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Sunday, March 22, 2020

An Overview of existing LAOGs - Live Action Online Games

Live action is for everybody. Larping online makes larping accesible to a completely new audience, makes it much easier for people with kids, financial,  mental or physical constraints and allows for a truly global audience at a minimum of environmental costs.

It's time to list all the existing games (of my knowledge) and where to find them. [EDIT: So many larps have been transitioned to be played online due to the Corono-crisis, I can't list them all but will focus on those with interesting design choices specifically for online play.]


What are we talking about


First of all, the basics what we talk about. A LAOG - a Live Action Online Game - is a live action game to be played online. 

LAOGs usually consist of: 
  1. Full embodiment of the character
  2. Play via video call
  3. Meta-techniques via technology
But be aware of the golden rule of game design frameworks:

Break any of these fundamentals: it’s even more so a LAOG
LAOGs bring with them
  •  Accessibility (of a different kind)
  •  Safety (of a different kind)
  •  Global exchange

Playing online means:
  • We have recorded games (documentation!)
  • Side chat as a tool / meta space
  • New requirements for on-boarding, check-ins, debrief etc.
The full manifesto with all details you look for, some further explanation on each of the above points etc can be found on NordicLarp.org

For more thoughts on what design challenges and opportunities in LAOG design, check out this article on my blog.

Game examples and where to get them




In the following, I list a couple of LAOGs, give a short description, if available a screenshot of game play, and what I think the game brought to the design framework. 




So Mom, I made this sex tape

[by Susanne Vejdemo, LAOG adaptation by Gerrit Reininghaus]

Women of a family of different generations of feminists come together to discuss how to proceed with the leaked sex tape of the daughter. 
  • Video call is happening in-game
  • Cameras switched off at the end, only those return who support the daughter

Where to get the game:

  1. The game is included in the Hashtag Feminism Anthology
  2. The Google Spreadsheet template can be found in the Google Play Aids folder (make a copy)

Watch an actual play here: 
So Mom, I made this sex tape (Gauntlet community)


Last Words

[by Gerrit Reininghaus]

An unfortunate death separates two people who still have unresolved business. An angel tries to bring peace to the deceased by entering the living‘s dreams.
Asymmetric communication through separate voice call

  • Collaborative image board
  • Only the audience watching the game gets the full picture (reversal of power positions)

The setup of Last Words
 Where to get the game:

  1.  Last Words in the free un-edited form without any layout: 
  2. The fully lay-outed and edited version is included in Gauntlet Codex Melancholy, an issue of the monthly Indie RPG game magazine Codex containing three or more complete games. 
Watch an actual play here:

End Game

[by David Hertz from Glass Free Games, LAOG re-design by Gerrit Reininghaus]
A professional eSport-team let sink in that they lost their position in the commercial league. 

  • Two video rooms
  • Switch group composition every 10 minutes
  • Facilitator plays NPCs
  • Personal ‚email‘ written and revealed at the same time through a Google Spreadsheet implementation
Where to get the game:
  1. The free Larp version can be found on DriveThruRPG
  2. The LAOG re-design is in this self-contained Google Spreadsheet (make a copy)

Screenshot from one of the runs on the Gauntlet Calendar
Watch an actual play here:
End Game (Gauntlet community) (be reminded that this was run in two video rooms. Find the link to the second room in the shownotes and watch it in parallel to get the full blast)


Auszug aus dem Feenwald

[by Gerrit Reininghaus]
Four magical entities, the Forest, the Winds, the Faerie and the Animals, need to come to a conclusion although they speak very different languages. 

  • Asymmetric communication 
  • Chat as a second in-game channel

Where to get the game:
The game is currently only available in German. 
  1. The edited and lay-outed version is included in the RollInclusive Kickstarter material by Feder & Schwert (publisher)
  2. The raw text version can  plus an accompanying handout can be found in this Google Drive folder

Outscored

[by Gerrit Reininghaus; Golden Cobra Winner 2019]
In a dystopian near-future friends with a shared passion want to go to university. But a high social credit score is obligatory.

