Nordic Larp: Performing for the first person audience

Radiation suit for work down in the reactor. Photo: John-Paul Bichard (CC-NC-ND)

What is common to Nordic larp is that it is primarily directed at a first person audience: the participants are the primary audience of the performance. If I play a mother of a family in Ground Zero, I try perhaps to remain calm and composed in order to avoid frightening my children, performing a strong mother to the other players. At the same time, however, I probably try to engage emotionally with the horrible tragedy, playing an ordinary scared civilian to myself. Everyone in the shelter is engaged in these two performances for the whole 24 hours, pretending to be a refugee in a bomb shelter.

Markus Montola writes about Nordic larp in an article at for the Goethe-Institut’s project SPIELTRIEB! – Nordic Larp: Performing for the first person audience.

Photo: Radiation suit for work down in the reactor at The Monitor Celestra. Credit John-Paul Bichard (CC-NC-ND)

Knutpunkt 2014 – Last chance to attend!

Knutpunkt 2014

Knutepunkt is a Nordic conference for larp and today is your last chance to sign-up for Knutpunkt 2014. The event is will be held in Halmstad, Sweden 3-6 April. Before that there will be several activities during A Week in Gothenburg (AWiG) such as Nordic Larp Talks on Wednesday 2nd April.

I have attended the Knutepunkt-conference since 2008 and I warmly recommend a visit as you the most amazing people from all over the world.

Interview with Anna Westerling

Anna Westerling

Photo: Kristoffer Thurøe

In the workshop we also did a lot of freeform scenes within the playgroup. For the characters we did scenes from the past, the future and “what if”-scenes. This turned out to be very strong.


We had a black box, which was a simple room, where a game master would help you set up the scene you needed.

Emily Care boss interviews Anna Westerling, larp designer and organizer of Stockholm Scenario Festival. Read up on Annas thoughts about the festival as well as her views on game design and the history of Nordic freeform and black box larps.

Stockholm Scenario Festival: Interview with Anna Westerling

The Kick Inside – A larp diving into lifetimes

The Kick Inside - Blackbox Malmö

When do we know if the choices we make are the right ones and what should we really do with our lives? During a few hours, twelve players dive into the stories of Agnes, Markus, Olivia & Thomas to meet them during three stages of their lifetimes.

Blackbox Malmö is an organization hosting and promoting short larps in the Malmö-region in Sweden, in January they organized The Kick Inside.

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Halat hisar – A larp about modern-day occupied ‘Finland’

From the larp Hilat hisar. The pacifists and more militant foreign activists are having a physical disagreement about throwing rocks at the enemy soldiers. Ingame. Photo: Tuomas Puikkonen (CC-BY 2.0)

From the larp Halat hisar. The pacifists and more militant foreign activists are having a physical disagreement about throwing rocks at the enemy soldiers. Ingame. Photo: Tuomas Puikkonen (CC-BY 2.0)

How is life under occupation? A team of Finnish and Palestinian organizers created the larp Halat hisar, which took place in a modern day Finland under a fictional occupation. The project was well documented with photos by Tuomas Puikkonen and in this post your will also find some thoughts about the larp by players and organizers.

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Nordic Larp in serious games reasearch

The larp White Death. Ingame. Photo: Peter Munthe-Kaas

The larp White Death. Ingame. Photo: Peter Munthe-Kaas

Nordic LARP is a fascinating medium and we would encourage Serious Games designers to have a look at it from the perspective of education and learning. It offers a different view to learning and education and could be what we are all looking for.

Serious games  is a term for games that serve another purpose than only to be entertaining, such as an education game. On a blog post at GALA – The Games and Learning Alliance three researchers from the Heriot-Watt University discuss if serious games and AI technology could benefit from Nordic Larp. Thanks to Jaakko for the tip.

During the fall my collegues from LajvVerkstaden made a one week introduction to Nordic Larp and edu-larp the GALA-researchers in Edinburgh.

Nordic LARP, should the Serious Game community think about it?

Photo: Peter Munthe-Kaas

Publication from Polish larp conference KoLa 2013

Kola 2013

The written documentation from the Nordic Knutepunkt-conferences and it’s Knutepunkt-books is a long going tradition. In January 2013, the Polish larp conference KoLa was held, and now for the first time, a publication in English have been released in connection with the event.

With the conference becoming more visibly on our larping map, these articles are gaining more readers. It is easier for us to share our knowledge, and we are becoming more eager to do so. We learn from each other, and so we stumble upon new, even better ideas.

It holds a great bunch of article with subjects like Polish roleplaying and larp history, definitions, larp documentation, and advice on that should play more with food. This is a milestone, so check it out.

