Having poured through a bunch of LARP books and articles recently (both from this year and previous years), I feel as though I haven’t really learned much about how to improve my LARPing experience- either writing or playing them. Right now I’m entertaining the idea of designing some kind of actual study… something that could potentially provide some statistical material for a Pre-Con panel. Or an article for a future LARP book.
How do questionnaire styles affect casting for GMs? For players? Or even more basic… do they?
I’ve seen GMs go through various iterations of questionnaire styles, in attempt to find one that makes casting as easy and smooth and possible, and results in the best possible matches for the players and their characters. Some GMs use essay style questions, some use numerical scales for rating character traits, some use ordinal scales, some use binary responses. And of course, most use some combination.
I imagine an experiment might involve taking a LARP, creating several different questionnaires for it, and then sending it out to a slew of participants. Then taking a bunch of LARP GMs and asking them each to cast the LARP. The GMs would then be asked how how they rated the casting process (was it easy or difficult? Do they feel confident in their choices?) and asking players how’d they’d rate the casting they received. (“On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your resulting casting?”)
Of course, any such experiment has glaring limitations. For example, it would be very difficult to acquire enough data points to create meaningful results, since creating just one data point is an involved process. And without the resources to actually run the LARPs, players and GMs would be only guessing at how well they think the results were. I’m sure we’ve all had experiences where we thought we’d love a character and ended up hating it, or vice versa, or GMs were surprised at how much a player complained about their casting. Another example- unless this was run several times with several different LARPs, we wouldn’t necessarily know how the LARP itself affected the outcome. Perhaps some LARPs are easy to cast (very different and representing clear archetypes?) and aren’t affected by the style of the questionnaire, while others benefit from one particular style over another?
Hm. Well, that can all go in the “discussion” section of the resulting paper.