NELCO 2015 Build Your Own Game Workshop

Welcome to the Build Your Own Game track!

You're going to help write a brand new LARP in 24 hours!

It's not as crazy as it sounds, and some really good games have come out of these workshops. NELCO BYOGs have produced The Barbecue and The Night Queen Princess Fluffykins Passed, which have run several times, including at Intercon. In 2000, Collision Imminent! was created at a BYOG workshop, and it's run a dozen times since then, across several conventions and events, spanning two continents. What great LARP are you going to help create?

But how can you do this in such a short time, you ask?

It's a challenge, and a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun. This is how we'll pull this off:

When What
Friday night Gaylord Tang (who has been part of every NELCO BYOG so far) will talk about the BYOG LARP creation process. You should plan on attending if you've never written a LARP before, or have never written with Gaylord before.
Later Friday night Everyone involved in the BYOG writing will gather to brainstorm ideas for the subject and style of the BYOG LARP. Bring your concepts, your character ideas, the styles of games you'd like to write, and what you really think should be in a LARP. Nothing is off the table - all ideas will be considered and discussed. Gaylord will facilitate the discussion as we figure out what excites the team, and what is doable within the time span. The choice of what we write is decided by consensus - we pick something that everyone wants to work on. Given that consensus, we'll be ready for the morning.
Saturday morning Everyone gathers in the writing room, where we take the consensus concept and flesh it out. We'll design characters and plots, figure out the conflicts and how to create drama, think about the timing of the game, and outline what we're going to write.
Lunch break You can't write on an empty stomach.
Saturday afternoon We break down the game into the components that need to be written. People will choose what they'd like to write, and we'll figure out a plan so that everything gets done. We start writing. Each of us will take a piece and run with it, creating a part of the game. We'll all be in the same room, so you can work through any issues or brilliant ideas that come up as you create.
Dinner break You can't keep writing on an empty stomach, and it's always good to take a break. We'll also post a signup sheet, to see who wants to play in the game.
Saturday evening We continue writing. We collaborate. We help each other out. We look at each other's work, to make sure we have a consistent story, and to eliminate those pesky tipos types typos. When we're done, we'll print the game and all its pieces, look at the cast list and assign roles, and crash for a bit. It may be late when we're done, but it will be worth it when we look back at what we produced.
Sunday noon We run the game. You'll be the floor GM for a game that you helped to write, which is a very satisfying experience.

But what about the rest of NELCO? That's a challenge, because we only have so many hours to write. Your focus has to be on the BYOG effort. If there is one particular panel that you really have to attend, then let's talk. Depending on how many people are writing and how far we've gotten, it may be possible for you to have an hour break.

What do I have to do beforehand?

That's easy:

  1. Sign up for NELCO, selecting the BYOG option.
  2. Fill out the survey to tell us more about you, so that we can better facilitate the event. Please do this, especially if you didn't select the BYOG option when you signed up. It helps us to know who intends to write.
  3. Collect your ideas and concepts, so that you can pitch them during the brainstorming meeting.

What do I have to bring to the BYOG?

Not much:

What happens to the game after NELCO?

That's up to the team. Everyone will have access to the files. We will undoubtedly learn things that need to be tweaked. We will learn things that we need to put in the game packaging, so that it can be run again. The game belongs to all of the authors, and good LARPs deserve to run again. Intercon is always looking for good LARPs; we should consider bidding our efforts. Eventually, it would be good to contribute the LARP to the NEIL LARP Library.

But first, we'll all get some needed sleep.

The LARP written for the NELCO 2015 BYOG was A Second Chance for Wings.