‘Close to Home’ is a short live-action roleplaying game about memories of colours, spaces and connection
The game builds on the memories of the participants in the form of drawing floor plans of rooms from their childhoods. These rooms then get connected, filled with characters and form the home of a community. At the end we imagine how the larp was that we never played in these colourful spaces. The story of a community emerges “in retrospect”, from larping a debrief session.
‘Close to Home’ is an easy to play, fast game that accommodates first time or non-experienced players through a thorough workshop building up to the moment of actual roleplaying.
The game also plays around with the structural elements of larps. It leads the participants through the workshop phase then jumps to a debrief with actual play seemingly absent. During the “in-game debrief” players give feedback on their imagined game experiences, led by a series of preset questions. Thus debriefing becomes the game itself, giving way to their emergent story.
It is an attempt to invite participants to meditate on the nature of how we can value the most important things only in retrospect, like being part of a community.
In my works I prefer to design for emergent stories, stories that come from the participants, believing this way they can experience something that is truly significant for them. The starting point for ‘Close to Home’ was players drawing together the home of a small community. I believe that drawing can really carry us back to a child-like state of mind, while moving our bodies transports us to a different, heightened visceral level of consciousness.
As players first imagine possible stories on their own inevitably they have to revise and renegotiate together the narrative. The process of remembering is always reconstructive and its collective form can only take shape through mediation between the subjective fragments.