LARP at Play: Random Thoughts at Random

I hope every one of you had a wonderful holiday season and that 2010 proves to be a positive, productive and fun year for you. Now that 2010 has started and the holiday season is over, I’m back with more articles to share with you. As I was enjoying the turn of the year last week I got to thinking about what would make a good first of the year article. I didn’t want to do a top ten list, but after a chat with a friend and fellow LARPer I did feel that a review of key themes and poignant thoughts presented last year would be good. Since these thoughts and themes are rather random, we have random thoughts at random:

  • Communication was such an important topic that it was covered in many articles and even had its own (LARP at Play: The Importance of Communication). Communication, or lack thereof can make or break a LARP group.
  • Setting Expectations was another topic that came up several times and was so important it was discussed on its own (LARP at Play: Setting Game/Player Expectations). Both communication and setting expectations are closely tied together and are both very important to a game’s success (or failure).
  • This past year was also a year of resources and sharing good spots to find further information. From some good designer resources (LARP Design: A designer’s reading list) to costuming resources (LARP Design: A designer’s reading list) to LARP resources in general (LARP at Play: LARP Link Dump).
  • While there has yet to be an article written just about the importance of word of mouth (a.k.a. Young’s Law) to a LARP, it was a topic brought up in more than a few articles, particularly LARP at Play: Recruitment and Retention. Remember a LARP can be helped or hurt by what other people have to say about it.
  • Even if you don’t consider the LARP hobby a business, more than a few articles talked about at least utilizing a degree of professionalism when you run your games. LARP at Play: The “Business” of LARP and LARP at Play: Creating a LARP really brought this topic to light. Remember, great ideas alone don’t make a game, it also takes a degree of business sense even if you don’t run it as a for-profit venture.
  • Some topics lead to some good debates and discussions (LARP at Play: Costuming and You, Part 1, LARP Debate: Art or sport? and LARP Debate: LARP and Gender in particular). In some cases these debates are still going on.
  • It’s also been a year of learning for myself. Yes, a veteran LARPer can learn new things. From a change in opinion from the LARP Debate: Art or sport? discussions to better understanding the gender diversity from LARP Debate: LARP and Gender discussion.

There are also some thoughts I’d like to explore and ideas I’d like to incorporate this coming year:

  • I’d like to revisit some topics. As shared earlier, last year was a year of learning for me as much as it was a year of sharing what I know. Some of what I’ve learned has caused me to change my opinion (the Art vs. Sport debate being one) and I think revisiting a topic or two is in order because of that opinion change.
  • Last year I noticed that a lot of my columns were talking about very basic topics, but as I shared on a forum some while back you need a foundation to build off of or you’ll lose people by starting too deep too fast (or too early). This year I’d like to start taking this foundation and building on it by either taking a deeper look at topics that have already been covered or looking at new topics that are that next level up.
  • I’d like to take the column on a slight detour every so often by using an article to answer a reader question or two, rather than just write on a particular topic. Send me a LARPing related question you have and if it’s chosen I’ll devote an article to answering it.
  • I’d like to offer a chance for guest columnists. Do you have a LARP related topic you’re really passionate about and want to share with people? Be a guest columnist! All I ask is that the topic be broad enough that it will appeal to LARPers from many games/genres/styles and your article be in the 500-1,000 word range. Send me an email with your topic proposal and if chosen you’ll have a chance to take the column spotlight.

And finally, for those who want a quick reference to all the articles written in 2009 (in no particular order), look below:

  • LARP Design: Play … a lot
  • LARP Design: Less can mean more
  • LARP Design: The basics
  • LARP Design: A designer’s reading list
  • LARP Design: Game design & Monte Cook
  • LARP at Play: Setting Game/Player Expectations
  • LARP at Play: Costuming and You, Part 1
  • LARP at Play: Costuming and You, Part 2
  • LARP at Play: Recruitment and Retention
  • LARP Debate: Evolution of LARP
  • LARP at Play: The “Business” of LARP
  • LARP at Play: LARP Link Dump
  • LARP at Play: Creating a LARP
  • LARP Debate: Art or sport?
  • LARP at Play: The “B” Word
  • LARP Debate: Entitlement and Instant Gratification
  • LARP at Play: The Importance of Communication
  • LARP Debate: Supporting the Good
  • LARP Debate: LARP and Gender
  • LARP at Play: The Value of Trust

Were there any particular thoughts or points made over the past year that really jumped out at you? What things would you want to explore this year? Your thoughts in general on what’s been written and what you’d like to see explored or written about?

The next article will be on doing your homework. As always I love to hear feedback and suggestions for further articles. Feel free to leave a comment here at the Mortalis Games site, write Amber at webmaster [at] mortalisrpg [dot] com or once this goes live on, visit the article’s forum thread (there should be a link below the article to it) to see what else has been shared or to leave a comment there.

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