What do you think about "duet" style play?

Specifically “1 GM, 1 player” play, in person or online.

I’ve only done it once, back when I was more fearlessly inexperienced, and it worked well.
But now, the thought gives me anxiety, like it’s too intimate or claustrophobic, or like something is missing. Well, things are missing.

Do you enjoy it? How is it different? What advice do you have for it?

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It’s awesome. Some of my favorite RPG memories have been duet games where I was the player, and I’ve been GMing duet games for my girlfriend for a while and more recently over PbP for a friend of mine.

My little trick has been to give the player one NPC ally, who serves as something of a guide to the region, and one pet (like a dog), who helps to build out the party without adding another character I have to voice.

I don’t feel like I have enough information to help with the anxiety you’re feeling (I asked for more information in the other thread you made), but all I can say is that I’ve found duet games to be a great opportunity to not worry about all the stuff I usually worry about.

I make up the rules moments before the game starts, cobbling together whatever resolution and combat mechanics I feel like using, grab a short dungeon, and get going.


I second @flyrefi in this. I’ve got plenty of positive experiences with this type of gaming, mostly in PbP (as it less likely to slow the game down while waiting on a player) but also in playing with the kids in my class. In some classes I only have one student.

I think they are great. But they are different. I’ve noticed from synchronous duet games is that they are more focused and demanding of my attention. Because there are no other people to take focus, it’s all on the same character. This means it can be hard to get a break while the game keeps going.

For me, I’ve noticed that about 20-30 minutes is about as long as I want a synchronous duet session to go. Which is usually one or two scenes. I can do longer, but I’m usually satisfied with the shorter session, and the when I go longer I definitely start to feel exhausted by it.

Taking a break also lets BOTH people think about what is going on and figure out what they want to do next. Which, in my opinion, can help keep each session being fantastic.

Now the break doesn’t have to be that long. It could just be like 10 minutes, but I’ve found something is way better than nothing.


I’ve had a great time doing duets with close friends of mine and with one of my kids. Giving them a fighting chance by adjusting challenges or by having them use multiple players is a requirement.

Obviously, they don’t have the same player to player interaction, so you need to up the looseness with the player and interact. Which hasn’t been a problem with friends and kids.