  • Using screen light to illuminate faces in different lights
  • Collaborative Spreadsheet works as control to change light on others‘ faces. 

Where to get the game:

  1. This is the PDF download of the game as it was handed in for the Golden Cobra Challenge. If anybody wants to properly publish it, feel free to get in touch with me.
  2. The Play Aid which is necessary to have to play can be found in the Gauntlet's Play Aids folder - make a copy 



Screencap of an actual play of Outscored
Watch an actual play here:

The Election of the Wine Queen

[by Björn Butzen & Silvia Ochlast, LAOG re-design by Gerrit Reininghaus]
A village celebrates its annual wine queen election tradition and reveals some uncanny truths about the villagers.

  • ‚Digital black box‘ with framed scenes planned continously
  • Scene ending through song playing
  • Getting (appropriately) drunk being part of the game
  • Inner monologue as video diary
Where to get the game:

  1. The free un-edited version without proper layout is available as a PDF
  2. The beautiful version with layout, info graphics and professionally editing can be found in Gauntlet Codex Sunlight on DriveThruRPG
  3. A Play Aid and the obligatory drinking song can be found in the Gauntlet's Play Aids folder
Screencap from an actual play of Election of the Wine Queen
Watch an actual play here:
The Election of the Wine Queen (Gauntlet community, German)

Makeup Moments


[by Gerrit Reininghaus]
Celebrating the moments of putting on makeup together before an important event. 
  • Actually putting makeup on
  • Using the video camera as a mirror
  • Celebratory selfies at the end of the game for empowerment
Screencap of an actual play of Makeup Moments
Where to get the game:
  1. The un-edited version without layout etc is available for free here
  2. The beautiful version can be found in Gauntlet Codex Glamour 2 on DriveThruRPG. 

Watch an actual play here:
Makeup Moments - Raging Swans (Gauntlet community)
Makeup Moments - Captain and Alien (Gauntlet community)

ViewScream

[by Rafael Chandler]
Officers in different areas of a crashing space ship need help from each other to survive. 
  • Video call stands for internal communication
  • Blue screen technique
ViewScream was the very first LAOG. 

Where to get the game:
You can buy ViewScream 2nd edition on DriveThruRPG. 

Watch an actual play here:
One of the many actual plays on Youtube is this here.

Society of Vegan Sorcerers


[by Wendy Gorman]
A recently turned vegan group of expert sorcerers come together to find vegan substitutes for their bloody rituals. 
  • Use of actual vegetables and fruits
  • Simulates online conference with speakers, question rounds etc. 
    Screencap of an actual play of Society of Vegan Sorcerers
Where to get the game:
The game can be found in Gauntlet Codex Yellow on DriveThruRPG. 

Watch an actual play here:
Society of Vegan Sorcerers (Gauntlet community)


Winterhorn

[by Jason Morningstar, LAOG adaption by Gerrit Reininghaus]
A group of secret service officials meet formally with the task to destroy a political activist group.

  • Video conference hassles (‘can you hear me’) part of the game
  • Distribution of responsibility roles (not everything lies on the facilitator’s shoulders)

Responsibility roles as managed online in Winterhorn
 Where to get the game:
  1. The game can be bought on the Bully Pulpit Games homepage
  2. The templates to play the game online contain too many original parts of the game. If you want to play it online, buy the above version and get in touch with me. 
Watch an actual play here:
Winterhorn (Gauntlet community)

They're Onto Me

[by Banana Chan]
Screencap from a recording
by Tobie Abad
The lizard men conspiracy is uncovered by us and we do daily video diaries to document our investigations.

  • Solo game as a video diary
  • Pervasive AF
  • Story prompts for input

Where to get the game:
  1. A free unpolished version can be found on the Golden Cobra Challenge homepage
  2. An enhanced and beautified version is included in The Imposters anthology, to be found on DriveThruRPG
Watch an actual play here:
They're Onto Me video diary by Tobi Abad

#instayogathegame

[by Shawn Roske]
Live the life of Instagram yoga celebrities and post about you wisdom.

