Mandala games are well known within a fairly small circle of people. We’re not good at advertising what we do on social media. We don’t tend to have a lot of photos of our games and we sell out quickly so we don’t advertise widely. They’re good games. They’re some of the best games. The next one is going to be even better. Most people have never heard of them.
We run a mix of stuff. It’s run by a range of people. We only run one game a year and we really like talking about why we do what we do.
Our last game was a small modern day horror event run with a group of people who run other systems. It was run as part of an ongoing system (SlenderLARP) and was interesting in that it was a new genre for us. I am getting to really like modern day stuff as we can work with the setting for something that looks pretty near perfect for almost no money. We wouldn’t try and run it in something we can’t show, and it might mean we end up taking the easy, most predictable option for future events. For example it’s very easy to use a scout camp as a scout camp, but eventually you run out of reasons to be running events in scout camps and it all gets a bit samey.
Zap Fest is something I am quite proud of. It was 1950s b movie sci fi, complete with cardboard robots (player characters). The players were being both the actors playing the characters and the characters. It was utterly silly, a huge amount of fun and worked really well. We managed to have a space battle in a dark room with uv space ships on sticks and a metronome. We could fire torpedoes on sticks to blow people up. The french extras produced their own film noir. It worked for a certain sub group of LRPers. It wasn’t for everyone, but it was completely different and it was fun.
We ran an Empire Player Event. We were curious as to how the rules and setting would work and wanted to run something that felt good to us. I really like dark fairy tale themes and these worked well with one of the Empire nations. It’s the only fantasy event I’ve run, although I have assisted with running larger fest style events.
We have run four Alone events.
I was minimally involved in Alone 1. For me they represent a learning curve. They were my introduction into running events. I learnt on high end sci fi. THey were heavily styled towards Alien and Aliens. We’re trying to move away from running events that are so focused on films. It led to an obvious path in front of us and we’ve got the ability to write and tell our own stories that stand independently. We’re taking what we’ve learnt from the Alone events and running Contact. The first event is in November and is sold out. There’s an awful lot of stuff to play with in sci fi, and it makes for an interesting task to create a universe the players can relate to. I suspect this is why we often go for existing backgrounds.
We should publicise our events. We should write about what we’re doing, and invite in cameras. We should run social media campaigns to make sure LRPers in America, New Zealand and Europe want to come to our games and are just a little bit jealous when they can’t afford to. I don’t know how to do that. It’s an area that I need to learn. For a lot of the team it’s not a priority; we have no problems getting the tickets sold, so it doesn’t matter. However, we’re not only missing out on players, we’re missing out on people who can join us, and help us with running our event. We’re not able to share resources with other people who write software for their games, and have tips about achieving large builds on a budget. We can’t inspire people who don’t know we exist and we’re missing out on sites that we’ve never heard of that other people have found.
Empire has brought together groups of LRPers from different backgrounds. I’ve been able to talk to people from a wide range of different games about what they’re playing, what they’re running and why. This has helped to develop me as a LRPer. It’s brought me a better understanding of the games I’m running and playing and a clearer idea of what I want to achieve next. Advertising would be worth it just to have a few decent discussions with someone new about something they’re doing.
There are people who should be LRPing because they will have fun and they will bring more fun to the field. They have talents and ideas that will help us to take another step and they know things that will make my game better. They’re not LRPing because they don’t know it exists. They don’t know we’re there and we’ve got no way to reach them.
I’m fairly certain that we can get communities and councils more used to engaging in LRP in the UK. I’m sure we can get it to the point that it’s something everyone knows about even if they don’t play, and where it’s not something odd, but something to be supported. We’ll need to talk about it, and run games aimed at engaging those people. We can run events in cities that just get people our exploring their surroundings and few people would question the value of those.
Mostly I just want to tell people about the games I’m running. I’m proud of the games that I’m involved in. I’d still really like to run a dinosaur game. It’s the natural next step from Zap Fest.