What I’m Looking for in a LARP and Why it is OK if I Don’t Find It


LARP is just one of many activities that I consider for my recreation. It is not a category in its own right. I am just as fulfilled watching a movie, hiking, talking or exercising. The lack of a LARP in my recreational time can be unfortunate, even disappointing, but it isn’t I’m not going to suffer any pangs of incompleteness if I am not LARPing. The same goes for computer and table-top gaming.

I realize this is not the same case for everyone, and nothing I’ve said here is meant to be a judgment of the needs or opinions of others; simply an expression of my needs and point of view. If there is even the slightest implication otherwise, please accept my humble apologies and take whatever civil means you need to help me clarify that for others.


Plainly put, the system should be fair, balanced, elegant and make sense. It should allow for growth/development without making me agonize over minutia, suffer dead-ends and crippling consequences because of mechanical quirks. I should be on level ground as far as access to rules, opportunities and potential as any of my fellow players.


Does the game have a setting that engages me personally? I get that a game is designed with a particular vision in mind. I’m past trying to force my tastes on someone else’s creation but if there isn’t significant overlap between our interests that’s an issue I need to seriously consider. If there is no creative common ground that appeals to me, no harm, no foul. After all, you don’t walk into a Mexican restaurant when you want Thai Noodles, you find a Thai restaurant.


I want to be “invested” in a game both in and out of play. If there aren’t opportunities for me to contribute (and be compensated) by using my skills, this is a significant turn off for me. When I used to hike more, being able to make even a small contribution (carrying out trash; not just mine, clearing parts of a neglected trail, etc) really formed a connection that made the endeavor more than just a walk in the woods.


There should be a reasonable balance between Commute Time and Play Time. A 3 hour commute for a one-day event is a bit much for me. I don’t really enjoy playing “immersion” games in mixed use venues, or more plainly… getting in costume and/or smacking folks with boffers in public park and suburban backyards is not really my thing. 🙂


I am willing to be involved and go beyond the actual event schedule to make a game work (and work for me), but I am not looking for a second job as my recreation. If a game requires a dozen hours of “meta play” and networking between events to simply keep up, it might not be the best fit for me.


Can I have a reasonable balanced amount of fun & opportunity compared to other players without spending ridiculous sums of money or mastering an array of new out of game skills? I understand that costume, equipment, props and so forth are what you make of them and I really try to make them a reasonable part of my LARPing experience. And certainly, in many situations you can work around them by limiting yourself to niche roles/concepts. That aside, I would like a fair and reasonable shot at having adequate physical resources for the LARP experience to be on an similar grounds with other players. If a game has a steep “material divide” that makes it too hard or impossible, it will reduce my interest level greatly.

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