GreensKon Camping Cookware Kit Review

GreensKon Camping Cookware Kit Review

Camping Cookware + Field + Stuart equals a review

Well that was the plan and it paid off. Now that Stu has a camping stove he needed something to cook with! Of course we weren’t just going to let him off with having pots and pans. He had to do a review with. In the main he liked the GreensKon kit.  Although some of the provided bowls made little sense. The good news was however that the provided kettle was just right for filling a large LARPBook mug.  
Please note that using the Amazon link will generate a small amount of income for LARPBook if you make the purchase.
Tenement 67 – A Review

Tenement 67 – A Review

Tenment 67 – Cyberpunk Larp

Back in March I played in a one day Tenement 67 at the Grange. It would be fair to say that it blew me away (learn how here) . The quick version is super high emotional content, awesome cyberpunk vibe and massive immersion. You might say that it being one of favourite genres helped. But that would take too much away from Rob and the team who did an incredible job.

Welcome to Tenement 67

Up till now Tenement 67 (T67) has been day events. This was the first weekender. The sad news for me was that family commitments meant that I had to leave on the Saturday morning. That still meant that I could be there for the set up in Thursday and the first day of play. So although I cannot talk about the end there is still I lot I can say.

The Location

This time play was at The Gaol in Oakham. . Normally used for airsoft it makes for a cracking larp site. The reason it’s special is the used to be a prison. HMP Ashwell to be precise. There are mutliple buildings. But the fact that it was built as a prison really lends to the atmosphere. T67 is set in a tenement full of people at the fringes of civilised life. Rich and poor mingle. The rich because they can, the poor because they have to. The corridors, cells and rooms of a disused priosn so effortlessly lend themselves to this idea of a building repurposed as the world changed. Players were encouraged to make cells their own. And they did. Additionally common areas were carefully lit. Flyers and graffitti adorned walls. Once the game started suspension of disbelief did not take long.

The Players

The players were a fantastic bunch. A priviledge to meet and play with. This time round there were more here. Also this larp was international with players coming in from Europe and for me the surprise of seeing people I knew from out of the UK. International larps are a little special. There is something about a mix of nationalities that helps with atmosphere. I must figure that out at some point. For Cyberpunk it is really relevant. I best imagine cyberpunk worlds as being mixing pots of with all cultures, races, and social stata intermingling and clashing with each other. Making it a perfect player mix for the genre.

The Game

It was shennanigans time at the tenement. As you’d expect from a Cyberpunk event there were a lot of plot elements. A sythetic human (awesome costume), dubious recruiters for dodgy deep sea mining, gang warfare, reconstruction of digital personas, gangs clashing, corporate intrigue, dubious drugs, reality TV stars, striking workforces and I hope you’re starting to get the idea. And that’s just a sample. There was more than I have listed going on.
This larp is a long way from find the gold, kill the monster.
Which is my way of sayng that T67 is a great example of just how far Larps have come since the 1980’s.
It is emotionally demanding material. The content of Tenement 67 constantly makes you assese how you feel about things. My first game in March had a deeper emotional impact on me than I expected. This time again I had plenty of feelings. Its also worth noting that all the players and crew put themselves under pressure to create an incredible experience. From the get go you know this is a quality larp and everyone strives for this. This also amps up the pressure. Fortunately the team from Carcosa Dreams have this covered. They work under the assumption that larp can impact its players and are ready for such eventualities. Which is something I want. I game that gives its players a very real experience and then looks after them. Thank you Carcosa for both the creation of the larp and the understanding of your duty of care.

The Crew Area

I was crew. So it seems fitting to mention the crew quarters. A good many of us slept in one of the buildings away from the players. If you needed a rest – you could get a rest. The crew area in the main event building centred on a game control room and a the crews ready room. The ready room contianed plenty of food and chairs. We used this place to chill between scenes, chat, eat and figure what we were going to use when next called to action. Additionally sleeping areas were created for key crew who had to be available on 24 hour notice. It was an effective use of space. Everyhing you would expect from a well organised larp.

Would I play again?

That’s easy – in a heart beat!

The Photos

Would you like to see more?

