to write it so a person who doesn’t know the game or the adventure can still understand what’s happening.

My main reason for doing play reports is so I can keep a record of the games I play. There are old games that I barely remember and I wish I had written down at least their key moments. I also like to give a group the play report of another group that went through the same adventure.

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I write play reports for every session of the Cyberpunk game I run. I write down one bullet point for each scene during play and write everything out later on, if possible directly after the session. I collect them in a word document (of currently 19 pages!) and post them in a channel of our private Discord server.
Originally my players and I would alternate writing those reports, but collecting and editing was more work for me than just writing them all.

While I’m quite good at remembering what happend last time(s), my players definitely need these reports, because our games contain a lot of information gathering and planning. I also really enjoy being able to go back and read how our first run went and I too wish I had written reports of our first campaign.

As for reading play reports of other groups, I generally enjoy those but often find them having to much or to little detail for my liking (tell me what kind of trap you ran into, but not how every round of combat went).

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