A Week In Finland






Talks, Panels & Conversations

Thu 20.00 - 21.00Nordic Larp 101AuditoriumPanel
Thu 20.00 - 21.00Fundamentals of Larp DesignGreat hallPanel
Thu 20.00 - 21.30Youth-Larp ForumTurku SchoolTalk
Fri 10.00 - 12.00Game Based Learning - Østerskov Style (The Secret Recipe Revealed!)AuditoriumTalk
Fri 10.30 - 11.30All the Things I’ve Learned from All the Mistakes I’ve Done – part 2Ars AmandiPanel
Fri 11.30 - 13.00Finnish Larping – Small Nation, Big Difference?Ars AmandiPanel
Fri 12.00 - 13.00States of Play: the Solmukohta Book PresentationAuditoriumTalk
Fri 12.00 - 14.00Let’s Play TogetherFateplayTalk
Fri 13.00 - 13.30The Secret Art of Avatar DesignArs AmandiTalk
Fri 13.00 - 15.00Larpocracy: Battle Evil Empires Through Your Favorite Pastime!AuditoriumPanel
Fri 13.00 - 15.00This Year in Larp AcademiaTurku SchoolTalk
Fri 13.30 - 14.00Larp and Aesthetic Responsibility Ars AmandiTalk
Fri 14.00 - 15.30Location and Scenography ToolboxArs AmandiTalk
Fri 15.00 - 16.30The Great Player Safety Controversy PanelAuditoriumPanel
Fri 15.00 - 16.00Writing Larps That Other people Will Re-Organize, Why and HowTurku SchoolTalk
Fri 16.00 - 17.30Songs and LarpArs AmandiTalk
Fri 16.00 - 17.30Academic Skills of the Game-Based High School?FateplayConversation, Panel
Fri 16.30 - 17.30Five Things We Lie About in LarpAuditoriumTalk
Fri 17.30 - 19.30Russian Larps as a Cultural PhenomenonAuditoriumTalk
Fri 17.30 - 19.30In Fair Verona: Design Process of a Larp Involving Physical ActivitiesFateplayTalk
Fri 18.30 - 20.00Larp and CareerTurku SchoolPanel
Fri 19.30 - 20.30Gender for DummiesAuditoriumTalk
Fri 19.30 - 20.30Great Children Larps Without BofferFateplayTalk
Fri 20.00 - 21.00Dublin2 – Setting the Border to the CenterTurku SchoolTalk
Fri 20.30 - 22.30The overview of the larp Cost of Living (Russia, 2011)Ars AmandiTalk
Fri 21.00 - 22.00Zealin Ze Fire from Ze GermansTurku SchoolTalk
Fri 21.30 - 22.30Velvet Sundown: interactive storytelling - digitallyDogma 99Talk
Sat 10.00 - 11.30Poker, Polka, and Russian Roulette : Designing Marcellos KjellerAuditoriumTalk
Sat 10.00 - 11.00NEST - An Edu-Larp Model for an Adult Mainstream AudienceTurku SchoolTalk
Sat 10.00 - 11.00Beyond the GMFateplayPanel
Sat 11.00 - 13.00Game Mechanics vs. Agency and Participation?FateplayTalk
Sat 11.00 - 12.00The Contract Between Larp-Wrights and Participants: MannersTurku SchoolConversation, Panel
Sat 11.30 - 12.30Don't Touch or I'll Sue: American Larp as National MetaphorAuditoriumTalk
Sat 12.00 - 13.00Ninja Ethnography - How to Gather Data During a Larp?Ars AmandiTalk
Sat 12.00 - 12.30Model United Nations vs LarpTurku SchoolTalk
Sat 12.30 - 15.30Trance Mask Technique – Introduction to the TranceDogma 99Talk
Sat 12.30 - 13.30The Aesthetics of TechnologyTurku SchoolTalk
Sat 13.00 - 14.00Writing Larps That Other People Will Re-Organize, Why and HowFateplayTalk
Sat 13.00 - 14.30Into the Mainstream - Spreading the RevolutionAuditoriumTalk
Sat 14.00 - 14.30Feeding of Players, Food as Part of the NarrativeFateplayTalk
Sat 14.30 - 15.15Educational Larp in Palestine and Lithuania, Summer 2012AuditoriumTalk
Sat 15.00 - 16.00Phantasmagoria! Designing Supernatural TerrorFateplayTalk
Sat 16.00 - 18.00Facilitating Good Group Process - Get Your Flow OnArs AmandiTalk
Sat 16.00 - 18.00Just a Little Lovin' - Confessions and Reflections from Organizers and ParticipantsFateplayPanel
Sat 16.30 - 18.30Social Conflict and Bleed in Role-playing Communities version 2.0AuditoriumTalk
Sat 16.30 - 17.30Using Larp Methods in Professional TheaterTurku SchoolTalk
Sat 17.30 - 19.00EscatonTurku SchoolPanel
Sat 18.30 - 20.00How to Communicate About Larp to a Mainstream Audience?AuditoriumPanel
Sat 19.00 - 20.20Dig deeper into your character, while having sexGreat HallTalk, Workshop
Sat 20.00 - 20.30Trance Mask Technique – Introduction to the TranceDogma 99Talk
Sat 20.00 - 20.30How to Organize Larps Like a RockstarTurku SchoolTalk
Sun 10.00 - Sun 10.45Trailers and documentations of Alternate Reality Games from Waldritter e.V. and basa e.V.Turku SchoolTalk
Sun 11.00 -12.00Reliving Sarmatia: The Revival of National Heritage in Polish Larp SceneAuditoriumTalk

Nordic Larp 101
Thu 20.00 – Thu 21.00, Auditorium, Panel
Organizer: Erik Winther Paisley
Nordic countries, many ways to larp. Elin Nilsen (NOR), Emi Maeda (FIN), Marie Holm-Andersen (DK) and Gustav Nilsson (SWE) answer to basic but differentiation questions about larping from a larpers point of view. Helping this crowd to dive in to Nordic larping is Erik Winther Paisley, the host of the interview show.

