I was recently part of a discussion on Google Plus regarding the seamless adding of social mechanics into a Canadian game. At the time I didn’t really get the whole point – the discussion was looking a mechanic that aided social responses. Not quite what I’m used to as I’m more used to games where all parts of social interaction are based on role-play. Evidently I needed to do more and I suspect this will mean more research and articles.
During this time (once again via the G+ Larp group) I became aware of the Last Will. A game that features a ‘natural’ return to a Western society of slavery. In this setting peoples lives depend upon their status and positioning in a more determined way than exists today. Strong and dystopian settings are not out of the ordinary in LARP but what caught my attention were the workshops. Before the Last Will commences players will have the opportunity to attend workshops that will help them how this world works.
I think this idea of a workshop and briefing is fantastic. Often (and frequently in Fantasy Larp), games can almost become hijacked when players start playing to generic tropes, rather than the to the world the game is set in. A workshop gives everyone the time and space to truly become immersed in an understanding of a game world without the pressures presented by actual play. Its also important in this case as the game very much includes human relationships as its core. In fact there is a class of character dedicated to physically pleasing another. For this to work people need time to understand and express their own boundaries as well understanding the games mechanism for accomplishing this.
I don’t know the ruleset (if there is one) for the Last Will, but this technique of letting the players explore and understand prior to play makes a lot of sense. It establishes the immersion that is going to happen and I think is a technique that could work well for a number of games.
You can find out more about the last will at:
This has also helped me start to put together my own set of rules for social mechanics
Rule 1: A player must understand what the in game society expects of the character being played