Category Archives: Update

Eliot Wieslander

February 19, 2015

We have a yes from our planned venue for Between Steel and Glass! We still have to do some planning and organizing to set up exact dates but now at least we can say with confidence that the larp will happen in Stockholm and that we’re planning on doing it the first half of 2016.

Just home from a brilliant Knudepunkt with way too many people to be able to talk to them all leaves us all tired and sad to miss all the lovely people but also very happy. Knudepunkt is a larp convention that originally was a Nordic affair but that has now evolved to a truly international get-together with participants from more than 30 countries. This year we were exceptionally proud to have two of the twelve keynotes performed by people who’ll be involved with Between Steel and Glass!

You will in a near future find them on the official Knudepunkt blog:

  • Jamie MacDonald on rules: Our Genre Can Beat Up Your Genre (And Your Genre Will Enjoy It)
  • Oliver Nøglebæk, who together with Josefin Westborg talked about How we as players approach characters.

We were also very proud to present two physical workshops! Johan Lundby did a workshop on Ars Marte together with Sophia Stenler that had some very valuable comments from the participants. The method, now having been tested at two games, has evolved some and we are working on making some of that available.

I also made a workshop on gender: Playing gender performing drag and we had a very lovely time being reminded that learning through the bodies experience is a very effective way to truly learn and explore.

All in all good stuff!

Eliot Wieslander

August 20, 2014

Last Will, this years most hyped up Knutepunkt school larp, just finished it’s first round and we were there.

Picture of a person with their hands clasped behind their head and a barcode tattooed to their neck.

Picture from lastwilllarp.com

The game centre around themes of modern slavery, violence, democracy, voting privilege, oppression as well as on trying out some new interesting methods for larp. Sounds a bit too much? It was, especially for a 20-hour game.

I never thought I’d say that an organizer group tried too hard or had prepared too much good stuff, but here it is. The Ursula team did a fantastic job of preparing food, writing interesting characters, creating groups, finding a venue that put a hyper-focus on body ideals and exercise hysteria, fate play, plots, subplots and meta-level drama that would fill up more than three days of intense gaming. For me, their solution of trying to squeeze in three in-game days into those twenty hours didn’t work. It left me utterly frustrated and tired to the degree where my “play” as a violent oppressor revolved more around trying to gauge safety levels and what was possible to do with the people around me. Frustrated because of the many good things I never had time to play through.

Harsh? Maybe, but the problem really is that I like it. I loved the game. Just not how it was practically carried out – this time. My point essentially, is that all of this is fixable. The way it was done now reads to me like a very talented group sat down and brainstormed really good ideas, but because they also had the superpower to transform them into action, no one cut anything out or was forced to kill their darlings. They should have. Alternatively, they should really think about making it a real three-day event. That would probably be the best. I’d love to go to that game.

To us the game was also about trying out the Ars Marte. It seemed to really work. We’ll need to fine-tune the workshop and add a nota bene about being clear on when it should be used (or integrated) with other methods of fighting but the overall feedback we got was really positive.

Lots of cred also goes out to those of my co-players that kept me on my toes, among other things beautiful play of psychotic psychologist, madly smitten security guard and fierce but terrified fighter.

Look out for the next run of this fascinating story and great game! It’ll be worth it!

Eliot Wieslander

August 4, 2014

To change the world for the better has been on my agenda since I was a very small person. In big and small, I try. Still there are some things that feel more in tune with that ambition than other. Being a teacher, one of the experts, at the Larpwriters summer school this year wasn’t only a very humbling and thought provoking exercise in how to design and produce games, more than anything it was one of those experience where ‘change’ was the cornerstone of it all.

We had participants from almost all over the world. Canada, Brazil, Russia, Belarus and Palestine to mention a few. Most experts and content producers were, as the initiators, Martin and Martin, from the Nordics and the practical logistics were masterminded and beautifully executed by the Belarus organizers.

I found it very refreshing to sit and talk to people who are aware that they live in dictatorship and want to change it but who can also explain, plainly and without dogma, what is missing in the, often capitalist, reform attempts. It turns out that Putnam’s theory on what makes democracy work might be applicable in these cases too; a functional democracy requires trust in community, confidence in reciprocal systems and non-work activities in which people to things together rather than alone and isolated.

