The larp Mad About the Boy seems to work on many meta levels. At least, that’s my impression of it the more I think about it, having yet to experience it. I recently talked about my thoughts on my character and what I’m expecting to happen in the game on Tuesday. One of these meta levels is the preparation that goes into this game. I can’t imagine it on the level of the organizers, but as a player, there’s a lot of work to be done.
We’ve been chatting online via google groups, facebook, email, and forum for about three weeks now. Chatting about everything from practical stuff like how everyone is getting to the campsite, to character stuff like how if the Event happened right now, Hillary Clinton would be the first woman in line for Presidency. These conversations seem to be really integral to the game. It gets us knowing each other ahead of time, out of character, so we will be more comfortable roleplaying with each other once we get in character. It also helps us all really think about the setting and how our characters will fit into it. Getting into the mindspace.
One of the most interesting details of planning has been where we will all sleep. Once we get in character, we’ll basically be in character for two days. While we eat, while we sleep, where we sleep. There’s a few cabins with eight bunks each, and the Committee has been deciding through roleplay where we will all be bunking and who with. We got our sleeping arrangements this week, and let me tell you, I think that is a huge part of the game. What characters will be with each other most of the time, where we will be put, grounds us in a certain comfort zone with each other. I have never been this immersed in a game before that where I slept was so important to my character.
So I’ve been thinking about this, the themes of the game. I know that one of the intents is to tell women’s stories. At least, I presume, I don’t really know the designers intents, this is all my musing. The game is for women, about women, in a hypothetical world where men no longer exist. This poses so many questions. What roles will women take? Are women as capable as men, in all types of work? In the game itself, will women play differently without men in the game? Will we use the guns that we’re given and resort to violence? Will this really be different than any other game?
This is what I’m curious about the most. This theme is so laden with responsibility, with the burden to… give birth. That is one of the main parts of the game. To get the sperm. To compete over who is fit enough to be a mother. This is so striking to me because that struggle is often essential to women in our daily lives. Are you pretty enough to secure a boyfriend? Get married? Have children? To make this the crux of the game hits pretty close to home and I’m certain that’s part of the designers intent. To break down those expectations that we have in the real world, examine them, and determine their validity. All of this through the lense of a competition over the last sperm on earth. The irony isn’t lost on me.
There’s been some interesting roleplay on the forums so far, most of it private so I won’t share it here. Most entries are written in the form of journaling. What does the post-apocalypse feel like to these women? What do they miss, what do they fill their daily lives with, what are their fears and their hopes? All of this to build our story together. I can’t wait to delve into it this weekend.
A few more meta musings, from some of my fellow players.
Pre-game feeling: to not feel scared- which has been going well. Game-time feelings: To deal with so many personalities well. To not (Plato’s) cave-in. To explore the many possibilities within the game. Post-game hopeful feelings are: I hope to meet new people with similar goals, visions, and desires. I hope to maintain an interest in Nordic Style larps in America. I hope professional contacts are reciprocated. Fears? All and none. – Liz
I’m engaging in a challenging role. For me at least. I don’t have much in common with the gun-toting, home-schooling, super conservative, religious Nora, other than we probably could agree on the value of organic produce. It’s thrilling, but more than a little scary, even for a long time horror RPG enthusiast. But my view is to not to overthink it. It’s all going to unfold in unexpected, weird and interesting ways. Let it happen. – Terry