The schedule for this year’s Brandeis University’s annual Festival of the LARPs went up today, and I’m pleasantly surprised to see the schedule is even more full than usual. There are a number of LARPs I’m quite excited to have a chance to play. In particular, I’m really happy to see Mayfair in the Colonies, a LARP set just before the Revolutionary War, up on the schedule for Friday night. I plan to pounce on Mayfair as my first round choice the moment sign-ups are open.
As per usual when schedules for the smaller weekend conventions go up, I’m sharing my thoughts on the various LARPs I have already played, on the off chance someone reading this could use the information to help make their own choices.
Folding the River is a LARP by the Paranoid and Crotchety writing team that I played at Dia de los Sobres in 2012. It’s a complex science-fantasy LARP, heavy on plot, with very well written character sheets and unusual, interesting ideas within the supernatural elements. Though I haven’t played any of the Final Fantasy video games, I understand they are a significant source of inspiration for Folding the River. I had a lot of fun playing this LARP.
Magic Eyes is, as the blurb describes it, “a four hour game of crackpot conspiracy theory in the ‘70s.” I played it at RPI, also in 2010. It’s a solid LARP that kept its players busy, and I remember really liking the way the mechanics worked. They were fun to use, and the way they were weighted in favor of things happening (rather than being weighted in favor of preventing things from happening) kept the excitement going.
Star-Crossed is a two hour LARP featuring 12 characters, all recently deceased, trying to work out what happened and what to do next. I played it just over a week ago at Intercon, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The mechanic for recalling memories, in which players are handed short descriptions of scenes to ad lib for everyone else, afforded some of the best acting I’ve ever seen in a LARP. There’s more detailed description in my first Intercon N post here.
Blackfyre Rising is a four hour LARP set in the universe of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series (also the Game of Thrones series on HBO, for those unfamiliar with the books.) Obviously, I’m biased in favor of this LARP because I’m a huge fan of the source material, but on top of that, it’s a really great LARP, full of intriguing characters, magic, and politics. I’ve played it twice, and had a ton of fun both times. I nearly played it a third time at this past Intercon, and in all honesty, I’m highly tempted to play a third time at Festival. (I hear the mechanics have been changed.)
A Fungal Coronation is another LARP I happen to have played twice, most recently at RPI in February, as Princess Peach of the Super Mario Brothers franchise. It’s a very cute LARP for fans of the Mario Bro.s video games, especially if you like the cosmology and enjoy solving puzzles. More details on my more recent experience can be found here. Also, I now have a Mario cap and part of a Princess Peach outfit, should anyone want to borrow it.
Lastly, Happily Ever After? is a LARP about group marriage counseling for famous couples from various media. I played Beauty/Belle of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. This LARP deconstructs common tropes of romance and explores what might become of these couples long after the credits roll. I like that it’s a low key LARP — it mostly involves everyone sitting in a circle, discussing their marital problems. It’s also very flexible in that six couples are at the counseling session, but at least nine have been written, which means there’s a large assortment to choose from, which significantly raises your chance of playing a character you’re familiar with and interested in portraying. And more may be added, which means that it’s possible for each run to have a unique cast.
Remember, you can sign up for one LARP on Tuesday, March 18th at 7pm EST, a second LARP on Wednesday, March 19th, and as many as you like as of Thursday, March 20th. Festival of the LARPs is running Friday, April 25th through Sunday, April 27th, and it’s free! There’s even some amount of crash space available for those who need it.
As I mentioned, I’ll be jumping for a spot in Mayfair in the Colonies when the first round of sign ups is open on Tuesday. Anyone else know what their picks will be?