Hear from the Game Masters of Cross Roads Escape Games! They will recall fun stories every month of what they have seen, tips to escape, and what makes a good or bad player.
- Escape Tips
- Game Masters
- Team Building
- The Fun House
- The Hex Room
- The Psych Ward
- The Séance
As much as we would like to keep our game masters forever (and in some ways, we do; Anyone recognize that nurse from the Psych Ward videos?), sometimes life takes our game masters in another direction. But we always hope that they leave here with a little more experience and a lot of good memories.
We sat down with one of our former game masters and asked her what she’ll take away from her time at Cross Roads Escape Games. Kerri had quite a bit of profound wisdom to share with us and we just had to share it for anyone else who is considering becoming a game master. Check out our Game Master Exit Interview for some great tidbits of wisdom and real-world applications!
Of course, as one game master leaves, another new game master enters. And that means this is your chance to join our team! But do you have what it takes to become a game master?
What makes a great game master?
A great game master needs to be able to maintain character, think on their feet, have great attention to detail, and most importantly have a lot of enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm is easy when you have a passion for what you do, and we are looking for other people that share that passion. Our game masters have honed skills by participating in a plethora of interesting hobbies ranging from Dungeons and Dragons, to live performances, to staring in short indie films, and even medieval combat reenactment. We come from all walks of life and gain inspiration from different sources, but we all share a passion for games, puzzles, and immersive experiences.
Should I be a game master?
If you love escape rooms, puzzles, or immersive theatre, then being a game master is probably for you. A day in the life of a game master is never dull, and every group that you see is totally different from the one before it. Utilize and improve your improv and acting skills in a fun environment!
If you are interested in joining our crew, we will soon be hiring! You can fill out an application on our website and email it along with your cover letter to be considered.
Manager, Game Master
Cross Roads Escape Games
We’ve seen a lot of escape room players over the years, from first-timers to full-on escape artists. That is no surprise though as escape rooms make for great outings or party destinations! With the popularity of escape rooms on the rise, it’s not very hard to find a new game to play near wherever you may be at the moment. But after you play a certain amount of games, they may begin to blend together and start to feel familiar.
Here at Cross Roads Escape Games, our games were designed by escape room enthusiasts for escape room enthusiasts. Owners, Luke and Madison, have played over 250 games together, and we’ve seen several groups with hundreds of games under their belts. How do they keep each game fresh and exciting? Our game masters share some of their observations and tips to ensure you get the most out of each of your escape room experiences, even if you consider yourself an Escape Room Expert.
Tips for Experts:
Teamwork makes the dream work!
Instead of solving a familiar puzzle by yourself, coach someone less familiar through it. That way you’ll both get the experience of solving a puzzle, but also have the chance to work together, making the game more enjoyable for both of you.
Treat each game as a new game.
Even if you think you know how a game is going, allow yourself to discover the room as though it’s your first time. This will prevent you from skipping puzzles, jumping to conclusions, or missing out on hidden clues or experiences.
Be conscious of your group size.
Ask for the suggested group size before making a booking. Games like The Hex Room were designed with a certain number of players in mind. Try playing with the optimal number of players and avoid maxing out a room if possible.
Look for games that push the boundaries.
o Games like The Hex Room and The Psych Ward were designed to push the boundaries of what an escape room can be. Look for games in your area that offer something different that your traditional escape room.
Ask your game master for suggestions.
Often times, game masters have experience with other games in the area and can point you in the direction of your next game. Tell them what you’re looking for in a game (scary, silly, competitive, point-based?) and ask them what their favorite games are.
Remember to have fun.
Remember why you are playing. Don’t let yourself get too worked up on something, and if you feel like you’re flying through a game, take a moment to take a breath and see if there are any experiences you are passing up. I’ve done a few games that offered interactive elements or side quest-type experiences that I could have fun with.
Are you an escape room expert? What are some of your tips for keeping your games fresh and fun? Let us know in a comment below!
Game Master, Manager
Cross Roads Escape Games
For me, there are three things that make or break an escape room: Is it immersive, does it make sense, and is it original? At the time of this blog, I have nearly 20 different games under my belt; some games have blown my mind, and some have left me wanting more.
