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Created by WJWalton4461 points  on Tue 26 of May, 2009 11:35 PDT
Last post Fri 11 of April, 2014 06:39 PDT
(362 Posts | 760440 Visits | Activity=3.00)
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Family reunion evolves into an annual LARP

Posted by WJWalton4461 points  on Sun 19 of July, 2009 08:01 PDT
The Rochester Post-Bulletin shares the story of an annual family gathering that has changed into a fantasy medieval LARP with around 40 members, hosted by Jan and Phyllis Fisher.
Fischer said a safety orientation is given to the participants before the game starts. A basic storyline is devised by game designers that sets the stage for the weekend fun. People under 18 can play as long as they're accompanied by an adult.

Read the whole story here: article | archive

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Study says roleplayers are not neurotic

Posted by WJWalton4461 points  on Sat 18 of July, 2009 22:28 PDT
...or at least, not more neurotic than your average National Guardsman.

Liz Danforth recently pointed out this unusual 1998 study that can be found on the PubMed website:
Scores of 54 fantasy role-game players and 64 National Guardsman were compared on a neuroticism scale and demographic variables. While the Role-gamers reported daydreaming and sleeping more than the Guardsmen, the popular stereotype that game players are withdrawn, emotionally immature adolescents was not confirmed. The typical game player was male with as many close friends as the guardsmen. Mean neuroticism scores did not appear to differ between the two groups and were not high enough to be considered clinically significant.

Looks like someone needs to inform the Israeli Defense Force!

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Dexcon - "It's great to be a cowboy!"

Posted by WJWalton4461 points  on Sat 18 of July, 2009 08:31 PDT
nj.com has been giving some excellent coverage to Dexcon, a game convention in Morristown, New Jersey. This article [archive] features a video and slideshow of the many faces of the con.

Together, the video, slideshow, and article show a lot of positive attitude towards LARP. One of the players even mentions how the hobby kept him out of trouble as a young person, and most are given the opportunity to express why they like to play, and what benefits it brings.
"In everyday life, you get to be serious. But you can come here for a couple of days and have fun. It makes you feel like when you were a kid. It's great to be a cowboy, or a space adventurer."

I've had the great pleasure of attending Dexcon before, back in 2005, and it looks like I might be getting involved with some of the kid-friendly LARPing next summer.

More on Dexcon from nj.com:

- Some more colorful imagery from Dexcon 12 in Morristown

- Live from Morristown: The Dexcon 12 gaming convention

- Live LARPing: Dexcon 12 in Morristown

- LARPing the night away in Morristown

- Choirs from Cambridge, starlight movies, late-night LARPs: Another typical evening in Morristown


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Wizards & Warriors - roleplaying camp for kids

Posted by WJWalton4461 points  on Thu 16 of July, 2009 06:21 PDT
Adam Rodgers passed along this great article (archive) about a roleplaying camp based in Boston.

At Wizards & Warriors day camp in Burlington, though, taking up foam swords and crossbows against a sea of troublesome villains - human and otherwise - is all in a day’s work. And play.

Thus, on a recent afternoon that brought the camp’s first week to its epic finale, two dozen costumed players, some as young as 7, girded themselves for combat. The action was intense, the rebel forces victorious. In the end, order was restored to the fictional realm of Sidleterra.

Camps like these are great for young people - not only because it lets them fight monsters with swords (and gives us 'older kids' a chance to play, too) - but also because it helps them socially. I've seen this same thing happen in the tabletop RPGs that I run for kids:
According to counselor director Christopher Wiley, the biggest beneficiary is a child with an active imagination but underdeveloped social skills. “Most of our kids are kind of introverted in general,’’ Wiley says. “But they become extroverts once they get out there waving swords and bumping into each other.’’

We really need more of this sort of thing everywhere. Imaginative play is crucial to child growth and development, and it helps to create imaginative adults. These days, it's all too common for kids to miss out on this entirely.

(I'm thinking an interview with some of the organizers may be in order...)

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RPG Geek coming soon!

Posted by WJWalton4461 points  on Wed 15 of July, 2009 07:47 PDT
(Thanks to Jolly Blackburn for passing this along.)

It looks like the folks behind one of my favorite websites ever, boardgamegeek.com (external link), are preparing to open the beta of a new site - RPGgeek!

I'm not sure of the exact details at the moment, but it appears that you can find out more by signing up for the Google discussion group (external link).

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Symbiotic Game Stores

Posted by WJWalton4461 points  on Sat 11 of July, 2009 21:06 PDT
Recently, an old gaming buddy told me about a new game store that opened not long ago, and while I was out rather late tonight, I stopped by for a look.

The store is called "Heroes," and it's a combination sub shop and hobby store. It was after closing when I pulled into the parking lot, so I only got to peer into the glass to see a sub counter on the left side of the store, a row of glass cases filled with miniatures and cards on the right side, and several gaming (and eating) tables in between.

It reminded me of another game store I used to visit back in the mid 90s, around the time that I first started this website. It was in the front section of an Ace Hardware store in a little town called Frederica. Customers who came in looking for pipe tape, lawn fertilizer, or finishing nails would have to walk between wargame tables and racks of Dungeons & Dragons and Mechwarrior books to get them.

If I had to guess, I suppose I would say that this sort of thing is connected to the low population of gamers in our area - anyone interested in opening a gaming store would have to do so as a sideline to another business. (There have certainly been a lot of dedicated gaming stores that have tried and failed to stay afloat - I can think of at least 5 or 6 that have closed in the last decade.)

The end result - symbiotic combinations like these, where you can get a large Italian hoagie and a new set of dice in the same place.

