LARP Debate and Rant: Use it or lose it, web edition

I’ve a little something that just frosts my cookies! For the past several years I have hosted a couple of LARP community oriented projects which I started in order to provide a venue for an aspect of the community that I felt was lacking. Those projects are the academic based mailing lists and the US LARP Wiki. Why is it that only when I recently shared with the people that participate on each that I was looking to shut both down from non-use, that folks finally spoke up and shared that they valued the contributions and were sad to see … Continue reading

LARP at Play: The LARP Production Triangle

I realize I may be preaching to the choir here, however I’d like to pass on a lesson learned regarding LARP production. It’s a lesson taken from the Project Management Triangle and revolves around the project requirements of Good, Fast, and Cheap (the Project Management Triangle typically uses Time, Scope, Cost). In any project you have control over two of those options, but not all three.

In the image:

Project_Triangle

  • Good is the quality of the final product (can be your LARP as a whole, or just a part of it, like a website)
  • Fast refers to the time required to deliver the product
  • Cheap refers to the total cost of designing and building/creating the product

The triangle reflects the fact that all three properties are interrelated, and it’s not possible to optimize all three. There will always be one that suffers.

If you pick:

  • Fast + Cheap = Inferior
    Quick turn around time and well priced, but not high quality work or workmanship. Don’t expect this to last beyond the game if you were hoping to use it again or to look exactly like the snazzy example photo you provided.
  • Fast + Good = Expensive
    Quick turn around times and high quality work or workmanship, but not well-priced. Expect to pay a pretty penny for this option.
  • Good + Cheap = Slow
    High quality work or workmanship, but not a quick turn around time. You’ll need to be patient with this option.
  • Where all three intersect
    Dream on, you don’t control all three. Pick again.

I share this because I know many LARP organizers/owners/GMs want to get the biggest bang for their buck, however that can, and often does, come with a price. I feel understanding how Good, Fast and Cheap are interrelated I think can help organizers better understand when speed should be foregone for cost and quality or quality should be foregone for speed and cost, for examples.

LARP at Play: LARP 101

Now that my spring break is over, it’s time to return to writing. There are some good articles lined up for this year, including a few from some guest columnists. This article was inspired by a comment from Ryan Paddy. While I’ve covered many aspects and angles of LARPing, one I’ve not really covered in any depth has been an introduction to LARPing. It’s hard to write an article that will cover every question that an individual new to the hobby may have, however I think there are enough common basics that can be addressed. Welcome to LARP 101 or … Continue reading

LARP at Play: Young’s Law

This week there’s a guest columnist, Mike Young, and he’ll be discussing Young’s Law or why word of mouth is an important part of growing and advertising a LARP. And now Mike … LARP Is Sold By Word of Mouth I first spoke those words in the early ’90s, and nearly two decades later they are still true. Think about it. How did you start LARP? If you are like most people, a friend brought you into it. Word of mouth. But I wanted to do a more in-depth analysis. Why is Young’s Law true? What makes it work? And … Continue reading

LARP at Play: Doing Your Homework, Part 3

I’d like to apologize for the tardiness of this article. I recently suffered a hard drive failure and have been restoring everything from back-ups and that means redoing lost work and that is what has happened here. This is the last article in a three part series on doing your homework. The first article article focused on what creators and designers should consider and the second article focused on what organizers and staff should explore. This last article explores what players should consider. Players Don’t think you’re off the hook just because you’re a player. Even you have a few … Continue reading

LARP at Play: Doing Your Homework, Part 2

This is the second article in a three part series on doing your homework. The first article can be found here for those who may want to look back at it. It focused on what things creators and designers should research and explore. This article will focus on what organizers and staff should look at. The last article in this series will explore what players should consider. Organizers/Staff More than likely you’re not having to do a lot of design work, but you do have a very big hand in the logistics and operations of the game. Much like designers … Continue reading

LARP at Play: Doing Your Homework, Part 1

Before I get into the meat of this article’s subject, I wanted to share a couple of things I touched on last article, but I wanted to announce again: Guest Columnists – I’d like to offer a chance for guest columnists to take the spotlight. 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 (a bit over or under is … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

LARP at Play: The Value of Trust

I’ve recently found out that the entire Knutepunk 2008 book has finally been released in PDF format. You can download it here. I hope you have a great holiday season, and now onto this article’s topic, the value of trust. “Trust is a peculiar resource; it is built rather than depleted by use.” — Unknown There is an often unwritten, but understood part of LARPing: The social contract between all game participants that they all will act according to the game’s rules and expected out-of-game policies of the LARP group. This social contract is ultimately built on a key value: … Continue reading

LARP Debate: Supporting the Good

I was in email correspondence with a fellow LARPer and acquaintance not long back when a couple of lines they wrote wrote struck a chord with me, “I have made progress (regarding LARP outreach and united hobby growth) in this area, but I have but one voice. A group of us, united by our common interest to unify the hobby will have that much more clout. “I feel it falls to … this group of people that look beyond the singular interests of a specific LARP group, to make this happen.” My reply back included a challenge, which I feel … Continue reading