Additional photos are available on Robs gallery – just click here

The Video

During my time at this event I paused to record short video diaries. These have all been collected into one short film; just click here. I tried a somewhat experimental take on the presentation of this one. Not everyone likes how it looks. My apologies if its at all disturbing to you.
Outry 3500W Portable Stove Review

Outry 3500W Portable Stove Review

So we put Stuart in a field with an Outry stove and this is the result. A practical review of the 3500W Outry Camping stove. You’ll get all the information you need in the video. But in case you like spoilers – he likes it!

We’ve decided to do more reviews of things that may be useful to Larpers. Not just events, or larping gear; but things like camping gear. Larpers camp. So having larpers review camping gear for larpers made a whole lot of sense to us.

In fact we already one more of these good to go (well if we’re sticking Stu in a field – best to make good use of it), and another one in planning.

See The Full Review

Want to buy the Outry Stove?

Tank Larp: Review

Tank Larp: Review

Tank Larp sounds like an excuse to gratuitously add military vehicles to a larp. It does indeed add tanks and APC’s to larp. But it is done in a way that works with the plot, the world and the players.

Adding tanks is also very cool.

Making Tanks Larp Safe

Lets hit that big elephant in the room fast. How do you make a tank, Larp Safe? Tanks, after all, are not known for cuddliness. They’re known for crushing and destroying things.

Fortunately, this was not attempted with an insane amount of foam and gaffa tape. Although that would have been funny.

 

Instead, the focus was on missions. APCs would roll up to take players away on various missions. The tank training and battle part of the game was similarly a mission away from camp.

 

Safety precautions were taken to avoid player squishing. This included APCs having spotters, and tanks operating areas being carefully designated and non-pedestrian.

The Tanks Were real?

A lot of people believed that Tank Larp could not possibly use tanks. They did.

The Armoured Personnel Carrier

Players were ferried around in an APC. Her name was Connie. She was an FV432. THe FV432 is part of the FV430 series of armoured vehicles. Initially designed in the 1960s, but with updated and modified versions still in use today.

The Tanks

The tanks were actually FV432’s fitted with a 30mm cannon. These vehicles look like and act like light tanks.

In fact, take a look at a British 1970’s Scorpion tank and you’ll find something that looks a lot like the vehicles used in tank larp.

With a 30mm cannon and full turret, these could be classified as light tanks.

Structure of the LARP

I have to mention this it was unconventional but massively fitted in with the idea that the players were part of a larger war.

Time to expand.

In-Tank Larp the players are soldiers in a what is effectively a World War with one major neutral party. They are part of fast response teams that make use of newly invented tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

In a world has transitioned from medieval to a technology roughly analogous to WW1 in a far shorter time period than ours.

In our WW1 we have anachronisms like horses and sword carrying officers. In their version of things – swords and shields are in use alongside bolt action rifles.

It’s important to say this so that what follows makes sense.

The three days tank larp is played over (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) equate to 3 months of time in the game world.

Each day of the larp a newspaper would come out containing news about the game world. Sometimes mentioning the campaign’s players fought in.

The players could send out military orders and requisitions.

Time not on a mission was the players spending time in their base camp. This was pure role-play.

Impact on immersion

You might think that this putting of gameplay into a form of compressed time would mess up the immersion. It didn’t. Immersion was really high.

All the players worked with it beautifully and if anything being part of a larger world helped the players get into it. The break up between missions and camp time gave a breather where role-play thrived.

A lot of though went intoestablishing the world, it looks and feel really paid off here. Players quickly took on what it meant to be a soldier from their in game country,

Immersion levels were palpable.

Were there problems.

There were some,  often focussed on the learning curve of understanding how the game world worked and how that intersected with mechanics

Here’s an example. The players sent out military orders. The natural assumption was that these would be exactly carried out. This didn’t always happen.

Why?

Well, the commanders receiving the orders were being roleplayed behind the scenes. This led to order interpretation and local knowledge leading to adjustments in what happened.

It feels to me like a good approximation of the chaos of war. But that is something that needs to be made clear.

The good news was that the game team spoke to players, listened and learned a lot. So I’m going to bet fewer issues next time.

It’s a mark of a good larp that the organisers work with the players. This happened and that is great

Also, it’s particularly important here as the game has an unconventional structure.

.

Would I recommend Tank Larp

In a heartbeat!
Event 2 has been announced and I am going to be there!

Photo Gallery

 

 

Photos, Prints and Gifts

If you would like to see more Tank Larp photos or maybe show some support by buying a Hi-Res Version, Print or Photo-gift then please take a look in the photograph shop.