Do you know of any game stores in unusual places? I'd love to know - post about them in the comments!

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We're not in California anymore...

Posted by WJWalton4461 points  on Fri 10 of July, 2009 09:47 PDT
The LA Times gives us another piece on live-action roleplaying in the military - U.S. diplomats use military role-playing to prepare for Iraq assignments (external link)

The diplomats slept on cots and worked out of a tent on a base surrounded by re-created Iraqi villages. Each day, they strapped on flak vests over their business jackets and clambered into armored carriers to meet with local leaders, played by Iraqi immigrants. They confronted insurgent attacks, corrupt officials and sectarian rivalries.

"You can forget at times that you are in California," said Wesley Robertson, a public diplomacy officer who is trading a post in Chennai, India, for Iraq's violent Diyala province.

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Re-archiving the Archives

Posted by WJWalton4461 points  on Wed 08 of July, 2009 09:03 PDT
I recently started on a 'housekeeping' project that I've been putting off for years now - cleaning up the article archive that I've accumulated for the last 13 years.

It was quite a task - a lot of copying and pasting, and the occasional pause as I re-read a few articles that I haven't seen in quite a while.

Some of them really took me back - stories like the one about the youth pastor who ritually sacrificed Pokemon during a sermon, a 3.5 million dollar LARP that the US government played in 2000, the 700 Club claiming that Magic players are "attacking (their) living, breathing opponent by using devils to conjure demons and cast spells", and a Columbine article that SFGate pulled when they received too many complaints from Goths (one of the best reasons why I archive these things like I do).

The best part of going through all of these articles is seeing the madness dwindle. As we've advanced further into the 21st century, we've seen fewer and fewer 17th century attitudes towards D&D, Vampire, Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, and Harry Potter.

I'm no media or culture expert, so I can't say if it's because of people generally wising up, or a lower tolerance for kookery among reporters and editors. I'm just glad to see it happen, whatever it is.

Now that I have all of the pages reformatted and looking somewhat consistent, I'll get to work on the next step - making sure they're all linked from the Archives page.

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Origins 2009 Report

Posted by WJWalton4461 points  on Fri 03 of July, 2009 20:00 PDT
My Origins 2009 Report is up and ready to enjoy! Read all about it right here!

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Ohio or Bust!

Posted by WJWalton4461 points  on Mon 22 of June, 2009 22:05 PDT




The kids and I had a bit of fun painting the minivan in honor of our trip to Origins.

Hope to see you there!

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Escapist Tweeting at Origins

Posted by WJWalton4461 points  on Sat 20 of June, 2009 10:00 PDT
If you're a Twitter user (which is a bit longer, but a lot more polite than calling you a 'Twit') and you would like to follow my escapades at the Origins Game Fair this upcoming week, then be sure to follow the Escapist Twitter account at twitter.com/RPGadvocate (external link)

And if you're going to the convention and would like to meet up, send me a message through Twitter! (I won't have email after Tuesday morning when we head out, so this will be the only way to reach me.)

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Free RPG Day is tomorrow!

Posted by WJWalton4461 points  on Fri 19 of June, 2009 08:55 PDT
I've been so busy making last-minute preparations for Origins, that I almost forgot to mention Free RPG Day (external link), which is tomorrow!

Free RPG Day is a yearly event where game publishers offer special promotions (external link) to customers, to get the word out about their products. It's also a great way for people who have never tried RPGs before to check out a free game and maybe even find some people to show them the ropes.

So head out to your Friendly Local Game Store, score a free RPG, and have fun!

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Origins = T minus 7 days

Posted by WJWalton4461 points  on Tue 16 of June, 2009 19:05 PDT
This time next week, my family and I will be making our 10-hour trek from Delaware to Columbus, Ohio for the 2009 Origins Game Fair (external link).

This will be my eighth Origins, the sixth with family in tow, and our fifth one in a row. And every time we've attended, we've played a lot of games, made new friends, and had a lot of fun.

I will be continuing my tradition (now in its third year!) of running RPGs for kids - and I've even added a game for the grownups this time. I'm running two games of Toon, and one each of Faery's Tale, Fuzzy Heroes, Mazes & Minotaurs, Monsters and Other Childish Things, and Tooth & Claw, and the 'grown-up' game is a very special episode of Cartoon Action Hour.

My kids' games have been known to sell out quickly - last year, most of them were sold out two weeks before the convention! So if you are interested in any of them, be sure to sign up as soon as possible.

If you will be attending the convention and would like to meet up, I'm always happy to do so. You can contact me via email or follow me on Twitter (external link) - I'll be posting Twitter updates regularly at the convention.

Hope to see you there!

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Wanted: pictures of your roleplaying group

Posted by WJWalton4461 points  on Tue 09 of June, 2009 08:11 PDT
Recently, a reader submitted an idea that I like a lot - posting pictures of gamers enjoying a good RPG or LARP on the FAQ page and various other pages, to put a human face on the hobby for the non-gamers who visit the site.

So, if you're interested in participating, and you have some good pics of you and your group playing an RPG, drop me an email!

Here's what I'd like to get from you:
- A picture (naturally)
- The names of everyone in the picture (or aliases) and which of you is the GM
- Where you are from (outside the U.S. is great, by the way!)
- Your statement that I have permission from everyone in the picture to post the picture and names on my site (just a little CYA here...)
- What RPG you're playing in the picture

Thanks in advance!

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Here comes the die

Posted by WJWalton4461 points  on Mon 08 of June, 2009 16:00 PDT


Boingboing's Cory Doctorow blogged about this D20 wedding cake today (external link).

It's so awesome that I'm at a loss for words.

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