So when your weekly tabletop RPG is wrapping up and you have a week or two until your next game session. When does your game prep start? For me it begins before my players even leave the table.
Post Game Wrap Up
Post game I often have two things that I try and do after every session. One is game related the other is to prevent complacency as a GM and promote communication.
One of the first things I do after a game, is ask my players what they thought of the game! This is a key part of my game prep. I also want my players to know the lines of communication are always open with me. During this time I am seeking feedback and insights from my players, good or bad. Often it is in these brief interactions in the few min while game is wrapping up that players will open up and share their thoughts more candidly. Often I am also able to take away deeper insights as to what the players may be thinking is going on in the greater story as well.
I think that it is important to note that I used to ask if my players “Had Fun”. This prompt too often would result in comments like “Good Game” Or “Yah it was Great”. By not priming the conversation with a leading question I found I get much better feedback. I find that asking “What did you think? or How was game?” Often gets you a far more in depth on topic response about the game itself.
Luckily for me often after game is over I have some quiet time where I can reflect on the game. During this time I take notes about what happened during the session for my upcoming game prep. This is never a very extensive note taking session as often five to ten minutes of note taking is all I need for a 4-6 hour game. Even if the game session has taken a hard turn and we have ventured into uncharted territory I keep this bit of my game prep short. I Never spend more than 20 min or so on this step of my game prep.
Next Time Downtime & Session Prep…
Next time I will share some of the things things I do between game sessions and before game day itself that I personally find make for a better game master experience for me at the table from week to week.