Videos

We started following Tank Larp months before the first event. In this  YouTube Play list you will find.

  • Pregame interview with an organiser
  • Interviews recorded at the event
  • Footage of the game.

More Tank

We have additional coverage of tank larp.

The original interview that started things

Footage of a Tank Larp Encounter

Tenement 67: Paradise 101. A Cyperpunk Larp

Tenement 67: Paradise 101. A Cyperpunk Larp

It’s Cyberpunk Larp time!

I need to start with a confession. I’m a long time fan of the genre. Ever since I discovered Gibsons sprawl stories pretty much as they were coming out. I have a memory or sitting in a bar with William Gibson at a Worldcon with a crowd of fans in the 80’s. I was also amazed to hear that at the time he was collecting ugly ties.

Here we are in 2019. Very close to the Cyberpunk year of 2020 and I was off to experience Tenement 67 as a 1 day event. The event was Paradise 101.

Paradise 101 had a lot of expectation to live up.

The Concept

Paradise 101 is the place to go the Tenements for entertainment. You’ll find all pleasures here. Including the ones you may not wish to witness. It’s controlled by the syndicate and is a playground for all levels in society.

Everything and everyone rubs shoulders in Paradise 101. It’s a very cyberpunk idea. Heres the official page about this event.

Entering The Tenements

My character was one of societies super rich, Someone with unlimited money. Able to call on the resources of a major corporation by accident of birth. I wasn’t alone. 4 of the filthy rich were going to be entering the Tenements. Each of us wearing a clone body.  All we had to do was have fun and spend money.

Of course there was a lot more than that going on. Story lines abounded.  Yet from my perspective they in the main washed over us. Privildge became an insulating barrier. The syndicate at first did not like us. Then they fawned over us as they realised how much money we had. The misery of the disenfranchised became a toy.

Yes this was a cyberpunk.

Gunslinger battled, drugs, pleaures and experiences lined up. Neon popped through the dark and music played everywhere.

This larp dripped presence and genre style.

Was it Fun?

Absolutey. Being made part of a group frome the same background was a great idea and I take my hat off to my fellow super rich. You were awesomely awful!. Thank you.

Was it Challenging?

Very, the setting was dark and claustrophic. Lit by dim shades of green, blue and red; and the glowing clothes worn by many of the attendees. This wasn’t the crux of the challenge though. That was emotional, We were part of a trade in pain. People were being injured ; often in a harrowing fashion for our kicks. People were sharing memories and experiences in very intimate scenes.

This was the kind of larp that places in both a story and an emotional place.  It’s not something were winning is tactics. The experience itself is solid and meanigful.

Also from my position I could sort of see other stories without being able to touch them. Having something tantalising around players is very smart larp writing – bravo.

The larps location

Paradise 101 was run at Grange Live Gaming in Birmingham. It was perfect. Placing us in a maze of alleyways, rooms and cubby whole. All indoors meant no sunlight. Instead we had the right kind of illumination for cyberpunk. I got turned around in the maze of it all more than once.

Did it match expectations

Yes. In fact expectations weren’t just matched; they were exceeded.

I am now a fan of Tenement 67.

The Photo Gallery

The Video Diary

 

What’s Your Game 2019

What’s Your Game 2019

On Saturday 2nd of February, the LARPBook team assembled. Not in an awesome, “Avengers Assemble!” kind of way. More like an, it’s early and cold; get me a coffee kind of way. We were off to Gloucester for our annual pilgrimage to the What’s Your Game Kit Fair. As a group, we like this event. There are always old friends to meet there and lots of cool gear to look at. The sandwiches are also very good. You’ll quite a few photos and more video interviews than usual. This was a good year for us to do media.  I’m hoping that is the pattern for 2019.

What’s Your Game Itself

The event meanders through Blackfriars Priory. It’s an awesome location. A 13th medieval priory filled with atmosphere, nooks and crannies. You could easily write a larp that involved exploring this place. The What’s Your Game plant plenty of signs around the site. A good idea. Wouldn’t want any larpers to get lost in here. It might sound labyrinthine but that means plenty of space for vendors to display their ware. For me, one of the standouts of What’s Your Game is the generosity of space. It means there is space to try on and try out in a way that doesn’t feel cramped or restricted.  The result is a friendly atmosphere. As even when full it does not feel overbearing. The complex handles people very well. Also a shout out to the What’s Your Game staff. I had to rely on a walking stick this weekend and they made sure I knew about all the easy ways to get around. Thank You!

