LARP at Play: Setting Game/Player Expectations

When I first started this article some years back I gave it the working title “The Care and Feeding of (New) Players” and that title has stuck with it until today. As I was writing it I realized that it needed renaming, thus the slightly different title. This article has made it here after I shared it with a good friend, Conor, who said I should publish it as one of my weekly columns. I’m glad he suggested doing that. I’ve found over my years of LARPing that most players consider several factors when looking at involvement in a LARP,… Continue reading

LARP Design: Game Design & Monte Cook

This week’s column is thanks to a seminar I had a chance to attend at Origins this year. Monte Cook hosted a seminar where he spoke of the basics of game design. Granted for someone whose been reading and studying game design for years it was very basic, however it did provide positive affirmation of points which I’ve felt were key and in many ways have already discussed (Basics of design and Less is more). Just a side note to keep in mind before jumping into the notes from the seminar, Cook used Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition as his… Continue reading

LARP Debate: LARP and Gender

This week’s column has been inspired by a friend and fellow LARPer, Maria. She referenced a series of other articles written on this topic called Gender and Live-Action Role Play and then posed the following, “I am curious if the split between theatre style and combat larp is also relevant in terms of gendered attendance.” I read through the articles referenced to see what the author of them had to share on the subject I was rather shocked and aghast at what I’d read. Beyond the massive amount of page real estate taken up by the author just talking about… Continue reading

LARP Design: A Designer’s Reading List

Not long back I was chatting with a friend and fellow LARP designer and we came to the conclusion that if you want to design, you’ve got to read various written works as well as play and study various games and systems. What should the discerning LARP designer read or have on their reference shelf (even if that shelf is virtual)? Below is a list of papers, books, forums and other resources which I feel are must reads for any LARP game designer: Book of LARP It’s now out of print, but if you’re lucky to find a copy, read… Continue reading

LARP Debate: Art or Sport?

A short while back I was chatting with a fellow LARPer and they referred to the LARP hobby as a sport and it got me thinking, is LARPing a form of art or a type of sport? I briefly touched on the sport-like aspects of the hobby within a short paper(PDF) I wrote in 2006 for some British LARPing friends who wanted to know more about the state of the hobby over here in the States. I feel that this question could use some clarification and exploration beyond what was covered in that paper. I think it’s best to start… Continue reading

LARP Design: The Basics

A while back John Reiher asked me to write a column up on LARP game design. I told him after I got through a busy period of a lot of work that I’d oblige and write down what wisdom I’ve learned thus far. Well, that initial busy period and a few others have come and gone and I’m finally making good on my word to write an article on LARP game design. Much of what he wrote on table-top game design applies to LARP design as well, however there are some differences due to the fact that LARP is a… Continue reading

LARP Design: Less Can Mean More

A short while back I was reading an article and related forum post about rules within LARP gaming. The part that jumped out at me, summed up, stated that rules-heavy systems favored weak role-players and rules-light system favored strong role-players. It also shared that rules-heavy systems were becoming a problem in that people could just fall back on the rules rather than exercise their LARP ‘muscles’ and learn to be a better role-player. Between this article and various scholarly works1 I’ve read from the Knutepunkt conference (LARP related and held up in various Norwegian countries) I realized that the styles… Continue reading

LARP Design: Play … a lot

Welcome to the first of what I hope to be several columns/articles on role-playing providing my views on game theory, design and general advice for those who run or play LARPs and feedback is welcome and desired. This first column is less on theory or design and more general advice. Weather you’re designing your own system or volunteering for an existing group there’s one key thing that a friend told me who once managed a LARP group: Play. Often times an individual gets so caught up in their project or whatever volunteer work that they do that they forget why… Continue reading