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:


  • 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 at Play: The Importance of Communication

I’d like to start this article with a shout-out to the people at Diatribe. Thanks for the post about my articles. It’s fun to see who all find these and what people think of them. This article covers a topic that I’ve touched on many times (Setting Game/Player Expectations, Recruitment and Retention and The “Business” of LARP in particular) but have never really written about: the importance of communication. A comment by an individual named Captain Jimmy on the forums really sparked the thought of discussing this particular topic in an article all its own. I can see plenty… Continue reading

LARP at Play: The “B” Word

This article is covering a topic that I’ve found many LARPers if not all suffer from at one point or another: Burnout. It’s a topic I’d thought about covering, but after a post on the LARPers community blog, “How does a well-travelled LARPer handle burnout and creative recharging?,” I knew it was a topic that really deserved to be covered. I’ve known plenty of LARPers, particularly those who are on the staff of a game or involved in other aspects of the hobby (though I’ve known players to suffer from burnout too), who end up burned out from the amount… Continue reading