What are the contest dates again?

1 August - 23 September 2017. We'll throw out any games submitted after 23 September (by the most liberal time zone interpretation of that date). The winners will be announced at Metatopia in November.

What do you mean by, "Be a new, unpublished freeform larp"?

Original and unpublished. If you are recycling old ideas that's fine, but don't submit anything you've previously submitted to another contest, and don't submit anything you wrote previously and stuffed in a drawer, and don't submit anything you've already published in any form. Let your conscience guide you when it comes to what "new" means, but "unpublished" means you have never released it in any form, for free or for profit, in print or electronically, until now. If you have never published your game, but have been running it on the convention circuit for awhile, please consider submitting something else.

What do you mean by, "Games should be playable with zero to minimal prep"?

The players of the game should be able to grab the print out and play, with no preparation beforehand required (or very little at least). And above and beyond that, we're looking for set-up that is simple and easy, and few additional props or tools needed beyond paper and pencil.

What do you mean by, "Take up no more than 4 total sides of 8.5x11 inch paper. (Minimum point size accepted is 8. The libretto does not count toward this limit.)?"

We're looking for games that are concise and elegant. The directions for play need to fit on four sides of a sheet of paper--and be readable (hence the minimum font size). Allow for printing margin as well. All cards, prompts or other parts of the game need to be included in that area. However, what those direction ask you to do need not be simple or short. We'd love to see a wide range of games emerge from this format. The libretto should be attached at the beginning as a fifth page, with no more than 200 words.

Does it count if I playtest the game myself?

We are asking designers to include at least one person other than themselves in the design process. If you choose to go down the playtesting route, you can certainly be one of the testers, but at least one playtester who is not you should also try the game.

What do you mean by, "Be playable in under 2 hours"?

All explanation, gameplay, and any debrief must take place within 2 hours.

What do you mean by, "Game that non-gamers can understand, play, and enjoy"?

To qualify for this category, a game must be designed such that group of players, all of whom have never been previously been exposed to larping or gaming, can pick up the game play it. The game does not need to be targeted to all non-gamer audiences (for example, it can be geared toward teens or corporate retreats), but gaming experience cannot be a requirement.

Do you mean literal "eyeballs"?

In today's world, "eyeballs" can mean a lot of things, including but not exclusive to literal ones. You pick.

What does "alchemy" mean?

"Alchemy" is a word with a wide range of definitions. It shows in up contexts like magic, history, transformation, attraction, science, myth, and more. Use your creativity here.

Is there a prize for winning?

You mean like an electroplated Ferrari or a dice bag made out of unicorn leather? No. But even entering the contest means you have a cool game under your belt, and this impressive and honorable accomplishment grants you entry into the mysterious Circle of Power. We will try to run some of the games at Metatopia 2016.

Can you define "Freeform"?

Not really, we're trying to be inclusive in our definition. We're asking for freeform larp again this year since this has become a looked-to venue for writing such games. The games may include elements of other styles of play (tabletop rpg, online, pervasive, etc.), but must have live play in them.

Freeform is used to describe many kinds of games from indie tabletop, to larp in the UK, to scenarios in Denmark, a wide variety of games in the Americas, Sweden and beyond. Freeform has been used to describe tabletop, full live action play and more.

Here's some further discussion that gets at what we're looking for:

Sara Williamson: " I wrote a game called Shelter that I think fits into the freeform category; it involves touching the other person you're playing with and things like keeping your eyes closed, so to me this feels a bit larpy even though it can be played entirely while seated (or while cuddling or while making out). But it has some tabletop elements, too: you might say things like "And then my character picks up the stone tablet, and a look of horror crosses their face" instead of in a larp where you might pick up a prop and convey the look of horror yourself."

Mikael Andersson: "I kind of feel like nailing down what freeform is and isn't is needlessly narrowing its potential scope. It's a form that's free, after all. I think the rules presented on Oct 1st will give some submission criteria, which might help a bit. At its core, I think of freeform as just "the absence of [traditional] structure". There's a structure, of course, and there may even be mechanics... but it's often not based on using tokens of randomization and currency to determine and manipulate outcomes. The player's goals are frequently not aligned with their character's goals. There may not be a 1:1 player:character map, nor character ownership. There may or may not be a game master, and that person may or may not take on a traditional game master role. There are rarely any numbers or number crunching involved in play. But the more I talk the more I realize I'm assigning shape to something elusive by design, so I'll stop now."

How do I contact you?

Back to the contest page please!