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Yay!

We just heard that Nordic Larp has been shortlisted for the 2012 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming! Let’s hope this news helps us spread the gospel of Nordic larp culture among the American tabletop role-playing scene.

The other nominees are Burning Wheel Gold by Luke Crane, the crowdfunding phenomenon pioneered by Kickstarter, Risk Legacy board game by Rob Daviau, and Vornheim, a Lamentations of Flame Princess supplement by Zak S.

The full press release:

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Let’s see….

  1. Proofreading drafts
  2. Wondering whether layout wizard Tommi will get pissed because the errata is so long
  3. Proofreading captions
  4. Proofreading photographers
  5. Proofreading photograph types
  6. Adding authors’ late minute adjustments to errata
  7. Stressing that there will be language difficulties with the printing house
  8. Figuring out what the credits boxes of ancient games should really say
  9. Wondering if we really should say maximum instead of maximal
  10. Wondering whether Tommi will get pissed because the errata is huge
  11. Stressing that after three rounds of proofreading by professionals, we have still found an error or two relating to irregular verbs
  12. Considering running for office just to make double spaces a criminal offense
  13. Commenting the cover drafts
  14. Debating cover drafts
  15. Debating logotypes
  16. Remembering what peaceful sleep was like
  17. Going through piles of photos that have arrived way too late, just to see that they don’t contain masterpieces
  18. Redrafting a marketing plan
  19. Panicking over the correct spelling of a word that’s in 50 captions
  20. Finding out the correct spelling, and waiting the heartbeat to slow down
  21. Figuring out likely reviewers
  22. Stressing that the book will weight almost as much as two milk cartons – and how that will effect all the postage and packaging
  23. Considering running for European parliament just to outlaw Danish last names that are not really family names
  24. Finding out that case Y doesn’t really convey the mood of the game
  25. Discovering hundreds of new photos of case Y
  26. Despairing that we have forgotten something
  27. Delivering dozen photos of case Y to Tommi, hoping he won’t get a burnout
  28. Planning publication parties
  29. Writing press releases
  30. Stressing that there is a just the right kind of balance between the four countries, between genders, between old and new, between documentary pics and awesome promo pics, between players and game masters, between fun and misery, between immersion, dramatism, simulationism and gamism, between colour and black & white, between establishing shots, close-ups and details, between ingame and offgame, between academia and accessibility etc.
  31. Drafting logistics plans
  32. Deciding retail and wholesale prices
  33. Proofreading late-minute additions
  34. Wondering whether Tommi will get pissed because the errata is massive
  35. Figuring out author copies
  36. Writing captions that are still miraculously missing
  37. Panicking over someone commenting that picture X looks like it’s been hardly edited
  38. Finding out that it has indeed not been edited yet, since it might still be changed
  39. Stressing that no one will care about the book enough to buy it
  40. Stressing that the book sells out too soon
  41. Proofreading captions that were just written because they were still miraculously missing
  42. Stressing about correct hyphenation of words in English, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, French, German, Latin and all the other languages featured in the book
  43. Wondering whether Tommi will get pissed because the errata is colossal
  44. Finding out whether the Danish guy took photographs in- or off-character in that larp in Los Angeles
  45. Stressing that someone will have a fit since the book contains frontal nudity
  46. Proofreading and editing back cover blurbs
  47. Worrying that the photographers and organizers whose work will not be featured won’t talk to us in the future
  48. Figuring out the minor details of printing, such as the size of the print run
  49. Just stressing
  50. Wondering whether Tommi will get pissed because the errata is ginormous
  51. Planning the therapeutic Nordic Larp presentation for Knudepunkt, detailing all this and much, oh-SO-much more

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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Bjarke Pedersen went to Wyrd Con One and wanted to share the experience. He needs no introductions; suffices to say that his illustrious larping career was recently crowned by an appointment as the Danish country contact for Nordic Larp book project.

More than 300 larpers met at the Hilton hotel in Costa Mesa for Wyrd Con, the first Knude-style larp-conference on the American west coast. Wyrd One, as it was called, was primarily a conference to play games, but also workshops on how to build or use weapons. Embedded into Wyrd One was “The Summit”, an American take on the Nordic larp conference Knudepunkt. Here larp-designers discussed their craft, the theory behind and around larp.

As a lone Dane amongst American larpers from all over the American continent, it was kind of exotic to talk larp with them. Expressions like: “low intensity”, “theatre style” and “light larp” were thrown around with ease amongst the participants who all but a few was in costume.

