Good feedback is really hard to come by. Typically if you run an event you’ll get too see the comments and photos of some of the players afterwards. If there was a real issue they’ll drop you an email or chat to you one facebook. If you’re planning on running more events in the future you should probably talk to them and find out what they actually thought. There is a version of the form we send out here. Editable version is here.
Here’s is a PDF in case you don’t use Google Docs: Blank Feedback Form
Once we’re home from an event we send out forms asking for feedback to all participants (players and crew). We ask them to rate a range of elements from the event, from the NPCs to the site and catering. We also ask them to provide an overall rating of the event. We use an adjusted version of the overall rating to give us a ‘score’ for the event. We’ve been doing this with every event since Mandala were running winter events in the CP system, and the score means we have one figure that we can compare for each event we run. This is nice for us, but overall not a particularly significant figure.
The real value for us is being able to review some of the planning decisions we made and the effect they had on the players. One of the big things with the Alone series was food. We really value IC style food. Unfortunately our players would like food that is actually edible (so picky). Reaching a balance between space food and edible food that actually keeps them happy took most of the Alone series. By Alone 4 we were telling them exactly what they were getting, letting them bring their own additions if it was appropriate, and making them carry supplies of bottled water with them. We got much improved ratings for the catering. People were happy because they’d prepared for self heating meals. A few people would have preferred hot cooked food, but that wasn’t appropriate for the event that we chose to run.
We’ve discovered that the people who love your game the most are often the most critical. If they’re spending a lot of time telling us about things they would change it’s often been because they loved most of the rest of it, and these differences are the things that would take it to perfect. We analyse events we play at. Partially it’s an interesting exercise in why certain decisions have been made, and things that were really jarring for me. It’s also about looking at our own events and learning how we can change them and what we’d run differently.
With some of our SciFi games we don’t really see the players from timein to timeout. All their communication is through AIs and it means it’s very easy to miss things if we’ve not been told their happening. The feedback can fill in some of the gaps by prompting people to tell us what was amazing and what didn’t quite work for them.
There are a lot of things that people don’t like about our games that we wouldn’t change. We set out to run games were things happen around the clock, and where sleep is a privilege. We time out in the early hours of the Sunday which gives drivers a chance to sleep before driving home. We’ve had people say that they couldn’t play our events again because they don’t get to sleep over Saturday night. We don’t want to stop the action or even give people a safe area to sleep in. It’s not part of the game we want to run. We appreciate the feedback and that that’s been said, but we’ll normally let that person know that we won’t be changing that element of the game.
With ZapFest we had several people feedback issues that we hadn’t even been aware of on site. Knowing about it means we’ve got a chance to spot the same things if they happen at future events. We review feedback in a fair amount of detail, and discuss whether it’s something we want to act on or whether there’s a reason we’ve done things the way we have. It also gives our player base a chance to tell us what they want to see us do. Given we’re currently playing with a series of more experimental games this is quite important to us.
Most event teams ask for feedback in one form or another. For us, the Google Forms work. They give people a way to tell us if they’re not happy, which gives us a fighting chance to resolve the problems with future games (people choose whether to leave their name or not) – or to make it clearer that this is what we intended with future advertising.
(Via: Mandala’s Minion)