Fundamentals of Larp Design
Thu 20.00 – Thu 21.00, Great hall, Talk
Organizer: Eirik Fatland
Eirik Fatland, pretentious old fart, thinks he has managed to summarize everything anyone needs to know about larp design in less than 10 bullet points. In addition, the arrogant fool thinks these points are universal - independent of genre, player preferences, and larp culture. Come to this beta test and prove him wrong.
Late arrival: This program is not findable from the program leaflet.

Youth-Larp Forum
Thu 20.00 – Thu 21.30, Turku School, Panel
Organizer: Sindre Titlestad Westegård
If you make, or are thinking of making, larps for children and young people, this is the place for you. Participants will share knowledge and experience, and are happy to answer any questions. This is not a lecture, but a forum where the agenda is decided by those who show up. Welcome!

Game Based Learning - Østerskov Style (The Secret Recipe Revealed!)
Fri 10.00 – Fri 12.00, Auditorium, Talk
Organizer: Morten K.Tellefsen v This is a chance to see how the inner mechanics of Østerskov Efterskole turn. Østerskov is a unique Danish boarding school using game based learning as the primary teaching method. We will explain how we fit the curriculum into our games and demonstrate how we teach, so you can see the magic yourself. We will also explain how special students (for example students with Asperger's syndrome) can fit into the creative chaos and complex game mechanics of the school. And we promise that explaining our method is not just going to be a boring power point presentation.

All the Things I’ve Learned from All the Mistakes I’ve Done – part 2
Fri 10.30 – Fri 11.30, Ars Amandi , Panel
Organizer: Rasmus Høgdall
This lecture is all about listening to other people’s mistakes, having a few laughs and maybe learning a thing or two. As the lecture in Denmark last year I will take the stage for around 10 minutes before handing the floor over to four or five competent and wonderfully skilled larp creators, which will share with you some of their biggest mistakes.

We as academics, artists, thinkers or just all-round creative’s, tend to have one thing in common: We all make a lot of mistakes. It is completely normal, it is how we learn and improve in our selected areas of expertise. And as a perk, other people are more than happy to share their mistakes in most professions. This is not my experience in the larp community. Somehow we forgot to exchange stories of mishap and misjudgment. And this is a real shame.
This is the reason why I think it is the best idea in the world to get the mistake dialogue started and what better way to start it, than by sharing one’s own mistakes and talking other people into spilling the beans.

Finnish Larping – Small Nation, Big Difference?
Fri 11.30 – Fri 13.00, Ars Amandi , Panel
Organizer: Ville-Eemeli Miettinen
Finland is a big country with a wide variety larping cultures. How can the cultures be so different with this small amount of larpers? Do the cultures mix? And what makes them different from each other? Or are they even different? We will show you which stereotypes are real and which are based on rumors.

Hell on Earth and fantasy larp organizer Ville-Eemeli Miettinen leads the conversation about the wonders of the Finnish larping cultures. He is accompanied by Fennoswedish larper Jo Granvik, hard core larp designer JT Harviainen and city campaign organizer Niina Niskanen.

States of Play: the Solmukohta Book Presentation
Fri 12.00 – Fri 13.00, Auditorium , Talk
Organizer: Juhana Pettersson
States of Play: Nordic Larp Around the World is the Solmukohta book of 2012. The presentation will feature background to the book project, short presentations by the authors of the articles and discussion about what a Solmukohta book can be, and what it should be.

Let’s Play Together
Fri 12.00 – Fri 14.00, Fateplay, Talk
Organizers: Marinka Copier, Tijn Rams
- A design postmortem on Gruga, a parallel larp universe for kids, teens and adults In this session we dissect our still-alive kids-larp and teen-larp events from a design perspective (no kids, teens or trolls were harmed in the process). We discuss our design decisions, design process and what we have learned from game design, interaction design and performance design. The failures and successes are spiced up with anecdotes, photos and movies. In 2008 specialty gamestore Subcultures organized their first kids-larp event in the Netherlands.

The main goal of the events is to encourage creative role-playing for all player types, ages and gender. Our aim is to stimulate players’ creativity, empathy and self-reflection, getting all ages and both boys and girls to play together. We try to provide all player types with meaningful actions and collaborative play, ranging from storytelling and solving puzzles to sneaking and fighting. Currently 200 kids, teens and parents and even grandparents join for each event, 25-30% of them are female. Designing these events is an iterative process which gives us the chance to learn from our mistakes and apply lessons learned to future events.

The Secret Art of Avatar Design – The Stuff that Characters Come From
Fri 13.00 – Fri 13.30, Ars Amandi , Talk
Organizer: Laura Flöter
Design is a key-paradigm of post-modern understanding of appearance: everything in the outer world is object to shaping – this art of making things look is often referred to as a manifestation of aesthetics. But the outer world is not everything there is. Role-playing, I argue, is the art of designing the inner world – giving its phenomena an imaginary appearance in the mind. Thus, role-playing, too, is a matter of aesthetics.

