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May 2017

Author Archives Tara Clapper

About Tara Clapper

Tara is a full-time freelance writer and editor located in the Philadelphia area. She blogs extensively on LARPing and geek culture and has experience promoting a LARP online and at various conventions and other events.

Have you ever considered getting a booth or display space for your larp at a convention? After all, it’s a great place to meet local gamers who might be interested in attending your game. It can be an opportunity to work with other larpers in your game to present a positive impression of your game in particular and larp as a hobby in general. However, attending a convention isn’t without challenges for larpers. After you find one that permits larps, there are several pros and cons to consider:

 

Pro: Vendor Pass – When you attend a convention as a vendor, you usually get a vendor pass. While this might not mean much at a large con, at small or mid-size cons this comes with extra perks, like after-party invites or hanging out with some of the well-known guests. Take advantage of this. Networking with the right person can really pay off. If just one person says something positive about your game to her 700 fellow geeks on Facebook and she brings two of her friends to your game every month for the next three years at $40/game, it represents $4,320 for your game in admission costs.

Con: Not cost-effective – Many larps find that vending at conventions isn’t necessarily cost-effective. Depending on the convention you go to, your booth can cost $25-$5,000 – yes, some of the larger shows do charge that much. The investment of your booth, vending space, transportation, and other expenses can be a gamble. However, if you attract just one player who returns to your monthly game consistently, it may pay off in the long run.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPro: Exposure – Your larp will get some exposure by being at the convention. You’ll meet other gamers, vendors, guests, and members of the press, all of whom can generate buzz about your game. Additionally, you may have the opportunity to do a live demo at the event. Always offer this when you sign up to vend at an event.

Con: Another obligation – If you are one of the people in charge of running a larp, you know how easy it is to experience burnout. Adding another weekend event to your calendar can add to that problem. You can make some more money by selling physical items or tickets to your game at the event, but you must allocate time and resources to manage the finances in the convention environment.

Pro: Out-of-game bonding – Heading to a convention can be a major bonding experience for your group, especially if you share transportation and lodgings. This camaraderie encourages your staff to work together more effectively and can promote player retention. This is a great way to break up the cliques that usually exist in larps and allows new and old players to form friendships out-of-game.

Additionally, meeting others at conventions gives you the opportunity to hear what people are saying about the games and larping in general. It also gives you the opportunity to correct any misconceptions people have about your game or about larping overall. If it’s in the game’s budget, vending at a convention is definitely worth a try.

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May 21, 2013
larp jewelery

Meaningful jewelry can enhance the realism of your character.

Now that I’ve been LARPing for more than half a decade, I think back on the first game I attended. I remember how I felt and what the game staff did that helped and hindered my experience as a new LARPer. Even if the staff and players at a game are completely welcoming, there were a few things I wish I’d been aware of prior to attending a LARP.

1) Level of Costuming – Prior to LARPing, I had gone to renaissance faires and performed in plays. However, I didn’t realize the importance of the detail in a character’s costuming. A post-apocalyptic LARP character could get lost in a crowd–but what if her costume is all grimy except for a pristine, shiny locket containing a photograph of a lost family member? Initially, I thought just having a ‘good’ or fancy costume was enough, but those with simpler costumes are often equal or more skilled at role playing based partially upon their costuming details.

2) Bringing Friends – LARP is a social activity. I knew one person on staff at a game (my then-boyfriend, now-husband) when I started attending LARPs. While I found it pretty easy to make friends in and out of game, I would have been less intimidated had I brought along another friend who was new to LARPing. I had more fun at my second event because I brought two of my friends from college along, and one of them was extremely social.

3) Background Research is Helpful – I see a lot of posts on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter that go something like this: “I want to LARP! It looks so fun, but I’m afraid people will make fun of me and I don’t know anyone at the game!” A bit more knowledge about LARPing can assuage those fears. With the caveat that no two LARPs are the same, I’d recommend:
• Books: “LARP: The Battle for Verona” by Justin Calderone (fiction) and “Leaving Mundania” by Lizzie Stark (nonfiction)
• Videos: Game trailers on YouTube – Seventh Kingdom IGE, ConQuest of Mythodea 2012
• Online Resources: LARP Alliance, LARP Examiner, various LARP groups on Facebook, the LARP tag in Tumblr, and this website
• Other RPGs (role playing games): LARP is a unique experience, but if the thought of a rules system intimidates you, try playing a low-level character in a MMO like World of Warcraft (free trial) or a tabletop game like “Dungeons & Dragons”

What do you wish you’d known when you first started LARPing? Leave a comment!

About the Author: Tara M. Clapper is a full-time freelance writer living in the Philadelphia area. A geek culture maven, she enjoys LARPing at Seventh Kingdom IGE based in New Jersey. Tara writes for multiple print and online outlets, including multiple Yahoo! Properties and Sweet on Geek.
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Nov 28, 2012
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