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

Northern Kingdoms Witcher Larp – Event 2 Photographs

Northern Kingdoms Witcher Larp – Event 2 Photographs

Event 2 of Northern Kingdoms has run and we’ve been sent some fantastic pictures from it.

From the images, I’ve seen, this larp seems to keep getting better and better.

We’re planning on visiting an event later this year. However, for now, I think you’ll enjoy these pictures.

Witcher Larp Event 2 Photo Gallery

Image Copyright

All images reproduced with permission of Northern Kingdoms Witcher LARP.

Tank Larp – APC Encounter

Tank Larp – APC Encounter

A full encounter from Tank Larp.

The premise of this is that an APC on its way to action gets ambushed. The team inside have to deal with it

We see a little bit of the crewing setup. Where the APC is ushered into position by a Ref. This is for safety only. The players inside the vehicle have no idea of what is going on. We can vouch both Stu and Rob rode in that same vehicle both were oblivious of the outsidee world once it got moving.

We then follow the action from a fixed camera position. You get to see what happened as if standing in as a ref yourself.

Why this Encounter?

Tank Larp is the first larp that we’ve heard of that manages to integrate armoured vehicles. For Tank Larp these are all Cold War era.

At the point in the game this happened we’d already established quite a bit of footage. But did not yet have an encounter captured in a single fluid take.

That’s something we wanted to do. It leant us the best opportunity to show the management of these impressive vehicles. And how play revolved around them.

The Video

Thanks to Tank Larp for having us there

Choosing A Larp Character Creation Method

Choosing A Larp Character Creation Method

How do you pick a character creation method for a new larp? It`s a key point. Character creation is the first thing helps players get a grip on what they will be playing and points towards the style of the game as a whole.

I’m going to think about this question for The Edit.

What Is The Edit Larp?

The pitch goes like this. A disease has wiped out most of the human population in a short period of time. The structure of civilization is in collapse.

The disease when it hasn’t killed has brought horrific transformations to the minds and bodies of some people.

At the start of the larp, the disease has just started to jump into other species.

The game focusses on groups of survivors who have not contracted the disease. They are trying to cope with these changes.

It looks at group politics, conflict, and people just trying to understand the extraordinary.

The Edit is also a post apocalyptic body and psychological horror larp.

What does character creation need to achieve?

We need the player to understand what their character has become good at over its life so far.

We must also allow for skill growth. Characters are going to be surviving an extreme version of the world. It’s going to be a case of learn, or die. We must be able to periodically confirm what new abilities the character has gained

The modern world that The Edit stems from is complex. As a result, we are all capable of many things. The character creation process needs to reflect that.

Players also need to be able to reconcile the play of their character with its abilities. Whatever is used to define and generate the character must be simple enough to remember. It should also offer hooks to build plot off.

Methods of Character Creation

Points Based Characters

In the UK this is really popular amongst fantasy fest systems. It’s even-handed, as everyone has the same potential. My concern I’ve seen some rule books get complex in order to define things by points. Also the world of The Edit has many skills. So I’m not sure listing these is practical.

Story Based Characters

Essentially characters have a back story and abilities are inferred from it. It’s very roleplay focussed. It’s very flexible.

The bad side is that it is open to abuse. Its openness may lead to people trying to create overly powerful characters.

However, I’ve seen this approach work so well in other horror games that it has to be a possibility for The Edit.

Archetypes

Describe the defining roles in your characters life and gain the relevant abilities. It’s a little more controlled than just writing a story as the archetypes can come from a list pre-defined by the game designer.

Archetypes can broadly define work-skills and with a little adaptation lifestyle abilities. These wouldn’t be ‘skills’ per se. Just areas of ability

I find this idea to be good. It suggests that a foundation for a character can be created, and built on.

Specials

Everyone has a foundation of common skills. Like cooking in a local style, using basic technology and so on. Onto this are added banks of abilities based on work and hobbies. The control here is that each character can only have so many banks of abilities.

A bank of abilities, for example would be the medical skills appropriate to a choice of doctor or nurse. Or the combination of survival and combat skills that go with being a soldier.

Adding New Skills

Characters need to grow and gain new abilities. How does this happen in the four systems I’m thinking about?

Well in a points-based system, the character would gain points to spend on skills. Points would be gained per event or on any online play. It’s simple and easy to manage. I want the new or updated skills to reflect play so I will have to think of controls and restrictions that make this possible. The aim is to avoid gaining skills just because the points exist.

Story Based Characters, Archetypes and Specials have one thing in common. Skills can be assigned based on story events. There is not direct connection between points and skills. Everything depends on how the player plays the character.

I like assignment by play That’s the solution. However the problem is recording when a player is due an update. I’ll be looking into solutions for this problem. As I think this ties everything back to story. Its the way to go.

Which method of Character Generation do I go for?

I think it has to be Specials. I need something that doesn’t get bogged down in detail and that lets players differeniate themselves

Also by doing some defining of availale specials and skill banks I hope to achieve an element of scalability in play. By which I mean it’s easy to say yes or no to the question of "can I do something?".

Starting a new System

Starting a new System

First of all, I’d like to point out that this is my first article for Larp Book as you normally see me videoing myself on my YouTube Channel.

