Killing Your Darlings

Published on 2019-05-29

For a while now, my friend Lizzie Stark and I have been working hard on a weekend-long hundred-person larp called Tipford. Recently we decided to wrap it up and focus our energies elsewhere. 

Tipford was going to be a really interesting game, and a lot of the design work we put into it will reappear in other ways. We learned a lot designing and playtesting it. Ultimately we realized that an explicitly political game that touches on both historical and contemporary points of friction introduced a lot of risks we can't afford to take, and maybe design problems we don't know how to solve, so we put it aside. I'm so glad we took a clear-eyed view while we were still fairly early in the process, rather than realizing too late that we should have killed it.

If there's a lesson here, for me it is that nothing really goes to waste. While I'm a little sad we can't realize our vision, I'm really happy I got to develop new ideas and technologies that I can't help but re-use. For Tipford I took a deep dive into the work of Augusto Boal, for example, and that's going to be influential going forward. I learned a lot about incorporating diegetic music in games. I learned about structuring enormous relationship maps. It's all good. 

Also on a bright note, Lizzie and I are just going to pivot into a different project that is less risky for us. So stay tuned, and I hope we all get to play a big, weird game together sometime soon! We have a really good idea...