[quote=“Zari, post:2, topic:21578”]
I don’t think this is an easy question to answer as it depends in part on GMs, the game, the expenses that the game has, and the demands of the venue. The cost-structure, as you say, would be a massive factor.[/quote]
Absolutely. My cost-structure for one-offs in Wellington is very easy: I don’t have to pay a venue deposit, I can cancel easily up until ~24 hours before the game, I’m unlikely to have bought anything I don’t need anyway (other than snacks, I guess), and at the end of the day the amount of money involved isn’t so great that I can’t afford a loss. So in the unlikely event that I have to cancel a game, I can give everyone a refund, and I’m unlikely to be out of pocket unless I got hit by a bus on game day (in which case, honestly, I have bigger things to worry about).
For players its a trade-off: you want people to pay early, but “no refund” policies create an incentive to delay. ATM we get a lot of payments the week of the game, and a high online payment rate (which I like: it provides financial transparency and minimizes the need to handle cash, which is inherently risky). We also get a lot of dropouts in the week before the game (the usual illnesses and people being good about not infecting their friends, but also some are probably financial), and we have on occasion had people who get cast and just don’t turn up.
As a GM I’m looking at full refunds for dropouts up until 2 or 3 days before the game, after which it becomes discretionary (meaning if you tell me in advance and its a good reason then you’ll get one. If you just don’t show up to the game and I have to delay game start while I recast on the fly, then nope, you’re paying). Again, this would be very different if I was running a weekend game with a hefty venue deposit and catering expenses.
And yeah, this is the sort of thing GM’s should put in writing, so players know what they’re in for.