Attributed to Niccolò Frangipane [Public domain]

GM Diaries #5 Drunks! Handle them!

Posted in GM Diaries by Bill Parslow on Wed 14 June 2017

First of all you should be quite clear that you will not accept people arriving in a dysfunctional level of inebriation - it should be clearly laid out in your terms and conditions. It is a sad fact, especially since Escape Rooms are becoming more and more popular with stag and hen parties ( is this just a British thing?) that some of your participants are much the worse for wear when they arrive.

It doesn’t always have to be a disaster - I have had groups at the end of their day’s drinking, a little tired and emotional or unsteady perhaps but essentially good humoured and ready to give it a go without rampaging through the room. Often it’s a matter of engagement and handling - you have to have the confidence to do this, and to intervene if things get too boisterous.

The Bulgarian monks spring to mind - a themed stag group (why? why? - I never found out!), of whom only two really spoke enough english to play the game successfully, but they muddled through, gratefully, cordially and with what seemed to be enjoyment. They were great.

I have heard of other groups though, loud, obstreperous and completely unable to take on the room. They really shouldn’t have been let in at all. It’s where you need your GM to be well briefed and confident enough to judge whether they can handle them or whether they are too far gone to be allowed to proceed.

Where it does hit home is when you have got two groups who don’t know one another, and one is drunk, the other isn’t. It’s only happened to me once. The offending couple (in with another group of three) didn’t seem, on the face of it, to be off their faces, but they were. It was very unfortunate that this only came out afterwards in the review - not a great result for us or for the poor trio who had to put up with them.

This was a difficult one - the drunk couple didn’t make any noise, they weren’t aggressive or anything - this I would have noticed, they just weren’t very good company to be with. One to chalk up to experience I guess, but I am much more alert now to the possibilities.

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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.