At January 31st Mark Harding organized another night of games with three different games: The Trench, The Forgotten, and The Tribunal. The fist game we played was The Tribunal and then The Forgotten and The Trench were played simultaneously.
The Tribunal is a larp by J. Tuomas Harviainen and you can download it here. It was the winner of The Larpwriter Challenge 2010. The game is about an army unit where two soldiers are accused to steal bread, but they are innocent. The game is designed for 90 minutes, and it can hold from 5 to 12 players; I personally think having all 12 players seems to be better. The two accused soldiers are not part of the game. One of the interesting parts about this larp is the characters. Every character in the game is associated with an animal, so the character’s behaviour and personalities share the same behaviour of their animals. The available characters are:
This mechanic of associating animals with characters make easier for players to understand their characters and the relationship among them. For instance the peacock always want to be the center of attention; the dog is a loyal soldier; mouse is the weakest one; wolf always pick on people and etc.
For some reason this larp is very popular in the local community. One of the players only had played 4 larps, and all of them were The Tribunal. Many people also played The Tribunal as their first larp.
The game was facilitated by Mark, and we had all the 12 characters. My character was the Mouse and he has been suffering bullying for such a long time that now he sees an opportunity to make people feel his pain. Wolf and Hawk are the ones that most pick on Mouse
Throughout the game an officer, a facilitator character, show up and call a character to have a private conversation. During the chat he asked who committed the crime and what the other soldiers are talking about. The facilitator also implemented some extra mechanics to create more tension such as: “throw water” and “hurt someone”. In game terns the player went to washroom and wet himself. I was the one who got hurt, I was the mouse remember! First the officer punch me in the face and then threw me from the top of the stairs (none of this actually happened). I used fake blood on my face to represent the wounds. When I was threw from the top of the stairs, two soldiers actually had to carry me back into the room. In the private conversation I accused Hawk and Wolf obviously.
Wolf and Hawk are the ones that bothers Mouse most, and the entire game I was running away from them. Bison was my big buddy and always protected me against them. Only one time Wolf actually cornered me and said nasty things.
The Forgotten is a larp by Andrew Medeiros, the same author of Urban Shadows (Apocalypse World hack). The Forgotten is a game about survivors in a besieged city where they have to hide, find food and try to survive. The game is divide in scene where each scene represents different days. The Forgotten is a larp for 60-90 minutes and it can hold 3-6 players. Unfortunately I didn’t had the chance to play the game because I was playing The Trench, but luckily I will have the change to play it at Drewcon in March 27th. The comments I heard about the game were very good.
The Trench is larp designed by Mark Harding, and it is about the trenches at World War One. It was the first play test and we played the game three times. The game basically consist of a group of soldiers trying to cross a battle field and they have to hop 5 trenches. The game is for X to X players. The characters available are:
- Private, which can be more than one
Each character has a special ability except the Privates, but they can be promoted during the game. The character distribution starts with the facilitator choosing who is going to be the Lieutenant, and then the Lieutenant choose Sergeant and so on. The second step in the character creation is to build relationship with others. Each Private can pick another character and say something about the relationship they share, then the picked character complement the story with an AND or a BUT. For example: “We are siblings” then “and I’m here to make sure you are going to survive”.
The game follow a sound track, and in specific moments there are whistle blowing sounds, which is a cue to hop a trench. Each character has a bag with stones inside, and when they have to hop they pull up a stone, and depend on it colour the character successfully achieve the next trench, got shot in the middle or died.
We played the game three times because it was very letal. In the first time in less than 15 minutes all characters were dead. Between each play we discuss some solutions and tried different things.
The game has a very neat mechanic and I love it. Right now Mark is working on the game to make it better, and I’m eager to play the new version!