Explanations etc. are in part 1.
LARP various electronic devices
Kreyl Laurelindo et Vladimir Iachounski presented custom-designed electronic special effects made for Russian games, from fantasy to scifi. We rarely see Russian larp things in France beyond battle videos, so getting a glimpse at the technology side of things was fun. There were very poetic flowers with color-changing LEDs, daggers that turn blue when orcs are nearby, beeping alien detectors: all kinds of good stuff, but it did require actual electronics skills to build (more on this later). It was great to see organizers from other nationalities later inquiring about renting items, sharing tips etc.
Jeepform, English version
A very international run of The Kick Inside, where 12 players played 2 couples at three stages of their lives: late teens, adults and middle-aged. This was my second official jeepform and my first tape larp, with rooms of the house being delineated by colored tape on the floor. While we did not perfectly follow the rules and I got a bit lost and bored during the 1h-long chapter (e.g. I hadn’t fully realized it was OK to stop and watch the other players), there were some very intense scenes with great roleplaying, especially considering none of the participants were English-speakers (Danish, French, German, Italian, Russian). People often say we’re closer to theater with jeepform, but I did realize this was still very different: we really played for ourselves and our partners, not for an audience. This meant that even though they were in the same large-ish room, organizers Marine Schwab and Bruno Cailloux couldn’t follow everything and weren’t sure whether we were having fun. It was not too close-to-home so I felt pretty safe and just enjoyed the moment. A funny conclusion from the jeep is that we would have all benefited from a pre-game workshop.
Due to transportation and fragmented housing constraints, there was no party on Saturday night. While it was a disappointment for guests that are used to such things, it did enable us to get some decent sleep and have a blast the next day.
Mass larp in Germany: Conquest of Mythodea and Drachenfest
Nice presentation of the two largest German larps with both humor and attempt to not insult anyone. I learned a lot about the history of both events, and especially the play dynamics of Drachenfest, the one I have never attended. It was nice to get both player and organizer input as one of the Conquest GMs was there, and by having lunch with them I later realized how viral the 2010 Swiss ninja attack had gone.
Peter Munthe-Kaas returns with various techniques to induce surreal experience using sound, light, and time hacking. While I already knew some of the stuff, I learned new details and tricks, and the best was watching the faces of French larpers discovering Kapo or Delirium for the first time.
I had been looking for something Arduino-like to enable some future effects but was too lazy to look into things, especially learning electronics, coding or whatever. Luckily, Créa’Vapeur’s Tonton Copt created TinyIO, a very simple way to link all kinds of sensor inputs to cool outputs in a very customizable and plug’n'play manner, no soldering! This, to me, is a strength of the GNiales: beyond the «wow» factor,implementing his stuff is actually possible with minimal skills. The presentation was participatory to show how simple and fast it could be, but this did create lulls for the large audience in the packed room. The best part for me was integration with light and makeup, which must have really connected with less technology-inclined larpers. I unfortunately had to leave after an hour for my own item.
I had not intended to present anything, but the GNiales organizers thought it would be nice to re-do the 2011 English presentation “The Larper International”, but this time in French so that more «average joe» French larper got exposed to it. In a way it was a failure because most of the attendees had attended a con abroad or played abroad, and I knew most of them. So yes, seeing Russian reenactment-style players hit each other in the head with the edge of metal shields and throwing wooden planks and trunks at each other is always fun. But the successful part for me was the stepwise debunking of some myths through open discussions. Yes, the Belgians do like fighting but not necessarily for the roughness of it, rather for the sportive, winning aspect, and always try to keep it safe. Overall, it was very apparent that mass larps, while they do provide international exposure to the organizing country, are not necessarily representative of the richness of its entire larp culture, hence can be misleading. It’s a pity I don’t speak better German better because I would love to try their murder mysteries for example. The Belgians had closing remarks on the image of French larpers in Belgium : the French are said to overact, and tend to not be able to shut up. When Belgians have nothing important to say, they stay quiet, in real life or in larp. Word to the wise…
Like most attendees, I really enjoyed the con. I laughed, met knew people, learned new things, and experimented outside of my usual larp comfort zone (I rarely tenderly hug bearded Danes and tell them how much I’m happy our relationship survived all these years). One of the things suggested by visitors was to think about doing a deeper intro on French larp: it’s true that the English-speaking items were often about international, non-French topics, meaning international visitors could leave the con without having a very clear ideas of the specificities of the French scene(s). The con is growing, but logistics are always a challenge in Paris, and the organizing team is limited. So if you have a bit of time, join the organizers! They’re really friendly, hard-working people and could use some help! Unfortunately I will be too busy organizing my own Swiss larp convention and implementing what I learned at the GNiales in future games.
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