SLAW 2016

I used to write posts regularly whenever one of the smaller theater LARP conventions shared their schedule, summarizing my thoughts and impressions of the LARPs on it that I had played, and maybe some thoughts or things I had heard about the others.

At some point, I fell out of this practice… it occurred to me it was probably repetitious and uninteresting to any readers who weren’t planning to attend these events, and those who do… there generally aren’t enough choices to make this kind of information helpful. A big chunk of the sign up process for events like Festival, Dice/Time Bubble, and SLAW is simply choosing the ones people haven’t played yet. I was somewhat hopeful there were one or two readers who hadn’t been committed to attending an event, and then saw my descriptions and thought, “hmm, maybe I will go and try this out” but I never had any evidence such readers existed.

But SLAW is coming up pretty soon, and there are a number of games that haven’t filled yet. It’s tough to get attention and enthusiasm for SLAW when Intercon sign ups are happening. But maybe I can help drum up a little enthusiasm?

So here’s the schedule!

On Friday evening, I’ve signed up for The Sharing. This LARP is on the Intercon schedule, but I didn’t get a slot because it’s running against something I didn’t think I’d ever get another chance to play. So I’m really glad I’m going to get to play this at SLAW. The Sharing is set in the world of the Animorphs books, a young adult sci-fi series. I was a huge fan of the books as a kid, and while the tone of the writing was pretty light hearted, it explored some extremely dark topics, and not just for YA literature. If you were a also fan of the series, there’s one spot left. Join me!

I have played two of the Saturday morning LARPs, Inheritance and Triple Blind. Inheritance I played as recently as October at Time Bubble 2016. From my post on Time Bubble 2016, “It’s a short LARP, designed to evoke philosophical conversations between the players. I enjoyed talking with the fascinating characters (including a hive mind and a highly advanced AI) about the nature of identity, epistemology, the value of art, and worthwhile goals for an immortal mankind.” If the idea of philosophical conversations with highly unusual or even alien mindsets and transhuman settings appeal to you, you should play Inheritance.

Triple Blind is unique in its structure — its designed with an element of random generation. There are three aspects to each of the nine characters; at the start of the game, each player randomly selects one of nine public identities, one of nine secret identities, and a membership to one of the in-game groups to generate their character, then they play through a scenario at a political function.

Triple Blind does not contain overtly comical elements by design, though it does tend towards lighthearted runs, even wackiness.The random generation can create odd juxtapositions and contradictions within individual characters, which can be interpreted humorously. There are other elements of the LARP that also promote lightheartedness, though I think that’s a topic for another post (one that would probably contain spoilers.)

The plots are fairly basic, but they produce an entertaining hour of roleplay. But I think the real strength of Triple Blind is that it provides interesting commentary both on trends in one shot theater LARPs, especially in the local community (I came out of my runs thinking about our common tropes and how they interact, and the interaction between a LARP’s spoilerability and replayability), and on our assumptions about the structure of a basic theater LARP and what possibilities arise when they’re broken.

I also think the idea behind Triple Blind really has legs, and I was happy and intrigued to hear another LARP, Wishing Well, took the random generation element, altered it a bit, and wrote their own fantasy version. (I really hope Wishing Well gets boxed for others to run, or at least runs again when I can play it.) And I would really love to see more people play Triple Blind, get inspired, and expand on the idea.

Triple Blind is also free online and very easy to run — the GM can also be a player, so even if you’re not going to SLAW, you should check it out.

I’m running Tales of the Cradle in the afternoon, and this run is full, but it’s a really good LARP and easy to run (though the printing is going to take a long while) so I expect there will be more opportunities to play in the future. (Certainly will be if I can help it.)

Group Date I have not played, but I did observe a chunk of one run, and it looked to me like the players were having a lot of fun improvising. The premise involves two characters going on their first three dates. Multiple players play various aspects of each, so creating the characters and role-playing as them is an exercise in cooperation. If you’d like to try out one of the winners of the Golden Cobra competition, try Group Date.

I played This Time for Sure: Boris Badenov’s Gulag for Unrepentant Children at Time Bubble 2015. It’s a lot of lighthearted, wacky fun, especially if you would like to play a classic cartoon troublemaker and color with crayons, like me. I got to play Alvin of Alvin and the Chipmunks, a beloved figure from my childhood.

On Sunday, The Ultimate Quest-ion is running. It’s a boffer LARP by the same organization that ran The Trouble With Turnips and The Trouble With Turnips II: The Rutabaga of All Evil. I really enjoy the chance to try out a new boffer system (most boffer games I play use the Accelerant system) and the Turnips games were both silly, energetic fun, with some entertaining physical challenges and mental challenges in the form of puzzles and riddles. I’d really like to create a basic boffer scenario as a lighthearted introduction for Brandeis students at the upcoming Festival, and the SMAS uses a simple but successful formula for it that I’d like to replicate. I’ve signed up to play The Ultimate Quest-tion, though I think it technically has unlimited room for players.

Hope to LARP with you at SLAW!

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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
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2 Responses to SLAW 2016

  1. I’d be very interested to see your opinions on LARP tropes in your local community. A potential future article, maybe? And definitely give information on these convention games. They’re worth their weight in gold for those of us down under who don’t get to try many LARPs but are trying to create new ones for people to sample in the local area.

    • Fair Escape says:

      Hmm, tropes in theater LARPs might make an interesting post… Maybe I should replay Triple Blind to remind myself of all of the thoughts it inspired. 🙂

      I’m glad that other people find them useful! Probably most useful if they’re ones that have been “boxed” and made available for others to run.

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