Discover what it is that the game master does to make your escape experience AWESOME (spoiler alert: it’s a lot!)
Picture this: You're in a room, and you’re frantically trying to spot clues on how to escape.
Making matters worse is the clock constantly ticking down, making you acutely conscious that your time to break out is shrinking.
Your teammates are just as stuck as you are, and your heart is pounding.
Just when you think you’re not going to make it, a subtle hint gives you a breakthrough. That’s a pretty major “manna in the desert” moment, isn’t it?
That hint didn’t come from thin air. It came from your game master.
Behind every successful escape room experience is a trained and passionate game master.
Let's dive into the unseen world of these behind-the-scenes heroes who guide and elevate your escape game experiences.
Understanding the basic role of a game master
If they sense you’re stumped, they’ll help you out!
A good game master carefully monitors the progress of the team. They remain alert, ready to step in when the players need a nudge in the right direction or need reminding about a safety rule.
But let's not mistake this behind-the-scenes role as a passive announcer or a mechanical and lifeless instructor. Quite the opposite.
Take the gameplay: say you and your teammates are wracking your brains, trying to figure out how to break into a bank and recover a stash of diamonds (from our game, The Bank).
As you may well know, every prop, every puzzle, the ambient sounds, and even the lighting has been arranged to immerse you in this world.
Here’s the kicker: The game master ensures that this immersion remains unbroken and adjusts the pace and intensity of the game in response to the players' actions and reactions.
Providing hints without reducing the game to a walkthrough
They’ll ensure you keep smiling like this throughout the game!
Now let’s come to perhaps the best-known role of the games master - providing hints.
Again, this isn’t a mechanical function.
A good game master will know how to interpret your team's dynamics and understand when to throw in a hint and when to give you a bit more time to figure it out.
They’ll know when you’re having fun trying to solve a puzzle - and when you’re starting to get frustrated.
And they head off frustration by offering you some help. On the other hand, they also keep the game from becoming a boring walkthrough by not interrupting you constantly.
In short, a game master turns the escape room from a simple game into a thrilling journey where every second is laden with anticipation, excitement, and a sense of accomplishment.
In the following sections, we'll dive deeper into these facets of their role, and you'll see just how vital they are to your escape room experience.
Playing in-game characters
One distinctive way game masters can enrich the experience is by playing characters within the game.
Imagine being in the middle of a serial killer-themed escape room when suddenly a cryptic note from the killer himself, voiced by your game master, chills the air with tension.
Or picture this: in your race against time to rob a bank, a stern 'security guard' (again, your game master in character) sternly reminds you that the police are on their way.
By playing characters, game masters can inject an element of surprise and realism into the game.
Their character performances, coupled with the immersive setting, make the narrative more compelling, the stakes go higher, and the overall experience more thrilling.
After the game - debrief, review, and feedback
The debriefing that follows the game is a key part of the escape room experience.
Here, the game master provides a detailed rundown of the game, pointing out which puzzles you solved, which ones stumped you, and how close you came to escaping or what was the key factor in your escape (depending on whether you managed to escape in time).
It's during this review that you can gain more insight into the solutions you came up with and the teamwork you displayed.
Some more things that you can learn from the post-game review and feedback:
Were you too focused or obsessed with one puzzle while missing out on another?
Did you communicate effectively with your team?
Can you optimize your strategies?
Such an evaluation can prove especially useful at team building events.
This not only provides closure to your experience but also sets you up for your next escape room adventure.
And it's this engagement, this personal interaction that can turn a one-time outing into a lifelong passion.
It's a testament to the game master's commitment to providing a rewarding, engaging, and memorable experience for every player every time.
Other ways games masters boost an escape room experience at Fox in a Box Chicago
Our game masters hand-craft cartoon postcards for all our teams!
Game masters are always looking for new ways to enrich the escape room journey for players.
One such example can be found at our Chicago escape room, where game masters go a step further to leave a lasting imprint on your experience.