This item proposes that there is something in role-playing activity that is parallel to a genuine art form. The creative processes of both these practices, I will point out, proceed nearly analogously: the creator (artist or role-player) summons her subconscious contents to the surface of conscious reasoning, where she siphons them up, distils and processes them by shaping her aesthetic product – from the raw psychic material that a person is not necessarily aware of, but that are nevertheless part of her mind, and that dreams, wishes, fantasies and intuition come from.

My lecture looks into the idea that the character's origin is rooted in the player's ephemeral content of the subconscious as well. This attribute is what determinates the avatar's stuff and individual appearance: the player's own deepest fantasies, memories, desires. That's what a real piece of art is made from – so the character is reasonably to be called a designed aesthetic artefact. In this lecture and talk, we will try to get a closer look on the secret art of character design – come along!

Larpocracy: Battle Evil Empires Through Your Favorite Pastime!
Fri 13.00 – Fri 15.00, Auditorium, Panel
Organizer: Martin Nielsen
Fantasiforbundet is hosting a discussion forum about using educational larps to promote critical thinking in countries where the government doesn't consider this a very important task. We have three years of experience doing larp with partners in Palestine and Belarus, working together with NGOs to use larp as a practical educational tool. In this workshop, we'll first present our method and experiences so far.

This summer, we are planning a week-long summer school for critical educational larp in Vilnius and a three-day larp in Palestine, and we would love get your viewpoints on the programme, the method and the evolution of critical educational larps. And there's lots of unlarped territory on the globe – maybe you'd like to start a project somewhere, too?

This Year in Larp Academia
Fri 13.00 – Fri 15.00, Turku School, Talk
Organizer: JiiTuomas Harviainen
The traditional, arrogant lecture on larp-related academic and some other publications that have been published since the last Knutpunkt. All the text you wish you had time to read, described and evaluated for easy access. Did Montola say something new this year about bleed? Did the editors manage to publish a new issue of IJRP? Should you know something from Larp Frescos, even if it may be in Italian?

Larp and Aesthetic Responsibility - When Just a Little Lovin' Became an Art Debate
Fri 13.30 – Fri 14.00, Ars Amandi, Talk
Organizer: Tova Gerge
A Solmukohta Book contributor speaks about the article with the same title. The talk sums up something as uncommon as a relatively long-running media debate about the artistic values of one specific larp, namely Just a Little Lovin', a game with the tagline "1982: It was the summer AIDS came to New York City".

The debate, that took place in March and May of 2011 in the Swedish newspaper Expressen, was both about the specific characteristics of larp as an art form, about what artistic responsibility is, about who has the right to retell what parts of the AIDS epidemic and in what way. Though the debate was touching on highly explosive subjects, much more could have been said, and some of the important questions disappeared in the linguistic noise between larpers and non-larpers.
The presentation uses this media event as a stepping stone for elaborating on questions about larp, responsibility and the privilege of interpretation.

Location and Scenography Toolbox
Fri 14.00 – Fri 15.30, Ars Amandi, Talk
Organizers: Mads Havshøj, Oliver Nøglebæk
So you have your fancy location? But you don’t know how to design it to suit your larp? In this talk Techninja Mads and Oliver the Architect will talk about the most common physical design pitfalls that they have seen at the larps they helped organize. You will get familiar with topics such as location analysis, game flow, interactive scenography and the players' interaction with their surroundings. In the end you will have a toolbox with tools and perspectives on how to plan, set up and use your location.

The Great Player Safety Controversy Panel
Fri 15.00 – Fri 16.30, Auditorium, Panel
Organizers: Johanna Koljonen, Bjarke Pedersen, Jaakko Stenros
Playing close to home, grownup gaming, thin characters, interaction alibis, defucking for bleed… In the last few years the Nordic design community has made giant leaps in game intensity, particularly by systematically steering players towards using personal and painful experiences as in-game intensifiers. New words, phrases and concepts relating to player safety have popped up too, signaling the need for a serious conversation on risks and responsibilities. While the games are very cool, they also throw all of our old ideas of player safety out the window (and reveal that many we used to trust never actually worked at all).

How do these games affect us? To what extent can larpmakers be absolved of responsibility if a player gets broken? Can a player – especially a new player – ever have a realistic idea of what the larp experience will entail? Is it even ethical to invite people with no larp experience to play extreme games?

This panel brings together some of the people giving separate talks on safety and ethics at Solmukohta for a spirited overview of what, if anything, we as a community know about taking care of each other before, during and after larps designed for extreme experiences. A premise of the conversation is that grown-ups should generally speaking be allowed to make dangerous or destructive choices for themselves within the limits of the law. Nobody is looking to outlaw extreme experiences – but we should be able to have a sane conversation about designing parameters around them.

Valve - designing technics and the film
Fri 15.00 – Fri 16.00, Turku School, Talk
Organizer: Katri Lassila
Valve is a pervasive city larp campaign running through 2011 - 2013 with 3 to 4 games per year by Katri Lassila, Antti Kanner, Petri Leinonen and Tuomas Hakkarainen and made with the participation of Alvar Aalto Society. The main theme is the city scape, seeing fresh the many times seen and experienced. Directors have tested several methods of larp and have been seeking a new ways of design. Tuomas Hakkarainen will tell about the technics and Katri Lassila will show a short film based on the parts played during the summer 2011.

Songs and Larp - How the Singing on Larp Can Uncover New Horizons
Fri 16.00 – Fri 17.30, Ars Amandi, Talk
Organizer: Alexey Fedoseev
We're used to see rituals, dances and visual effects in our larps. Game masters like such elements incorporated into the diegesis due to deep cultural background, interactivity, rich visual ambiance and so on. But singing songs (folk, historical, choral or solo) became the real godsend for the larp technologies as well as game ideas and meaning.