My top escape rooms have all had detailed environments with a clear theme. From the moment the game began (and sometimes even before I entered the building), I was immersed in a believably new environment and excited to partake in something out of the ordinary. I love escape rooms because they take you out of the real world for a while, and I expect the games I play to try and transport me to this new world.
Working in the industry for about three years and partaking in escape rooms before then, I’ve spent plenty of time in games where you are all-too-aware that you are in an office building. I applaud the games that are aware of their limitations and find clever ways to cover up their allotted location. I’ve been privy to the business side of escape rooms and know that sometimes building a room from the ground up or even painting walls is not an option. I’ve seen games find ways to either work around these limitations, or in some cases even embrace it. There’s one escape room I did where they were not able to drastically change their space, so instead they made up for it by turning out the lights and giving each player a handheld candle. I found this incredibly inventive as it made us as players pay less attention to the walls, helped to tell the story, and even became part of the experience. Finding ways to adapt or overcome your space can make or break your game.
For escape rooms that are able to have control over their entire space, immersion is paramount. I remember playing an escape room where the desk staff were part of the experience. They were in character from the time you entered the front door until the time you left the building, and even reacted to how your game played out. Without spoiling too much, once our team successfully completed the game, both the Game Masters had an interesting albeit subtle change in costume, making the outcome of our time traveling adventure reach beyond the walls of the escape room.
It’s also important for escape rooms to make sense. If the puzzles aren’t themed to the environment, it will easily pull players out of the game and feel more like a task than part of the fun. I played a game once that was hidden above a store. Everything in the game was handmade (including some very interesting puzzles), and you could feel the near-bohemian, old world, secret society theme from the time you met a cloaked woman holding a lantern outside of the shop. None of the puzzles were electronic, keeping with the old-world theme. Even the hints were hand-written on tea-stained pieces of paper passed under the door. And even in this low-tech, unsuspecting room, I came across some of the most memorable and enjoyable puzzles I’ve ever experienced.
On the flip side, I’ve also played a few games where it didn’t make sense to have some technology in the room. It’s hard to justify electronic puzzles in a pirate ship or modern televisions in an abandoned cottage. It’s important to purposefully integrate or disguise technology and puzzles to fit into your room.
Originality is another top priority for me. After playing dozens of games, some of them start to blur together. It’s important for a game to do something original to stand out. Cross Roads has some of the most original games I’ve ever played. The Hex Room and The Psych Ward push the boundaries of what escape rooms can be. They are memorable in design because you won’t get to experience another game quite like them. Whether it’s being physically separated in The Hex Room or adding extra layers of strategy and immersive theatre in The Psych Ward, these games are perfect for those who want to experience the next steps in escape rooms.
Game Master, Manager
Cross Roads Escape Games
As you may have heard, Cross Roads Escape Games is hiring game masters again and that means it’s time to send in your applications! If you are wondering if you have what it takes to be one of our game masters, here are some of the qualities that make for a truly great game master (in no particular order).
This one is a pretty big one, and definitely the first thing I think of when it comes to great game masters. A game master’s ability to not break immersion is one of the most vital aspects of the job. You must be able to play a convincing character while under pressure and always remain in character for the entire duration of the player’s experience.
I remember one time when I was playing an escape room, our game master was new and didn’t know which hint to give for our puzzle. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the game master said, “let me go ask my manager”, stepped out of the room, and went to ask for help. Immersion destroyed! It might seem like a lot to ask from the actor/game master, but those that can pull it off are truly a cut above the rest.
Improvisation, the ability to think on your feet:
Ask any of our game masters and they will tell you how important improvisational skills are. In our YouTube series Confessions of a Game Master,we delve into the importance of improvisational skills in the episode “Expect the Unexpected.” It might be a good idea to take a moment to go watch the video here.
A day in the life of a game master is never dull. You never know what is going to happen and it is important that you be able to come up with creative solutions to problems in the moment. Did you give someone the most direct hint in the world and they still don’t know what to do? Think of something! Players didn’t listen to the rules and now you need to sheriff on the spot? Do it! You need to have lightning fast responses to keep games flowing smoothly.
