Happy New 2013 everyone!
2012 was a great year for Croatian larp - I'd even dare to call it the best so far in Croatian larp history. And I also had a wild ride with it. Where should I start? Chronologically? Or what was most important to me? Hmm, perhaps I'll try to group it into categories and make a story about it...
Well, there are my babies. Two Terra Nova events - intro feast and the first big camping event, Terra Nova 2012. And the short modern one-shot, Death of the Japanese Emperor. Each was a huge learning experience, and also an experiment. Terra Nova will continue next week on the Zimograd event, the first three-day winter larp in Croatia with all bells and whistles to it.
I also learned a lot on my travels - to Slovenian larpers, to Drachenfest and ConQuest in Germany, and to Chronicles of Demgard in Hungary - all of them unforgettable and filled with good memories. Combined with the other new stuff on the local Croatian scene this year - Steampunk larp, Fallout larp, and last (but far from the least) Tragači Zore - this was, easily, the year of revelations.
Not everything was new this year - though there were also plenty of new ideas on Utvrda Svjetlosti. I helped out on both Rajski Vrhovi - assisting and NPC-ing full-time on first event of the year (numbered 16) and GM-ing and co-writing the second one (17, the rainy one), and on Krvomeđe - one of which I ran. Labuđa Rijeka was organized twice this year - though in the middle of week so I was unable to attend - but it was a nice combination of larp battles and bathing in the river during summertime. There was only one Jaska larp this year (compared to past year's three) and there were fewer Maksimir larps, but there were more feasts by Ognjeni Mač (as well as the first one by Green Banner) and we got Crolarp.
Crolarp, the "national larp" project which I successfully pushed last year at the Ognjeni Mač assembly, and which ended up being coorganized by Ognjeni Mač's OzOI team with Ivo Turk and Zoran Vlahović from Krvomeđe, and some side content written by the Green Banner. Whether it was a success or failure - well, the answer would depend on whom you asked, I'd say it fulfilled most of its goals, and it was the biggest Croatian larp in over half a decade, though it only came to half the playerbase of what Kutina larps used to be. Crolarp is here to stay - this year we'll have a Crolarp 2013.
Apart from the larps themselves, I did a lot of reading about larps. Lizzie Stark's "Leaving Mundania", Nordic theory books, and plenty of English-language online resources (including forums, blogs, groups on Facebook and a larp community on Google+) gave me some new perspectives on the hobby. I also wrote loads of stuff - well, except larps and articles on this site, and there have been plenty of both.
I finished my translation of the ConQuest rules, both to help our players who'd go to Germany on ConQuest, and also to be used as rules for Terra Nova. I also started a translation of Amtgard 8.0 rules - it's been going rather slowly, but should be faster once Zimograd is done. There was a paper which I wrote about promotion of larp in Croatia for the Czech Odraz conference.
There's a lot of diversity and inventiveness going on right now in Croatian larp, more than ever before. The larper population had grown back (most of it rapidly, in the second half of 2012.), and it's high in number again - possibly bigger than at any time before, though more spread around its preferred styles, genres and larp directions. There's a new larp association around, Lateralus. This diversification in a way helped improve the costuming, looks etc., which was also helped by the two costume donations by the Croatian National Theatre, propelling our looks by a whole lot this year.
Of course, this is just a short summary of events. To find out the rest, skim the posts from the last year. The face of Croatian larp has changed a lot during that time, and it will keep changing in 2013. The first piece of the puzzle will be revealed later today at the yearly assembly of Ognjeni Mač...
We've gone forward a lot in this one year. Croatian scene had evolved and diversified, plenty of new events and ideas have seen light of the day, and nowadays you can find everything here - a variety of settings, shared world storylines, action, intensity, small art larps.
I only wish it was better spread geographically. Apart from groups in Zagreb, only Gaia in Osijek is an active larp group. If larp pops up elsewhere, we might end up with a truly large larp population. I hope we'll see that happen soon, and I'm glad I can look back at previous year and say with pride that we've done a pretty good job here in Croatia.