The talk was inspired by the several larps went off in Russia in 2009-2011, primarily "Lagaan", "Songs of the Western Slavs" and "Durmstrang". Songs run through the game conceptions and were not only the major part of the playing mechanics (e.g. Lagaan was based on the Bollywood movies and every character owed to "sing and dance" all the time) but also created large field of meaning and interpretations. For instance, Songs of the Western Slavs was the game about folk life of the Serbs, Vlachs and Ukrainian; every character has the own folk/historical song that opened the door to the world of folk stories, fairy-tales and personal self-determination through the adventure.

During the talk we'll examine these examples attentively. I'll cover the main peculiarities of using songs on larps: what can be done by songs, what is the uniqueness of acoustic perception on larp, what context will rise beyond the folk song, what pros and cons will obtain a game master and a player, who can sing on larp after all (the short answer is -- everybody!) and so on.

Academic Skills of the Game-Based High School?
Fri 16.00 – Fri 17.30, Fateplay Keskustelu, Panel
Organizers: Mauri Laakso, Pekko Koskinen, Morten K.Tellefsen, JiiTuomas Harviainen, Antti Rajala, Heikki Koponen
Otava Folk High School bases its bame based learning on authentic learning of real-world processes. We encourage participation in authentic processes in the society by taking an active role in societal initiatives: next year, the city of Mikkeli will arrange an architectural contest concentrating on city planning. Otava's game class will take part in the contest, and the city will support this by offering a connection to the civil service machinery. Otava also emphasizes gaming as such, making the city planning game the narrative frame work of next year's studies. The event is a so-called "fish-bowl" discussion on Otava's game-based learning strategies.

Five Things We Lie About in Larp
Fri 16.30 – Fri 17.30, Auditorium, Talk
Organizer: Bjarke Pedersen
Larp is for everybody, Larp is safe, Larp is awesome. These are all things we tell ourselves without critically examining them. But we are wrong. We lie to each other about the thing we love the most. Larp deserves more than that. It is time to remove the veil and see where the truth can take us. Not all is as we believe it to be. Only by critically examining every aspect of larp, even the difficult or the embarrassing stuff, we'll move forward and gain knowledge about making better larps.

In Fair Verona: Design Process of a Larp Involving Physical Activities
Fri 17.30 – Fri 19.30, Fateplay, Talk
Organizer: Jesper Bruun
Here I describe our efforts to use workshops to design a larp involving tango as the primary means of expression. We have set up the tangolarp In Fair Verona three times, and held a bunch of test workshops before and in-between. While we do not believe we have finished our development of tangolarp, we are now comfortable with sharing what we have discovered so far. Our highly experimental approach has led to many failures but more successes, and I think that others can benefit from the approach. With this talk, I want to expand the idea of involving physical activity as a means to express stories in larps.

Russian Larps as a Cultural Phenomenon
Fri 17.30 – Fri 19.30, Auditorium , Talk
Organizer: Alexey Fedoseev
We have a long history of roleplaying in Russia, but this talk isn't a historical overview. I want to introduce the scope of positions available in the modern Russian larp community: what is larp itself, why larps are conducted, how larp should be understood and interpreted.

Today larps are undoubtedly a cultural phenomenon in Russia. It's not only hundreds of thousands people playing larps but also there is also a lot of examples how larps interact with the cultural environment. The main difference with the Nordic countries is: we have lack of academic research and ocumenting larps (especially on English), we have a relatively small community of "thinking game masters" -- who are interested in the academic discussion.

We have a huge larp conventions but the main theme of the majority of discussions is larp technologies instead of the meanings that a larps can create. In this talk I'll try to collect and introduce the main trends in Russian larps with the short examples of the games, game master stories and conceptions. Also we'll note the ways of intepreting the past games, the ways of analyzing and critique of the larps presented in Russia.

Together we should find the answer to the main question "what is specificity and similarity in the direction of Russian larps?"

Larp and Career
Fri 18.30 – Fri 20.00, Turku School , Panel
Organizer: Johanna MacDonald
Or when a hobby becomes a part of your profession. Earning money with larps is not only for professional game masters. In fact, there are many fields of work where your acquired larping skills come more than handy. Teaching, coaching, performing, writing... the list of jobs goes on. What are the professional possibilities within larp? How can you use larp stuff to advance your career?
Actor Johanna MacDonald, Innovation Curator Santtu Määttänen, publisher Claus Raasted and professor of Interaction design Annika Waern are sharing their thoughts on this subject.
Gender for Dummies - or All You Need to Know to Ace the Debate
Fri 19.30 – Fri 20.30, Auditorium , Talk
Organizer: Emma Wieslander
Discussion is a great thing, especially when people with different opinions can really exchange views and ideas. To do this a language that covers the concept you want to talk about is a handy tool. Gender is a concept that has become much talked about and explored in some Nordic larps over the last decade. As this concept gets more spread gender is something that more larps will have to relate to in some way, whether the larp targets those issues or not.

This is the talk that will take you through the basics, from what words might be useful to get your point across to what mistakes you, as a gamer or organizer, can easily avoid to save time and energy. The goal is to introduce and explain in order to make a discussion less focused on what words mean and more about what you want.

Great Children Larps Without Boffer
Fri 19.30 – Fri 20.30, Fateplay, Talk
Organizer: Miriam Lundqvist
In the Nordic countries, there are few if any youth larps without boffer combat. In this talk, we will explore possible disadvantages with the current state of affairs, as well as offer a few alternatives from some of LajvVerkstaden's (The LarpWorkshop) events, in which few or no boffer elements are usually incorporated in the design. It is widely believed that children are mainly attracted to fighting games. Here, we will argue the contrary - hoping to inspire the listener with an eye out for a more diverse, and perhaps also more challenging, larp scene for youth.

