For those who don’t know, Intercon is the LARPing convention that takes place annually in March in Chelmsford, MA. I think it’s actually the largest all-LARP convention in the world. It’s my favorite weekend of the year.
It has an unusual sign-up system. There are about 50ish LARPs running over the weekend, in 5 main time slots- Friday evening, Saturday morning afternoon and evening, and Sunday morning. (This year they’ve got a couple late night slots.) Con-goers need to be registered to sign up for events (that’s not the unusual part.) Games opened for sign-ups last week, but each con-goer can only pick one LARP. This week, everyone can pick a second. And the third week, we can sign up for however many they want.
The purpose of this is to make sure everyone gets at least one or two LARPs they’re excited about. If everyone could sign up for as many as they wanted right away, some people might be too late to get anything they’re interested in. I think it’s a good system (though I wouldn’t necessarily make the rounds one week apart).
Normally, before the first round opens, I have an idea of what LARP I want to pounce on first. For example, at Intercon K two years ago, someone ran a LARP set in George R. R. Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire. (That’s the Game of Thrones setting, for those of you who have only seen the TV show and shame on you, go pick up the books.) You may recall me mentioning the LARP, A Game of Thrones; Blackfyre Rising a time or two on this blog. I knew I had to play, so at the stroke of 7pm, I picked Blackfyre Rising.
This year, there was no one clear favorite for me. And actually, picking which LARPs to sign up for in the first and second rounds (before the open sign-ups happen on the third week) is less about just choosing your favorites and more like something of an exercise in game theory. People take into account how quickly things are likely to fill and whether or not they’d be happy with something else in the time slot.
(Actually, I’m now remembering I described this process in my second blog post, which tells me I’ve been working on this blog for just over a year. Wow.)
This year, I was thoroughly torn about what I should make my first round pick. I basically ended up picking Serpent’s Spiral, a game set in Ireland during the Easter Uprising. I’ve heard great things about it, it seems unlikely to run outside of Intercon, and it’s a unique setting, one I’ve never even seen before for a LARP, let alone played in.
Serpent’s Spiral currently has plenty of room left. There’s a small part of me that thinks, “hmm, maybe I should have picked Devil to Pay, Lovers and Madmen’s next LARP, about pirates at the end of the Golden Age of Piracy.” It’s kind of ridiculous- I predicted Devil to Pay would fill right away, and none of my other top choices are anywhere near filling. And yet, I think there’s a certain satisfaction in seeing your first pick fill quickly, because then you feel as though you “spent” it wisely. I could have picked one of my other top choices from the other slots with essentially the same result.
And yet, I’m still very excited about my choice, and I’m currently reading up on the Easter Uprising in preparation. (Hmm, 4 months out might be a bit early for this.) And as I did last year, I’m sort of wishing people would make less out of which games fill fastest, because it’s more about what’s likely to fill than it is about popularity, and GMs seem to stress when they don’t fill quickly.
I’m a tad concerned about how many of the other LARPs I’d really like to play will fill since we have a record-breaking 350+ attendees this year, and we’ll probably continue to grow a bit more. We’ve been threatening to outgrow our hotel for a few years now. (We had one attempt to run Intercon in a larger hotel (Intercon K) that wasn’t really successful.) We’ve taken over a few hotel suites for the con to run more LARPs in, and it seems as though we have a higher number of LARPs than usual to fill those extra rooms.
Fingers crossed I’ll get into one of the runs of Invictus‘ introductory event, The Great War Upon Us. (Invictus is a Roman themed boffer LARP starting up soon, and they’re running some sample modules at Intercon.) And Osiris’ Gate, and Egyptian after-life themed LARP. (I may have been recently watching clips of Anthony and Cleopatra from the fantastic mini-series, Rome.) As for Sunday morning… I’m not picky. Might be exciting to try one of the Iron GM games (the products of an Iron Chef-like competition, in which writers are given ingredients- that is, themes- to write LARPs about in a limited amount of time. It’s a really cool project, since it produces a bunch of easy to run, small LARPs.) Or maybe a GI Joe LARP… I think I could make a pretty decent Baroness.