GM Diaries #1: We all want feedback don't we?

Article by Bill Parslow

We all want feedback from the games we’ve run, of course we do. Except. Except for those groups that turn up every once in awhile that are really just mouths and lungs with legs to move them around, mostly at random.

These are the groups that make knowing remarks to you about “Smashing it”, and making in jokes about each other that are either too obscure or too obscene to do anything other than nod gently at, with a vacant smile ghosting across your game show host face. Once they get into the game then the volume rises and the sense being talked declines too even lower levels than you thought possible.

How do these people live in the outside world you think? Why hasn’t someone locked them up? Perhaps there was chance that they could solve the first clue in less than thirty minutes if they listened to one another - but they don’t. And maybe, for such as these, especially if they are family groups, not listening to the others is the only viable survival trait for existing in such a congregation of morons. They shout, they rave - and, if you’ve ever hosted and escape room you know what is coming next, yes, they break stuff.

Imagine if you will this last Friday evening, and a group composed of mainly Neanderthals with a blood relationship and an extremely loud but essentially incoherent power of speech. During the briefing, each member of the group attempted to insult or upstage the other, so I brought the briefing to an early close. Then in they go, the volume ratchets up, they tramp and clump around the room.

They are failing. But I want them out of there before they smash anything, so I weave in and out shouting hints into what I think is the most receptive one’s ear, before I realise that his semi-quiet demeanour is actually the first stage of a drunken coma.

They get through. As I move them on, one of them complains “ That was crap - it was just so LINEAR. I mean it was LINEAR” I am able to get them out, finally - and I don’t ask for feedback. I don’t even take their picture because there is some custom that you just do not want.

Well that was a bad session - the next group are sweetness and light, their pictures are dynamic (next week: the art of the “dynamic” photo) and smiling and they’ll be shared all over social media by the end of the weekend. That is the custom I do want.

Bill Parslow

Author photo for Bill Parslow

Bill Parslow is an escape room GM, writer and storyteller. Being a game master/game show host ticked a number of his boxes and he still rather enjoys it.

Bill is Tom's dad (the Founder of Buzzshot) and it was his experience working in a local Escape Room that led to Tom developing the Buzzshot software.

Subscribe to the blog to get new posts in your Inbox