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Announcing Crolarp

The story about Crolarp is a rather long one. Ever since the first Croatian LARP (Summer Session in Kutina) went down, Croatia was without the single "main LARP event" of the year which would get majority of the players to attend it.

The largest events in the past few years switched. In 2010, it was Utvrda Svjetlosti as the only LARP which broke the 40+ limit. In 2011, it was Jaska 8 with close to 60 players. Still, it was far from the numbers that old Summer Sessions had which were over 100 for several years in a row.

While general LARP quality improved greatly since that time - every major LARP I've recently attended was objectively better than any Summer Session I was ever on - there was something special about those old events which attracted people.

Perhaps it was the fact that for a long time it was not only the main LARP of the year, it was the only one and there was nowhere else to go. Perhaps it was the Summer Session's inclusiveness, and perhaps it was the sheer number of people that made it special in its time.

The idea of making a new "national event" started as soon as there was no more Summer Sessions. Discussions increased the last year, and in January I brought the idea to Ognjeni Mač assembly to start working on it, as other organizers were already interested and up for it. The vote passed, and the ball started rolling. It was going to happen this year.

Crolarp is attempting to position itself as the national fantasy LARP event of the year, and in future years. To make it more neutral, one single LARP group would not control it. Crolarp 2012 is chiefly organized by three groups. Ognjeni Mač will handle most of the logistics, and part of the story. Gaia (organizers of Utvrda Svjetlosti) and Krvomeđe/Rajski Vrhovi will also contribute to the story. The location and the time slot of the game will be as on Jaska previous years, but in-game it will be a new location. And a shared story, in a gameworld that is already shared with all the mentioned organizers... As it derives its history and storyline all the way from Summer Session.

It's not the first national larp to follow this format. Belgian AVATAR larp follows a similar format - it's organized by a federation of Belgian players, and it manages to be one of the bigger games in Europe.

It also didn't get all Croatian groups or all fantasy LARPs together. Siro, who runs Majčin Gaj, will not be participating with his storyline. I won't participate with Terra Nova storyline, and Lateralus fantasy larp will also not be participating with their storyline - both larps being set in different worlds and with different vision and goals in mind. However, some might argue that having three main storylines (some of them quite complex, as they were built for longer time periods) is already maybe too ambitious and that it would be hard to syncronize into a good event, especially considering different game styles, objectives and goals of respective game organizers.

Currently, Crolarp has 8 main organizers. Without a doubt it'll be a Croatian LARP with most time, effort and resources in organizing it... in years. But it's also a huge gamble. It has plenty of players pouring in their hopes and dreams in it. It also has people working on it who haven't worked together before, and some of them with vastly different visions of what they want to have or accomplish. And it's the most critical factor.

Crolarp might succeed, wildly, all of its pieces fitting together perfectly and becoming Croatia's AVATAR or Trenne Byar. Or it might fail, with clashing game styles and storylines confusing players, every storyline trying to out-do others, and organizers failing to manage the larger numbers than they used to... Will the organizers be able to give each player all the attention they do on smaller events, and if not will the large number of people compensate for the experience? It's a gamble, but the potential is there, a lot of effort required to make it a success is also there, and there will be a lot of people required to make it happen. It will be made for a maximum number of people, and there will certainly be something for everyone (by at least one of the organizers). Once it ends, we'll certrainly be a lot smarter considering what worked and what did not.

The most interesting question of it all is - will the cooperation really work to create a better event for everyone, or will it only get the event its size? We'll know in under three weeks. Crolarp is set to happen from July 19th until 22nd, on Gornja Kupčina terrain. Nothing of the similar scale was attempted in Croatian larp before. Whichever way it goes, it will be worthwhile to visit it and see what happens, and how it develops. Some international visitors have already been confirmed.

For me, it will be a start of a long larp holiday. After Crolarp, the biggest Croatian larp, I'm traveling to Germany to Drachenfest and ConQuest of Mythodea, two biggest larp events in the world. Therefore, I'll probably be late in reporting it all. But this will certainly be a summer to remember.


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