Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Larp games come in a great variety of shapes and sizes. Most of them involve as system and most systems lend themselves to particular tactics that make the most sense. In NERO for instance a classic tactical decision is the backpack fighter combination. For those of you who do not play NERO this involves a fighter with a healer stuck to his back, always touching him and healing or fixing disabling effects as they are called. Tactical decision making is really the core of any combat system, here are a few differentiators which help you make tactical decisions in new games.

One: How debilitating are the games effects? If a game has very debilitating effects, ones that make it impossible to continue interacting in combat, then the game generally has a tight tactical layout. Tight meaning that the game is intended to be played in groups that stay together so that they can fix or protect those who have been debilitated. Most boffer larps fall into this category, it is difficult to solo a boffer larp encounter because so many of the effects make it impossible to continue fighting! One exception to this rule is the Amtgard or location style fighting games, these games have very easy takedowns but since the battlegame is not persistent, tight group fighting is not always the best tactical decision.

Two: Are the classes differentiated or do they mix roles. In some games it is evident what role each class plays, the classic example in a tabletop is Dungeons and Dragons, a single class fighter can never heal, a single class cleric cannot really fight. If you examine the classes available in your game, you should be able to determine the level of specialization in each class. Many larp games allow characters to fill multiple roles, in NERO for instance a rogue or templar can fill a fighter role in a pinch. By determining the differentiation level of your larp you will better be able to determine your expected role which should make your combat positioning better.

Three: How fast moving is the combat? In a location based system, especially one with backstabs, battlefield positioning is everything. A character who does more damage from behind the enemy needs to be able to execute tactical plans to get into that position. A character who requires range needs to partner with a melee character to insure that the intended target stays at range for sufficient time. Battlefield positioning based games can be boiled down to an almost chess like game if slowed down sufficiently, understanding the position that you should be in on the battlefield will allow you to be as effective as possible in your class.

Most larp games have fairly obvious tactics but there is still value in analyzing them to make yourself more efficent. What are your games tactics? How do you think that a player of your class can be better at the game?

1 comment:

  1. Mark Henry ~MariusOctober 20, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    I used to be a rogue back in the day, but when I came back I realized I needed a change. I no longer had the endurance to constantly run to get behind people and my eyesight was poor so sneaking in the dark to rogue things got harder.

    This time around I went Earth Templar. I am able to tank, heal, cure, and be pretty self-sufficient. As powerful as the class is, you are still only 1 person and can be easily overwhelmed.

    The other good thing about choosing that class was when I brought new players, they could play the classes they wanted and I could fill the roles we needed. The rulebook defines the rogue as the jack of all trades but truly it is the templar.

    Tactics wise, for nero at least, I would have to say that in a small group templars are they way to go as long as you are sufficient level. If you have a larger group then specialized members like scholars and fighters and rogues seem more appealing.

    At the end of the day though it comes down to 3 things really in deciding your tactics for the group. 1. The number of members you consistently have in your party. 2. The roles you need filled in the group. 3. Player skill level. Once you have an accurate assessment you can plan your strategies.

    As an example my group consists of 5 people. 2 earth templars (sword/board), 1 earth scholar, 1 celestrial scholar, and 1 2-handed warrior. 3 people in the group are capable of healing/removing effects, the other 2 have access to items to do the same. We also have alchemy and celestial representation in the group. By no means are we the most powerful group but we are pretty resilient.