Here at Fox in a Box Chicago, each game ends with a special touch - game masters hand-craft personalized comic postcards for each team.
These postcards capture the unique essence of your adventure, and often, they're based on the memorable moments, the inside jokes, the victory cries, and the puzzled expressions that made your game unique.
Such mementos serve as a delightful reminder of your shared adventure.
They're not just a piece of paper; they're a snapshot of your team's spirit, the challenges you tackled, and the fun you had.
Beyond just the role-playing and hints, game masters at Fox in a Box Chicago also make sure to engage with players.
After every game, they spend time chatting with the players, discussing their experiences, and sharing a few laughs.
These interactions transform an already fun escape game into a heartwarming and personal experience.
The game master’s role in a team building event
Escape rooms have become hugely popular for team building activities - and for good reason.
They are designed to encourage communication, collaboration, and creative problem-solving, all within a high-pressure yet fun environment.
And in such events, the game master's role becomes even more important. Here’s how:
In a team building event, the game master acts as a facilitator, nudging the team to work together towards their common goal: escaping the room.
Through subtle hints and interactions, they encourage the team members to rely on each other's skills and ideas, fostering a sense of unity and teamwork.
Game masters understand the importance of clear and effective communication in an escape room.
When teams are under the pressure of a ticking clock, communication can often break down.
Here, the game master's well-timed hints can help the team get back on track, subtly teaching the value of clear and direct communication.
Insight and analysis
As we said before, perhaps the most valuable aspect of a game master's role in a team building event is in the debriefing session that follows the game.
The game master offers insightful feedback about the team's performance, pointing out areas where the team excelled and where they could improve.
This debriefing can provide valuable insights into the team dynamics, making the escape room experience a powerful tool for team development.
The hallmarks of a great escape room game master
Based on our experience running escape room games and on the feedback we receive from players, here are a few hallmarks that mark a great master:
Passionate about the game: Great game masters love the thrill of the game, the intricacy of the puzzles, and the joy of seeing a team successfully escape. This passion shines through in every interaction, and it is contagious, adding an extra layer of excitement to the game.
Skilled storytellers: Whether it's setting the scene at the start, playing a character during the game, or sharing anecdotes during the debrief, the game master should have a knack for spinning tales that draw players in and make the experience all the more immersive.
Attentive and observant: Games masters carefully watch the team's progress, taking note of individual strengths, team dynamics, and areas where the team might be struggling. They use these insights to guide the team subtly and help them reach their "aha!" moments.
Excellent communicators: Great game masters know how to give hints that are just enough to nudge the team in the right direction without giving too much away. They strike a delicate balance between assisting the team and preserving the challenge.
Go the extra mile: Last but not least, exceptional game masters always look for ways to enhance the player experience. At Fox in a Box Chicago, our game masters make personalized comic postcards for each team, adding a touch of creativity and personalization that sets the experience apart.
In short, a great game master possesses a unique blend of passion, storytelling ability, observational skill, and a commitment to creating the best possible experience for their players.
The role of a game master in an escape room - key takeaways
The magic of escape rooms lies in their ability to transport players into a different world, a world of intricate puzzles, ticking clocks, and the thrill of the chase.
Game masters play a key role in every aspect of the experience.
From guiding players and playing in-game characters, to providing post-game feedback and creating personalized keepsakes, game masters are the unseen heroes who make each escape room journey a unique, memorable adventure.
Experience it for yourself!
Experience the thrill of an escape game for yourself and witness first-hand the invaluable role a game master plays.
Whether you're a first-timer or a seasoned escaper, we invite you to Fox in a Box Chicago for a premier escape room experience.
Choose from our array of themed escape rooms - The Zodiac Killer, The Prison, The Bank, The Bunker - and let our passionate, dedicated game masters guide you through an unforgettable adventure.
And remember, keep your wits about you, because the game master is always watching!