What things are a part of your ideal session, other than the actual game?
This is kind of a weird question. It’s something like “What do you like about the act of meeting with the intent to game, absent the act of gaming itself? What is it about being in a room with people that you like?” So I guess the only possible answer is “being in a room with people”. Oh, and snacks. Some people do snacks.
I’m a fan of the pre-session “faffing about” period, where everybody catches up and discusses happenings since the last time we spoke. Gaming is a social hobby. It’s not a business meeting that starts at exactly 18:00 every Thursday. We all meet because we enjoy each other’s company, and that doesn’t have to occur strictly in the context of gaming. Heck, I can think of at least one time the session itself didn’t actually happen, and we all just talked about gaming and other things for the full five hours. I wouldn’t call it an ideal game, but a game with a group of people who can converse like that for so long is already pretty close to ideal.