Larps can be one solution to all of this! Trough being part of introducing these tools I felt I could inspire and contribute, helping our fabulous participants in their future endeavours. Almost as much as I felt they gave me motivation, new thoughts and most of all some new people to admire, people who will surely better the world both locally and on a global scale.

Resourses

The summer school uses The mixing desk of larp to explain the different aspects of designing larps. You can read about it here or watch Barke Pedersens talk here.

Three papers representing players before, during and after the larp

The illustration used to explain bleed.

During the summer school all of the faders were each introduced in a 15 minutes talk given by the different teacher. You can find all of them on youtube here.

I presented the faders of Bleed in and Representation of theme, possibly creating a new, visual, definition of bleed, The felt pen definition, in the process.

I also gave a longer talk on creating playable cultures.

You can find all of the talks form this year here

Eliot Wieslander

July 5, 2014

Ars amandi handsThe new site is on line! We decided to put it up already even without all the content we’re soon ready to publish. Hopefully it will make it easier to iron out the issues it might have before we do more with it.

One of the reasons is that some of the methods will be used during larps this summer. As we’ve been asked about what we do at workshops for the ars amandi method (and we already had the manual written) it seemed daft not to refer to the site. We especially look forward to Last Will, who will use not only ars amandi, but also ars marte.

Enjoy! And please let us know what you think!

Love! <3

At Solmoukohta 2012 the ars marte was workshopped the first time with a more diverse group. It went really well and we decided to keep evolving and exploring it. Now it will probably be used in the awesome dystopic highlight of the nordic larp summer 2014: Last Will.

Ars marte

Johan and Sofia showing the ars marte method

In order to make that easier we’re also making an article on it, similar to existing descriptions of what ars amandi is and a suggestion for how to workshop it.  Sofia Stenler, one of the inspiring creators of Last Will, helped us with some pictures to illustrate the article. You find it in full here.

 

Eliot Wieslander

June 2, 2014

We are extra proud to announce that Emma Wieslander is going to be one of the experts at this years larp writers summer school!

Picture from larpwriters summer school

The idea behind the summer school is just like ours, to change the world:

We believe larp can change the world. That it’s harder to disrespect, have prejudices against, or start a war with someone when you have been in their shoes. By creating international networks, sharing experiences and reflecting upon them we believe larp can promote understanding and create a better world to live in.

The goal of the Larpwriter summer school is to create this international network and to empower it’s participants with the experiences and the tools they need to create their own roleplaying games and larps.

The Larpwriter summer school is designed to take participants with little or no larp experience to the level where they have the tools and enthusiasm to organize their own larps.

What’s not to love! <3

That it’s a cooperation with organizers from both Norway and Belarus standing up for these values together doesn’t exactly make the whole project any less interesting. At least we know what to do now exempt from our own projects — to read up on what seems to be a very interesting design tool: the mixing desk of larp.

Eliot Wieslander

May 18, 2014

Ten years ago Ars amandi was an organization, not just people who hang out and do stuff. There’s a joke that the first thing three Swedes would do on a deserted island would be to start an organization (en förening). The non profit, non governmental (although often funded by governmental subsidiaries) form of organizations is one part of the nordic larp tradition that rarely gets a mentioning or the credit that is due; by organizing with statutes (bylaws), membership, transparency, democratic decision-making and all that it’s not at all strange that an immensely participatory culture can grow.

Because we really didn’t organize anything for a while we let the organization rest. Because of new reasons, like it would be good to have a bank account that isn’t paired with a specific person in the collective and because doing anything in Sweden is a lot easier if you are a “ideell förening” we decided to start it up again.

This weekend we had a first annual meeting and both adjusted the statutes and elected a formal board. This means that you can now join in and become an actual member of Ars amandi. Right now that means that you will be able to access some more stuff on this page as well as be able to exercise your democratic right to decide things at the next annual meeting. To become a member sign up here.

Who knows, maybe you’ll have the news of what we’re up to a little before everyone else too…