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Wow.

Nordic Larp actually won the Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming. This is what the award committee had to say about Nordic Larp:

Nordic Larp is a history of the Nordic larp scene, from its inception in post-D&D fantasy through experimental drama, historical recreation and far freaking weirdness, done as a massive and profusely illustrated coffee-table book, written by two gaming scholars. The book documents more than thirty larps that took place over 15 years, including ones with animatronic dragons and a space opera played out on a submarine. The Nordic Larp book assembles photos, memories, and designer notes, allowing the reader to survey these fantastic and sometimes legendary events. These records are bracketed by an introduction that summarizes the recurrent elements of the larps and a final essay on Nordic larping as art, theater, and game. Nordic larping is a major, dynamic branch of the gaming family tree, fully deserving of this massive, beautiful book that takes larping and game-history as serious business.

We were super-excited about being nominated, but did not at all expect to win; for a non-American thing just to get nominated is a big deal. We also did not have the funds to attend the award ceremony at Gen Con. We did, however, write an acceptance speech on the off chance that we’d win. Because how often do you have a chance to write an Oscar speech in your life? Emily Care Boss held the speech as she accepted the award on our behalf.

Thank you for this awesome recognition.

It is particularly heartwarming, because people outside the Nordic scene — people like you — are the audience we were thinking of when we created the book.

It is humbling to be recognized in this community, because our hobby grew from the seeds planted by the American tabletop role-playing industry, and we feel honored to have been able to bring something back to the table.

Even though there are only two names on the cover of Nordic Larp, this book has been a group effort. Over 50 people contributed to the book in one way or another.

But even more importantly, it was a community effort. The vibrant Nordic larp scene not only supported us through the process, but it of course created all the awesome games we had the privilege to work on. The book was very much created by the whole scene, and thus we see this award as a recognition for the whole the scene.

Finally, we see this award as a vindication of taking role-playing seriously. Role-playing is not only a fun pastime, but also a sophisticated form of expression, fully worthy of study and critique.

As participatory art is difficult to grasp with the vocabulary of traditional media, it falls unto us, the scene, to explain our passion to each other, and to the outside world — if we ever expect it to be understood.

Thank you.

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The players before the "Prayers on the Porcelain Altar" larp at Digra 2011.

The biannual DiGRA conference on game studies was held for the fifth time last week. I presented a paper The Making of Nordic Larp, which is basically an academic appendix to Nordic Larp. The article opens the process behind the book and addresses challenges relating to documenting larps. Hopefully the article enables researchers to make better use of the book.

At the conference there was quite a lot of interest in Nordic larps. As a taste I ran J. Tuomas Harviainen’s short scenario Prayers on a Porcelain Altar (check also his commentary of it), or actually two simulateneous sessions of it, something I had never done before. However, quite a few people asked me how one finds out about upcoming intereting Nordic style larps.

The easy answer to that question is that you should come to Solmukohta 2012 in the spring. But few people are willing to go to a weird event just to find about something else. Also, we have not made finding even the annual convention that is the centre of the this scene easy, as the names changes every year (Knu(te/t/de)punkt) depending on who hosts the event and we do not have a central site.

Indeed, we are crap at having any kind of central sites online, period. As the community is very loose and uncommercial, no one has (taken) the responsibility to create a shared resource. There have been attempts: The Nordic Scene worked for a while, and there have been attempts on Facebook (this one is the best one at the moment, but of course there is no editorial oversight there). Also, the quarterly magazine Playground does have a section on upcoming intereting stuff. Then of course there are the national lists of larps in different countries, but these usually are not looking for an international playerbase. So the truth is that there isn’t really an established place where you can find out about interesting upcoming larps.

Photo stolen from Digra 2011 Think Design Play Facebook page.

Nordic Larp hit the printers a few weeks ago. The book will be released on the 22nd of December in four simultaneous parties in Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen. The parties kick off at 19:00 local time. The Stockholm part fill be held in Betahaus (Skeppsholmen 30), and in Helsinki the location is Dubrovnik Lounge (Eerikinkatu 11). Locations in Oslo and Copenhagen are not yet decided, though.

