Guest post by Natalie Zina Walschots

There’s a lot of things to be vibrating-with-glee, jumping-up-and-down excited about when it comes to Breakout Con (which is less than two weeks away now! Barely a week and a half!). The tabletop offerings are, as always, extraordinary (I’m going to be participating in games of Paranoia and also trying the stunning Bluebeard’s Bride for the very first time) and the board game selection is wonderful (Magischola: House Rivalry is on my own docket, and I am going to be attempting to run a game of the sprawling, beautiful and grotesque Kingdom Death Monster). But what I think is one of the most fantastic aspects of the schedule this year (and was secretly the highlight of Breakout last year for me) are the Live Action Roleplaying (LARP) offerings. (For anyone who needs a definition of Nordic LARP, or LARP in general, I recommend this resource.)

There is not a single game offered this year that doesn’t make me wish I had an entirely open schedule and could just play them all. There are so many opportunities for harrowing emotional content, difficult decisions and danger. If you’re a fan of war games or making terrible choices under difficult circumstances, there are opportunities to explore resistance under the Third Reich in the War Birds games, or play the role of nurses in either of the Nightingales runs. Dreaming The Devil is running twice, and gives players the opportunity to play the role of an inquisitor, an accuser or someone wrongly accused during a witch trial. Tomb Priestesses of the Nameless Dead combines mystical observance and the solemn duties of death with potentially very angry ghosts. My own game, Sparagmos, explores the possibilities of forgiveness and vengeance in relation to gender-based violence. There is not a single one of these that isn’t going to leave players changed by the experience.

In case having your heart ripped out isn’t your cup of tea (and fair), there are a ton of offerings that are all about joy, and wonder, and fantasy and exploration. Ere Camlann is a storytelling game set in King Arthur’s court and allows players to weave together fantastical shared narratives. New World Magischola: A Wolf By Any Other Name is a tiny slice of the blockbuster wizard school LARP, allowing players to assume the role of students trying to survive and thrive in often hostile magical environments. Party Monster combines the Jenga mechanic with themes of teen camaraderie and rave music. Manic Pixie Dream Girls Anonymous gives young women cast in the role they never wanted the opportunity to do something else with their manigal lives than save the boy, even if it means going to rehab.

That any of these games have room in them at all is stunning to me. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at live-action role playing but haven’t been sure how to get started, this is a golden opportunity. The games are amazing and every single one of the facilitators is a goddamn rockstar (except me. I have no idea what I am doing, participate at your own risk). I promise you will not be disappointed.

You can sign up for a LARP at Breakout by clicking on the events below.

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