So, as I start, please ignore the spelling mistakes and bad grammar as me did bad at English in school!

I’m going to be attending my first Curious Pastimes; Event 3 “The Forge of Norsca” at Huntley Woods between the 19th to 21st July. Now as an experienced larper you’d think that this should be a walk in the woods (pun intended) and that I should be excited, ready to go but in actually fact I’m nervous and anxious.

When it comes to debuting at a new system you have to remember that calls and actions for certain systems can and will be different from each other. I for one don’t want to mistaken a ‘Strikedown’ and pretend to bleed out but it’s actually you fall over and not bleed out (for example). On top of this I will be meeting a lot of new players in a system I’m not familiar with. I don’t have an IC tent so I will be camping separate from my friends in the OC area so my anxiety will be heightened getting from OC to my IC area during ‘Time In’ without being murdered IC (which I’ve heard this happens).

Thankfully going into Curious Pastimes Event 3 having been reading up the rules, know people who already attend and made a character to fit in with the players I know attend and help with their plots. If you’re completely new person to the game and you don’t know anyone then this can be very scary for you. If I were to give any advice for anyone starting a new system, veteran larper like me or completely new to larp, then read and learn the information the systems provide. I’ve linked the Curious Pastimes sites below but if you’re looking at attending another larp system that you’re not been to before then please do your research. You’ll never know you might know someone or a friend of a friend that attends who can help you as larp popularity is on the rise.

If it helps then why don’t you try monstering for an event, I did this down in Cornwall for Chaosgate and learnt the system pretty quickly and got to know players very well. Even have two-character concepts for my next event when I go back there next year.

By all means if you have and issues or questions about a system then please get in touch with those who run the events. Most systems get back to answering questions pretty quickly but obviously expect some delays around event times.

Hope you’ve got something from this article and if you’re as nervous as me going into Curious Pastimes Event 3 or any other Larp event you’re attending then please get in touch. I’ve also linked my ‘Like’ page below and would love to hear from you fellow larpers.

Curious Pastimes References:

Website – https://curiouspastimes.co.uk/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/curiouspastimes/

John Harding References:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TheRockerJH

Chaosgate 10th Event I monstered – https://youtu.be/b40RdcflogY

Post Image

The image for this post comes from Robs Curious Pastimes Collection. If you’d like to see more of these then follow the link

Larp Day Event – Forest Argent

Larp Day Event – Forest Argent

This is my second one-day event of 2019.  Day events are something I wanted to cover more this year. They give that good larp kick, but over a shorter period. I’m not going to say more or less intense. That’s not true. Day events are just shorter than Weekend events.

Originally I had an incredible time at Tenement 67  and not again a different but also a fabulous time at Forest Argent.

Longtime readers or listeners might recognise that name. Forest Argent is a favourite that I haven’t visited in a while. Going back was wonderful.

At the end of this post, there is a video diary.  Recorded on the way home it really sums up my feeling for the day.

Post Event Thoughts

I’m writing this one week after processing some photographs. A couple of things come to mind.

First of all, I think meeting for breakfast is a genius idea. It gives everyone a chance to talk in person and get easier with each other. Which is really useful as it makes the day larp approachable. I like that as I think the one-day commitment makes day larps ideal for larping newcomers. Indeed there were newcomers to larping here and I believe this helped

Having a good solid meal before larping is also a great idea.

There was a delay in starting due to logistics. This happens. But the more experience members made it all work out. Kudos all. Delays are common in all larps. Organising larpers and gear is a bit like herding cats. Any group that manages a delay well is good.  Also its a good measure of a club – established members know how to help. That’s a good club.

I have to restress the point in the video that the game pivoted around the players really well. Early on the players had a problem Something went badly for them. Things needed adjusting. Fortunately, Gideon, who runs Forest Argent has a strong eye for character design. He always understands how motivations for NPCs and players work. That means he adjusts plot well on the fly. I cannot stress how great this is. Especially on a day game where there is little room for downtime.

One final point is that the site which in this case Woodbury Common. It’s open public land. There were people there walking their dogs, or just enjoying being outside. Gideon makes sure that respect for this people is maintained. It’s also reciprocated back. Its heartening to see.

Finally was it fun? I’ve always had blast at Forest Argent weekend events. This one day game was no different. If you want some larping fun I can recommend.

Photographs from the day

High Quality Photos

If you want a high-resolution copy of a photo or a print, or photo gift follow this link.

Money raised goes towards supporting larps via LARPBook

Video Diary

3 Larp Traders Interviewed

3 Larp Traders Interviewed

Larp traders in a field means one thing.  Rob will try to interview them. Actually so would any other member of LARPBook.

Of course, traders being who they all have their own things to say. Which is good. That’s the whole point of interview.

So with Rob’s usual stuttery approach, we end with 3 very different conversations. After all, they are 3 very different larp traders.

These interviews were recorded on the Monday morning of ‘Curious Pastimes – The Siege of Ravenburg’. Pretty much one after the other.

Rob Interviewed

Ian Knope of Having A Larp. The talk went beyond larp trading as Ian also runs LarpCon and the UK Larp Awards. You’ll hear plenty about these.