Miriam, the presenter, is a founder and CEO/director of LajvVerkstaden - a Swedish company working with larp as a pedagogical tool, as well as an artform. LajvVerkstaden has been awarded as one of the foremost social entrepreneuring companies in Sweden.

Dublin2 – Setting the Border to the Center
Fri 20.00 – Fri 21.00, Turku School, Talk
Organizer: Johanna Raekallio, JP Kaljonen
Dublin2 was a reality-based game about asylum seekers and European asylum policy. The larp balanced between a game, a public artwork and an activist framework. The project was created as a reaction to the flaws of the current asylum system by three visual artists, who had been working with refugees for the past couple of years. The larp took place in one of the central plazas of Helsinki, merging the urban environment and the people walking by into its scenery. The citizens were invited to participate in the larp and the interaction with them offered the players possibilities to proceed in the game.

The game had a strong documentary character. The characters were based on the real life stories of the asylum seekers and constructing the game world required extensive background research. Representatives from various NGOs and local businesses as well as journalists participated in the larp, which caught widespread attention in the Finnish media. The game organizers will talk about their vision on expressing a political issue via live role-play.

The overview of the larp Cost of Living (Russia, 2011)
Fri 20.30 – Fri 22.30, Ars Amandi , Talk
Organizer: Alexey Fedoseev, Viatcheslav Rozhkov
The larp Cost of Living took place in Tver region of Russia in the summer of 2011. This larp became the most noticeable and complicated game project in the modern Russian larps. The game lasted for 4 days and had more than 550 participants (and about 50 organizers).

Large city with skyscrapers, government buildings and night clubs was built from scratch at a location in the countryside. Lot of aspects of the modern life and the nearest future were reconstructed in the diegesis: police and criminal, spies and corporations, politics and civil unrest, television and hackers, popular culture and modern art, etc. The idea of the larp was based on the works of Robert Sheckley and Strugatsky brothers.

The game was not just an antiutopia, the picture of the nearest unpleasant future, but also concealed and sharp criticism of the modernity -- consumer society based on the ideas of Neoliberalistic capitalism. The main story of the game is the Reality Show conducted in the whole city. Every resident and guest became a participant of the Show. Hidden cameras are everywhere. Every man has their own rating based on thier "show activity". You could earn rating by making "cool things" like making a good speech, having sex in public or even by killing someone. The international corporation Lifecost controls the Show and creates new "storylines" playing with lives of real people.

As a game master of this larp, I want to describe the game in whole and talk about several interesting techniques we used, show photos and answer all questions.

Zealin Ze Fire from Ze Germans - How We Forgot the Larpwright and Learned to Love the Bomb
Fri 21.00 – Fri 22.00, Turku School, Talk
Organizers: Ville Takanen, Maija Hannula
Ville Takanen and Massi Hannula present tricks and lessons stolen from the Germans (and the lesser Germans known as the Danes) through examples of their larp "Perintö 1963".

Velvet Sundown: interactive storytelling - digitally Fri 21:30 - 22:30, Dogma 99, Talk
Organizers: Elina Arponen, Ville-Kalle Arponen
Velvet Sundown is the first interactive drama produced by Finnish start-up Tribe Studios. It is an hour long multiplayer experience where every character is played by a real person. The players become actors that create drama and stories through interactions with each other. Velvet Sundown is released on the Dramagame-platform. We will talk about the Velvet Sundown game play experience. We look at similarities and differences between Dramagame and LARPs. We will also talk about other attempts at digital LARPing and compare digital drama / digital LARPs with digital roleplaying games.

Late arrival: This item is not findable from the program leaflet.

Poker, Polka, and Russian Roulette : Designing Marcellos Kjeller
Sat 10.00 – Sat 11.30, Auditorium, Talk
Organizer: Eirik Fatland
Marcellos Kjeller is one of the weirdest larps ever. It’s a musical, set to the strange dirty-surreal universe of Norwegian band Kaizers Orchestra, designed with fates and meta-techniques aplenty. It has also been an unexpected hit with old and new larpers both. The lecture introduces the larp, tells the story of its production (as unusual as the larp itself), discusses the design techniques used in translating music into larp, and what we have learned from re-running it.

Late arrival: This program is not findable from the program leaflet.

NEST - An Edu-Larp Model for an Adult Mainstream Audience
Sat 10.00 – Sat 11.00, Turku School, Talk
Organizer: Sara Hjalmarsson
During 2010-2011, two studies were conducted at Edith Cowan University in Australia regarding the effectiveness of edu-larp for an adult audience. The results were encouraging. Not only do they indicate that edu-larp has educational validity, they also note that it offers the means to address problems that traditional adult education has been struggling with for decades. This research has resulted both in a set of guidelines for non-larpers wishing to research larp and an edu-larp methodology (working name NEST-larp) that will be trialed in Sweden during 2012.

This program item is based on a recently completed Honours thesis and will be supported by a paper. Please note that this seminar will be fairly academic in nature and contain a significant amount of theoretical material.

Beyond the GM
Sat 10.00 – Sat 11.00, Fateplay, Panel
Organizer: Jason Morningstar, Ivan Vaghi, Emily Care Boss
Who needs a GM? The role of the Game Master or GM has been central to table top role playing games since Dungeons & Dragons created the idea of the "Dungeon Master" in the 1970s. Over the past 10 years, this trend has changed. Many games have been written and published that throw out the idea of a GM or change it dramatically. A panel discussion of ways the games have changed to accommodate this central difference, followed by small group demonstrations of peer-empowered games. Presentation of article from State of Play.
Late arrival: This program is not findable from the program leaflet.

