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Throw a Wrap Party and End Your Campaign in Style

To commemorate the end of my group’s two-year Stargate SG-4 campaign, our GM, Don [1], threw a wrap party. After we finished up the tail end of our previous session (which had carried over), he disappeared for ten minutes while we took a quick break before diving into the finale.

When he ushered us back into the dining room, we found several surprises waiting for us: a Stargate cake, topped with a cardboard stargate that read “Congratulations Stargate SG-4,” three plaques commemorating our two seasons of adventures along with a desert camo Stargate cap for each of us. It was totally awesome.

Not only was it awesome, but it made me think that every campaign should end with an event like this.

Particularly if you’re planning ahead for the end of your campaign (a topic covered in the free TT PDF How to End a Campaign: Six Approaches [2]), I highly recommend considering this idea. Don put a lot of work into the gifts he gave us, but you could put in less work and still get good results.

Just like giving gifts to your players [3] earlier on in the game (a post, incidentally, inspired by this same game — Don gave all of us SG-4 patches at the start of this campaign), little things like this go a long way to cementing your game’s place in your players’ top ten list [4] — and most importantly in making the campaign feel special.

To give you an idea of how this turned out, here are a few photos from the SG-4 wrap party.

From left to right, Jaben, Sam, myself and Don enjoying our starcake.

A closeup of my commemorative plaque and Stargate cap. It might be tough to see, but the plaque lists the “air dates” for our campaign, plus the names of every episode.

The three of us saluting our GM, who’s not wild about pictures. Again from L to R, Lt. Dave Green (Jaben), Mr. Amadi (Sam), Don and Maj. Aaron Decker (me).

We didn’t actually finish the finale — we stopped about halfway through, too tired to keep on trucking (we’re getting old). It’s going to rock, though, and I feel completely comfortable saying this now: Thank you for an excellent campaign, Don, and for going the extra mile to throw this wrap party and give it the best send-off of any campaign I’ve ever played — and thank you to Jaben and Sam for being kickass teammates.

Have you ever thrown a campaign wrap party like this, or otherwise commemorated the end of a long-running game with a special event?

(I’m out of town on business from Tuesday, August 7th through Friday, August 10th, and I most likely won’t be able to check in while I’m away. There’ll be a new post every day, as always, and I’ll catch up on comments and the forums when I get back. See you in a few days! — Martin)

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#1 Comment By robustyoungsoul On August 7, 2007 @ 6:03 am

So. Cool.

When we were longer lads we used to have a 24-hour long session to end on campaigns. We would take breaks for meals including grilling dinner (and breakfast) but the exhaustion at the end actually served to make you even more emotionally invested in how it all wound up.

This is a great idea though. Now that I am practically incapable of staying awake 14 hours much less 24 this seems a great way to end a campaign!

#2 Comment By Heather On August 7, 2007 @ 8:10 am

Not a wrap party, but we did have a Christmas event in the middle of our campaign this last year. The GM gave us each a gorgeous little wooden or metal box (usable as a dice box, naturally), and inside was a numbered slip of paper. In order of the numbers we got to draw from slips of paper he held in his hand, and we got various character bennies ranging from +1 to a certain stat, to immunity to cold, to a limited wish to hang onto for later use. The in-game rationale was a mysterious divine encounter in the woods on a particular in-game holy day.

It was a lot of fun! So yeah, I love the idea of such parties/gifts, whether they’re at the end of a campaign or the middle. I think wrap-up parties can be a great way to give a feeling of finality to a game.

#3 Comment By Abulia On August 7, 2007 @ 8:19 am

You’re welcome, Martin!

I tossed up some additional pictures on my site for those that are interested. I’ll also post the PDF prop files within the next 24 hours.

#4 Comment By John Arcadian On August 7, 2007 @ 9:20 am

I like that idea heather. Giving stuff in game. It obviously has its draw backs when applied to a wrap up party. The characters can go off and be cool in their after stories.

The one thing I did like this was when my old gaming group got together a year or so after a campaign had ended as planned. We just kind of sat down and hung out, and went around the table telling stories of of characters after the group had split. Everyone had a great time, and the more we got into it the more we were embellishing and telling full blown tales.

#5 Comment By VV_GM On August 7, 2007 @ 3:53 pm

I have to give this a shot with my current game which will be ending soon. A gift for each player and a special meal.

Great post Martin! Ideas and experiences like this one need to be shared!

#6 Comment By Beldar On August 8, 2007 @ 6:02 am

Sounds very cool. It has inspired me to come up with something when I end my Age of Worms campaign. I should be able to come up with something good as I won’t be ending for sometime.


#7 Comment By Matthew Allen On August 10, 2007 @ 8:54 am

Where did he get the SG-4 Patches? Ordered them from somewhere? That was a great idea.

#8 Comment By Martin On August 12, 2007 @ 11:19 am

Matthew: Yep, he ordered them online (unfortunately, I don’t know where). I believe the outlet sold SG-# patches for pretty much any number you could desire, which was pretty cool.

The pictures on Don’s blog are definitely worth checking out, too. We got sidetracked into striking gangsta poses, and I can now never consider running for public office…

#9 Comment By Ben Scerri On August 2, 2013 @ 7:58 am

I’m coming around to the end of my 2 year campaign, and I want to do something really special for my players. Most of them are first time campaign finishers, so I want it to be a big deal for them.

I was wondering if you still had a copy of “How to End a Campaign: Six Approaches”, because the link is broken, and I would be very interested in reading it…

Cheers 🙂

#10 Comment By Martin Ralya On August 5, 2013 @ 8:07 pm

Through the magic of the Wayback Machine, I think this page should still work: [5]