The Mead

For the last couple of years, I’ve run into new mead makers at What’s Your Game. Last year it was Magic Mead. This year it was Wye Valley Meadery who make an excellent sparkling session mead. Also, Sam of the Crimson Moon was talking about their new enterprise Duntabbin. A specialist mead shop. Is it all about the mead?

The Larp Kit

It’s not all about the mead as there was a great range of larp kit. For the first time, I didn’t come away with more costume. That’s only because I didn’t have a plan for what I needed.  Had that been on my mind it would have been a very different outcome. A good sign is always new traders. They were here. Quite a few were doing their first bit of con or field trading. It happens every year. I for one am very glad that What’s Your Game attracts both established and new artisans.  

Medieval Combat

Between the priory buildings, there is a small green. Every year something happens here. This year we had demonstrations of from civil war re-enactors and also medieval combat. Expect to hear more about medieval combat in LARPBook.  

The Photograph Gallery

The Video Interviews

We interviewed a number of traders at What’s Your Game and this is what we learned. We’ve loaded the videos as a playlist.  Or you could just watch on YouTube.    
Larp in the Aliens Universe at Colony Wars

Larp in the Aliens Universe at Colony Wars

We were invited to Colony Wars Larp, to join up with a band of colonial marines. So Stuart and I travelled to a venue running alongside Stansted airport runway to find out more. What we encountered were colonial marines, morally ambiguous synthetics, apes and giant spiders. It was a good larp.

Of course a good larp, doesn’t say much. So what do I mean.

The Setting

Aliens hints a large number if surveyed worlds, terraforming projects and drops by marines. Couple this with the strong 80’s vibe that permeates the Aliens universe, the existence of the Engineers, and Predators and we have a rich mythos that is lightly explored on screen. This is what Colony Wars tapped into – quite successfully.

Of course one universe is never enough. So for this event the feel and attitude of the Apes from Planet of the Apes is also added. Interestingly the more thoughtful Apes and gung-ho marines made an interesting combination. Also when I say Planet of the Apes this is not a literal taking from the movie. The humanoid apes are there. This variation saw a shamanistic religion being developed by the Ape players. Which is great – just the sort of thing Weyland-Yutani likes exploiting.

Ok so that’s the vibe –

What about the game itself ?

First of all – I loved the Ape masks. These were all specially created for this event and were very comfortable to wear. Instead of having latex in contact with skin, we had the inside of a motorcycle balaclava. Great idea as this a fair more breathable and friendly material. It meant that the masks could be worn all day, which definitely aided immersion.

Next up I’ve got to shout out the guys playing marines. Great combat gear and also a superb level of Nerf modification. My favourite had to be the M41A Pulse Rifle, Made from 3D printed parts mounted over a nerf chassis this really looked and felt the part.

Also the marines and Weyland-Yutani (insert expletive here) staff, put together a great camp with cooking on an open fire. There was a kind of Vietnam feel here and that to me that hit the mark.

The rules themselves were minimal. There were safety considerations and it the outcomes of combat and technology use were quickly apparent. The device of having one of the game refs play a synthetic really helped glue things together.

The Puppets

An aspect to this game that really stood out  was the use puppeteering. It worked like this. In game there were creatures (face huggers and giant spiders) that the players encountered. The actions of these were controlled by a puppeteer who wore black. The idea was that players would focus on the beastie and not on the crew member. This worked supremely well. The players role-played keeping their focus on the creatures and ignored the crew. Speaking to them later it looks as if they were genuinely only observing the puppets.

Oddly during my time playing a spider I found myself remembering and channelling the amazing spiders from Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time. Brilliant book and seriously recommended.

Colony Wars is a great example of what a small larp can achieve. Good plot, well organised but above all run with the players very much in mind. This was a first class event.

My final view is that of the players and organisers. Fantastic people. Very friendly and I can’t thank them enough for asking us in.

The Photos

Will there be more?

At the end of the game the organisers said no more. This was the last. I later saw the words never say never crop up online. So this is why no link to the organisers. At least no until they say they want to more. Should that happen I’ll be more than happy to report back to you.

