A little later than hoped but here is our report on UK LARPCON 2016.
This year set in the Hermitage Leisure Centre – Coalville. The local authority considered it be an overwhelming success – see this article. That though is a numbers based view. What was it like?
Let’s start by saying that it was a lot of fun. I got to talk and spend time with friends old and new. The large number of traders allowed me to buy some things I needed immediately and plan for future events later on this year. Having a large trader hall – effectively a LARP market is without doubt a good thing. Beyond this there is a lot more going on at LARPCon.
First of all there was a programme of talks. The best attended being on diversity in larp (I missed this – partially because I didn’t get to the start and partially I didn’t want to grind my own axe – I’ll speak more on this in LARPBook at future date), and sex crimes in larp. This however clashed with being the captain of a starship. The fact that we could have booking clashes is a great step forward. It means the programme for LARPCon is growing and that is definitely a positive point.
So let’s talk about being a Starship captain. This year Penarth and District Wargames Society build a bridge using the Artemis Starship Simulator. 5 PCs provided key bridge positions with their view of the action and decisions are made by a captain who only has what his crew tell him to go on. It is a lot fun. I was in a 1 hour session and the time just flew by. It was also a pretty immersive experience. This to me is a pointer to future were it becomes easier and easier to build things that help us suspend disbelief.
Going back to the main home hall we also had game organisers alley. A long stretch were event organisers milled and talked about their upcoming events. I loved the buzz that held here all weekend.
Staying on the game front – this year saw test runs of Paranoia – a LARP version of the classic tabletop RPG game. I had a chat with the organisers and at this point they are trying to secure a suitable bunker to run it in. Personally – I really hope this happens as I was and am a massive Paranoia fan
Were there any down points to this event? Yes there were. The wrestling programme – though consistently watched did cause a noise nuisance that drowned out people trying to talk about LARP. The other problem was that wrestling ring itself though a novel setting – didn’t really help the larp awards. The seating stands though did. So this was a mixed blessing – it was easier to watch – but the ring or rather its ropes became a bit of barrier. There was also a bit of a management problem this year where a certain illusionist stayed on stage for too long. Sorry Crap – you make me laugh but an hour was too much when we wanted the award ceremony. The good news is that LARPCon has already run its own event feedback and it looks like changes are coming in for next year.
So 2016 gave us a good and growing convention. A few problems true but these can be overcome. I know that I will be back next year – and I hope to see you there too.