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Bear redux, from a propmaster's point of view: I was afraid that the… - bearinwinter [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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[Feb. 2nd, 2004|12:31 pm]
bearinwinter

bearinwinter

[jendaviswilson]
Bear redux, from a propmaster's point of view:

I was afraid that the smaller rooms would be too dark, or that we didn't have enough things to make the right atmosphere (each room except the control room only had a very small box of stuff), but it came out much better than anticipated. It was a lot of work, and a lot of cash for the hundreds of yards of fabric involved, but at least now we have those things and don't have to buy them again.

Personally, I prefer games to be as immersive as possible. (Michael made some joke last night about me being Donitz: an Immersion Nazi.) This means that I tried to force Michael to have as little out-of-game paper as possible. Of course, it seems that this ended up meaning having as much in-game paper as possible, but that's another story. Also, almost every larp I've been in has had the big-ol-binder, which I always felt like I was hiding behind. This was the birth of the period leather wallets, which I've heard mixed reviews about. I thought that it would be nice to have a container for all the papers that was relatively inobtrusive when not being used. I'm open to other suggestions for the future, although probably the biggest fix is to not have so much paper.

On the paper front, I had a blast making all the documents, and although there were a lot of them, I hope people were entertained. The labbooks and blueprints especially, although it can be rather hard finding an appropriate image for "coelonaut equipage" on google image search. I particularly liked the Obregon Support Belt and the Dephlogistonation equipment. Michael brewed up the tech game and handed it over to me for implementation--at first I didn't understand what was going on, but as I started making the labbooks, I realized what a nifty system it was--many people had sequential projects, and were given surplusses and scarcities.

The financial system was also nifty--I like the fact that, like in real life, nothing had an absolute value in game. The values were fuzzy depending on how much you paid for something and how much someone else was willing to pay. The assessors all varied by a bit, so you could get a general idea of the worth of an object.

I wish that I had been at check-in to help distribute and explain the moveables and sparkly props--there was a lot of confusion about certain things, or information that didn't get conveyed. A thing to be remembered in the future.

Overall, I'd like to hear people's impressions of what they liked, or what they think could be improved for the hypothetical next time. I forgot to save some of the discarded paper to see how people managed their record-keeping. My goal is to provide things that facilitate roleplaying and don't require people to break character to deal with mechanics.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: eilonwey
2004-02-02 09:32 pm (UTC)
I thought the props and sets were fantastic. The valuables/antiquities system was also fun to play with.

I did have problems shuffling papers in the period wallets. I liked that they could be easily tucked under the arm when not in use, and that they didn't hide your costume, but they could be hard to manipulate. (As you said, might have something to do with the volume of papers.)

I wonder if a compromise between the modern looking binder and the period wallet might be a "leather" binder of some sort? Perhaps a half-size one so it wouldn't be as obtrusive as an 8 1/2 x 11 vinyl binder. The convenience of a binder is that you don't have to be as concerned about stuff falling out, and it's easy to flip through.

A few of my other thoughts about the game are posted in my latest journal entry, for what they're worth.

In general, thanks to you and the other gm's for all your hard work - it was a cool game!
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[User Picture]From: xleste
2004-02-02 07:55 pm (UTC)
I LOVED the leather-ish wallets instead of binders. I treated mine exactly like I would a purse. It wasn't the volume of paper so much as getting them jumbled up, so I compartmentalized mine. A simple remedy like paperclipping like documents together would have served all my "problems" with it (if you can even call them problems, since I actually found it way easier than a binder to manipulate).
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-02-02 10:19 pm (UTC)

Bulgaria's thoughts

I really loved the wallets. My paper-management problems came more from what was clipped to what and how many different-sized pieces of paper I had. Essentially blank, character-nonspecific paper (blank checks, maybe the talley sheet) could have been kept in the writing room to start with maybe. The little scraps of paper to insert into the hearts were a little difficult to manage, too. So my suggestions for next time would be: same sized paper, no blank paper to start, and 11x17 sheets folder as, well, folders to separate financial, political, game background, etc., packets within the wallet.

The technology papers (which I didn't get to examine until after the larp) were absolutely beautiful. The maps, deeds, and letters of credit were also wonderful.

I'd love it if you choose to put electronic versions of the various papers online so we can see the whole setup, but that may not be appropriate.

The rest of the props were deliciously over-the-top for a larp.

I'm surprised no one has singled out the "prototypes" for comments. *That* is what impressed me the second most (the set in general, combined with the NPC costumes, impressed me the most). I didn't get to see any in play (other than the personality-switching device, which *everyone* saw) and only on Sunday did I examine any in detail. Quite wonderful.

- Seth.
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[User Picture]From: jendaviswilson
2004-02-02 10:58 pm (UTC)

Re: Bulgaria's thoughts

Very good ideas! The packets were assembled pretty hastily, so in the future I'll remember to paperclip everything. Also, you are correct about the blank papers--there is no reason that those needed to be in the packets. I'll keep all that in mind for next time.

And thanks about the prototypes! They were fun to make. I was particularly proud that the three large ones all had functioning mechanisms of some kind: the brain-switcher had a turning valve handle (issues with the handles aside), the wireless transmitter had a crank and a wind-up wiggly thing, and the impulse translator was actually the guts of a working wind-up alarm clock.
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[User Picture]From: lurkingowl
2004-02-03 01:44 am (UTC)

Thoughts for next time...

I know there was a time crunch, but getting the Who you know information out ahead of the game would have smoothed things a lot. While avoiding breaking character to deal with mechanics, I spent a good chunk of time breaking character to figure out who people were, and how to deal with them.

The maps were beautiful, but as a colorblind person, color coding on cream colored paper left everything to the imagination.

Please make the assessor sheets full sized, and clearly marked. ;) I didn't figure out until after the game what that little piece of paper clipped in there meant. A brain fart, for sure, but not that hard to clarify.

I know you already know this, but the blueprint copying power needs to be heavily toned down. Giving one character more blueprints than anyone else (12,) and near infinite flexibility in what they are overshadowed a lot of the invention trades.

I would consider more ways for the games to interact with each other. As it was, it was hard to use any aspect of the finance game to influence the other spheres, with politics a close second. Whereas HoH manipulations had clear political uses, and inventions could influence any of the other areas. Assigning a monetary value to some of the inventions, having them require some resources in addition to keywords, adding an annual production to provinces, and an estimate of the value of economic concessions that might be made, would all help to tie the various areas together a bit.

I wasn't that active in the invention work, and blueprint copying seemed to get most things built in the end anyway. But, I might rethink the ability to use the same keyword in multiple lab books. Beware of multipliers, especially free ones. Were I a player in that game, and were keywords more scarce, I would have been buying/trading lab books off of people. The players seemed focused on trading blueprints rather than lab books. 2-3 players stacking their BPs and notebooks together could have easily busted things. Vanderbilt+Tesla, Horst+The King of the Moon, had they agreed to share prototypes or split labbooks, would have thrown off the balance. There was a certain point where the blueprints weren't going to be exchanged more, and I suspect Tesla could have made a -killing- by offering people a little something for notebooks they couldn't use, which he could get for free.
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