I’ve been going back and forth on this “daily resources” thing in tabletop gaming. I’ve played with a bunch of different gaming groups and I’ve never really seen one group use an overwhelmingly effective method for handling actions that take several days to complete. Not travel, not item creation, not bed rest, nothing.

Honestly, the best ways I’ve seen of tracking the passage of time in a game have been by a certain amount of enforcement within the game rules – requiring a “short rest” to take five minutes of game time, or an “extended rest” requiring between four and six hours to complete (Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons).

Alternately, there’s the “Mythos Phase” of Arkham Horror and certain “delay” effects that suggest (without explicitly stating) that investigators have spent some time in a location, while turns in Elder Sign literally “advance the clock,” with “doom clock” effects taking place “at midnight” after every four player turns.

So, how do you make actions take several in-game days to complete? How do you enforce certain effects requiring time to pass before players can take advantage of them – or manage daily resources without bogging the game down? After a lot of consideration I wonder if the answer might not be, “make them entirely optional.”

There are few things that encourage a player to read and study the rules that impact their character than something they’re actually interested in. If some actions requires several days to complete, there’s no better way to make sure the rules are followed than making them optional and rigidly-defined.

Perhaps if “healing surges” that enable a greater degree of action and recovery at the cost of requiring otherwise limited resources that can only replenished with an extended rest are optional (say, granted by a character theme), it seems to me that players would use them if they felt compelled to read and understand them.

It’s quite a bit easier to balance the game on an “encounter” basis, and the “short rest” is easier in my experience to explain and enforce than certain rules dependent upon taking more time, what if the system didn’t require daily resources but offered them as as an option for players who want to “invest more” in the learning the rules?

I think you could probably look at the difference as being one of “pickup game” versus “campaign mode,” but the problem remains in balancing one against the other. The systems assumes for encounter-based dungeon-crawling or somesuch, as opposed to long-term character commitment and “campaign” play.