Game Mechanics vs. Agency and Participation?
Sat 11.00 – Sat 13.00, Fateplay, Talk
Organizer: Andie Nordgren
Over the last year, I've tried various angles of describing knowledge that is "obvious" in a larp context to people in the video games industry. It seems to boil down to a difference between wanting to describe the world in a vocabulary centered around game mechanics, and describing the world in terms of agency and participation. This is a discussion where I'd like to enlist the help of larp wrights, theorists and thinkers to explore my frustrations in trying to communicate why fictional realities like Eve Online and the future World of Darkness are more like the fictional realities we create in larp than computer games.

I will start by charting my journey in the computer games world with some anecdotes, and then open for discussion. Is there a difference between a "game" and a "fictional reality"? Is "participation" a better starting word for a vocabulary around strong online communities in fictional worlds than "game mechanics"? Where is this debate currently in academia? In other game companies? Can we find a vocabulary that would work well outside larp but bring with it all the knowledge from larp? Help!

The Contract Between Larp-Wrights and Participants: Manners
Sat 11.00 – Sat 12.00, Turku School, Conversation, Panel
Organizer: Jesper Bruun
Description: For some, Nordic larps are seen as a consumer product. The participant is the consumer and the larp-organizer is the supplier. The responsibility for communication is put primarily on the larp-organizers, and this also is ultimately true for the total larp experience. Another view is that the participants are to blame if anything goes wrong.

The (would be) participants are misinterpreting the idea of the larp-wright or the soul of the game. While both views can be valid in some games, this discussion will focus on larp experiences where larp organizers and participants need to cooperate extensively to create the game. I argue that with the advent of workshop based roleplaying experiences, the relationship between organizer and participant is one of cooperation, more than the organizers putting up a game for participants to consume.

The goal of the discussion is to outline strategies for establishing behaviour conducive for the production of more Nordic larps. These strategies might be on a small scale for a single larp, but they might also be produced on a larger scale pertaining to the development of the Nordic larp community - if such a thing can be said to exist.

Don't Touch or I'll Sue: American Larp as National Metaphor
Sat 11.30 – Sat 12.30, Auditorium, Talk
Organizer: Lizzie Stark
American larp's got lots of rules, infrequent touching, and epic hyperbole. That's because it's as American as reality TV. This talk treats a US boffer campaign as a cultural artifact, examining how cultural litigiousness shapes gameplay, how rules reveal an American vision of equality, and how leveling up recreates our most sacred national myths.

Ninja Ethnography - How to Gather Data During a Larp?
Sat 12.00 – Sat 13.00, Ars Amandi, Talk
Organizer: Rafael Bienia
Writing about larp benefits incredibly from first hand data. But how do you collect data for your article? What should you keep in mind to avoid disturbing other players? Are there more topics to be dealt with (ethics, privacy, etc.)?

This workshop will engage participants to join a discussion about ninja methods for gathering data during a larp. For example, as a camera disturbs a medieval setting easily, scholars and journalists have to be inventive to get the necessary data and not to spoil the fun of others - and their own. What are your methods, tips, tricks and ideas? Moderator Rafael Bienia is working on a PhD on role-playing games and will share his toolbox.

Model United Nations vs Larp
Sat 12.00 – Sat 12.30, Turku School, Talk
Organizer: Dominika Kováčová
...and how do we do it in Czech Republic. Model United Nations (MUN) is a student conference simulation of an UN meeting. What are the similarities and differences with larp as we know it? What can MUN offer to larpers? Can we bring students to larping through MUNs? I will tell you some answers and maybe more on the example of MuniMUN currently being prepared in Brno.

The Aesthetics of Technology or / Can Gadgets Enhance the Story - the Design of All Things Geek
Sat 12.30 – Sat 13.30, Turku School, Talk
Organizer: Heiko Romu There are minimalist larps. Absolutely enjoyable minimalist larps, experiences you remember all your life. But working magic, embedded telepathy, ubiquitous Items, powerful Potions (sorry for the ADD, and rhyming), wizards with FIREPOWER - the high energy feeling - maybe someone crafted all that? And maybe all that should look GOOD? Meaning good looking sexy? Maybe any sufficiently advanced technology IS indistinguishable from magic? Maybe the dragon should fly and swords should glow (near-ultraviolet LED blue), without the power source quite SO visible? Come to see and hear how that should be designed.

Writing Larps That Other People Will Re-Organize, Why and How
Sat 13.00 - Sat 14.00, Fateplay, Talk
Organizer: Olivier Artaud
Do you want to achieve supreme mastery in larpwriting instead of restricting yourself to approximate techniques? Do you want to reach worldwide fame and glory instead of being confined to small inbred structures? Do you want to become a role-model for newbies who will worship the subtlety and conceptuality of your design? Do you want your work to live on after you and mark larp history through infinite reenactments? Do you want to make a real and personal contribution to the development of our hobby, even among the underprivileged? Or do you just want to spread happiness? Then do attend this conference on designing and writing larps so that other people may re-organize them.

Into the Mainstream - Spreading the Revolution
Sat 13.00 – Sat 14.30, Auditorium, Talk
Organizer: Claus Raasted
In our small and sometimes rather secretive community, we've been doing amazing stuff for years. Very few people outside our community know about it, sadly. Projects like the Nordic Larp book and KAPO help change that, but progress is still slow. What can we do to reach out and grab hold of reality by its non-gender-specific genitals? Quite a lot actually...