We are a team and we support each other in the moment. Usually there is either a manager or a senior game master that can provide you with a quick answer, but sometimes you simply have to act. We will train you for almost every situation… but expect the unexpected!
Which brings me to my next point:
Have good judgement:
Common sense and good judgement are usually not skills that people put on job applications, but in this job, it really matters! Every day you will face decisions that you have to make. Is the person that is asking for a hint ALMOST at the solution? Do they need a small nudge in the right direction? Or are they completely lost and need to be turned around? These snap judgements can be the difference between your players getting a satisfying “A-ha! moment,” and your players feeling let down.
If a player wants a small hint and you spell out the puzzle for them, they can often feel like you robbed them of the chance to solve things themselves. Being able to discern the best choice to make before you make it is the sign of a superb game master.
Attention to detail:
Being a game master is all about paying attention to the details. This is useful when checking your room resets for mistakes as well as monitoring your players non-stop. You must keep track of which clues have been found, which clues have been used, and which clues have been used incorrectly. There is nothing more disheartening than asking for a hint and having the game master give you a hint to a puzzle you’ve already solved.
Here at Cross Roads Escape Games, each game master is in charge of monitoring their game constantly so that when a player asks for a hint, you are able to give them an immediate and well thought out answer in character. If you are not paying attention, the players will notice. Trust me.
One thing that all escape rooms have in common is that they run on a very tight schedule. It is up to the game masters to make sure that they are performing their duties optimally at all times to keep the day flowing smoothly. A game master has many duties they must perform throughout the day and making sure that all of them are completed without causing delays to the games is a vital component of any escape room team.
The life of a game master is a careful balance of moving quick enough to be efficient, but slow enough to be thorough. Mastering this balance is how you become a true game master!
And last but certainly not least:
Having enthusiasm for the job and for the characters you play is honestly the most important part of being a game master. If you aren’t having fun, your group probably isn’t having fun. A smile and a bit of excitement can go a long way towards making players feel psyched for the game and making your team mates feel energized throughout the day.
Game mastering is fun and thrilling work that always keeps me enthusiastic. I find it hard to not be energized when I get to spend my day sharing escape rooms with many strangers. If the idea of acting, puzzles, and deadlines doesn’t get your blood pumping, I don’t think game mastering is for you.
Though there are many qualities that make for a great game master, these are the most important ones to keep in mind. As a game master, you will be expected to foster these qualities within yourself and always keep improving. Interested in applying? Fill out an application today!
Join our team!
Download Game Master Application
Are you a game master with some tips on what it takes to be great? Leave us a comment below!
Game Master and Manager
Cross Roads Escape Games
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With the summer heating up, escape rooms will be a popular outing for families, friends, coworkers, and teammates. They provide a getaway from the sun and heat in an adventurous and fun environment. Sometimes though, putting groups of people in rooms and telling them to find a way out can lead to some heated discussions and emotions. Not to worry, though: Our game masters have a few tips that will help your team work more smoothly and keep the tension between players as low as possible. Check out the latest Confessions of a Game Master!
Escape rooms are fun but potentially stressful situations. You’re locked in a room, given handfuls of puzzles, bombarded with information and rules, and placed under a time constraint. All of that can add up to a pretty intense experience, and that’s to say nothing of the theme of the room. Though part of the fun of escape rooms is the rush of racing against time, our game masters have a few tips to help you keep your cool in an escape room.
One of the best ways to beat the heat of an escape room is to remember that you are here to have fun. Of course everyone likes to win, and it’s very exciting to hold the record for “best time,” but remember that your first and foremost goal should be to enjoy the game you are playing. Quite often when groups arrive determined to break the record, they get so caught up with being number one that they don’t take the time to enjoy themselves. This also adds pressure to the less experienced players since there is a huge burden on them to perform better than most players.
