Directing A Game

By Kane Driscol

Listen In on the Conversation

What was this workshop about?

A few months ago I ran the Rig Riot game, which was an absolute blast. But afterward, one of the players had a few questions about how I ran the game and it really got me thinking. Here is his question:

Given the outcome of the game, I get the feeling that there wasn’t really an option for player freedom to move away from the set pieces. This created a sense of purpose and urgency which kept the game moving forward within the confines you had expected (I assume). How do you go about this without it seeming too heavy handed? – which it totally did not btw!


That was an excellent question and as we chatted, I gave some of my ideas on how I would go about directing a game, but as I kept chewing on it, I realized that there was a lot more to it.

Directing a concise, solid game requires understanding what the GM is responsible for and what the players are responsible for. That way, when we all agree to sit down and play we can focus on what’s in our control and let the other side take care of their stuff. Then it all comes together into a really tight experience. Especially if you have a time constraint. I’ve got my thinky-sheet notes below if you’re a visual person like me.

The GM and the Players are responsible for several things, but to me, the key takeaway was how a GM handles the transitions from scene to scene or from session to session. Those transitions are so crucial to make sure the entire table is heading in the same direction. But what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts after listening to the workshop as well as anything you’d add to the questions posed during the conversation.

Here is a list of questions from the course of the workshop. How would you answer these for yourself?

  • What can you as a GM do to help speed up / slow down play? For example, I’ve got 3 maps I want to get thru in a session but my players get stuck on something in map 1 and take up half our game time
  • When you are running a time-constrained session (such as a two-hour game before work hours on a weekday morning), how do you make room for your players to engage in RP interactions while still staying on task with enough rounds available for them to complete their quest’s mission?

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Kane’s Kiln

I'm a day-to-day Game Master and I'm here to play, have fun, and share anything I can to help others in this great hobby!

Let me know if you have any questions or need help with anything ICRPG-related. Always happy to assist another lumpy-head!