What do you do to get players excited and eager to play each session?
On a session-by-session basis, I don’t, and that’s something I should look into. I guess I’m assuming too much, that if they turn up then they must be interested and motivated to continue playing. That’s a reasonable assumption, but shouldn’t be taken for granted.
How have you gotten players keen to dive into that new campaign you just spent weeks preparing?
I just pitch a few ideas and run with whatever garners the most interest. Increasingly, I involve the player’s more in setting creation.
Once in a while, I’ll find something like this D-Day paratrooper jump scene from Band of Brothers, which I showed my players before the first session of a short-run Godlike game I ran, or the opening theme sequence from the 2001 Justice League animated series, which I showed before running a four-color Mutants & Masterminds game.
What approaches do you take to keep players’ faces out of their cells phones and focused on your game?
I’m constantly on the lookout for waning interest or lack of focus in my players and in myself. I try to never stay on any one action or decision for long, whether it be mine or something in the player’s hands.
What do you do to inspire your players?
In the big scheme of things, I only run settings or genres that have cache with my group. On a smaller scale, I try to feed them what they want in the moment, altering my short-term plans at the drop of a hat.
Do you make handouts, use technology, suggest books to read, GM a certain way, use player surveys?
I’ve rarely had a group that would read anything unless forced to.
I’ve been looking at infinitely-scalable map-making using something like Mischief, as a gaming resource that could be built up over time and fun to interact with and contribute to.
I’ve also been building boards on Pinterest lately, but haven’t actually run the games yet that would use them. Those boards consist of images of races and species, creatures, character ideas, and locations. I would make the races or species stuff available to the players, and share the rest as the players encounter those people and places.