There’s been a whirlwind of activity over here at chez Stark, but I’ve still managed to cram in some larp-related activity. Since the last time I ran one of these, there’s been lots that’s new in larp. Here, in no particular order, is what I’ve been reading, running, and drooling with envy over:
Larp in the Middle East
Did you know that there’s larp happening in places like Lebanon and Palestine? Well, it’s on, my friends. And it’s got lots of Nordic support.
- Piece on the first kids’ larp in Lebanon, from Fantasforbundet, a Norwegian larp group
- The Palestine larp scene is heating up, thanks to local larp group Peace and Freedom Youth Forum (PFF):
- Last fall, a dual project between the Nordicans and the Palestinians ran in Ramallah — ‘Til Death Do Us Part, a wedding game.
- Some Finnish designers are collaborating with PFF on a two-part game called State of Siege, about living under a military regime. The first part runs in Helsinki on Nov 15-17, and is open to foreign-born but English-speaking participants. I’ve heard rumors that a second edition will run in Palestine next year.
- I had the pleasure of meeting some folks from the PFF at Knutepunkt this year. Sounds like they’ve got a short larp going every few weeks, including the Superhero Dance Battle produced as part of this year’s Larpwriter Exchange Academy.
Talking and Writing About Larp
- Pete Figtree of Ruthless Diastema interviewed designer/jeeper Emily Care Boss, Danish larper/organizer Julianne Mikkelsen, and me about the basics of Nordic larp. Here’s a 101 for y’all — watch the video here! (And forgive me for rudely typing back to an urgent message in the middle of the panel.)
- Figtree also has an excellent talk with Danish larper/designer Søren Lyng Ebbehøj about physicality, body language, and that most controversial topic, touching in larp. Watch the video here!
- Norwegian designer Matthijs Holter has a super-interesting post on status in small communities. It’s the most thought-provoking shit of this second. It’s already spurred US indie design giant Vincent Baker to write about how to mess with and hack small-community status.
- The ubiquitous Claus Raasted, King of Danish kid’s larp, has a prolific series of podcasts about larp in the Nordic countries and beyond. Listen in on Soundcloud!
- I’ve been part of an interesting discussion — along with Matthijs and others — over at the RPG forum StoryGames on the unique challenges of designing autobiographical games.
- Crack journalist and Mad About the Boy-player Adi Robertson covers the effort to bring the full-immersion BSG larp Monitor Celestra to the US over on The Verge.
- Ever wondered how to write larp script? Elin Nilsen, Trine Lise Lindahl and I have you covered.
Actual Larps that Ran Or Will Run Soon
Re-runs of earlier games:
- Panopticorp ran about a week ago in Copenhagen. It’s a larp about a cut-throat PR company doing business with morally questionable clients. The game was a re-run of an earlier Norwegian larp played about a decade ago. This time around, more than 40 larpers from at least six countries Skyped, emailed, called and walked-in to play the customers for the game’s 20+ players. I’ve heard whispers that if someone produces a script, there are organizers in at least three countries who’d be willing to run it again…
- This weekend and next weekend, Mad About the Boy runs again in Sweden. One run is mixed-gender, the other is all-women.
- In August, Just a Little Lovin’, about the summer AIDS came to NYC, will be re-run in Copenhagen.
New runs of new games:
- On July 11-14, Sweet Home Alabama, a “redneck” larp is slated to run in Copenhagen. I’m a little protective of the south, because that’s where my extended family lives, so I’m a little worried it will reify harmful stereotypes, but well, larp is an interesting medium, and the game hasn’t run yet. I’m eagerly anticipating the play reports.
- In November, State of Siege, a collaboration between Finnish and Palestinian larpers, runs in Finland!
- Aaron Vanek’s horror/art opus, The Dreamlands runs Nov 22-24 in the Mojave desert.
My Corner of the World
- Together with performance researcher Emma Leigh Waldron and RPG researcher Aaron Trammell, I helped run the Norwegian game Limbo, by Tor Kjetil Edland in Highland Park, NJ. We had about 25 players, including people completely new to gaming or to larp, seasoned US larpers, and a few folks who have played Nordic-style games before in the US. We did a two-hour workshop, inspired by Edland’s run of the same game at Knutepunkt this year. Our version took place in the parlor of a local church. On the same day, Limbo also ran in Croatia — you can read organizer Ivan Zalac’s play report here.
- I’m helping edit a book of Norwegian larp scripts in English. Welcome to the Larpfactory Book Project. The project also includes a series of workshops in Norway on how to write larp scripts, as well as a website containing game materials and video demonstrations of various Nordic larp techniques. Join this Facebook group for updates on the project, including downloads when they become available. Or visit the project website!
- Designers and US art larp veterans John Stavropoulos, Terry Romero, and Kira Scott have pledged to create a Monsterhearts larp system as a stretch goal if the Kickstarter for this game about teen monsters in love is funded. They’ll use a modified version of Ars Amandi to optionally represent the tabletop’s signature sex moves.
New Conventions and New Scenes
Dude. So much exciting stuff happening.
- US: Interested in Nordic stuff in the US? If you’re near NJ, join the Facebook page for the Highland Park Players. If you’re not, maybe I <3 Freeform is a better fit. The Highland Park Players hope to organize a small, informal freeform/jeepform festival in New Brunswick this August.
- Sweden: Anna Westerling and other wonderful Swedish scenesters plan to resuscitate their local freeform scene, beginning with the brand-spanking-new Stockholm Scenario Festival, which runs from Nov 1-3 in Stockholm but is accepting game pitches until June 30! Get there!
- Norway: Ole Peder Giæver, Matthijs Holter and Martin Eckhoff Andresen are getting up a freeform writer’s guild, meeting Wed June 18!
- Edu-Larp: ProLarp, the world’s first convention for edu-larp professionals runs in Copenhagen Nov 29 – Dec 1
- Interaction Design: Alibis for Interaction, a swanky-looking new convention on “the design of participatory and narrative experiences” runs in Sweden on October 24-25.
Whew. I know I missed something else awesome. What else did I miss?
Seekers Unlimited will be launching their Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to continue making educational larps in America.
Donors can receive rewards like “Exodus 22:18”, a larp by Michael Tice (Seekers Unlimited’s treasurer) that was a finalist in the 2013 Larpwriter Challenge, as well as one to six of the edu-larps that Seekers designed and ran for an 8th grade science class last semester.
We won’t have our actual URL yet until we launch, but our profile on Kickstarter is here: http://www.kickstarter.com/profile/160286787
You can see the projects I backed when I forgot I was signed in on the Seekers account (but I paid for, not Seekers).
Video of three edu-larps we ran (and which you can get if you donate!) are here: http://youtu.be/afQKb-lsusM
Oops…launching Seekers Kickstarter campaign on July 8, running to September 8!
NELCO is running in Chelmsford, Mass August 9th-11th. If that rings a bell, it’s the same hotel that Intercon takes place at. It’s a convention about LARP writing and theory; if you’ve been to Intercon’s Thursday Thing, that’s the inspiration. Link here: http://nelco.interactiveliterature.org/