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 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 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 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