A few months back, I was lucky enough to attend Knudepunkt in Denmark, an annual roleplaying convention that rotates its way around Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland, changing its name according to the local language.
Knudepunkt introduced me to a new style of larping. The Nordic countries have a robust larp scene, and similar to the stateside scene, most larps are escapist games featuring vampires or a medieval fantasy setting with boffers. In addition, the Nordic countries have an active avant-garde larp scene, and it is this group that meets each year at Knutepunkt. This convention focuses on artsy games that are less an escape from reality than a journey into one’s own psyche. Some of them aren’t even fun (but are oh-so-interesting).
While at Knudepunkt (which means “nodal point” in Danish) I did have a chance to try out a couple Nordic-style games, from In Fair Verona, a game based around love and tango-dancing, to Doubt, a game designed to force players to put their real emotions on the line.
At Knudepunkt, the focus wasn’t on playing games but on talking about them — hashing over important larps from the last year, looking at different game mechanics, and sharing visions for how larps should be constructed. Each year, the convention also puts out a book of larp theory (more on this in a future post). And recently, the convention organizers have posted videos of some of the panels and slides and other materials presented during the convention.
I’d recommend the A First Timer’s Guide to Knudepunkt video for anyone who’s interested in learning about the scene:
I had a blast learning about the scene and writing a couple chapters on it, which will appear in my book, Leaving Mundania, which is due out from Chicago Review Press early next year. In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting links to some of the amazing resources — books, magazines, websites, and more — that I learned about while in the cold, cold north.
P.S. Next year’s convention will be held in Finland and is called Solmukhota.