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Juhana Pettersson announced the new high brow Nordic magazine on larp and role-playing in his blog yesterday:

Playground Magazine is a Nordic quarterly publication about larp and tabletop roleplaying games. Its aim is to focus on new, interesting, groundbreaking and unconventional games.

The magazine will be launched in early 2011. The first issue is being worked on now.

Playground is based in Norway, but will be in English. Its aim is to cover new phenomena on roleplaying games across the Nordic countries and beyond.  The editor in chief is the game designer Matthijs Holter (Draug, Society of Dreamers).

The editorial team features people from Norway, Denmark and Finland. The “Finland team” consists of me and Laura Kalli.

If you’re a writer, a photographer or an illustrator and wish to work with us, get in touch: jlp@iki.fi We’re always on the lookout for new and interesting articles, subjects or people.

Right now, what Playground needs more than anything is people who want to do marketing or distribution. If you have a clue about either of those things and wish to further the cause of Nordic roleplaying, get in touch.

This is quite exciting. There has never been a proper Nordic magazine on role-playing. The closest thing is probably the crappy ‘zine panclou I edited with Johanna Koljonen and Markus Montola a decade ago. I wish the magazine lasts for a long time. RPG magazines in Finland have tended to die out and the situation is not much brighter in Sweden. In Denmark there is a thriving free advertising-financed magazine about the mainstream of larp, but only a few issues have come out so far.

Knudepunkt 2011 has a date. Mark this down in your calendars now:  February 17 to Februar 20. It will be held at Bymose Hegn, the same conference hotel used in 2007, when Knudepunkt was last in Denmark. The newsletter also tells us: “Since last time however, the interior has been redecorated for your pleasure and both the lounge and sleeping carts are now updated with the most modern of wonders.”

The call for program items is also out.

The call for papers for the Knudepunkt 2011 book came out a few days ago.  The call for description on larps is similar to what we are doing with Nordic larp (short texts, a lot of images), but with the emphasis on writing to other organizers, not on the player experience. Anyway, I’m personally probably going to offer two pieces.

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Well, some of it at least.

The book is nearing completion. It should be out before Christmas. We have received a number of grants which enable us to print the book, but every cent counts. So we are crowdfinansing the last parts. Everything we get at this point will go to making the book more awesome. Better paper quality, more pages for pictures, dust jacket, this is the stuff we are after. So if you want to support the project and get your name in the book – as well as get your copy of the book as soon as it is out – then this is your chance to help.

Our contribution to Nordic larp Talks is now up on the website. It is a 20 minute long primer to Critical Strategies of Larp.We actually didn’t perform live at the event due to being grounded by the Icelandic ash cloud, but instead sent a video greeting.

The embedding of the video doesn’t work, so you’ll have to click through to the site.

We now have secured the minumum amount of funding to make the book happen. Everything that we pull together after this will make it even more sensational. Anna Westerling and Anders Hultman, who also produce Knutpunkt, are to thank for this Herculean effort. Thank you Nordisk kulturfond, Framtidens kultur, Ropecon, Sverok, Bifrost, Hyperion, Föreningsbidrag and our other partners. But especially, thank you Anna and Anders.

Kippis!

Mike Pohjola recalls: It was published a day before, and I was selling them at a convention. When I gave Mika Loponen a copy, he burned it at the ash tray. Everyone was watching and cheering. ”Get them while they’re hot,” I yelled.

I am in stuck in Turku at the moment since the winter is wrecking havoc with the train schedules. It is very fitting, since today ten years have passed to the day since the publication of The Manifesto of the Turku School.

The Turku Manifesto is perhaps the most influential Nordic text on role-playing games. It did not start the theory boom in the Nordic (that was done by Dogme 99, panclou, Knutepunkt and others), but it did sell the idea better than most. And boy has a lot changed in a decade!

Author Mike Pohjola has some notes on the anniversary on his blog.

Let’s raise a toast to Turku. Kippis!

We have again spent a whole day, some twelve plus hours, editing stuff for the Nordic Larp book. It is all a blur at this point. More than half of the texts are now near the finishing line. In addition there are numerous promises that tomorrow we will have more to work on. As before, we are flabbergasted by the strength of these texts. They run the gamut from insightful dissections of projects to pieces of cultural analysis and from deeply personal reflections on experiences to mad (or brilliant) recollection of brilliant (or mad) events.

One of the things we have been obsessing about is the original names of games. We want to refer to all games by the names that were used when they were played in the original language. The problem is that in English in titles all relevant words are capitalized (The White Road, Once Upon a Time) whereas is Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish only the first word is capitalized (Silmäpuoli merirosvo, En stilla middag med familjen). But, of course, there are games where the rules are toyed with (such as inside:outside, PanoptiCorp, PehmoYdin, Föreningen Visionära Vetenskapsmäns Årliga Kongress). I don’t actually think that anyone notices or cares about this, but we are completely obsessed by it. (Markus has actually blogged about this name once before.) Anyhoo, it seems that in the main headers we will capitalize all words (since this is a book in English), but in body text we shall leave the names as they appear in original languages. Unless the game organizers toyed with capitalization.

The problem we now face is Nemesis divina, a game that is referred to once. The problem is that upper and lower cases weren’t introduced until the Middle Ages — which means that we don’t know what is the correct form in Latin. (Spelling it completely without capitalization seems wrong, though perhaps historically accurate – and the same goes for all caps.) Since it is a Swedish game, we are leaning towards a lower case d, but somehow haven’t settled on it yet. Perhaps this is because we somehow associate Latin with English, I don’t know.

Now it is time for port, ice cream and sauna. In some order. We shall continue tomorrow.

We spent two days in a writing retreat and were able to push 13 cases to a point where they are either ready to be proofread or getting close to that. So one third of the texts in now in a good condition! We’ll continue working on the texts in the evenings and reconvene to a retreat in a two weeks time.

We are pleased to announce that Playground Worlds: Creating and Evaluating Experiences of Role-Playing Games, published last year in Solmukohta, is avalaible as a free download. It took us a little bit longer to get it online then we would have hoped for, but better late than never.

We are still insanely proud of the book. It has 25 articles divided into three sections: Journalism & Community, Art & Design, Research & Theory. No matter what level of interest you have in regards to larp, there is something in the book for you. This is what some reviewers have said about the book:

This book is a gem! A collection of diverse and quite useful articles on roleplaying, with a strong emphasis on live action play. (Jason Morningstar)

If the idea of scholarly discussion of larp comes as a surprise to you, this book may deliver quite a shock. There are some contributors that are full-time widely-published game theorists, who specialise in larp theory. They’re writing about envelope-pushing larp, but the analysis is often generalisable to more garden-variety larp. If you’re not familiar with the Nordic larp scene, expect to read some articles while thinking “what the hell?” Read with an open mind, and ideas that seem crazy or outlandish at first may grow on you. […]
A thought-provoking collection of works on roleplay, and innovative larp in particular. Well presented, dense with content, and definitely worth the purchase price to get it in hardcopy. (Ryan Paddy)

I’m dying to recommend some pieces in the book, but can’t really pick favourites. What do you find most intereting or useful?

Oh, and if you are one of those old farts who enjoys reading stuff on paper, the paperback version is still available for a very affordable price.

In the Nordic countries, live action role-playing has developed into a unique and powerful form of expression. Nordic larps range from entertaining flights of fancy to the exploration of the intimate, the collective and the political. This incredible tradition combines influences from theatre and performance art with gamer cultures, in order to push the boundaries of role-playing.

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