Welcome, readers, to the third volume of Game Wrap.
As our thinking about what this publication could be evolved, we decided to introduce something of a theme for each volume both to inspire authors as they plan their contributions and frame the conversation across the articles and in the spaces between. This year the theme we put forth is Trial and Error, to acknowledge and celebrate the experimental and ever refining nature of larp as a developing art form or medium, and indeed the often challenging but exhilarating work being done in all the various larp communities across the globe.
We are introduced in this volume to the unique history and state of the art of larp in Croatia in Ivan Zalac’s article about his larp community. He places its development in the larger context of European larp, highlights some exciting projects coming out of Croatia, and shares one of his games. Andrea Humez lays out some analysis of the design considerations that go into plotting out in-character interpersonal relationships in larps with pre-written characters, and distills this thinking into useful principles that can be implemented in the design and writing process as well as through run time. In another article, Cameron Betts reflects on his many years larping to formulate a taxonomy of the kinds of touch that commonly occur in games to begin to organize our collective thinking about how touch may be more consciously used in larp design and in individual role-playing choices.
In the New England theater-style larp community the past couple of years have seen a new focus on how gender is approached in larps and how it can better be engaged with on the administrative and production levels of running larp conventions and individual larps, and in casting and writing games. Eva Schiffer’s article presents a technological approach to addressing character gender in a flexible and adaptable way such that the game is able to better accommodate players rather than players being tasked with taking on ill-fitting gendered roles. The article is accompanied here with a short larp as an illustration of how this can be incorporated into the writing process, and in the digital version of the volume with a link to the original software that enacts this flexibility.
The theme of Trial and Error is perhaps most starkly reflected in the article from two of our very own staff members as a narrative about their process of rewriting a larp after several successful runs to better represent the growth in their thinking about social justice, the role larp is able to take on in social justice activism, the limitations therein, and the growth in their understanding of current scientific theories. What they present is their own elegant solution, and an open question for the rest of us about how older larps can be reworked to answer the needs of the current larp scene and a more politically aware society.
One of the main changes we on the editorial staff made this year, as we learn from our own past experiences and address problems, is to refine our submission process to be more helpful to contributors and accommodate different writing styles. As we continue this process we are starting to offer the option of skipping the abstract submission step, and accept articles for consideration in full, as well as streamlining our editing process so as to provide faster turnaround. It is our hope that these changes will help include more voices and allow our greater community the advantages of learning about more perspectives and experiences.
I hope you enjoy reading the materials included in this volume as much as I have, and find them equally as edifying, and I look forward to seeing the ideas they spark in your minds for future articles. I’d like to extend a great big thank you to the hard-working staff of Game Wrap and NEIL for their continued support.
Viktoriya Fuzaylova, Editor-in-Chief