If it sounds like I’m not a fan of fastest time records, it’s because I’m not. Or really, I don’t think they should be as important as people make them out to be. “Fastest Time” can tell you how quickly a game was solved, but it won’t tell you how much fun the group had or how many memories they created. I encourage each group to enter every game with the goal to do their best, not the best. Your escape room experience will be instantly less stressful when your goal is to fully experience the room. And if you happen to make the best time while you’re at it? That’s the cherry on top.
What are your tips on staying cool under pressure in an escape room? Let us know in a comment below! Subscribe to our YouTube channel so you never miss a Confessions video and for other escape room goodies.
Manager, Game Master, King of Cool
Cross Roads Escape Games
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The world of escape rooms can be pretty unexpected. Try as we might, sometimes there is just no predicting the strange things people do. Since these games are interactive experiences where the players control how and when the narrative moves, it takes a special kind of guidance to ensure the train stays on its tracks even through bizarre and sudden turns. That’s where a game master comes in: A Game Master’s job is to gently guide players along the path while still allowing the players to dictate the pace.
Here at Cross Roads Escape Games, our Game Masters go through some pretty intensive training to ensure they are ready for anything that is thrown their way over the course of a game. In just a short amount of time, they are required to memorize not only codes, but the placement of props, hints, decorations, and locks, as well as detailed rules and safety. And once they have that memorized, they learn a completely new set-up, a new set of rules, and a new series of codes for our second game.
That sure is a lot to remember. One thing we can’t always predict, however, is the human element. We can have our Game-Masters-In-Training run a game over and over until even Zoltar is tired of talking (which is a feat all on its own; He loves to talk) but that human element can often throw a curveball nobody saw coming. That is why our Game Masters are skilled in improv; Being able to think on your feet is essential to making sure an escape room runs smoothly. We make sure our game masters know how to deal with and work around the unexpected, even if we can’t predict exactly what that will be.
Of course, there are other traits besides improv that make a game master great. In this episode of Confessions of a Game Master, our game masters explain some of their unexpected encounters as well as some traits that make for an effective game master.
Are you caught up with all of our Confessions videos? Catch any you may have missed (or rewatch your favorites) on our YouTube Channel. Do you have a question for our Game Masters? Leave us a comment on our blog and we may answer it in a future episode.
Game Master, Manager
Cross Roads Escape Games
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Welcome back to Confessions of a Game Master. As game masters, we have seen many groups attempt our games and have noticed some traits that the most successful groups have in common. In this month’s edition of Confessions, our game masters explain some of the things that can help make your team more successful (as well as some examples of what not to do.)
Support each other.
Under the pressure of a ticking clock, many people can fall victim to the stress. This can lead to harsh words, hurt feelings, and not escaping. The easiest way to alleviate some of the stress is to support the rest of your team. Offering help to friends who are stuck, re-explaining a puzzle, or just offering words of encouragement can make all the difference. Keeping morale high will keep everyone engaged and having fun.
Successful groups are willing to listen to everyone in their team.
In escape rooms, you cannot do everything on your own. Even the most brilliant puzzle-solvers will occasionally over-think a puzzle or find themselves stumped on something. The most successful groups are the ones that will listen to an idea from anyone in their group and give it a try. From first-timers to seasoned veterans, everyone has input on the game, which leads to more ideas, which leads to the right idea.
Successful groups pay attention.
From the very beginning to the very end of the game, it pays to pay attention. If someone mentions that they’ve noticed something that could be important, then the group will remember when it becomes important later on in the game. Listening to the instructions before the game can often times be the difference between escape and certain death.
Successful groups will accept help.
Even though it feels great to solve a room on your own, sometimes the group just cannot make heads-or-tails of a certain puzzle. The most successful groups will know when it’s time to accept that help is needed so they can move on to the next puzzle. Whether it’s asking another player for help, or using the game’s hint system, sometimes all you need is a little push to get right back on track. This is a great thing to keep in mind for The Hex Room, where players are separated into different rooms. It’s not always easy to know when someone is stuck when you are physically separated. If a player is stuck on a puzzle in their room, I find they often get to the solution after they ask other players for help. If everyone on your team is stumped, there’s no shame in asking for a hint. At Cross Roads Escape Games, we have integrated hint systems that provide a seamless and immersive way to receive help within the games.