Feeding of Players, Food as Part of the Narrative
Sat 14.00 – Sat 14.30, Fateplay, Talk
Organizer: Mikko Kari
We spend our lives eating, and eat to live. When we imagine our characters in other times and places, we often forget to include what we eat and how. A well-crafted meal, or lack of one, can be a significant part of the actual narrative, setting the mood outside of mealtime as well as during it. This presentation will open ideas for using food as part of your game, what to take into consideration, what will work and why, and how we can make food, from preparation to serving to eating part of the flow of the game. Also, there will be a brief touch on food disasters, how bad or unauthentic food can corrode the mood and destroy immersion.

Educational Larp in Palestine and Lithuania, Summer 2012: Fantasiforbundet Invites You to Join!
Sat 14.30 – Sat 15.15, Auditorium, Talk
Organizers: Trine Lise Lindahl, Martin Eckhoff Andresen, Erlend Sand Bruer, Vilde Herning, Martin Nielsen, Victoria Lofstad, Ane Marie Anderson
Larping in Palestine? Edu-larp for grown-ups in Vilnius? New book? What on earth are Fantasiforbundet and their international partners up to? Fantasiforbundet invites you get a quick overview of our international projects this summer, how you can join and to get your copy of our new book Playing the Learning Game.

You get to hear about: - Our week-long, cutting-edge, inspiring, practical edu-larp summer school in Vilnius with participants from all over Europe this summer - The first and biggest (to our knowledge) larp in Palestine co-written with fresh, Palestinian larp writers.

We would love to get more people involved in thinking about and doing critical educational larp, so show up and get excited with us!

Phantasmagoria! Designing Supernatural Terror
Sat 15.00 – Sat 16.00, Fateplay, Talk
Organizer: Johanna Koljonen
Ghost stories offer particular design challenges for larpmakers. How could we approach creating emotionally vivid and occasionally terrifying experiences without scaring our players out of character? How can we take players out of their bodies and out of time? Author and critic Johanna Koljonen turns to contemporary literary criticism, the Victorian seance industry and cutting-edge neuroscience research, as well as to game designers who've tried, for inspiration and answers.

Facilitating Good Group Process - Get Your Flow On
Sat 16.00 – Sat 18.00, Ars Amandi, Talk
Organizer: Anne SerupGrove
Teamwork is hard! A good idea and good friends does not necessarily equal a good working process. If only it did! However, this is the normal setup for most organizing teams in the larp and role play arena. In larp organizing we focus so much on the good experience of the participant, i.e. the good end result, that we completely forget the value of managing the entire process.

We lose focus on the good process. We need to focus more on the good process. We need to work on our perception of the organizer as a manager and a facilitator of a project, who actively selects the methods to use. The role of a manager is to design a process that is relevant for the project and to choose methods that will enhance the quality of the project - the quality of teamwork. In this talk I will bring personal experience, creativity and teamwork theory to the table. Methods to work with yourself and your team to reach a good flow of creative project work.

I will introduce method cards, a new way to visually and dynamically work on finding the right methods for your project, without demanding you have a full design background.

Just a Little Lovin' - Confessions and Reflections from Organizers and Participants
Sat 16.00 – Sat 18.00, Fateplay, Panel
Organizers: Tor Kjetil-Edland, Hanne Grasmo
Just a Little Lovin' was an English language Nordic larp played the summer of 2011. The participants in this game explored the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the early 80s. The game is about two groups of friends: one group based in the gay scene of New York and the other a group of young cancer survivors representing different aspects of "Alternative America". In this program post you will hear the organizers talk about some of their design decisions and a panel of participants will be discussing their experiences and opinions about the game.

Also the organizers of Just a Little Lovin' 2012 will be promoting this summer's re-run of the larp!

Social Conflict and Bleed in Role-playing Communities version 2.0
Sat 16.30 – Sat 18.30, Auditorium, Talk
Organizer: Sarah Lynne Bowman
Last year, I discussed preliminary ideas regarding problems within social dynamics in role-playing communities. Since then, I have conducted over thirty interviews, both nationally and internationally. A longer version of the paper will be presented at this year’s Role-playing in Games Seminar in Tampere.

This talk will explain my findings in detail. Riffing off last year’s “De-fucking” workshop, I will offer suggestions for diffusing conflict pre-game, during game, and post-game, including workshopping and debriefing. Personality traits and behaviors that disrupt player groups will be detailed, as will behaviors that help enhance communal cohesion. Player cultures from the U.S. and the Nordic countries will be contrasted. Participant discussion is highly encouraged!

Using Larp Methods in Professional Theater
Sat 16.30 – Sat 17.30, Turku School, Talk
Organizer: Jannick Raunow
Theater, compared to cinema, is a living art. The step towards improved audience inclusion is an obvious one. Larp methods can be used to prepare the audience for the experience they're about to have, open their senses and heighten their presence. Likewise it can be used post-diegetically to involve the audience in the shared memory, make them feel a part of the story being displayed as well as feeling included and touched by the action: Physically, emotionally and mentally. Professionals in theater are surprisingly conservative. I had the vision of utilizing larp methods to strengthen the experience of the common theatergoer at a traditionally set play. And I wanted to do this entirely on the terms of professional theater.

None of the methods or principles (larp- as well as non-larp) that I utilized could’ve stood on their own, but combined they created a concise whole, which, judging by the audience reviews, made for an experience well beyond what traditional theater supplies. And still on the terms of the common theater and the common audience. I want to present the larp methods utilized in the professional theater setup of Anton Tjekhov's "The Bear" in the fall of 2011. I will show an edited video documentation of the actual event, present the methods, results and thoughts and conclude with a discussion as to how these methodologies can be further utilized, improved and advocated.

