If you run an Escape Room you need a Change Log

Article by Bill Parslow

I touched on the GM manual in my last post. Many escape rooms have them but, and this is something I mentioned last time, they are so seldom up to date. We’re all busy people, and escape rooms change all the time - things get broken, new puzzles are introduced, Bookeo passwords get changed. And the last thing on anybody’s mind is updating the manual - it’s just human nature.

But there is a way round this - it’s called change management, and it’s just a fancy way of saying that you need organise yourself and your company when you make changes. There’s a lot of fairly heavy duty management books about change management - ( just try typing “change management” into the Amazon search box), but don’t go for overkill . Essentially you make a process for deciding and recording change - and you stick to it, obviously. Whenever anything new is introduced into the room, whenever something breaks and has to be replaced you document it in a piece of software that everybody has access to - you could use WhatsApp if you like, maybe just in a log book.

The important thing is that this is a process that everybody understands - something breaks, you note it in the Breakages Log, when you add a new puzzle and make the changes that need to be made in your GM manual, you also record what those changes were in your change log.

The key thing about change management for Escape Rooms is scaling it right - you don’t want to document in triplicate every paper-clip that is bought or bent - you want to record the changes that are important to the smooth running of your Room. But the very process of deciding the changes that you want recorded is a valuable exercise in itself - it makes you focus on what you need to do - and as such is itself up for being changed and improved. For a single Room you might just want to have a Breakages and Shortages log, and then a Game Change log which records everything from new equipment to changes to your GM manual.

The result you want is that when your GM comes back from a well deserved break all the things that are different are automatically available to him or her - you don’t have to specifically remember “Oh must tell Sarah that we’ve changed the key for the safe on level 5” - it’s all recorded somewhere. My guess is, though, that while many Escape Rooms will have some systems for noting down things they won’t have an overall framework for recording changes. I think it’s invaluable, and probably essential if you are running multiple rooms in parallel. What do you think? Let me know in the comments at the bottom of the page.

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Bill Parslow

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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.

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