Ars Amandi: It’s Like Boffers For Sex

Larps need love.

Think about it: in a typical larp, your character is far more likely to kill something or die than she is to fall in love. The ability to play romance and love safely would open up a whole new vista of possible plots and character developments.

This is why you, oh roleplayer or game designer, should come to my Ars Amandi workshop at METATOPIA on the morning of Saturday, November 5, and learn this fascinating Nordic mechanic for representing romance. Ars Amandi is sort of like boffers for lust, a valuable design tool for anyone who wants to open their larp to new frontiers, by structuring player experiences beyond violence.

Participants engaging in Ars Amandi touch one another on the arms and shoulders, lightly and firmly, playfully and forcefully. During the workshop, we will be exploring different modes of touching in a safe, structured environment. Due to the nature of the mechanic, I’m limiting the workshop to those 18 and older.

I know Saturday mornings can be tough, so there will be free donuts and coffee available. Come wearing comfortable clothing and prepared to get intimate with strangers’ arms.

Stay tuned for more information about Ars Amandi, including a forthcoming interview with Emma Wieslander, the Swedish roleplayer and game designer who created the technique.

I’d love to hear from folks who have Ars Amandi experience (larping or teaching) in the comments, as well as from people with questions or concerns.

To read more about Ars Amandi, check out Wieslander’s pieces in the free download of Beyond Role and Play, or check out the Ars Amandi Facebook group (from whom I borrowed the above photo). There’s also Jonas Bark√•’s post about the technique and a bevvy of links available from this Lumpley thread.

5 thoughts on “Ars Amandi: It’s Like Boffers For Sex

  1. I sadly can’t make it, but can you video-record your panel, maybe audio record, or even a bullet point of it? I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this.
    (A link to it when you do it or if you could e-mail it to me would also rock!)

    • Alas, I think it’s important that the workshop be confidential and non-recorded– but maybe I will run it again at DREAMATION or DEXCON? I’ll also be blogging about it after the fact, so stay tuned!

  2. I think it is useful to mention that bodyodour is a part of the experience,
    so I would like to advice people going to the workshop to have quick shower and fresh clothes.

    shirts with buttons on the sleeves might be a bit of a hassle, but it is better than other tightfitting clothes that will not allow to expose the skin of the overarm and underarm.

    feeling fresh will give you more selfconfidence in testing the techniques.

    good luck!

  3. I’m a Nordic larper and have been to Ars Amandi workshops and also used it at larps. I can only praise the technique. I have had some very powerful scenes with it. Both strong, emotional love scenes and a horrible (in a good way) rape scene during an interrogation.

    If I would offer any advice it would be to remember to include eye contact and practice that at the workshop, it ads a lot.

    Also it can be good to try safe-words, not just talk about them but to practice using them. I don’t know what traditions you have, but here the words “Cut” and “Break” are common. Break to cool down the scene and imply that you want it to take another direction and cut to end the scen completely if you feel uncomfortable.

    Good luck and have fun!

  4. Pingback: Ars Amandi: The Post-Coital Review | Lizzie Stark