The Xmas Reset Can Be So Special!

Posted in GM Diaries by Bill Parslow on Mon 18 December 2017

Things usually heat up at Xmas in the entertainment business and escape rooms are no exception. Sometimes you’ll have resets that are full of glitter and sparkles - oh what joy! In the more adult end of the spectrum the groups are drunker, noisier and just have that Saturnalian it’s Xmas we can let it all hang out kind of vibe about them. Sometimes this is good. Sometimes it’s not.

Personally I like the slightly frenetic seasonal feel to things, with groups coming laden with their Xmas shopping. Sample conversations go “Is it safe to leave my bags [dumps huge pile of bright shiny bags of shiny things on floor] “That depends on what you define as safe, Madam, I may have to refer you to our lawyers”

Last year was perhaps more eventful than this, not least the Incident Of The Mouse In Transit. You see we rent out space for our rooms and well sometimes it’s shiny and squeaky clean and sometimes it isn’t. (“You may find your feet sticking to the stairs as we ascend - this is a safety measure to ensure you don’t slip” I say as we go up to the room).

I was in the middle of my intro when a large fat mouse began its skedaddle across the adjoining corridor. It was unfortunate that my group were a bunch of smart (well dressed and bright with it) women who additionally had an air of respectability about them. Not that many of our customers aren't respectable, just these were even more so. I’d already turned the language down, cleaned up my act so to speak, as far as I reasonably could. But this little blighter was intent on his own agenda (food stores for the adjoining kitchen).

Two of the women screamed - that threw me a bit, what had I done? - then one of them said “There’s a mouse!” and pointed. I had to act quickly, so raced towards it hoping to make it disappear as quickly as possible. Unfortunately it took not a blind bit of notice and I ended up accidently booting it into the far wall, from which point it did decide there was some urgency in the situation and vanished behind a shelf.

I really tried to make the best of it - “ You don’t see many of them round here”; “Please be respectful to the rats at the other end”, and I got them back on track, but they were all clasping their handbags and looking round nervously all the game.

The only other Xmas debacle was one of those loud useless groups where the loudest and most useless of them all is the group leader. I was giving a running commentary to a fellow GM on the phone, “This bloke is an absolute arsehole, a mouth on legs with the brains of an earth… “ I cut short when I realised how close I was to the room microphone, and how very “on” the mike switch was. Luckily said mouth on legs was making so much racket inside he didn’t hear. Only one of the players heard me, and I just saw them look up at the room camera, nod and sigh.

Otherwise it’s all just a bit more jovial and energetic, and none the worse for that. And what more can you ask for in the Festive Season?

Merry Christmas everyone - may your rooms and your (virtual) cash registers jingle with excitement. And should you wish to engage in learning about how to HIRE THE BEST PEOPLE FOR YOUR ESCAPE ROOM, it’s my FREE e-course. I know I’ve mentioned it before but recruitment never ends whether it’s staff or learners.

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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.