These parties are probably the only chance to get the book before Christmas. The book costs 30 Euros. Later on the book will be availble through a webshop and the better role-play/larp shops across the Nordics.

You are hereby invited to join the parties. Feel free to bring a friend.

 

We have decided to postpone the publication date of Nordic Larp beyond Knutpunkt 2010. While this has not been an easy decision to make, the reasoning is simple: We want to make the best book we possibly can, and we would need to rush too much to get it out of the printers in April. Even with our experiences from Beyond Role and Play, Playground Worlds and Pervasive Games, every phase of work has turned out to be more time consuming than we expected.

The good thing, however, is that this is going to be a book worth waiting for. Speaking of the texts, half of the stuff we have is mind-blowing and all the rest is really good. On the visual side, we’ve rediscovered some hidden gems we are itching to share.

We have some exciting announcement coming soon-ish, as well as previews of early spreads coming soon, but that’s all for now.

Now that we have more time, we are looking for new writers to replace some that had to drop out due to time issues. Currently looking for someone to cover Trenne byar. Know anyone of the old guard who’d want to contribute?

Photo from En stilla middag med familjen, by Johan Röklander.

Knutpunkt 2010 will be held at Fiskeboda, two hours ride from Stockholm.

Key dates:

  • Knutpunkt signup closes: 15th of March
  • Program submission closes: 20th of March
  • Program signup opens: 1st of April
  • The Week in Stockholm: 17th-22nd April.
  • Knutpunkt 2010: 22nd-25th April.

But most importantly, the signup is now open. Prices range from 80 euros (students) to 160 euros (professionals), including food and lodging.

Föreningen Knutpunkt is a partner of Nordic Larp book, and the main organizers of the event are Anders Hultman and Anna Westerling, the very same wonderfully energetic duo that also produces our book. Their claims to fame are too numerous to list here, but suffices to say they also produced En stilla middag med familjen.

It will be a blast, so be there, or be totally out of the loop.

The Americans are putting together their version of Knutepunkt (they even name-check it in the post below). I love this and wish I could be there.

LARP in America.

Our cultural differences in this country have produced challenges in the way that LARP can be positively perceived here.  How it works, the drive to create and compete, has caused not only a great diversity nation wide but also in how we view one another as members of different groups.

Yet recently, a movement has begun here.

To create a national unity – of identity, language, and definitions.

Inspired by such organizations as LARPA, spectacular and progressive events like Knudepunkt, and online communities from Shade’s LARP List, to Pagga, Rule 7 and many others, the LARP Alliance has worked toward a singular goal – to create awareness and programs to foster and grow LARP here in America.

In June 2010, the West Coast’s first LARP Convention will be held in Southern California. The LARP Alliance is extending the invitation to the leaders of American LARP communities and organizations to come together at this event and participate in America’s first National LARP Summit to begin laying the foundation for a unified front for LARP.

National LARP Summit
Wyrd Con One
June 11th – 13th, 2010
Costa Mesa/Orange Hilton
Costa Mesa, California
http://www.wyrdcon.com

Our focus will be on the uniqueness and diversity of the art form as it exists here, but we also extend the invitation to leaders and
organizations worldwide to participate. In the tradition of Knudepunkt, we intend to hold this LARP Summit every year, creating a Summit Book yearly and easy access to the compiled body of knowledge we will build together.

Wyrd Con has had a strong response and expects game runners from as far away as England in attendance, and strong diversity in theme and styles will be represented. Current games include Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, Steampunk and other themes. Live Combat and Theater Style games in equal portions. Alternate Reality Games will also be represented, as well as the  art of Cosplay.

For the Summit, we will have panels, discussions and classes that make up many aspects of our hobby, led by some of the top LARP Academicians and promoters in the country.The Summit programming will be updated on a regular basis, and we plan to use current technologies to bring the Summit home to the living rooms of LARPers across the country.

This is the time and place to talk, meet, and set forth the frame work for continued growth of our hobby in America, and abroad.

Rick McCoy
LARP Alliance, Inc.

I have to look into if it is possible to contribute to the book even if one does not attend. Also, I’m dying to find out who are branded the top American larp academics.

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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