LajvVerkstaden (The Larp Workshop) works with nordic-style larp as a cultural form and an educational tool. We design many different types of events – from serious games about democracy and oppression to playful larps in fantasy settings. Our projects are created in collaboration with schools, businesses and NGOs and are specifically designed to give participants access to a learning experience that reaches them not just on an intellectual level, but physically and emotionally as well.
The contents of the games generally cover specific factual knowledge (how do I make a budget?) but also extend to moral reflection (Am I obliged to help others in financial need?). We visit schools and work as educators in the classroom – but mostly, we bring students and teachers out of the school building, to visit other worlds.
What is Nordic-style Larp?
Nordic-style larp is a term used to describe a school of larp game design that emerged in the Nordic countries. Nordic-style larp is dramatically different from larp in other parts of the world – here are a few examples of aims and ideals that are typical for this unique gaming scene:
Immersion. Nordic larpers want to feel like they are “really there”. This includes creating a truly convincing illusion of physically being in a medieval village/on a space ship/WWII bunker, playing a character that is very close to your own physical appearance, as well as focusing on getting under the character’s skin to “feel their feelings”. Dreaming in character at night is seen by some nordic larpers as a sign of an appropriate level of immersion.
Collaboration. Nordic-style larp is about creating an exciting and emotionally affecting story together, not measuring your strength. There is no winning, and many players intentionally let their characters fail in their objectives to create more interesting stories.
Artistic vision. Many Nordic games are intended as more than entertainment – they make artistic or even political statements. The goal in these games is to affect the players long term, to perhaps change the way they see themselves or how they act in society. An example of this is the game Just a Little Lovin’, about the AIDS epidemic, that LajvVerkstaden produced last summer.
If you want to learn more about Nordic-style larp, this blog post by American journalist Lizzie Stark is an excellent introduction.
Isn’t doing this for children a little dangerous?
Our childrens’ games are obviously not as hardcore as the adult nordic games, but we do work within the nordic larp style on an age appropriate level. Participating in a nordic-style larp should be as engaging and emotionally affecting – maybe even heartbreaking – as reading an amazing novel. And it is something that every kid should get to experience.