2016 NZ larp stats

For the past few years I’ve been tracking stats about larp attendance in New Zealand. The full dataset is available on the web here:

The headlines:

  • Overall larp attendance (as measured by total player spaces) fell by about 10%, with declines in every region except Christchurch.
  • In Christchurch attendance grew by 20%, due to a vigorous group of people in SAGA who want more larp.
  • In Auckland, headline attendance fell by about 5%, largely due to the cancellation of the Crucible campaign. One-off theatre-style spaces rebounded to about 150 (from 40).
  • In Hamilton attendance dropped 40% (though from a low base). Fallout’s suspension obviously had a significant impact, but the region appeared to be in decline due to low event diversity. The start of a monthly WoD campaign near the end of the year should solve this problem.
  • In Wellington attendance fell by 25%. The conventions had a bad year, and there were no large campaign events until August. Theatre-style bounced back to its 2014 level, which is good to see.
  • In Dunedin OURS ran the usual theatre-style games at cons as well as a bi-weekly campaign; the decline from last year is really due to the number of campaign sessions which had to be cancelled.

While 2016’s stats are bad, it looks like things will bounce back: Auckland has Musketeers, Saga and The Isles to fill the gap left by Crucible, Wellington has Embers and Hydra is a stronger theatre-style scene, and Fallout is back on track in Hamilton.

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Frankly I’m surprised Dunedin is still ahead of Christchurch. I plan on running more (that is to say, any) one-off theatreform games next year, so I expect Dunedin’s figures to go up

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The joy of running something every two weeks - lots of small games really add up. You see it in Auckland as well - their five monthly campaigns account for about half their spaces.

I think more small Larps would definitely help the Christchurch scene. Unfortunately, I think most of the people who are most enthusiastically pushing Larp are super-busy and/or planning on leaving the region soon…

I’m curious regarding the data, given that smaller regular larps add up the numbers, but many individuals attend multiples of these. Ergo the numbers only represent an instance of a person being at a larp, rather than a unique individual.

Granted, statistics aren’t my forte, but I do find them interesting. What’s the purpose of this tracking endeavour, and can we make it any better?

The purpose is that I’m curious about overall larp activity. Player-spaces per month is a crude measure, but an easy one, and at least lets us see large-scale shifts.

People obviously attend multiple games, sometimes multiple games per month. You can measure community size by getting the player lists for every game (or every game of the type you’re interested in), stacking them up, sorting by name, and just counting. I do this sort of exercise for the Wellington theatreform market, which has given me useful insights into total player pool and viable games sizes. If you want to do this for the Auckland theatre-style or WoD markets, feel free.