I'm looking to generalize the following problem and solution.
Problem 0: You have a group of $n$ people that need to all meet each other in pairs (e.g. maybe they have to all shake hands or something) through the course of $n-1$ time slots. Describe an effective way to organize doing this. (For simplicity, assume $n$ is even.)
Solution 0: Create a line of $n/2$ pairs of chairs facing each other. Have everyone take a seat and designate one person to be the anchor. For the first time period, each person pairs off with the person sitting in the chair opposite of them. Each time a time period is over, the group rotates in the following way: everyone except the anchor moves to the seat immediately to their right (or if in the farthest right seat, then around to the farthest left seat on the opposite side), skipping over the anchor if/when needed. The anchor remains in the same seat the whole time. In this way, after $n-1$ iterations, every person will have paired off with every other person exactly once. (Note: If $n$ is odd, consider the case of $n+1$ where the extra is a "dummy" person whose partner is then "on break".)
So, the actual question/problem I have is how to do this with triples instead of pairs.
Problem: You have a group of $n$ people that need to all meet each other in triples through the course of $(n-1)/2$ (??) time slots. Describe an effective way to organize doing this. (For simplicity, assume $n$ is odd and divisible by 3.)
Clarification: Each pair of people needs to meet once. So once two people have been in a triple together, ideally they are not in another triple together later. (And again it might not be possible to avoid this happening, in which case minimizing such instances is preferred.)
As indicated by the (??), I'm not sure it can be done in $(n-1)/2$ periods. If not, then the minimal number of time periods (whatever that may be) is preferred. In particular, I'm looking for a description of an efficient rotation process once the initial groups of 3 have been formed.