I am considering an educational larp, perhaps even suitable for a lesson of one and half an hour in length at gymnasium (roughly: high school) level or at yläkoulu (roughly: middle school) level, supposing the class is not too large. The game should be playable in other contexts. Probably 6-30 players, with focus on 8-20 players. The time limit is not a necessary feature, but it would be nice.
The players are divided into two teams. Each player will have a short description of their character, which communicates some of their social context, their goals, and maybe personality or other such traits for inspiration. The description will also contain historical/setting information.
The groups are decision-making bodies that oppose each other. Both will decide how aggressively they will act towards the other. At the end, everyone will gather in the same space, the decisions of both groups will be compared in a prisoner's dilemma -kind of way to see how history unfolds in this case. There will be no other contact between the groups.
Restrictions and limits
- Players will not have prepared for the game and are not assumed to be familiar with the initial situation.
- There will be a short common introduction (maybe 5 or 10 minutes).
- Most of the facts and rumours regarding the setting and the conflict will only be given to specific players through their character descriptions / info sheets.
- Players should not have to read very much - the game should teach by play, not by studying for play.
How many layers of information, or how deep information, should the players have? The main educational goals are to give a sense of the event and the political issues of the time, and to give a sense of political decision-making. Here, political decision making means making decisions under uncertainty (already provided by the other team) when the involved people have somewhat different personal goals and various opinions on the proper methods for reaching those goals.
Example of layers of information
- One layer of information: The communist revolution in the east is likely to succeed.
- Two layers of information: The communist revolution in the east is likely to succeed, since they defeated the troops sent against them.
- Three layers of information: The communist revolution in the east is likely to succeed, since they defeated the troops sent against them. Many of the defeated joined the communist revolution and the rest were killed.
(In case anyone is interested.) The situation is likely to be one of the following: the beginning of Finnish civil war, a decisive moment in the history of IKL or Lapuan liike, or a decisive moment in the history of SMP and Maalaisliitto.
I am interested in best practices and experiences of negotiation-focused larps. My experience is mostly on the tabletop side. I also have some experience as a teacher (of mathematics, not history).