Andy Rimmer of Offa Studio. Offa Studio is part of the Skian Mhor family and you’ll get to hear about that family of amazing makers. Rob’s wandered to the dead character discount. Which is perhaps one good thing that can come out of the worst thing.

Tristan Dowrick of Stardust Larpcraft. We’ve interviewed Tristan before – this is one from What’s Your Game. This time you’re going to see his Booth Babe dance and also some new products he’s been working on.

The Interviews

Ian Knope

Andy Rimmer

Tristan Dowrick

Thank You

We’d like to finish up by saying a big thank you to all three.

The Photo for this post

We couldn’t show a traders stand without showing favouritism. So instead we have a shrine at Curious Pastimes. If you’d like more photos from this event then take a look at Robs new photo page – starting at The Siege of Ravenburg

Fool & Heroes: Springfest 2019

Fool & Heroes: Springfest 2019

Fools & Heroes is a long running British Larp. In fact it is one of the longest running larps in the UK. It dates back to 1986! For a UK game it also has an unusual structure. Its federated into 21 branches. Making it a very easy game to find. You are never that far from a Fools & Heroes game.

Each branch also organises their own events. In the UK there is almost always someone playing Fools & Heroes on a weekend.

Fools & Heroes has two major national events. Springfest (at the start of May) and Sumerfest (at the end of August).

John Harding went to Springfest and recorded these videos for us. We get great insight into his journey and the game itself

Springfest Part 1: The Journey

Not all trips to a larp are straightforward. This one looks like an adventure that tested patience and endurance. I’d like to put forward the idea that the journey is important. A good trip helps us transition in and out the game. Although this one looks more like a test of the soul.

Springfest Part 2: The Event

Now we get to learn about and see Springfest. Starting with a look at his camping arrangements before moving on to the game itself. This video is part heartfelt diary and part a peek at the Springfest game play itself.

Thanks to John Harding

We’d like to thank John for creating these. [You can see more of his larp videos if you click here. ](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em00RKc_5aw&

Interviews at Curious Pastimes 2019: Event 1

Interviews at Curious Pastimes 2019: Event 1

The Siege of Ravenburg was a busy event. A packed plot with some fantastic set piece battles.  It was also the start of a project to unveil more about this larp.

For this event the tool of choice was the interview. Here’s why.

I wanted to get a bit more behind the game. To gain a better understanding of both players and crew. Talking to people is a great way to to do that.

This is the first set of interviews. There is a second set coming in a later post. The second post will be coversation with traders at the event.

Lets get on with the interviews.

Matthew

A lot of people know Matthew. He’s a familiar face behind the bar of the of the Crimson Moon. Which pretty much makes him well known UK wide in LARP circles. This year (2019), see’s a change in both how the bar at Curious Pastimes works, and in the operation of the Crimson Moon.

Matthew takes place to explain this and also Duntabbin.

Oh and we froth (more than a little).

Pixie

Pixie has played with Curious Pastimes for most of his life. Starting as a junior and moving on to the adult game, He’s currently part of the games crew. This interview is a wonderful honest appraisel of what it is like to be both a player and a crew member. Part of this interview may involve time travel.

Stuart

Stuart is a game ref at Curious Pastimes. So we take the opportunity to find out how a referee actually performs their role.  Its a good insight into operations at CP.

Also a tip here on anyone who wants to get involved behind the scenes. One that holds up for most larps.

Vicky

She started as a player and later moved on to playing a specific character within the game. A change in health prompted her change in play. You’ll learn about it during the interview.

It’s good to know that even if you change then larp offers more than one way of playing.

Kim

Kim has played Curious Pastims over a quite a few years. This means she’s seen changes in game mechanics. In this interview we learn a lot about what changes in mechanics mean to the players.

This is also the only interview where immersion takes over and the players moves naturally to being in character.

Order of Interviews

The order of the interview is not the original filming order. What I’ve tried to is move from game support, into crew roles and then into character and player roles.  The aim being to make this a more interestin cross section for the reader.

DKWDDK Larp Rules PDF

DKWDDK Larp Rules PDF

We were sent this by Dennis Schwarz. It’s not the rules for a particular larp. What we have instead is the redistributable PDF for DKWDDk. Which is short for the German phrase ‘Du Kannst, Was Du Darstellen Kannst’. Translating to English it comes out as ‘You Can Do, What You Can Represent’ Dennis has provided us with some solid background :-

DKWDDK (Not a single LARP, but an “open” rule set)

DKWDDK is the set of rules used in the majority of German LARPs today. It is highly minimalistic, point- and mechanic-less, and strongly emphasizes player agency and self responsibility over organizer control or rulings. There are hundreds of events each year in Germany alone, while this set of rules – sometimes modified – is also used in Switzerland, Austria, and on occasion in a few other countries. The largest LARP currently using these rules is the “Epic Empires” LARP in Germany, which draws around 1500-2000 players each year. This ruleset is free to use and adapt by anyone.”  

Download the DKWDDK Rules

The rules can be downloaded and are free to use. If you do redistribute this PDF please keep the links /sources section intact.

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