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!
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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