Two-player games can be a lot of fun, and there are very few that are truly larps – ie. that have some sort of active live component. We wanted to look at how to make it work, what to include and what to exclude, and everything else that might make a two-player game sing.
Many existing two-player games are about romantic relationships – usually, ones that go wrong. But there are lots of other two-person scenarios that might make for interesting larp. Some suggestions from participants:
- Parent and child
- Worker and boss
- Servant and served
- Child and monster-in-the-closet
- Therapist and client
- Teacher and pupil
- Creator god and created being
- Doctor and patient
- Rival countries
- Abstract entities such as fate, luck, love, death
- Human and guardian angel
- Past and future self
- Guard and prisoner
- Kidnapper and victim
- Alien and abductee
- Earth and the last surviving human
- God and a prophet
- God and the US president
- Player and shadow subconscious
We split into two design teams, each of which created a larp:
Shall We Dance?
A two-player larp framework, within which a variety of different scenarios can be run. The structure is around alternating scenes that are played out non-verbally in dance, with verbal scenes where the characters are not in contact. Where ‘dance’ means ‘moving one’s body to music’ rather than necessarily anything more specific.
Verbal scenes can use different ways of communication, depending on the scenario: monologue, written messages, recorded speech, etc.
The intention is that each scenario will fit onto three cards: one for each player, and one for the scenario itself.
The test scenario was that of a human teenager and a fairy monarch, who meet when the teenager falls asleep in a fairy ring one Midsummer Eve. The dance scenes are five successive Midsummer Eve dances in the fairy realm; while four verbal scenes represent the years that pass inbetween, and allow the teenager to monologue into a reflective pool of water while the fairy player can gently whisper suggestions, brush lightly through their hair, etc.
Parental Controls [working title]
Also controlled by a deck of cards, this larp was about the relationship between a parent and a child, and how the control/power/concession dynamic evolved as the child grew older.
It comprises a series of scenes from childhood, from teenage years, and from adulthood: each scene is concluded by one character sitting down in a chair, which represents concession of control. Each of the three age periods is ended when the child player is able to answer a question about their life that was posed by the adult player at the start of the period. The scenes are driven by drawing cards, which include a theme and a suggested topic.
If at any time neither character will sit ont he chair, the relationship is deemed irreconcilable, and the game ends.
We managed to test both larps, and they both went well. Looking forward to seeing them making progress!