We were invited to visit The Grange Live Gaming in Birmingham. Not an opportunity we were going to miss; so on Sunday Stuart, Luke and Rob set off with Lukes daughter to take a look.
What we found was worth the trip (South Wales to Birmingham UK – not Alabama).
In the centre of Birmingham (and I do mean the centre) we found a larp and gaming centre that was operational across a number of floors and also in construction for 2 more. The first thing we all latched onto was the potential of the place, which is enormous. The gaming areas are on 5 floors of what would have been factory / warehouse space. It lends itself to being dressed as sets and that is exactly what is going on. The floors under construction gave us the size of the place. Those outfitted for gaming – gave us the realisation. Using simple wooden walls the team at the Grange have built configurable game spaces. Simply put the walls can be moved or even decorated to specification. You want simple walls and a maze to run around in – no problem. You want to design something more specific, that is possible. It becomes a question of planning and resourcing.
Right now plans for some specific designs are afoot. Such as a run down indoor fun fair. In place already are hospital beds and some old bits of medical machinery that may have once been surgical drain units. Creepy and very Silent Hill.
One feature that caught my attention were the security cameras. Yes these are for safety monitoring, but they can be brought in game. Which means if your game requires players to monitor a security feed – they really can do it. If you want your ref team to monitor the game – that can happen to. There is also the possibility of taking security footage after the event for promotional and documentary purposes. For me – it’s the in game stuff that excites. Whether its for the refs or players (or both); I love the idea of video monitoring. For the players it’s more immersion and for the refs its monitoring and being able to react to events without standing over the players shoulders. That too makes it a more real experience for the players.
There was something else that the ref in me liked too. The ability to build walls means that rooms and corridors can be hidden. Not in a maze like fashion. More in a this part of the facility is for crew only fashion. Remove the openness of the great outdoors, build the walls yourself and now the ability to have crew move from hidden crew rooms and through secret passageways. This caught the attention of the horror larp writer in me.
In fact this whole place is great for modern day, SF and horror larp.
It’s also nerdy inclusive. Which means a range of pursuits such as larp, airsoft, archery, hema, tabletop games and so on are all supported here. Its possibly Birmingham nerd central.
Any downsides? Just the one and I do not think it is a deal breaker. The site is not polished in a mainstream kind of way. Its bohemian and industrial in a larper kind of way.
If you haven’t guessed it – I love the place. Dale and Stephen whom we met were incredibly friendly and helpful. The venue is just one big pile of larping potential.
The good thing is that you do not have to take my word for it. While we were there we took quite a few photographs and a couple of videos. These are up next.
The Photo Gallery
Hopefully we’ve captured the feel of the place.
Interview With Dale
This first video is an interview with Dale. If you’re running a larp it is likely that you will be liaising with Dale over how you use The Grange Live Gaming.
Luke in the Rage Room
During the last few episodes of the LARPBook show Luke experienced some issues with his computer. This had hilarious results (here are the shows on youtube. Look at episodes 51.
The good news for Luke is that The Grange Live Gaming has a rage room. He used it to take vengeance on an unsuspecting computer.
Want to get in touch with The Grange Live Gaming?
We all hope this site goes from strength to strength. We’ll be back there to report on or play in a game. I see trips to Birmingham in our future.