The job of game master is a job that requires a great deal of versatility. The typical day of a game master does not really exist, since every session is different. But despite everything, we can still highlight 5 general phases that take place throughout the day.
Phase 1: Preparation
When the game master arrives at his escape game he must prepare his escape room..
If it is non–linear, all mechanisms, objects, clues, etc. must be checked one by one The most important thing is to make sure that everything is set to zero. Then when leaving the room, the game master checks the sound to make sure it is at the right volume (neither too loud nor too low), he also checks the cameras to have the perfect angle of view at the beginning of the session. And above all, one of the most important points: don’t forget to check the chronometer.
Once all this is done, the game master will be able to welcome the group for the first session of the day!
Phase 2 : the briefing
The players have arrived, so you have to welcome them by trying to plunge them immediately into the atmosphere and mood of the game.
The game master will then invite them to settle down and deposit their belongings in a locker. In most escape games the game master plays a role related to the adventure you have come to play, in order to reinforce the immersion. He will therefore treat you not as a player but as an adventurer and will therefore follow up directly with the briefing where he will put in context the players and will explain the final purpose of the room.
He will also have to list the various rules which, it must be said, are often always the same (don’t use force, don’t search anything above a certain height, don’t look for anything to do with electricity).
A good briefing must be complete in order to limit as much as possible the questions asked by the players at the end, which can break the dynamism of the immersion (question such as: “and if we are stuck, can you help us”?).
Once the briefing is done, the game master accompanies the players to the entrance of the room and wishes them good luck.
Phase 3: Adaptation and timing
So the players entered the room and started to search all the corners. The game master, for his part, will settle down in front of his screens and start the countdown. This is where the main mission of the game master starts: to know how to adapt the game according to the level of the group but also according to the predominant character.
Thus, there can be a big difference between beginners and experienced people. As there can be big differences between a group of curious people and a group of people who won’t dare to search more than that. So everything has to be adapted, even the timing.
That is to say, it is necessary to tune the sounds and lights according to the progression of the group, that is why this phase requires great concentration.
The game master generally follows a predefined framework but it must also adapt, especially if the room is non-linear, its mission is then more difficult and a good knowledge of the room and experience are important.
During this stage, the game master must always keep his eyes on the game and listen to what the players are saying, at the risk of missing something and thus putting the players in difficulty. He must also be ready to intervene in the event of a problem in the room (accident, etc.).
It is also obligatory to pay attention to the slots according to the delays. It is possible that when a group arrives with a big delay, the game master decides that part of this delay should be deducted from their time in the room, so as not to handicap the next group of players.
Phase 4: Debriefing and promotion
If the players have managed to get to the end of the puzzle, the game master joins them, congratulates them and there is a light debriefing to get feedback from the players on what they liked or disliked during the session.
If time has elapsed and the players have not been able to go through with it, the game master either makes the decision to allow a little more time if possible or he goes directly into the room to tell the players that it’s over.
In these cases it is necessary to explain the unanswered riddles and put the shapes in order not to offend the sensibility of the players. Often the players ask if they were good. They need to be reassured. This is also the time to ask the players for their opinions about the room.
Then comes the moment of the group photo, a very important souvenir for the players and for the sign because often the players share the photo on the internet (especially if they have won). Make the photo as beautiful as possible and don’t hesitate to do it again until all the players are highlighted. No one wants to share a photo where they look bad!
Once the debriefing done, the game master must become commercial and make players want to come back and do the other rooms if there are any. So it’s time to quickly present the other themes and get the emails. The game master can also incite, in a stealthy way, the deposit of notices on the internet and word of mouth.
Phase 5: Reset
Once the session is over and the players have left, everything must be tidied up as soon as possible without forgetting anything. Indeed, as mentioned in the previous article, you have to be an extreme “tidyman” by showing speed but also precision.
Because making a mistake, even a single clue, can be detrimental to the next group. You have to be focused at all times. After a certain time, mistakes can happen because concentration decreases when you have done hundreds of sessions and know your room by heart.
The task becomes more complicated when there has been breakage during the session. You will have to either exchange the object in question with its duplicate, try to repair it as quickly as possible, or even remove the clue in question by making sure that it does not show up in the session.
Finally, don’t hesitate to come back and have a look around just before the next group arrives to make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything. A good game master has to be a little paranoid.
In the end, for a 1 hour session, count 1h30 to 1h45 of work: 10 minutes of briefing, 1 hour of play, 10 minutes of debriefing and 10 to 20 minutes of tidying up.
So are you cut out to become a game master?