Ive decided to think a little retrospectively about this year at Curious Pastimes. We started the year with a plan to look behind the scenes at CP. That idea has guided this retrospective.
LARPBook at CP
We attended the first and last events of the year. This is becoming our M.O. I always want to see the season kick off and I a great affection for Renewal (the final event of the Curious Pastimes season). This does not mean that the middle two events have no value for us. Quite the opposite. I’d love to go to all four. Its just the rigours of juggling the day job with attending larps means that I cannot do everything that I would want to do.
The Curious Pastimes Crew
The crew is large. CP put out a photo of all the crew this year. It had over a 160 faces on it. It takes a lot of people to run a larp like Curious Pastimes. LARPBook is part of the media team; but there are so many specialisms like refs, game operations, build specialists, pyrotechnics, comms, make-up, world building, cooking. I probably haven’t even hit on every role there, but the point is that everyone works at the thing that best suits them. Not to mention of course all the multi-specialism people out there.
CP looks after the crew. Here’s a fantastic example. I was hoping to film in the Crew area. The response was "no". The reason was fantastic. The crew must have safe spaces. Where relaxation can happen, where steam can be let off, and where they can just break from the rigours of a long larping day. There is no better reason to say no than – "we’re protecting our crew". Hats off to Curious Pastimes looking after the crew!
In fact a lot of attention to detail goes into crew welfare. The crew are fed, given accomodation and showers. There are crew briefings to keep everyone up to speed. And of course all the crew look after each other.
The emphasis here is on making a team that is looked after and works together. There’s no doubt in my mind that this is a 100% success. In fact calling the crew a team is a little unfair. They are more like a family.
A lot of larps use radios to communicate accross a site. It’s a common practice and essential on a larger larp. I’ve been part of radio comms for quite a few larps and I just like how CP handles this side of things. Practical elements like charging are well organised. Use of channels that help you hone in on the right conversation is simple and clear. Perhaps the most fun part are the crew call signs – these are always entertaining and spookily accurate.
This talk about crew and comms may sound a little gushy but there is a point to be made. This year some children lost their parents. They were found by the crew in minutes! That’s right minutes. You cannot do better than that!
The best proof that this communication system simply works.
One last quick mention – traders. I was around this year when the head weapons checker was giving trader feedback. It’s holistic, helpful and helps make sure that the items on sale at events are correct for CP.
The New Player Briefing
Briefinng and educating new players is something that it is so easy to get wrong. There are plenty of written rules and also plenty expectations that need to be delivered to a new player. New player here is anyone new to Curious Pastimes. It’s a mix of first time larpers and experienced souls dipping their toes into Curious Pastimes for the first time. That’s a hard crowd. This year I decided to photograph so I could get to see how the assigned crew members took on this difficult task.
It was hysterically funny and very well timed. I train professionally and I know that when an audience is smiling they are receptive to ideas. This briefing timed the delivery of the content with smiles perfectly.
It’s a great example of how much work the crew put in to make sure that Curious Pastimes events work. A good first briefing gets the new players fired up and ready to go; and yes that is what happened here.
Oh boy the weather this year was not kind. The game went on and event four was downright spectacular. So lets take a moment to look at the weather
The May event was just plain cold. Cloaks sold out from the traders fast. I know that May is not a guaranteed warm time but the weather this year had everyone complaining about the chill and freezing nights.
We didn’t attend June and July. events but I saw the photos and heard about them. It was wet. Perhaps a deluge of biblical proportions. It looked like boats would have been preferred over tents. Plot still progressed and took us to August.
August was more exceptional weather. I think everyone there remembers the heat.
Curious Pastimes became the scorched earth. Dust hung in the air as the sun beat down and threatened to melt the players. The game progressed. The battles were spectacular. Again a shout out to the crew who made sure that water caches were near the action, and a good many of the crew carried extra water just so it could be handed to suffering players. It may have been hot but everyone came toghether to make it good
This years May event "The Siege of Ravenburg" saw in game simulated Trebuchet in action. To get this working required a Trebuchet crew (with refs), pyrotechics – to simulate the boom of impact and a ref handling effects on the receiving end. Battles involving had an intensity I had not seen at Curious Pastimes and the handling of the Trebuchet goes down as one of 2019’s cool things.
On a fun side – quite a few players thought that just ‘having a go’ with Trebuchet would be fun. That led to random fire and giant rocks going places you did not want giant rocks to go.
I’d also like to commend the crew on the wall and the many small building builds for the May event. Simnply terrific and very cool,
Here are a selection of photographs from this years events. If you want to see more follow the gallery links at the bottom of the photographs section for a much larger selection of photographs.
Quite a lot of videos this year. May saw a large number of intreviews with players, crew and traders alike. At Renewal in August we dropped down to some video diaries. I’d recommend the May – "Siege of Ravenburg" play list as the starting point.
This isn’t our first post this year about Curious Pastimes. Follow these links for more inforamtion