Here’s the official press release about Playground Worlds, an anthology of articles about roleplaying I contributed to:
PLAYGROUND WORLDS PUBLISHED!
How does a boarding school that uses role-playing games as a primary teaching method function? Can the basics of Forge theory be condensed into one article? What do Happenings and larps have in common? How can role-playing games be criticised? What is jeepform? How is the production side or putting together a larp handled?
These and many other questions are tackled in the new Solmukohta book, Playground Worlds: Creating and Evaluating Experiences of Role-Playing Games. The book was published last week. Edited by Markus Montola and Jaakko Stenros (the guys behind Beyond Role and Play four years ago), the book features 25 papers written by authors from six countries.
For example, John H. Kim gives a primer on the American parlor larps, short one shot larp scenarios. Heidi Hopeametsä analyses the experience of playing Ground Zero as reflected in the post-game written debriefs. Malik Hyltoft reports how the experimental “Role-Players’ Boarding School”, Østerskov Efterskole, has functioned in its first 18 months. Playground Worlds also documents some of the most interesting larps of the last few years (Totem, Dragonbane, Frail Realities and many others).
The book is divided into three sections. Community and Journalism includes articles on role-player communities written particularly with an eye for approachability. Art and Design covers role-play as the product of a creative process, exposing philosophies and intentions behind specific role-playing works while providing advice and guidance for prospective designers. The Research and Theory section focuses on recent advances in analytic and academic thought on role-play. We are hoping that this structure makes the book useful both for random readers and dedicated theory junkies.
The book covers all kinds of role-playing games from the latest avant-garde Nordic live action role-playing games to the history of British action style larps in last 25 years, and from Forge style indie games to jeepform, Happenings and child’s play.
Playground Worlds is the latest book in a series of collection that
have documented Nordic and international trends in larp. Several new
themes emerged this year. Firstly, the staging of larps has previously
been discussed mostly as an artistic activity. This year a number of
authors have decided to approach the more practical side of project
management. Secondly, while the one belief that most role-playing
cultures around the globe subscribe to is that role-playing games are
not children’s play, most are willing to concede that there are
important similarities. Two papers explore these connections. Finally,
two papers attempt to find ways to capture lightning in a bottle: they
discuss criticism and documentation of larp.
You can download a pdf that contain the first page of each article from www.ropecon.fi/pw. The pages also feature a number of pictures from the book.
(At the moment the actual page is still hosted in a different location
and only redirected from the address above. Still, please link through
the above address as that will be the permanent address.)
HOW TO OBTAIN A COPY
The Solmukohta 2008 book Playground Worlds: Creating and Evaluating Experiences of Role-Playing Games will be on sale in a few random role-playing game shops around the world. Your local shop probably isn’t one of them, so you can order the book by emailing the editors at <book-at-solmukohta-dot-org>. The price of a first copy is €20 (plus post and packaging), but the further copies are sold much cheaper: You may want to gather up a few friends or take some to your local convention to get the discount.
You can pay with PayPal or a domestic money transfer. Please note that PayPal accepts all major credit cards. You will get the payment details with email from the editors.
At a later date, we will also publish an electronic edition as a freely downloadable pdf. However, the pdf version is ransomware; given out only after a sufficient number of paper copies have been sold. The funds raised by the paperback sales are used to support Solmukohta 2008, by partially paying back the financial support we received from our benefactor, Ropecon ry.
Contact the editors at <book-at-solmukohta-dot-org>.