What are some things that make a successful escape room team? Let us know your tips in the comments, or tell us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! Make sure you stay up to date on our Confessions Of A Game Master by subscribing on YouTube!
Manager, Game Master
Cross Roads Escape Games
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If you’ve played The Hex Room before, you’re probably aware that it was designed to be replay-able. Due to its unique design, we are able to cast return players as a new horror movie character and place them in a different horror film to try and escape. Because each character is separated into individual rooms in the game, a player will not experience everything The Hex Room has to offer in one game.
In this episode of Confessions of a Game Master, our Game Masters offer tips on how to best approach a return trip to The Hex Room.
We have seen many return players attempt the Hex Room and, in this video, we will address a few ways to ensure your team gets the best experience.
Don’t reveal too much to your teammates. Part of the fun of a horror film is when something unexpected happens. If you tell your group what’s going to happen before it happens, you ruin some of the excitement. Let your friends have the same experience you did when you first played. If you tell people what is going to happen in their room it can feel like spoiling the end of a good horror movie. Nobody likes that person, don’t be that person.
Keep in mind that we are constantly working on The Hex Room and puzzles will change often. Assuming that everything will be the same is one of the most common mistakes return players make. This can be particularly hard for your teammates if you start telling other people how to solve puzzles in their room without actually being in their room. You may start leading your team towards a solution that no longer exists! We’ve seen many instances where return players are so insistent that they know the answer to a puzzle that they end up wasting their team mates’ valuable time! To avoid this, it is always best to approach each puzzle as if it is the first time you’ve seen it.
Don’t skip ahead. Skipping ahead to a part you remember may bypass puzzles and confuse your team. This is something I saw one time when a player came to replay The Fun House. They entered the code for a lock they remembered and skipped a handful of puzzles. They utterly confused the rest of their team and affected the experience. In the Hex Room, I’ve seen a player convince the rest of their team they needed to find something specific and waste time searching for items that were no longer in the game.
To put it simply, treat your return game as a new game. Having played before will help because you have experience with the mechanics and flow of the game but relying on what you remember about the puzzles will only hamper your game.
Don’t forget about your Hex Box! If you were unable to survive during your first play, the second time may be the best time to try for your Survivor Medallion! The Hex Box is an extra puzzle put into the game to further challenge yourself and is not necessary in order to escape. Just be sure you can escape, because the medallion only counts if you have it by the time your team opens the final door.
Have you replayed The Hex Room? Comment with some tips of your own here, on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Be sure to watch the rest of our Confessions videos and subscribe to our YouTube channel!
Manager and Game Master
Cross Roads Escape Games
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It’s February, Valentine’s Day is approaching, and if you’re in a relationship, you’re probably looking for some way to show your significant other just how special they are. One of the more interesting and memorable dates you can plan is an escape room.
In this special edition of Confessions of a Game Master, our Game Masters have taken on the roles of Relationship Experts with suggestions on how to best approach an escape room date night. Practicing patience, planning ahead, and learning to communicate are just a few of the tips our game masters have to make your date one to remember.
The Fun House is a great game for a double date. Filled with enough puzzles for both couples to divide-and-conquer if they so choose, the game is also filled with enough whimsy to make a magical night you will remember. Plus, Zoltar doesn’t mind being a third- or fifth- wheel. At least, he’s never told us he minded.
If you are looking for a more thrilling date night, The Hex Room is sure to get your pulse racing. After all, everyone knows horror movies are best when there’s a romantic subplot involved. Great for three adventurous couples, the feeling of being thrown into a horror movie will excite every player while the unique design of being separated into individual rooms will fuel the drive to rejoin your loved one and escape the game.
And of course, after the game you can head over to Top Class Pizza or Stereo Brewing with a coupon in hand for the perfect end to a date you won’t soon forget.
Make sure you’ve caught up on all of our Confessions of a Game Master videos by checking out our YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe for future confessions videos! Do you have a question for our game masters? Leave a comment on our blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr and you may see your question answered in a future video.
Manager, Game Master, Relationship Guru
Cross Roads Escape Games