In the UK we are very lucky to have a wide range of games to choose from. We have several large games which each have a different focus and atmosphere. They all appeal to different players. We have a vast range of small games that run as one offs and as series, covering any genre you choose to imagine and which a huge array of immersion and price variation. If you want a game there’s a good chance that something similar is running somewhere.
When you decide to run a LRP game at some point you typically announce it to your public. We do this on facebook. Once we’ve told people the date and the price point the theory is that about half the people who say they will play will actually give you money. We’re not good at advertising but our games often sell out in half an hour even at the £150-200 price point. So when we’re running something that’s a little more off the wall than usual we end up with lower player numbers. This has lead to a really nice game that allowed us to do exciting new things. It’s also resulted in an entirely different game getting cancelled when maths was suggesting that even if we released a cost and dates we’d only have 6 players. I’m a little sad that I don’t get to run that event, but much happier now that Jurassica is being run and I get to play it instead.
People care about their LRP. This means if you’re playing a game that people care about, but it isn’t exactly the game they think it should be, then people will demand that you change things. They’ll tell you the price is too high or too low, or that costume standards should be higher or lower, and they’ll state that you should make changes because there’s no way what you’re planning will actually work. However – it’s not their game. They may have valid points and if it’s something you’ve not thought about before it’s always valuable to consider what they’re saying. In the end though the decision about which game to run lies with you.
Most LRP games are lucky to break even. They inevitably rely heavily on volunteers to run. Secret cinema seem to have charged 1500 people a night in the region of £60 for three months in order to make their Star Wars showing work. LRPers often charge 40 people a similar amount for a full weekends entertainment. If you buy in the winter sale you’re paying about £50-60 for each PD event. The campsite by the entrance gate charges £45 a weekend just for camping. The Silverstone official campsites are more like £75pp.
We charged about £180 for our latest game. We won’t have any money left when we’re finished and can tell you exactly where that money will be going. It might be that some people are happy to play an event that doesn’t have all those little expenses in it, and hence can be cheaper. One of our largest costs is often set dressing. However, we’re not willing to run an event that doesn’t have this cost budgeted in. We enjoy dressing our events well. We enjoy the feeling that we’re running immersive events that look pretty and work well.
The major cost of running LRP events is time. It takes you away from family and friends and eats into annual leave and weekends. The way we run events means we’ll be building months in advance and towards the actual date sleep becomes somewhat optional. I couldn’t afford to play the events I run. I’m really glad that other people can because I’d love to run cheap events that are accessible to everyone whatever their budget, but I have neither the time nor the money to do that. If I can only run one event a year it had better be a good one.