Wanna Be A Game Master?

2021.01.22.

With escape room businesses now firmly established after several years, it's only natural that people begin to wonder as to how to become a game master. Maybe you played an escape room game, and the job of the game master seemed appealing to you. It's dealing with the public, and there's a certain pressure involved as the games are progressing. 

So....for all future employees out there, we've compiled a list of the attributes needed to be a successful game master. We're going to assume from the get-go that you want to work with the public and don't have any anti-social behaviors which might end up being a hindrance. With that said, upwards and onwards...

The Ability To Think On Your Feet/Improvise

This is probably the most important skill you're going to be bringing to the games room. And though it might be called "common sense" by some, in the real world it's a very uncommon quality. Essentially, every day you're going to be dealing with the unexpected. You never know what's going to happen and you have to think up improvisational solutions on the fly. Maybe you're giving a hint and they still don't understand. Maybe they didn't fully understand the rules going in. You'll have to jump right in there in an instant to save the whole game. You'll be watching a very game and your job is to keep everything flowing smoothly. In the beginning, it'll be pretty stressful, but there's always another more experienced game master on hand to help you out. But the main takeaway here is to expect the unexpected.

Keep In Character

For some, this is a very difficult thing to maintain. The whole prose of the escape room is to create an immersive environment, and it's of paramount importance to maintain this throughout the whole gameplay. As the game master, you too, are part and parcel of this process. So, for the whole duration of the escape room game, you'll need to keep your character hat on. Whatever you do, don't break character or you'll break the immersive experience for the players. Asking a new game master a question and having him respond that he'll go and ask his manager, doesn't cut it in the gameplay scenario. Those who have a natural ability towards acting have a huge advantage if they want to be a game master.

Use Good Judgement

Remember that your priority is to ensure that the players are having the best time of their lives. Everything you do as a game master is referenced by that fact. Unfortunately, both good judgment and common sense are always in short supply. But as a game master, you'll be facing difficult choices every day. For example, if you've given someone many hints and they still don't get it, should you turn them around to start again, or do they need an even bigger nudge in the right direction. You have to decide in that instant. If you get it right, then the player will have a satisfying "Eureka" moment. And if you get it wrong, then the player will feel let down. If it was just a small hint that was needed and yet you spelled out the whole puzzle for them, then in some ways they will feel that you stole their thunder and robbed them of the satisfaction of finding the solution themselves. And it's a decision like this that separates the normal game masters from the best of the best.

Pay Attention To Detail


 
In an escape room game, everything is in the detail. If just one clue is set up wrongly, or placed in the wrong spot, or even misplaced and forgotten, then the game will grind to an embarrassing halt. That's why the game master needs to keep an eye out for found clues. He needs to know which clues were used correctly and which one's didn't appear to work so well. It's pretty cringe-worthy when a player asks for a clue to a puzzle that's already been solved. That's why we don't allow our game masters to use their phones or do anything other than watch the games during gameplay. If they're not paying attention, then it's so easy for a game to come apart at the seams.

Time Management

An escape room games business runs on being fully booked back to back. Any empty time slots mean that money is being lost. Therefore having a tight schedule is a positive. But it needs a game master who's able to perform all the necessary duties whilst still having an eye on the clock. Rooms need re-setting after each game. There's cleaning to be done to ensure that standards are maintained. And all these things need to be done without imposing on the gameplay or new customers arriving to play. A delay at the beginning of the day will set back every game that follows. This is unacceptable for any business. The game master needs to have his wits about himself at all times. He needs to move fast enough to get all the things done, but slowly enough to ensure that all things are done thoroughly. 

An Enthusiastic Person

Being enthusiastic about your job is essential. If the game master is not having fun, then that'll rub off onto the paying customers. We need smiling and happy people who are in themselves people loving people. We need game masters who get excited as a game is about to begin. Yes, we know that days can drag and that some days just seem to go on forever. But being professional is the game master's job. You must ensure that all customers enjoy the same attention and care from those that started the day to the last ones out the door when the day is done. For some people, being energized is easy, more especially so when they're dealing with groups of strangers. If you think about it, there are not so many jobs that offer puzzles, races against the clock, dealing with new faces every day, and finally, having to act out characters in their brief. 

These are probably the most important factors to keep in mind if you're interested in pursuing a career in escape room games as a game master. It's a lot of work. But what's interesting, is that the game masters report that they too, feel the same buzz of excitement when a team does well or enjoys themselves. And that means that there's real job satisfaction there. This is something hard to come by in today's jobs, that seems to require nothing more than robots. 
 

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