Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Highlights and Hopes — How to Get Valuable Feedback From Your Players
From JohnnFour | Published January 3, 2022
Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1,186
Happy New Year!
May 2022 be a year full of happy gaming and dice rolling for you!
I hope to get back behind the screen this year after taking 2021 off.
I managed to play in quite a few one-shots and adventures run by Patrons and friends in 2021, though.
Savage Worlds, Chill, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Blades in the Dark, and D&D 5E kept my characters hopping and dodging.
Thank you for the great games!
What's got me busy now is prepping from scratch a brand new campaign. More news on that in future newsletters.
Meantime, Jonathan has an excellent solution for gathering valuable session and campaign feedback from even our most reticent players.
Take it away Jonathan....
Highlights & Hopes
By Jonathan Hardin, sojournersawake.com
If they are having fun, then you’re doing it right.
With my Highlights & Hopes technique, I can immediately receive feedback on how my players define fun.
I gather these Highlights & Hopes right after the game while they are still fresh in everyone's mind.
Highlights & Hopes is a post-session debriefing.
The GM goes around the table and asks each player to deliver a highlight of the game, followed by a hope for future sessions.
Highlights can be a moment that made the player laugh, a chance to congratulate another player on their clever thinking, or a chance to *ahem* let the GM know what a great job they did on designing the Five Room Dungeon.
If my players struggle for a highlight moment I ask them:
“What did you see in the game that you want to see more of in the future?”
Thank you, Jonathan, for that really cool magic shield.
Hey Perry, I really liked how your wizard Ignitus negotiated us out of that fight — you really kept us alive.
Oh Sandy, I laughed so hard when Roghan lost the horses. Honestly, the best part of the game!
Hopes are requests from players to allow them to participate in the development of the future sessions.
Players might ask for shorter combats, a chance to reveal their character backstory, or a quest they want to follow next.
If a player struggles with an answer, I will ask them:
"What do you wish was a highlight of the game?"
I love combat for sure, doing a great job, but I was wondering if we could look forward to a chance to parlay with the villain?
I would love it if we took the underworld mission.
I really want to see Sandy’s new character - can’t wait to meet them.
Sometimes a player might have a complaint about the game system.
Hear the player out and respond with, “I can see your point, let’s find a way to satisfy these specific points next session.”
Also note that a player might use this as an opportunity for constructive criticism to the GM.
I’ve had it happen and it feels like an attack. Generally, people are not taught how to deliver criticism gracefully.
Rather than burning your campaign down in anger, receive this “highlight” as proof your players care about the outcome of your game.
Thank the critical player. Then let time be your friend in processing the feedback. After a few days' cooldown, you can be more objective and respond to the negative comments in constructive fashion to improve your GMing.
Maximum value is achieved through full participation.
The more often I have my players participate in the game, the more invested they are in the experience and outcome.
Highlights & Hopes brings all of your hard work back to focus on the players at your table.
While I can learn from other GMs and hear from other players, using this method reminds me that the most important people in my game are the players.