So every spring the SGS hosts something called Guild Camp. This is a ~2 week crash course in how to write a LARP. Particularly, how to write an MIT Assassin’s Guild style game. These games are characterized by significant PvP conflict, goal driven characters, and lots of mechanics. MIT style games are more conflict heavy than SGS style games, and revolve around accomplishing goals more than immersive role-play.
Guild camp can be a challenging crash course for game writing. After all, two weeks is not a long time to absorb all of the intricacies of plotting a game a game and designing mechanics and the idiosyncrasies of using GameTeX. Then there is all the actual work of writing a game that isn’t broken. To top it all off, there isn’t really time to recover from winter quarter before we jump in during spring break to writing, and your writing team is just whoever else happened to be interested, so interpersonal conflict is always a possibility.
All of these conditions can make camp seem less than ideal. But there are people who come back for a second dose, and many of our participants go on to write games on their own timeline. So something must be working. Guild Camp makes game writing accessible. Like writing a novel, writing a game is an intimidating task. There is not always a clear entry vector, or even a good way to estimate the total amount of work required if you’ve never done it before. Camp starts with the premise that you can and will write a game. Someone with some sort of experience writing games (and possibly masochistic tendencies) arranges to act as Zampolit for the game writers, and usually handles organizing space for the group to work, and some of the other logistics of getting ready to run games (like figuring out where we are going to do prod!) We put all of our camp writers in a room and turn them loose to start brainstorming. Continue reading