In the latest episode the of the LARPBook podcast (episode 8 – Its got to be inflatable), we talked briefly about 4xLarp and I managed to incorrectly pronounce it as 4 times Larp.

When it should really be 4 EX (as in 4 x’s) LARP.

I’d only previously seen 4x in articles about computer games without ever vocalising it  and in an autopilot sort of way said times when I saw the x. Whoops!.

Fortunately Jeremy Springfield who introduced me to the idea via talking about LARP rules came to my rescue. He provided me with this excellent reference article:

The basics of a 4xLarp are the same as the computer game version of the concept. The players must during play satisfy these 4 activities.

  • Explore
  • Expand
  • Exploit
  • Exterminate (Dalek voice mostly optional)

That is the player characters must explore and unknown area, claim territory there, exploit the resources in that territory and remove any opposition.

Here’s a Wikipedia article on the game concept:

In his article Jeremy suggests that such a game would involve one or more groups of players – working off a map rather than a plot. That is the location of player groups is plotted on the map, and so are resources. As players move around they run into the other groups and must negotiate or deal with them in some way.

To me that suggests that the game designers need to understand the world and resources in it and the players must have a good idea of the characters and objectives. I don’t think this means it is going to be any less work to run than a game based around the story. What is interesting though is that the players would generate the story lines themselves.

Its not a bad idea – in fact I like it. I also realise that one of the games I play is something of a hybrid between this and a more traditionally written Larp.

I thank Jeremy for the insight – this could be a really interesting idea to work with

The image for this article comes from Flick User: Davidd

You can learn more about this picture and its licence here:

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