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I'm starting a Sci-Fi LARP near where I live and so far only my close friends are going to attend,

What would be the best way to increase my player-base?

Also it'll be my first event that I've hosted so what facilities should I ensure are on site?

My system involves a faction based territory system, what would be better for strongholds, fortifications/ flags or small structures/ computers etc.?

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As well as facilities I'd say safety and insurance are, going to be your primary concern. Make sure that wherever you hold this you have at the very least a first aider there for any sort of injury that may occur and the means to get someone to hospital if necessary; one larp I was in a friend fell and shattered their shoulder while just running down a hill, and he was a veteran larper.

Insurance is a consideration if you're playing with anyone other than a bunch of friends, a decent short disclaimer form (You may suffer injuries, organisation not responsible) to get you out of any unlikely but sadly possibly quandries if someone you've never met before turns up and causes a fuss.

Also; I forgot one other important thing; I see you're from the UK (Horah for another Brit, welcome!) so if you're doing any kind of scifi and waving around pretend guns make sure that you're either well out of sight of the public, have signposts or have made the police aware of what you're doing - one of my friends was running a cyberpunk style game and had the armed response unit turn up, that was not fun!

Also: Inspection! People will bring their own gear, it's wise when people you don't know are attending that the stuff they are bringing is safe. The usual way to verify this is to hit them with their own gear ;) But I've heard horror stories of gaffa taped steel cored weapons and the like - safety again!

So, facilities:

First aid! For scratches, cuts, allergies and bites.

Toilets! You have to go sooner or later.

Fresh water. Especially if you're playing somewhere hot.

Shelter. For when the water starts falling from the sky.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not only +1 to the answer, but +1 to the urgency of safety. 1) Make sure that no-one takes dangerous props with them (knifes, for example). 2) Make sure that every group that might be heading into the woods is accompanied by someone who knows the area and has a map and a means to call in help. 3) Make sure the local ambulance knows where the event will be held. -- This is not recommended lightly; I've been witness to a very close call because our group hadn't learned those lessons yet. (It took two hours to get the guy to hospital, and he would've bled to death in another.) \$\endgroup\$ – DevSolar Jun 28 '12 at 10:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Make sure you have the exact coordinates (address, post code, GPS, whatever) to give to an emergency operator so that any ambulances you might call will not be delayed. Make sure that this information is easy to find in case you're the one that needs the ambulance. \$\endgroup\$ – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Jun 28 '12 at 11:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sardathrion: That is why I suggested talking to the ambulance service beforehand. They usually appreciate being proactively informed of the event, can take their time figuring out where it is and how they best get there, and if they get a confused call from "that LARP place", they know where to go even if the caller doesn't. (Then again, I'm talking about experience with German ambulance. YMMV.) \$\endgroup\$ – DevSolar Jun 28 '12 at 11:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DevSolar: In my experience, all ambulance crews prefer to know where to go and not need to rather than need to and not know where. \$\endgroup\$ – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Jun 28 '12 at 12:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for extremely important point which I had neglected to address. Take this answer seriously. \$\endgroup\$ – Tynam Jun 29 '12 at 8:29
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Increasing the player base

The first question is not just how but when to increase the player base. If you expand ahead of your readiness, you'll lose people just as quickly. If this is the first event you've ever hosted, a demo dry-run with 'just close friends' to test the system and preparations isn't a bad idea. If it's possible, get feedback

(Depending on your site and finances, this may not be practical. But if it is, do it.)

Once you're ready, the number one recruitment resource is your friendly local gaming store. Post an advert. (Remember to include a range of contact methods.)

The other big resource is, of course, the internet. Find local LARP forums, if any. Use general forums and advertise for gamers in your area. LARP, much more than tabletop, is a community activity - you need to plug in to existing communities as much as possible while you build a new one.


Things you need on site

  • Spare copies of the rules. Some players will want them (or you need to improve them!)

  • Paper and pens. You'll need them for something, sooner or later. If there's no good surfaces, add 'clipboard'.

  • Toilet facilities - adequate to the number of players!

  • Drinks (and food, if your game's going to last a while), either in-game or for after-party. In the long run this is player's responsibility, but you're trying to recruit, so be a friendly host.

  • Spare weapons for just-showed-up-to-give-it-a-go players. If you're still recruiting, you won't be able to enforce high costume/prop/weapon standards initially, so have loaners on hand. Somebody will need them.

  • Flexible spare costume parts, for the same reason. If possible, miscellaneous additional 'props' for people to borrow.

  • If your system uses them, don't forget stage blood and bandages.

  • Suggestion and feedback forms. Make it as easy as possible for people to tell you what they did and didn't like afterwards; this doesn't help you recruit players, but it helps you keep them.


I think 'what would be better for strongholds' is really a separate question and might be worth asking as such. The short form answer: it (a) depends heavily on the shape of your available play space and (b) doesn't really matter; how well it works will have a lot more to do with your rules and equipment than your choice of structure.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Note on toilets: Make sure you have male and female ones. Ditto for showers. \$\endgroup\$ – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Jun 28 '12 at 10:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the help :) I have organised playtests to see how the system works and make sure that players get enough enjoyment as well! \$\endgroup\$ – MavericktheBroken1 Jun 28 '12 at 11:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 Great checklist of things you need and won't realise you need until you do! \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Jun 29 '12 at 9:39
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Increasing your player base.

Not sure how it works in your country, but in France, the main way to find a LARP is through friends. Once you've taggued in your first game, the aquaintances you made will recommand you new events to try. So as a GM perspective, invite your LARP friends, and they will bring along more people.

Our organization association also set up a Facebook page to give news about our upcoming events in order to engage people.

You may not have a hundred players in your first event, but a happy player is a player who comes back with a group of friend.

Bu sure also to set boundaries on the factions' size and the number of players. It would be easier to manage a small group a person for a first time event.

I highly prefer a nice event well thought for 25/50 people than a huge mess for more than a hundred players, because the GM didn't know where to stop.

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