Dungeon overcrowding

I'm continuing to run my two separate D&D games, but yesterday's session (my original home game) surprised me what I thought was going to be a sparse player group (four) turned out to be a larger than normal-sized group (seven).  Because I'm using a pre-gen adventure and wasn't really expecting a group that big, that meant that the group tended to blast through more challenging encounters and got bogged down in long initiative orders.  I think the only time the group felt really concerned was the one time the zombie beholder managed to get his turn on the initiative order, and ended up NOT rolling the disintegration ray.  One shot, didn't kill anybody, and that was it for him.
The group plows their way through two (owl)bears

In the past when the players have begun drifting back into the group because of lighter schedules, babies growing up, etc. I have opted to split the group or restrict the number of times per month they can play to keep the table size down.  But now I've got a whole second group of players already on the schedule, so now I have to think about adding more gaming sessions, or gaming with the larger group.  Decisions...

There has been some other winds blowing through the group(s) as well.  One of which is a desire to have both gaming groups set in the same "universe" so that they can in some way interact with one another.  One group is at 6th level and exists in the Forgotten Realms universe, specifically Waterdeep.  The other is in Raging Swan's "home universe" of the Duchy of Ashlar.  One is 6th level, the other 2nd.  I'm trying to figure out if it makes sense to merge the two universes together or just reset both at some point into a third, shared universe of its own.

Which leads me to another thing I'm hearing from the group--the odd rumble about trying out a different system.  In the college-age group, one of the players has already discovered the RPG Comrade and wants to try his hand at running that.  Members of both groups have mentioned the new edition of Pathfinder, and yesterday I was even hearing about Fourth Edition D&D.

So we will see.  It's not broken, so I'm loathe to try to "fix" it, but at some point it may change.

Comments welcome!  Thanks for reading!
 

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