What is this contest about?

The Golden Cobra Challenge is a friendly contest open to anyone interested in writing and playing freeform larp. This is the third year of the contest. Most recently it ran from 5 September to 5 October 2016.

Golden Cobra Challenge 2017

The next Golden Cobra Challenge will launch on August 1, 2017. Stay tuned!

What games were entered in 2016?

As of the end of October 5, 2016 we received 70 games. Links are posted to games whose designers have given permission to share them.

Golden Cobra 2016 Entries

How do I play them?

Browse the list and download the games of your choice. Drop the designers a line if you play, they'd love to hear about it! After the contest is done, the games will be collected into the Golden Cobra Anthology 2016.

What happens next?

Judges will read the games during October and announce and run the winning games at Metatopia, 3-6 November 2016. The winners get bragging rights and everyone gets a new game they designed - and admission into the Golden Cobra'™s Circle of Power!

What is a golden cobra?

Only the baddest-ass snake in the jungle, which is something you should always aspire to be. Rules were announced on 5 September 2016.

The goal of the 2016 contest is to generate elegant, expansive, uplifting games. Golden Cobras were planned to be awarded in five categories:

Optional ingredients:

What are the competition constraints?

In order to be considered for a Golden Cobra, your game must:
  1. Consist of one or both sides of an 8 ½ by 11 inch or A4 sheet of paper. (Minimum point size accepted is 8.)
  2. Games should be playable with zero to minimal prep.

What are the Rules for Entering?

  1. Be a new, unpublished freeform larp. It is neither a tabletop roleplaying game or a video game.
  2. Present your game in a readable, playable format (pdf preferred).
  3. Your name can only appear on one entry but teams are welcome.
  4. Submit your game by 5 October in .pdf format and in English to submissions@goldencobra.org. Parallel versions in other languages or other formats are encouraged.
  5. You retain all rights to your work but grant the judges permission to print out and play the game you submit, and for it to be included in a free anthology after the contest.

What is freeform larp?

What we call freeform larp occupies a middle space between tabletop and full-blown live action role playing. They come in all shapes and sizes, all along the spectrum and keep incorporating new things as they come along. As a rule of thumb if there are simple, clever game mechanics but you have to stand up and move around at some point, it's probably freeform larp! There's more discussion in the FAQ, but our definitions are pretty loose.

Can I get some help?

Yes! If you would like to be put in touch with a more experienced designer or a peer for advice and mentorship, write to help@goldencobra.org. The judges will try to connect you with someone. If you would like to be a mentor, let us know! We'll probably ask you to even if you don't.

So who won in past years?

You can read about the winners and Honorable Mentions and Judges Choice Awards here.

Can I read any of the games?

Sure! Games from 2014 that the designers want to share with the public are here. And here they are from 2015. We salute all the Golden Cobra designers who have officially entered the Golden Cobra's Circle of Power!

Download the Golden Cobra 2014 Anthology and Golden Cobra 2015 Anthology of games. (Large file)

Can I spread the word?

Please do!

Who are the judges?

J Li, Whitney "Strix" Beltrán, Sara Williamson and Emily Care Boss. Assisted by Kat Jones, Evan Torner, Jason Morningstar and others.

I have more questions!

Check out the FAQ!