KoLa 2013 – Conference publication

A glimpse into the Heart of War – Photos from the larp Krigshjärta VI

Storm forces from The Guild. Portrait. Photo: Moa J-Molitor

Storm knechts from The Guild. Portrait. Photo: Moa J-Molitor

The Swedish campaign Krigshjärta (Heart of War) is known for running great war larps several times a year. Every other summer a bigger event is held, and this year it was Krigshjärta VI. In this post you will find some stunning photos from the larp as well as concept art inspiring the participants into making all the amazing costumes and gear that makes Krighjärta come to life.

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Arrtankar – Reflections from three larp organizers

Sofia, Annica and Frida, the authors of Arrtankar. Taken while they are running the larp Debt and Deliverance. Photo: Caroline Holgersson

Sofia, Annica and Frida, the authors of Arrtankar. The picture was taken during the first run of the larp Debt and Deliverance. Photo: Caroline Holgersson


This year, the three Swedish larp organizers Frida Gamero, Sofia Stenler and Annica Strand  started their blog Arrtankar. There write and reflect on larp organizing, while preparing for upcoming projects. Previously they have made great projects such as Understockholm and Next stop Kymlinge. Arrtankar currently holds a bunch of great reads, and my guess is that they will produce a lot more articles. The blog is in Swedish but you can find a translated link below.

I asked Frida Gamero why hey started Arrtankar:

The blog is about the many different aspects of producing a larp. We started the blog to show how all the parts of fiction, creativity, communication and practicalities come together to form a larp thats is ready for the participants to take part in. By writing about how we work we hope to inspire and help others in the process to take an idea and create a larp, from start to finish.

Arrtankar – (translated with Google translate)
Arrtankar (in Swedish)

Electro-Larp: Review – Mad About The Boy

Mad About the Boy - Electro-LARP

The 2012 Swedish run of Mad About the Boy. Photo: Electro-LARP


I myself have been very sensitive about the game, but what makes this the larp rich is precisely that larps are a great vehicle for science-fiction. The reflection created by the game about gender, masculinity, femininity and cultural construction is fascinating and it’s not a message delivered on a plate by an author but a group reflection that emerges from the larp .

French Baptiste Cazes has written a three piece review about the larp Mad About the Boy. The first part describes the context of the larp and his preparations. The second about workshops, transparency and the game design. In the the third and last, Baptiste describes the use of the black box and the debriefing methods.

Review – Mad About The Boy – Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

The articles have been posted and translated by Leïla Teteau-Surel at the French larp blog Electro-LARP, a site in English for larp news from written weekly by the French community. The original articles are to be found at Electro-GN, which is the French language parent of Electro-LARP.

For further reading, here is the review by Thomas B.
And finally. The larp will be played in France 2014. Don’t miss out.

Stockholm Scenario Festival 2013 – A weekend of larp and freeform

Stockholm Scenario Festival 2013

Participants gathering before the start of scenarios in the big black box at Skarpnäck Culture House. Photo: Petter Karlsson

Stockholm Scenario Festival was a three day event packed with loads of play with the goal of combining both freeform games as well as larps. I had the chance to attend several scenarios and I also did some video interviews with participants. For this post I also got a comment from Anna Westerling who was one of the main organizers. Hopefully, Stockholm Scenario Festival marks the start of a tradition.

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Thomas B: Larp critique: Mad about the Boy

The man and a woman. From Mad About the Boy in Norway 2010. In-game. Photo: Li Xin

The man and a woman. From Mad About the Boy in Norway 2010. In-game. Photo: Li Xin


From a gameplay point of view, MatB proved me that yes, it was possible to have fun roleplaying daily life: no complicated plots, nothing to hide or save, just living life as someone else. Of course everything was more interesting because I was trying to do it «as a woman» but still, it worked.

Read the larp review of Mad About the Boy written by Swiss larper Tomas B who participated in the Swedish run, during the summer of 2013.

The larp was organized by Morgan Jarl, Annika Waern, Ulrika Wiborgh and Qla Zetterberg as producers and the original larpwrights Margrete Raaum, Tor Kjetil Edland and Trine Lise Lindahl as artistic crew. Read more on the Nordic larp wiki.

Grenselandet 2013 – A Norwegian chamber larp festival


Grenselandet is a great short larp festival organized in Oslo by Fantasiforbundet. I visited this year hosting my larp Papers, as well as playing Hirelings and Sarabande. I also attended the  launch of the book Larps from the Factory. I also got the chance to get some thoughts about the history  of Grenselandet and what is has become by the main organizer Martin Nielsen.

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