I had a great and mellow time at Consequences!
I can confess now that I had a secret objective for this convention. Every year I ruin my non-smoker status at the con by smoking a pack or two in four days. It’s a little insane. This time I was determined (well, fairly determined) not to smoke. My tactic was to stay inside at all times and cover myself in people. It worked! I remained smoke free and scandalously comfortable. The downside was that I didn’t get to have a lot of porch conversations to catch up with people.
But I did get to play a ton of good games, so let’s get into those, shall we?
LARPers Anonymous is a LARP by LARPers for LARPers about LARPers. It is also about life beyond the LARP in all its complexities, including failed relationships, life altering changes, friendship, family, and coping with dying within the community.
We each got typecast into a character – at least they made it feel like that. I got Charlotte who wanted “more romance in freeform games”. She had dumped her unromantic long-term boyfriend and shacked up with a very romantic swoop-you-off-your feet LARP chick.
The game and its characters were litterered with injokes and we made quite a few during play as well (“What we need is more and longer debriefs!”), which contrasted with the sometimes dark character drama. This was a fun warm up game, I enjoyed getting to play with Mark (I think?) and Traci. Mark was pretty tragic as the guy who had waited for years to propose marriage because he wanted to get it juuust right.
Warning for massive spoilers!
Our plotline in 4 was fun, but the real star was the structure of the entire thing in three scenes. The first scene made all 8 players a group, the second scene split the group up in two groups that became SUPER tight in about 15 minutes, and then the third scene kind of spit the two groups back at each other in a horror scenario. It was really cool how effective the scenes were at establishing group spirit, personality and friendships.
More than two years ago you, whilst briefly institutionalised, you made new friends at a group therapy session. You all kept in contact after your release, but tragedy struck on a group trip away a year ago. Now you and your fellow survivors have returned to commemorate those you lost, face up to what happened and hopefully find peace. However all you believed may not be true and you will have to make decisions affecting not only your life but your friends’ lives as well.
The scenes we played were:
- one very short group therapy in the asylum
- one slightly longer scene after the fire
- and one long scene a year later
Those three scenes were very effective in doing what they needed to do! The group therapy session (ran by AJ as a nurse) was a great warm up to introduce the characters and their issues. It also seeded, the first interactions between the characters.We felt like a group. Like we would be a group.
I played Dawn, who heard voices telling her to do bad things. Kristina played my older sister Naomi who was bipolar. Stan played Ajit who suffered from paranoia. (I described my illness as “I’m stuck listening to Radio Ajit” (Stannie’s character) which was amusing foreshadowing).
The next scene it was just my character, Stan’s character and two others, because we were the only ones who lived through the fire. We worked through the past events together, and created a completely new group, held together by all the past trauma’s and shared responsability. We found out that Ajit was having sex with my older sister.
For the third scene we were back in the rebuilt asylum. I’d been falling people in love with Ajit. I’ve been having sex with another friend for the past few months and pretending it was him (he was pretending I was his dead girlfriend so it was cool).
I tried to really stupidly flirt with him and told him that we should date. But he confessed that when he looked at me, he only saw my sister and the baby she was carrying… SHOCK! Also, way to let me down easy, AJIT!
Then the other group walked in! Alive! We couldn’t believe it. We had lived an entire year after the fire dealing with their deaths. Our two factions were tighter than the whole. We couldn’t believe Naomi was actually alive and there. And for me it was an even bigger slap in the face, and I cried big selfish egocentric tears.
Eventually it became clear (through various really cool and creepy ways) that only four people could leave this place and Naomi, Ajit, me and the firestarter were left to die in the fire.
It was intense and the three scene structure brought it all out. Awesome!
12Light30 is a game about the people who make the decisions. The Agency has a black ops mission and you play the politicians and military personnel tasked with choosing how the mercenaries on planet proceed, while pursuing your own secret agendas.
This was a lasertag game! We watched pre-taped missions of a mercenary mission and took decisions about how the should progress while pursuing our own goal. We also wore lasertag gear ourselves so we could be shot in game. I was the doctor and also had gear to heal people. I didn’t want to heal the guy who got poisoned in the end, but I didn’t think it was possible to do anything else. Very original game, fun to see!
In the heart of an infinite dark forest, there is a city of darkness; a city of bones where the dead outnumber the living. Night rules eternal here and the people live in fear of what might exist beyond the boundary of the city walls. Yet their safety from the shadow is under threat. A mysterious evil stalks the forest, and its incursions into the city have become ever more frequent. The people gather and call for action, but is anyone or anything listening?
Our big 40-player LARP of the con. Great setting! I played a “the truth is out there” fanatic who wanted to be the district’s councillor. A position now held by my estranged husband Steve. The position was a sham and we quickly decided it would be stupid to fight over it for four hours. So Steve resigned and I took the position and we both spent the rest of the session having fun and trying to figure out what the hell was going on. We had some good adventures and by the end I was councillor of the entire city. Whoop whoop!
Keep it in the Family
Warning for medium spoilers!
All families have secrets. Some families are very good at keeping them… But when one comes out, others may follow. What will happen when you’re dragged out into the light? Will you Keep it in the Family?
This is a tightly-structured and emotionally-intense larp set in the contemporary real world. It’s about family secrets and the tensions that they put upon relationships. Will contain angst!
This was Mo’s hack of our beloved A Family Affair. The main structural differences being that the secrets were hidden and there were no spotlight scenes. Our players were mum and dad, eldest child and partner, youngest child and friend, all come together for a family dinner party.
I think Mo talked to me last year about really wanting to do a game about families, because it seemed like an underused theme. I didn’t really see it at the time, but having played Keep it in the Family, I have to agree. We had a rich and incredibly enjoyable set of tropes to play with. Everyone knows what it’s like to be stuck at an awkward family party (though hopefully not this akwward). Especially grilling the new teenage friend was hilarious.
Everyone’s secrets just came out throughout the game. Whereas most of my games of AFA lead to a kind of semi-harmonious closure, I don’t see this game ever ending well. This is the story of a family tearing itself apart.
I enjoyed the game a lot! We instantly got a rapport going between the analytical and responsible father and the eldest (up to the point where they would respond in the exact same way), and more expressive and free-flighty mother and the youngest.
My character was not a very nice person and I had trouble relating to her. I’ve played utterly pathetic people before (Damned Love comes to mind), but here I had trouble trying to get into the mindset – which made my closing confrontation with Elina a toughy!
- Our pre-party dance party!
- Foot massages!
- Our sunday after-party – especially Ben H/DC’s chalet was just the right kind of mellow for us. Plus, great music!
- Many people promised/threatened to come visit us in Belgium – do it! Wait until this defcon thing is over, though.
And that was that! I have rather massive post-convention depression at the moment, which I’m hoping will pass soon. Onwards to next year (in which I should really, really run a freeform).