LARP in Belgium

Belgium has three official languages. The German community is very small, the French and Dutch are both almost equivalent. But the LARP cultures in both parts are as different as the languages themselves.

Dutch genesis of larp : Dutch-speaking LARP started at the Free University of Brussels as a spinoff of a French LARP organisation named Livemaster that was based on the world (Dragworld) created by a cartoonist named Bosse.

After obtaining the rights to create a new smalle country (Eternika) next to the big empire of Dragworld of the cartoon and of the French organisation, the first dutch-speaking organisation was born. After some years there was a fight between some of the most active people that lead to the birth of a second organisation that used more or less the same concept. Later we had several other -usually smaller- organisations.

French genesis : All began in the eighties (around 1984) with Gobeland and Live Fantasy. These two were the first in Belgium to do larp. Gobeland was renamed in Dragworld some years after its launch.

The organisation is mostly referee and scenarist at the same time. The events are very much scenario-driven. Not like in a movie where everything has a precise timing, but by the goals of NPC characters that are briefed by the organisation. Though there are some organisations that like to have more of a precise time-line, or that are oriented more towards wargame. The game is quite often rather individualistic oriented, where players can be a hero, but can also die very quickly and usually come back with a totally new character. There is not much of a ‘structured group’ mentality in Time-In (belgian term for in-game) as of yet.

The French speaking side is quite different. Is mostly seen as what they call “Gros Bill”, meaning that players want to be as powerful as possible. The concept of a group is more prevalent with the french-speaking people.

The overall style of play in belgium in 99% gamist with some drop of dramatism. Although they were (is) some larp of newer concept, the belgian players prefer to do heroic and adventurous larps - either the french or dutch community.

The AVATAR event of the summer of 2001 was the first big meeting between these two lingual groups, where the concept of group was discovered by the dutch-speaking players.

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