I already put (or will put) the spotlight on my two favorite games at Consequences: The Curse and The Prison, but a lot of other games and shenanigans went down as well. Let me give you the highlights of our long weekend in this very nerdly looking holiday camp.
K300 SOS NYET
A LARP based on the board game Red November. We were all Russians on a submarine that was poised to crash and sink into the deep deep blue. Lots of hysterical running around, shouting at each other and trying to stay alive. There were a lot of minigames involved. Most of them involved tablets and the kind of puzzly games that do well on smartphones, but there was also a game of Operation (that drove our poor doctor mad).
I was very confused, because my character Georgi was a depressive (the sheet said “Roleplay note: think Eeyore”) and everyone had forgotten his birthday. I was looking forward to complaining about that all the time, but when we timed in the first thing that happened is that the crew threw a birthday party for me! Way to steal my drama, you guys! Fun game, even if I did almost kill everyone 20 minutes in by letting the reactor go supernova. Whoops!
I was fourth GM on this Victorian LARP based on Gail Carrigar’s Parasol Protectorate series of books. It was run by the amazing Heather and Clare, and I was happy to help out. I ordered the first book and soon found out that the first book was hilarious. Sadly, it wasn’t many other adjectives, so I never actually finished it :)
That was fine, because my job at the game was just to be GM for a particular plot device that would need a lot of care: a globe that people could sabotage, steal or even destroy. Pretty easy! I was afraid I’d be bored for four hours, but it was actually a lot of fun to see Team Evil to get up to their dastardly schemes and see people struggle through the moves needed to sabotage or fix the devices. Later on I got to play a series of guards that were dispatched by assassination, explosions, raiders…
It was very interesting to see a 4 GM LARP take place. It’s an interesting logistical problem brought up by the lack of hive mind capacities. There’s four people out there making calls about the game world that affect all the others. It was interesting to observe, but I don’t really have any ideas about how to make this run smoother or better. In any case, it was a small thing. From my own standpoint it was a great game!
The Kouros Intercept
Firefly, yay! I won’t say too much about this game, because I think it’ll still run a few more times and most characters have a lot of hidden information. That was also the main showstopper to the game: everyone was sticking to their hidden agenda’s something fierce and banding together with their allies, which meant play was clustered and not as dynamic as it could have been. I was just about to lay on the huge beat down my character was working on as time was called. Damnit, be faster, Jules! I did get a gun held to my head as a loyalty test, so that was awesome.
Only the brave
Finally we played our firefighter LARP, “Only the Brave”. We had an interesting gender balance: I think we were with 8 female and 4 male players. This lead to a lot of gender wars banter, fairly light-hearted but it was clear that if we would go in like this it would be a major theme in the game. Which would have been interesting, but the theme of the game was bravery.
Luckily one player piped up and pointed out that this really wasn’t creating the safe space we were shooting for. People quieted down and then during character creation she said she would be playing a transgender man. So she pretty much single handedly created a safe space and inhabited it. Talk about brave! We ended up having a romance that was very interesting.
The game was pretty good. There were three acts: A slow night at the station, a fire & a heroic firefight and the aftermath. They were all great, but the third act was far too slow. The fire was a bit game changer and it would have impacted our roleplay quickly. But the third act was tiny, so we didn’t get to do much with it.
There were two really neat mechanisms that I want to steal. They had a very nice group warm up exercise that involved everyone chaotically grabbing each other’s hands, and then having to twist and turn to ‘untie’ the knot without letting go. Really fun. The second and coolest mechanism was the “ching” rule. You could tap your coffee or tea mug (and we were on a slow shift so we all had one) to someone else’s and they would have to monologue about what they were thinking at the moment. I loved it! I kept chinging everyone.
We’ve been going to Consequences for about five years now. It’s a little bit like coming home. We know the feel of the con to be very happy, open and accepting.
One new development that is slightly disconcerting: the reaction to the rise of improv LARPs and Nordic LARPs that have come to enrich the standard UK freeform. UK freeforms tend to be 1) generally lighthearted and fun 2) come with a strict scenario and a rather impressive character sheet for you to memorize. A lot of the new fare does away with one or both of these standards. This had lead to a few scathing remarks about “Misery Games” before the con.
Fortunately that trend didn’t continue into the actual convention. There were a fair few newcomers this year and it was great to see them acclimatize and make friends quickly.
A big part of the convention is the parties and the socializing. Many people here only see each other a few times a year and it’s great to catch up. We spend about 24 hours in total just partying.
On sunday we were all played and partied out, and decided to have an anti-party: “no energy, no fun. Phones encouraged”. That turned out to be a lot of fun. Well… anti-fun. We played Cards against Humanity, watched Scream 2, looked at the stars, friended people on facebook, and generally just bummed around. Surprisingly touching end to the con. I mean, we see these people once a year, so their presence is always classified as “special and limited”. It was fun to hung out like we do at home and pretend we had all the time in the world.