What is this contest about?
The Golden Cobra Challenge is a friendly contest open to anyone interested in writing and playing freeform larp. See our FAQ
and read more
about the challenge
Golden Cobra Challenge 2023
Browse past Golden Cobra games at the Interactive Archivebeta at the standard Archives.
See the the games submitted in 2022 and
games receiving awards and honorable mention in 2022.
Wishing the best to all who may take part. Welcome to the Golden Cobra Circle of power and good luck with your game!
What is a Golden Cobra?
Only the baddest-ass snake in the jungle, which is something you should always aspire to be. Rules announced on Monday, 11 September 2023. All submissions are due by Friday, 13 October 2023 at 11:59PM EDT (Eastern Daylight Time). Winners and Honorable Mentions will be announced on Friday November 3 at Metatopia.
As in 2022's challenge, this year’s Golden Cobra asks for games suitable for playing in pandemic conditions! The game must either be safely playable while players are masked and in a well-ventilated or outdoor space, or the game can be optimized for Web chat, streaming, Discord or Slack, or be epistolary games, solo games, or in some weirder format. If your entry can be either virtual or in-person, that's just icing on the cake.
Submissions this year are accepted in any language understood by the Judges, which includes: English, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.
In 2023, Golden Cobras will be awarded in seven categories (plus honorable mentions):
- Most mind-bending sequel or remix
- Most brilliant commentary or critique
- Most COBRA GOLD POWER POINTS
- Game we are most excited to play
- Game that made us laugh the most
- Game that made us cry the most
What are the Competition Constraints?
In order to be considered for a Golden Cobra 2022, your game must adhere to the following:
- While there are no length requirements, judges only read the first four pages of submissions (four total sides of 8.5x11 or A4 paper). Alternately, if your game comes in a form that doesn't involve pages, we will engage with it for at least fifteen minutes.
- The game must be safely playable in pandemic conditions. The game must either be safely playable while players are masked and in a well-ventilated or outdoor space, or the game can be optimized for Web chat, streaming, Discord or Slack, or be epistolary games, solo games, or in some weirder format. If your entry can be either virtual or in-person, that's just icing on the cake.
What is the Contest Theme This Year?
This year we’re asking you to make a game that is related to a previous Golden Cobra submission.
“Related” might mean: Inspired by, a remix of, in conversation with, an homage to, a critique of, or an emotional sequel to.
We’re trusting you to respect the original work and create something new and interesting rather than a reskin or directly borrowing from the original. For example, making Let’s Be Pleistocene Mammals by erasing the dinosaurs from Let’s Be Dinosaurs and making no other changes is not appropriate. Use an original game from the archives that you like, and let it inspire you to make something new. If you make a game about a K-Pop future where CHORD5 is remembered as the founding voice of a philosophical movement that has become the world’s shared religion, inspired by The Long Drive Back From Busan, we will love you for it. That’s exactly the kind of thing we want to see.
To be clear: If what you make isn’t cool and feels wrong, then we won’t consider it. If what you make upsets the original designer, we’ll pull it.
What are the Competition Ingredients?
This year, instead of ingredients,
we’re offering COBRA GOLD
in four POWER CATEGORIES!
Choose one, or get extreme and go for all four!
How much COBRA GOLD
can you collect?
COBRA GOLD POWER CATEGORIES
In relation to the game that inspires yours…
(20 Cobra Gold)
(10 Cobra Gold) Change the tone, theme, or general vibe of the game that inspires you.
Cool: Inspired by Still Life, a game about contemplation paired with movement, playing as falling leaves.
Uncool: Competitive Still Life.
Add/Remove something - Supernatural Elements, Humor, Applied Art/Craft.
Cool: A game like Wigilia about communicating with a dead ancestor, but with no supernatural element at all.
Uncool: Wigilia, but adding comedic elements to make it a slapstick farce.
(40 Cobra Gold)
Swap out an ingredient for a different year’s ingredient and make it make sense. Here is a big list from all years:
- Chord, Light, Solution, Bear, Minute (2014)
- None (2015)
- Dinosaurs, ghosts, parasites, stardust (2016)
- Destruction & rebirth, eyeballs, alchemy, fabric (2017)
- Pillows, Collection, Masks, Mistakes (2018)
- A Physical Cardboard Box, Direct Civic Action / Resisting Fascism, Fanny Packs, Houseplants, Flashlights (2019)
- List of media inspirations (2020)
- Committee larp, minority religious experience (2021)
- Reflection, Midnight. Guest, Drawer (2022)
Cool: Inspired by the factory in Polka Pillow Production, a game about manufacturing ghosts.
Uncool: Polka Pillow Production, but we exchange fabric for pillows.
(60 Cobra Gold) Build an existing Golden Cobra game into the play of your new Golden Cobra game. It may be the game that inspired you, but maybe not! Make it work!
Cool: Playing a game of Group Date in the middle of a larp about tension within an extended friend group.
Uncool: Doing this is bound to be cool, because you aren’t changing the existing game at all.
Do you have Tips for Online Larping?
After several years of there being a lot of larping online, we reached out for input and compiled ways people suggested making online larping a good experience. We offer this for your reference and use as you write games for Golden Cobra (and in general):
How to Make Online Larping Good
(in text format
What are the Rules for Entering?
- Be a new, unpublished freeform larp. It is neither a board game or a video game. See the FAQ for more discussion about freeform larp.
- Present your game in a readable, playable format in a single file (pdf preferred).
- Submit only one game. Your name could appear on one entry but teams were welcome. You retain all rights to your work and ancillary material related to submissions, like play aids or commentary. These will by default be published under the name it was submitted under in the yearly free Golden Cobra Anthology (if one is created) and linked from this Website for the world to enjoy.
- The deadline for submission is 13 October 2023 at 11:59PM EDT. To submit: fill out the Golden Cobra Entry Submission Form and email your game to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So Who Won in Past Years?
You can read about the winners and Honorable Mentions and Judges Choice Awards here
. See the the games submitted in 2022
games receiving awards and honorable mention in 2022
. All games can be found at the archives
and at the Interactive Golden Cobra Archivesbeta
What is Happening This Year?
Judges will read the games during October 2023. Awards will be announced on Friday November 3 at Metatopia
. The winners get bragging rights and everyone gets a new game they designed - and all get admission into the Golden Cobra’s Circle of Power!
Can I spread the Word?
Please do! Find us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/goldencobra17
and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Golden-Cobra-Challenge-241492113182306/
Who are the Judges?
Judges for 2023 are Brandon Blackburn, Eliane Bettochi, Camilla Zamboni, Felix Schniz and Jason Morningstar.
Who else did stuff?
The Golden Cobra working committee this year is Emily Care Boss, James Mendez Hodes, Jason Morningstar, Evan Torner and Noah Sara Williamson. The Interactive Archive was coded by Epidiah Ravachol with help from Joe Greathead.
I have more Questions!
Check out the FAQ!
or email email@example.com