Live Action Roleplay (LARP) is generally considered a hardcore nerd past time. Participants usually spend days, weeks, or even months creating their character, costumes, and weapons. Then, they join their friends "on the battlefield" (usually an outdoor park) to complete quests, conquer campaigns, or simply have a battle royale.
Rather than making a traditional LARP program though, I simply took the concept to make a game framework which can be re-themed for fresh, new events.
The original theme (and the one which I now hold annually in October) was zombies. In teams of 5, the teens or tweens (I've done LARPing in the Library with both age groups with great success) get different "identities/jobs." Each "identity/job" has special challenges or tasks that only they can perform and they are fitting with the theme.
Zombies -- Infectious Disease Specialist, Bitten But Not Turned Civilian, etc.
Dinosaurs -- Jurassic Park Owner, Paleontologist, Tough Guy/Gal, etc.
Once the participants have their jobs and a map of the different challenge stations, they are sent on their journey! Again, the challenges are theme appropriate (Zombies -- gathering survival supplies; Dinosaurs -- breaking open rock samples to find a dino DNA sample). For a 45 minute to hour game, 11-13 challenges are appropriate. It helps to arrange for the order of the different challenges to be different for the teams so that no more than two groups are at a challenge station at one time.
At this point you're probably thinking...this is an awful lot like an escape room. And you would be right. The challenge part of the game is very escape room-esque, and the winning team is the one who successfully completes all the challenges and figures out all the clues to get through the challenges IN THE LEAST AMOUNT OF TIME. However, some challenges can allow for "time bonuses." (example --> make an SOS and the "best"/"most creative" gets 2 minutes shaved off their final time).
The real LARP twist here is a VILLAIN. Each participant puts on a flag in their pocket or in their waistband (a la flag football). The villain (again, theme appropriate) played by the librarian chases the participants through the library in attempt to pull their flags. The librarian (me) is not CONSTANTLY the villain though in case the teams get really stuck on a challenge (or if a team is trying to sabotage others...it did happen once). I usually pick a mask to represent the villain which can be flipped off my face. When the mask is down, I'm the villain and they have to RUN FOR IT. Note: no offensive tactics against the villain are allowed. Note #2: I did make an exception for the flip up/down mask for the tween Dino Disaster since getting in and out of the inflatable T-Rex costume was too complicated...and if the program wasn't so spectacular with tons of happy tweens, I would have vowed to never do that again considering how close I got to a heat stroke.
If I manage to pull someone's flag, their team has a choice. They can either leave the person behind for a 20 minute penalty (essentially ensuring they lose) or one of their teammates can volunteer their flag. The volunteer and the flagless person then have to "handcuff it" (one hand each tied together) for the rest of the game.
These events are so popular that they have developed a bit of a cult following in my library. The MINIMUM number of participants has been 20 with the max being 30. Although, that number is about to get higher as I integrate the event more with the adjoining secondary school to have it right after the final bell (suuuuuper nervous about that but excited too).
If you have any questions or want more info, just message me or leave something in the comments!
4/15/2022 11:13:17 am
Hi Brooke, I watched your great webinar on this and was inspired to run a Jurassic Park themed escape room/LARP at my library. Any ideas/challenges you have would be greatly appreciated. We can’t wait to see how much fun the kids (and us!) will have this summer!
4/15/2022 10:50:26 pm
That's going to be incredible! So for a dino theme, some of the challenges included:
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Originally wanting to be the love-child of Kathy Reichs and Indiana Jones, Brooke was pulled into the magical world of library service over 12 years ago. Finding that her ultimate passion was in teen services, she did what she normally does in a heart-fueled endeavor -- ran in head-first and never looked back! Cosplayer, movie fanatic, binge watcher, Disney Worlder. Proud cat mom of Evelyn (named after the librarian character in The Mummy ).