Twilight Realms Larp: Shard

Twilight Realms Larp: Shard

Welcome to Shard. This event by Twilight Realms Larp was played om the weekend starting 6th April 2018. LARPBook was there and we covered it in a 3 pronged attack

  • Thomas: Was a Player
  • Rob: Was Crew (and took some photos)
  • Stuart: Walked around watching and taking a lot of video footage.

You’ll be seeing photos and videos. If you’d like to hear a discussion take a look at the LARPBook Show Episode 63, with audio here and video here.

Let’s Start with a Trailer

A Little More About Twilight Realms

Also known affectionately as TR by its players. Twilight Realms started at the turn of the century as a world building larp. All the initial players had a hand in developing nation states set in the World of Tempress. A world with a somewhat violent history where Priests and Sorcerers had fought for control and it had not worked out well. Nations were left separated by hard to heal rifts and trade had all but broken down. The story starts about 100 years after this apocalypse with an attempt to restore trade and trust between nations.

So started a campaign that ran for 10 years ( i know I was at the tenth anniversary party). This period created a vast amount of lore that today still informs and has an impact on the direction and content of the current game.

Then there was a hiatus for a few years

Then Twilight Realms the next generation started.

This time there was a central world referee and world plot controller. Set 10 years after the original campaign this new series of events follows a group of character caught in world shaking events that if not left unchecked may very well lead the world once again down a very dark path.

This reset is very much like a Fantasy RPG where players find themselves in a continuously evolving story that is played out in a rolling campaign. Each event follows on from the last. Many of the player characters are new and learning secrets not known to many. Some of the players bring characters from the first run. With all the baggage that can entail.

This is big scale heroic high fantasy.

 

Shard

Let’s talk about the event itself, Shard.

The name describes a Shard – a piece of a stone imbued with the powers of a God, It’s existence sends the players on a quest to gather more of its parts and in so doing create a weapon that will help them against a growing supernatural threat that is bringing war and terror to the world.

TR plays it’s games over a Friday and Saturday. Starting Friday evening. Playing all day Saturday with a social gathering at the end of the event. Sunday is breakfast, chat and clean up time. It’s a format that has worked well and creates a relaxed larping environment.

I’ve been thinking about how to best describe this game. I certainly had a very good time, with some excellent stand out scenes. I also firmly believe that everyone playing will remember their own set of scenes they loved. I’m also aware that parts of this game contain plot spoilers for the next event. I want to avoid those. So here is the plan. I’m going to describe my favourite moments and then show you a couple of photo galleries and video diaries that we shot during the game. This I hope will give you an idea.

Magic Moments

I was given the chance to bring back to life an old NPC. An Elven Priest and Alchemist determined to monitor and protect the purity of his race. He’s also a bit of a political animal and will sometimes do unexpected things if he see’s useful knowledge coming out of them.  Fortunately to the players he also follows orders from the King – which helped get around some problems. With this character I loved his chance to meet up with an old Player Character enemy that he really did not like or trust. That was fun, but not as much as roleplaying the blessing of a feast and letting  my inner evangelist came out to play. Hands were waved so hard in the air there was a chance of actually taking off.

Next up I was playing a freedom fighter who’s band had just captured some enemy soldiers on the retreat. We had a chance to warm up before the players found us. In this time we looked at ways to restrain our captives, we mocked up on how to look violent and created character roles. We wanted both sides of this exchange to have personalities. So we talked, joked and experimented. When the time came to interact with the players everything was established and things flowed beautifully.

Part of the prep involved menacing small talk about the weather as a foul means of torture.

The scene ended with a battle between a legionary shield wall and a small band of fighters. it was great stuff.

The Harem

This has to stand up as something exceptional. We ended up playing the butchest Harem in history. A keenness to wield swords had left us more than little low on female crew for a planned harem scene. No problem a mostly all male crew donned sari’s practiced sashaying, tried out seductive voices and put on our sexiest poses. If you watch the show that goes with this article you’ll hear the name Ambrose mentioned. Simply because he was not only an awesome woman, but a wonderful leader of  our harem. Thank you Ambrose. Also my apologies to both players and referees. We had a bit too much fun in our dresses. Some of those who encountered us may very well be in need of counselling.

Gallery 1 – Photographs from LARPBook

The Twilight Realms Gallery

The Video Diaries

The Credits

  • Article: Rob Davies
  • LARPBook Still Photography: Rob Davies
  • LARPBook Video: Stuart Edwards
  • Twilight Realms Still Photography: Charlotte Blakemen

 

 

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