Something Borrowed, Something Blue

This past Sunday, I attended the wedding of two friends who are both LARPers. They’re also both LARP writers and involved with running LARP events. When I RSVPed on their wedding website, I checked off a box indicating that I’d be interested in participating at a LARP at their reception.

Note the orange sticker and yellow bracelet. Go Team Something Old!

When we arrived at the reception, there was a table near the DJ with four piles of envelopes (one for each of four teams) and instructions to select one in order to play in Mission: Engaged. (The envelopes were labeled with numbers and were stacked in order, with #1 on top, and the instructions suggested picking one from a pile with the lowest number showing, which ensured that there would be approximately even numbers on each team.)

Opening the envelopes revealed instructions, any additional needed paperwork and items, and color coded rubber bracelets to wear so teammates could identify one another. Yellow for Team Something Old, green for Team Something New, orange for Team Something Borrowed, and, of course, blue for Team Something Blue.

Each team had a different set of tasks to achieve, with the goal of bringing about the end of the world for their various causes. (One team wanted to summon C’thulhu, natch. Another was made up of time travelers, another common theme in LARPing.) My team, lead by one person designated as the high priest (I think he may have chosen envelope #1), wanted to perform a Mayan ritual, and we were given a set of puzzles- sudoku, a sentence to unscramble, a crossword puzzle, etc. The solution to each revealed a task to complete as part of our ritual.

I really like how the LARP seamlessly blended with the wedding reception, since plenty of guests (many of whom, I’m sure, had no idea what a LARP is) were not playing. The tasks were simple activities one normally does at a wedding- order a particular drink at the bar, dance the macarena, get a picture with the bridge and groom, etc. And our character sheets informed us that we were all undercover, and our cover names were whatever our real names are- so we could introduce ourselves out-of-character to other guests without dropping character.

The other groups had their own tasks. One had to strike up conversations with other people and get them to say different words (not unlike the party game “Taboo”). And another group had to sneak stickers onto people’s dishes or cups. If someone ate off something that was be-stickered, they received a contingency envelope that would inform them, at the end of the LARP, that they had ingested nanites and been taken over by their evil overlord computer. (Putting stickers on cups and such is a common mechanic in theater LARPs for poisoning people.)

At one point during the meal, my date instructed me to look at the bottom of my drink, where I found an orange sticker, and smirking, he handed me a contingency envelope. I was incredibly amused, and even more so when he later described moving it from cup to cup, trying to get me to drink from the right one.

I thought the simple structure of the LARP, particularly the easy set-up and casting, and structure of the tasks to work with the event made it a really great addition to the wedding, and could probably be very easily modified to run at other events- conventions, bar or bat mitzvahs, or other weddings.

Wouldn’t you love to attend a wedding where the DJ offers the microphone to the groom, who takes it and announces, to much cheering, that his guests have destroyed the world four times over?

About Fair Escape

I've been LARPing for years in all different styles, including both boffer and theater. I love classic LARP but I'm always happy to try something new. I have a sort of "gotta catch 'em all" attitude towards experiencing LARPs. I'm currently serve as a board member of NEIL, a member of proposal com for Intercon, the largest all LARP convention in the US, and as en editor for Game Wrap, a publication about the art and craft of LARP. I was also con chair of Festival of the LARPs 2017, and I'm on staff for NELCO, the first all LARP conference in the US. I'm
This entry was posted in tales and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Something Borrowed, Something Blue

  1. Lise F says:

    As the writer for the Something Blue faction, I’m glad you enjoyed the game! You did miss out on the best faction, though 😉 Do you think their goal was too easy? I was concerned about that relative to the crazy puzzles of Something Old.

    I think you’d have to change the faction names somewhat for a non-wedding event, but I agree, it would work with little modification at other venues.

  2. Fair Escape says:

    It’s hard to say, I guess it depends on how long the list was and what the words were. I heard from one of the Something Blue members that the hardest part was getting all the words because several players received some in their envelopes, then stopped playing, so the biggest challenge was just getting organized. We discussed ways to avoid players dropping out mid-wedding becoming a problem. (Such as redundancy, or the blue leader receiving a master list, or giving out a giant list of words, maybe 50, and only requiring a fraction, maybe half, get done.)

    Actually, the same player had the word “matter” and was trying to get me to say “what’s the matter” but for some reason I just couldn’t get it. I kept asking “what’s the problem?” “what’s wrong?” and “how can I help?” so that task can become a little difficult and frustrating just through chance. I thought it was amusing, though, when I finally figured it out. Also, she said it was a fantastic excuse to chat up lots of new people, which is great for a wedding.

    I thought some of the Something Old puzzles were very challenging- I can do a sudoku at any level- but the Hard ones can take a very long time, and it’s not a social puzzle. I think my table spent a bit of time with their heads bent over their paper. (Also, no one, including the bartender, had heard of the cocktail, Moscow Mule.) I also had no idea how to even begin on one of the puzzles (and still have no clue how it was solved)- it looked like something a computer science person would understand. But that’s the beauty of having a team- people can divvy up the challenges according to what they’re good at. I guess if I were to rewrite it, I’d make the strictly pen and paper challenges a bit easier, but even so, I still had a blast and I think all of my teammates did, too.

    You’re right- the names of the groups would have to be changed to fit the event, but that’s easy enough to do. As would be altering the puzzles (you’d have to make the cocktail a mocktail if it were at a bar or bat-mitzvah, for example) and change around the sentences involving the hosts name… but that’s strictly cosmetic, no? I just think it’s such a great concept overall.

  3. Pingback: Three Follow Ups « FairEscape

  4. Nat Budin says:

    Thanks for the post! I’m really glad you enjoyed Mission: ENGAGED.

    I would definitely agree that there were some balance issues in the game, but I’m very glad that we managed to achieve goal #1 (have it be a real LARP but without disrupting the reception). Thanks so much for playing!

    • Fair Escape says:

      I think that goal was definitely achieved, and one group’s task was mostly made difficult by people dropping out, and it’s hard to predict how that will affect the LARP. But they did all succeed in the end, and had fun doing it. Thanks so much for running it! Weddings aren’t easy to begin with, but you guys pulled off an incredible wedding along with a new LARP.
      And thanks for commenting!

  5. Go team Something Old!

  6. Pingback: For Auld Lang Syne « FairEscape

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s