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"'Reality' is subjective."








   "You will experience, and will be encouraged to show - depression, hatred and racism. When played well - this may well prove a tougher experience than torture."


Low-key roleplaying

By low-key roleplaying we mean a LARPing style where you, the player, aim at portraying a real persons real reactions - not the extravert, exagerrated, dramatic style of roleplaying seen at most LARPs. Europa is about experiencing and creating a situation, an atmosphere, rather than acting out a story.

Does this mean we just want roleplayed boredom? Not at all. The days at the asylum reception centre should be dominated by nervous expectatios and subdued conflicts. When portraying your character in this situation - we want you to use your full repertoar of acting - concentrating on immersion and using the subtle signs of body language and tone-of-voice. The dramatic, exaggerated responses (fighting, screaming, shouting etc.) easily become a superficial way of portraying a complex situation. We want the real thing.

But this sounds difficult? I wouldn't worry too much, LARP is an accessible medium and the difficulties can be overcome by most with some willpower and concentration. There will be courses and training available for our players before the LARP. Also: you should never underestimate the power of group play and immersion.

Emotional Realism

Europa is a LARP about real tragedies that occur in our world today. Our goal is for you to have a LARP experience as close to reality as possible. This does not mean our LARP will be an exact imitiation of reality. Some parts of the typical refugee story cannot be simulated realistically at a LARP. We prefer instead an emotional realism - using techniques intended to give you a feeling of what a "real" refugees experience would be like, in the same circumstances.

Some examples:

  • In the beginning of the LARP an audiovisual composition will illustrate the situation you are fleeing from.
  • During the LARP you may hear voices, whispers and music that don't belong in a reception centre. These are there to set the mood as well as to illustrate living with post-traumatic stress syndrome.
  • While the process of determining asylum may take 15 months in real life, asylum applications delivered at the beginning of the LARP may be answered at the end.
  • The bureaucrats are few in number, and both live and work at a secluded part of the LARP area. This place is not real. You may visit it in-game, but whatever happens there didn't happen for real though you may refer to it as a dream or telephone conversation when talking to other refugees.

"Reality" is subjective.

"Hardcore" LARPing

Europa is intended to be a "hardcore LARP". Hardcore larping is an approach where the players who want to don't simulate or pretend anything - not even the actions that bring real harm, real pain and real suffering. Safety rules and codes make it possible to participate even if you don't want to play "hardcore" - just say no, and the action will be simulated instead. New players should be carefull experimenting with the hardcore approach - this has generally been the choice of mature LARPers with years of experience with the medium.

Physical violence and physical hardship are not common experiences for asylum seekers at a reception centre (although they may have been, in the country of origin) and so will not be parts of most players experience. We discourage our players from using violence - real or pretended. Violence and fighting do not belong at this kind of LARP.

The hardcore aspect of Europa will be in the social and psychological. You will experience, and will be encouraged to show - depression, hatred and racism. When played well - this may well prove a tougher experience than torture.

As for the physically demanding part of the LARP - you should be aware that you most probably will experience the following:

  • Being locked into a small, black room together with several other people for no longer than 30 minutes.
  • Running for your life.
  • Too little and/or disturbed sleep.
  • Too little and/or unedible food.


The illustrations on this page are electronically altered for use on the Europa website. Original photography copyright © 1996, 2000 Jim Bartlett of Berserkistan. Used with permission.

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