  • Doing actual yoga but pause every few poses to post beautiful photos of yourself on Insta
  • Mutual support and celebration by commenting is the next phase before returning to yoga

Where to get the game:
Not yet available publicly. Get in touch with Shawn and ask him. 

Watch an actual play here:
My private Instagram (@gerlusar) shows some impressions. Some more can be found publicly under the Instagram hashtag #instayogathegame

Chariot

[by Tara Clapper]
Between cryo-sleep on a space ship, the crew has to make important decisions about what society they want.

  • Commercial set-up (you pay for sign-up) guarantees smooth experience
  • On-boarding experience to get into character


Where to get the game:
Look out for runs of the game on geekinitiative or Tara's Facebook Page

Tara has several other professional games and more in development you shouldn't miss out. 

Watch an actual play here:
Chariot - The Trailer


Good Society

[by storybrewers, Vee Hendro and Hayley Gordon]
Good Society is a collaborative roleplaying game that seeks to capture the heart, and the countenance, of Jane Austen’s work. You can buy the larp version individually. The larp version contains rules for online play over a Discord server through several voice / video channels working as separate rooms.


Where to get the game:
The larp version of the mainly sold as a freeform tabletop RPG can be found on the storybrewer's website. It contains the rules for online play. 


The House

Screenshot of the Youtube playlist
 of The House
You’re a character in a reality TV show (think The Real World or Big Brother). You live in public with a bunch of other narcissists, sharing a house and daily rituals together.

  • Very first LAOG (from 2012) though not in the sense that it was played simultaneously live
  • Everything is told through daily video diary journals 

Where to get the game:
Different rules versions can be found on http://thehousethegame.blogspot.com/

Watch an actual play here:
There is a whole Youtube playlist with video snippets which were part of different runs of the game.

Project: Memory

[by Tara M. Clapper]
In this 2-6 player digital larp, characters discover their ties to each other after previously subjecting themselves to memory wipes. This emotional larp relies heavily on blackbox techniques converted for digital larp use.


Where to get the game:
The game is available as a free download on the Golden Cobra Challenge website. 

As We Know It 

[by Aven Elia]
A game about hiding out from an alien invasion. You've been bunkered down in this space for a while and you're trying to find others through text messages.
  • all texting
  • to be played in a dark room

Where to get the game:
The game can be found in the Golden Cobra Challenge game collection of 2015.


Long Time Listener, Lasts Time Caller

[by Jeff Dieterle]
The GM is a radio host and is accepting callers. As the calls come in, the host realizes that there's an apocalypse headed their way.

Where to get the game:

  1. The game can be found on the Golden Cobra Challenge website or on DriveThruRPG and is free.
  2. For play as a LAOG, Barry Cook has created a Play Aid to be found in the Gauntlet Play Aids folder - make a copy


Doll

[by Josh Jordan]
Doll is a supposed to be a storytelling game for two but can be perfectly played as a LAOG, i.e. without leaving character at all.
One person plays a child whose pet has just died. The other person plays the child's doll, puppet, or other toy. The doll knows everything that goes on in the house, but it does not always tell the truth. During the game the child will try to find out the truth about their parents from their unreliable doll.

Where to get the game:
Find the game on DriveThruRPG for $4.

Watch an actual play here:
Buzz, die Puppe, und das Kind (German)

Screencap of an actual play of Doll


Sunlight

[by Tobie Abad]
Space travelers are sent out on a light beam technology. But something has gone wrong. You are command and must safe everybody. 
  • Real-time experience, time pressure
  • Game-Chef entry 2016
Where to get the game:
  1. The PWYW 1st edition is available on DriveThruRPG
  2. The better laid out 2nd edition is there as well

More to come

LAOGs are on the rise. Live Action is for everybody. So, go ahead, design your own LAOG. If you give me a link and a short description, I will happily include your game in this list. Get in touch with me on Twitter @greininghaus or wherever else you can find me.