The Auckland Larpsplosion

auckland
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#1

Auckland seems to be having an explosion of larp. If you’ve been following closely, it looks like as of early next year there will be six weekend-long campaigns running:

NZLARPS projects

  • Musketeers (C17th swashbuckling)
  • Saga (Viking fantasy)
  • Exile (Fantasy)
  • The Dying World (“Arcanepunk”)

Independent / unknown

  • The Isles (Fantasy)
  • The Miasma Theory (Dark fantasy)

Plus of course there’s the usual background of WoD monthlies - of which there are currently five.

Six games at two weekends a year plus a few day games each is very obviously going to cause calendar pressure, and almost certainly clashes. This isn’t necessarily a problem, though - the average game size seems to be smaller, and there will be very few people trying to play everything. For some campaigns, there may not be that much overlap at all. GM’s will probably have to coordinate closely to avoid clashing with things their core audience is also likely to play, while players will have to pick and choose. Fortunately there’s plenty of players in Auckland, some of whom are clearly looking for new things to try.

We’ve been here before a little. Looking back at the larp history and timeline, there were explosions of diversity after the end of each major campaign, as GMs competed to fill the niche and players looked for something new. Both Mordavia and St Wolfgang’s gave rise to similar larpsplosions. Teonn didn’t, possibly because it had an obvious successor in the form of Crucible, which captured everyone’s imaginations. But now that its over, the trend seems to have reasserted itself.

I think this something we should welcome. More larp is better larp! And with a diversity of games and game styles, there’s a better chance for people to find the game that really works for them.


#2

I agree. So far as I can tell, the size of the Auckland playerbase has reached a point where to try to fit everybody into the one game would be potentially quite difficult without major changes in a number of regards (particularly around accommodation, catering, and the balance of GM vs player driven plot). There’s nothing wrong with that, but trying to manage such a large game would probably be another full-time job. Hopefully these slightly smaller games will mean that there’s space for everyone to play, while leaving the GMs the chance for at least a slight semblance of a life.


#3

The current trend seems to be for smaller games with player bases of 40 people or less, plus crew. I think this is a good thing, as it means we get to enjoy a wider spread of genres and not everyone has to enjoy a single game in order to feel a part of the community and to get to participate in this cool hobby we all enjoy.

Speaking as the Game Master of one of the above LARPs, @DcReaver and I sought to fill what we both saw as an empty niche in recent campaign and boffer LARP – modern/urban fantasy and post-apocalyptic fused together in the form of arcanepunk. Other games running currently take place in different niches – Musketeers is a fun, rollicking swashbuckler of a historical, The Isles takes place in a Dungeons and Dragons style setting, Saga is Viking Fantasy and Exile has the political-fantasy scope of something like Malazan or Game of Thrones.

Maybe for some people all of those genres will be of interest, but for the majority there’ll be one or two that really stick out. The range and diversity of the games on right now is a good thing in my view – there’s hopefully something for everyone in there. The risk of “flagship” LARP is that no single game can cater to everyone, and the pressure this puts on GMs is honestly a little absurd. Bring on the games, I say.

Although as a side note…the idea of day games doesn’t seem to be as popular now. I think people like to be able to step away from the game between events and not have to worry about going to everything in order to keep up with plot and/or player machinations.


#4

Zari, please don’t go around telling people that Exile is a political fantasy larp in the vein of Game of Thrones. It isn’t, and you do our larp a disservice by claiming that it it. Game of Thrones core concepts revolve around political machinations for power, backstabbing and betrayal. Those concepts are anathema to Exile, which is a game not based on factionalism but on co-operation.

What Exile IS, is a a fairy-tale inspired heroic fantasy larp where each players personal journey is as important as the overall story.

I understand that you wouldn’t know this as you are not part of our facebook group or our emailing list, so I wanted to set the record straight.


#5

An update on this: as of later this year, Auckland will have eight weekend-long campaigns:

NZLARPS projects

  • Musketeers (C17th swashbuckling)
  • Saga (Viking fantasy)
  • Exile (Fantasy)
  • The Dying World (“Arcanepunk”) (launches September)

Independent / unknown

  • The Isles (Fantasy)
  • The Miasma Theory (Dark fantasy)
  • Danger Days (Post-apocalyptic)
  • School of Magic NZ (Wizard school) (launches October)

If they each run at the usual two games a year, then its pretty obvious that there will be more than one weekend-long a month. Throw in day-games, and the calendar is going to get even more crowded. There’s already been some calendar pressure with Isles struggling to find a clear date for its most recent event - there’s only so many weekends to go round, and with such a diverse market, clashes are going to become difficult to avoid.

From a player perspective, though, its clearly a great time to be a larper. There’s a huge number of different games to choose from, with flavour, tone and costuming to suit a very broad range of players.


Gaps in the NZ larp market
#6

School of Magic is a one-off, so it’s seven campaigns, which is…a lot. There’s also been no word about a second game of Danger Days as of yet.