I am once again planning to start a new campaign as a kind of open table sandbox since sandboxes are really the only way to go and setting things up to work with an open table makes scheduling so much easier. No need to keep delaying the next game until there’s finally a day where all players think they are available and don’t have to cancel on short notice. Just play with whatever players happen to be ready to play that day.
But with some players playing irregularly, keeping everyone on track on what’s been happening in the game recently become a challenge, and play reports really seem like the way to go to deal with that issue. I could of course write the play reports myself, but that would be extra GM work and when running a weekly game while I’m working full time I’ll probably have enough game stuff on my hands already. It also would mean that I am giving the players my perspective on what actually happened and what the important moments and developments of the last game were, and I think it would be much more fun to have the players perpetuate their own narratives of what’s going on. Having some of the players write the play reports seems a much better idea.
But of course you have to incentivize the players to do additional homework between games. I once had the idea to give characters +10% XP for the last game if the player writes and shares a play report for a D&D game, though never actually applied it. Dragonbane does not have XP like that but instead has Advancement Marks for every skill that is being used in play. At the end of the game, the player makes an inverse skill check for each of these skills, and if the roll comes out higher than the current skill rank, the skill advances by one rank. Each character also gets one free mark that can be assigned to any skill that didn’t get used during the game, plus additional ones if the characters did certain things that are encouraged by the GM for being appropriate to the genre and style of the campaign.
My idea for an incentive to write play reports is to give the players’ characters one Advancement Mark in either the Awareness, Myths & Legends, or Spot Hidden skills at the end of each game if they shared a report for the previous game. Awareness and Spot Hidden are a bit of a stretch for being improved by characters chronicling their adventures, but this gives the players alternatives if they already got a mark for Myths & Legends for using it during the game. I guess alternatively I could just give them a free mark that they can apply to any skill. But I quite like the idea of treating the players writing the report being something that their characters are doing as part of playing the game.