Sat 17.30 – Sat 19.00, Turku School, Panel
Organizer: Sara Hjalmarsson
- A utopian post-apocalyptic larp that inspires its participants to develop solutions to contemporary challenges

This program is about exploring a larp idea and concept in a form of a discussion / a workshop. Post-Apocalyptic larp has tended to gravitate toward the dystopic in Scandinavia, but it could be possible to take it in the opposite direction, toward the creative utopic. Historically, people in extreme situations have demonstrated an incredible ingenuity. That same ingenuity and inventiveness could be just as prevalent in a post-apocalyptic world - perhaps stoves could be built out of empty cans, perhaps bars/cafes could operate without electricity, perhaps an alternative justice system could operate.

As a larp, Escaton would be about developing a solution to one or more of our contemporary challenges (pollution, resource shortages, corruption, crime) by breaking the barriers that constrain our thinking. As for conflict - why not have it between groups and ideologies within a utopian community. That way we can explore some of the barriers present today.

The activity will be a discussion forum/workshop hybrid where the concept will be discussed and ideas generated. There will also be some inspirational items available (most of which are interactive) to help to encourage open-minded and creative thinking around the concept.

How to Communicate About Larp to a Mainstream Audience?
Sat 18.30 – Sat 20.00, Auditorium, Panel
Organizer: Jonas Trier-Knudsen
Obviously audiences differ according to where people are from, but it would be interesting to know about how does communication differ from US to Germany and for example how does the communication in Denmark work best. And of course have conversation about "worst cases" where communication went totally wrong and what did we (or them) do wrong in that situation. How can we learn from these mistakes?

Lizzie Stark, Elge Larsson, Karsten Dumbrowski, Frida Sofie S. Jansen are discussing about this hot topic under Jonas Trier-Knudsen’s leadership

Dig deeper into your character, while having sex
Sat 19.00 – Sat 20.20, Great Hall, Talk, Workshop
Organizer: Hanne Grasmo
Do you think playing out sexual feelings at larps take focus away from your character? Quite the opposite: “Just a little lovin’” used sexuality as an engine for a wide range of emotions, relations and reasons. Come see for yourself! In a mix of lecture and workshop the organizer Hanne Grasmo will give you some theory and demonstration of our meta-sex-design. A good warm-up for tonight’s big party! (Come in designer clothes if you so like). “Just a little lovin’” – the larp about the summer aids came to New York City, was held in Oslo last summer and will be remade for Stockholm in June 2012.

Trance Mask Technique – Introduction to the Trance
Sat 20.00 – Sat 20.30, Dogma 99, Talk
Organizer: Alex Fradera
Many cultures have used masks as a ritual technology to facilitate possession states and conjure entities from beyond. Here we explore a western 20th century tradition that borrows from these roots. It strips away the religious requirements, but is not without its mystery. Masks are a way to access something powerful that is immediate and obvious to bystanders. This technique is less about "performing to" than about "being amongst", which perhaps makes it a better fit to larp than attempting to tame it for the stage.

This session is a conversation to allow those unfamiliar with the technique to hear more about it. The technique itself will be illustrated via video examples. A separate session allows the opportunity to experience the technique first-hand. This technique was originally developed by Keith Johnstone and outlined in the seminal text Impro. It has been kept alive by his student Steve Jarand, and the lineage continues through a new generation of mask-workers. Leading this session, Alex Fradera has been working with mask for three years in Europe, Canada and the UK. He is a trained psychologist.

How to Organize Larps Like a Rockstar
Sat 20.00 – Sat 20.30, Turku School, Talk
Organizer: Claus Raasted
In the fourth installment of the Rockstar presentations, some drunken guy way past his prime gives some unforgettable insights into how larp organizing really should be done if you want to stand out from the crowd. Towels and sunglasses optional for the audience.

Trailers and documentations of Alternate Reality Games from Waldritter e.V. and basa e.V.
Sun 10.00 - 10.45, Turku School, Talk
Organizers: Vivien Havemann and Dirk Springenberg
The Trailershow contains a presentation of short films, trailers and documentations about three different Alternate Reality Games of the year 2011. "Projekt Prometheus" is about a terroristic conspiracy. "Die Bewegung" - 'The Movement' is a documentation about an Alternate Reality Game for young adults. Main content of the game is the confrontation with the right-wing radicalism in form of a fictitious citizens association. The third is called "Die Fremden" - "The Others", which deals with the themes of migration and integration. Therefore a fictitious underground society was created for the participants of the game..

Reliving Sarmatia: The Revival of National Heritage in Polish Larp Scene
Sun 11.00 – Sun 12.00, Auditorium, Talk
Organizer: Michal Mochicki
"Thanks to it I turned my communist friend into a patriot. And I realised who I really am", said an anonymous Dzikie Pola player in my online questionnaire. Indeed, the Polish gamer community engaged in Dzikie Pola tabletop and larp roleplays is a good example to showcase the power of roleplaying in shaping national identity.

Set in the Polish-Lithuanian (a.k.a. Sarmatian) Commonwealth (1569-1795), these games put the players in the shoes of 17th-century Sarmatian noblemen, making them embrace this part of their cultural heritage. In many cases (mine included), repeated immersion in the roles of Sarmatians has produced a lasting effect, permanently imprinted on player's real-life identities and worldviews: a phenomenon I call "sarmatisation". More about it can be found in my paper in this year's Solmukohta book.

Here, I will take you on a quick photo tour through Sarmatian larps since early 2000s till now.

Solmukohta 2012 |