I primarily attended the theoretical debates at “The Summit”. Several of the lectures and panels gave a great insight into the American culture of larpers. Discussions like “larp is art” and “social diversity in larp” showed that the American larp-community is trying to move past their differences and work together and learn from each other.

There were several interesting debates. “The Art of Larp” hosted by Aaron Vanek did not contribute with anything not already discussed in the Nordic scene, but it is still an important debate to have for a larp community. Sean Branney and Andrew Leman from the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society told war stories from their more than 60 larps in the nineties. Most of them very well documented. During the “social diversity in larp” hosted by Ben Mandall it was showcased that American larp is much more than classic fantasy. Midnight Seduction is a series of game which borrows from both vampire-larp and BDSM culture. The US Army showcased Fort Irwin, a training facility with 1600 professional larpers playing Iraqi civilians and insurgents, preparing the coalition for war. All larpers had character sheets, clear goals, enemies and friends.

It was wonderful to meet parts of the American larp community and see they are much more than the “lightning bolt!” stigma they carry. We can expect a lot of good stuff from them over the next few years and I am looking forward to Wyrd Two.

More photos below:

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I’m under the impression that WyrdCon is one of the closest things to a Knutepunkt they have in North America — at least we recall them being explicitly inspired by the Nordic thing when they set it up. The great thing in being a bit like Knutepunkt is publishing edited books for others to read. And here they go: Journeys to Another World, edited by Amber Eagar, joins the happy family of Knutpunkt books and Mittelpunkt books! Welcome to the fold: At the time of writing this I have only read Bill White’s excellent story on freeform, but J. Tuomas Harviainen has of course been faster than light in reviewing it. If his worst criticism is that “so few people decided to contribute”, you WyrdCon people are surely doing something right.

In this point we should also recognize the Italian InterNosCon 2010 for joining the book club with Rifflessioni Appassionate: Pensieri e Teorie per Giocare col Cuore, edited by Claudia Cangini and Michele Gelli. Unfortunately for us, that book targets an Italian audience so I have no idea what it says — but I’m personally very happy that two stories from Playground Worlds have been found worthy of translation: L’ABC del jeepform by Tobias Wrigstad and Concetti chiave nelle teorie sviluppate su The Forge by Emily Care Boss.

The Italians are making another book, for Larp Symposium / European Larp Convention 2010. The book will include papers both in Italian and in English; Read their Call for Papers for more information. We’ve been inexcusably slow with blogging this, so you need to act now: The deadline for Larp Graffiti abstracts is in the end of June.

It took us five years to get it started, but now it’s spreading like wildfire. Someone ™ should fire up a common portal for all these books. There are 12 online: 8 for Knutepunkts, 2 for Mittelpunkts, 1 for InterNosCon and 1 for Wyrdcon.

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.

Knutpunkt 2010 was incredibly good and stimulating. So good and stimulating that we are still recovering and chewing it. Before posting anything on it, here’s something really cool: Tobias Wrigstad speaks about Jeepform and bleed at IT-University of Copenhagen.

This might sting a little.

Most of the readers of this blog probably already know that it’s less than two weeks to Knutpunkt 2010. However, the fun kicks off in eight days already in the Nordic Larp Talks event at Stockholms Stadsteater, hosted by Johanna Koljonen. We’ll be talking with Jaakko too!

Space monsters on Russian submarines. A mechanical dragon the size of a house. Gender-deconstructed space bedouins at the National Theatre. A decadent Hamlet in a 1930s bunker. Six weeks of adventure and every-day life in a parallel Stockholm. Asylum centres, bomb shelters, medieval villages, hippie communes, mental landscapes – worlds for the participants to experience on their own bodies.

The Nordic countries are the best in the world when it comes to role-playing games as a story-telling medium, an art form and a pedagogical tool. In conjunction with the Knutpunkt conference, which gathers the movement’s top Nordic, European and US names to Stockholm, c/o Stadsteatern will be hosting two hours of entertaining, thought-provoking and mind-boggling lectures about the culture of the future, participatory storytelling and interactive theatre.

From extreme emotional experiences in abstract rooms to detailed simulations of virtual worlds, from gripping societal criticism to total escapism, this Nordic movement has achieved what the games industry, institutional theatres and political communicators have only dreamed of – participatory Gesamtkunstwerk of a high artistic quality. Nordic Larp Talks is a useful and entertaining two-hour presentation of some of the movement’s most fascinating experiences and the most exciting lessons learned.

Be there or be square: Reserving a seat is probably a good idea, too.

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!

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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