Black Box Horsens – First impressions

I will (hopefully) write more about this, but wanted to get the first reactions and thoughts out of the way before returning to the two missing Black Box CPH posts.

So Black Box Horsens 2015 is officially over, and I’m still sorting out all the emotions in my tired body while listening to the soundtrack from The Boy and the Milk.

I’m really overwhelmed right now. It went well, No it went beyond all my expectations and wildest hopes. The participants were great, they went to the games with all they got. The game runners ran some really cool games, and that program just kept on giving. And my many organizers help keep it all running often with out tired and confused me having to do anything.

And the venue Komediehuset was just a perfect location. Not only is the place awesome, with four black boxes and the rest of the place just emitting crazy creativity, but the people there was just so amazingly accommodating. From the leader Jan who let us hold our mad little festival to the ever helpful Trandur who put up with all our strange demands and just kept on helping with all the technical. And that with very little sleep. The poor man had to be up until we send the last participants to bed.

Few mistakes…
Which is why the few mistakes that did happen bothers me so. Because they caused the venue more harm than us. First off they had asked us not to drink outside the venue, because they are mostly a place for children and young people. And if rumours went around the town that people were hanging around the place drinking that could cause severe damaged.

Sadly a few participants arrived early and were just finishing a smoke and beer outside before we had a chance to give this message. This caused a bit of panic from the leader of the place. But as soon as the massaged was given at the opening everyone was cool and kept to this rule. At least to my experience, so thank you for that.

The only other mishap (that I know of) was that some or the game runners fiddled with parts of the technical equipment that they shouldn’t (it was stuff you normally would handle, if you have some technical expertise, so no real blame game here.) But the people at the venue don’t use that, and therefore had it on a permanent preprogrammed setting that we were not allowed to move it from.

Think we got it all back in working order, and I managed to get the word around about this (after a friendly slap on the wrist from Jan) I don’t think it happened again. Next year I’m just gonna put big signs on all the off limits equipment saying: “DO NOT TOUCH!” 🙂

… a lot of lessons
And that brings me to: lessons learnt, of them there were many, I’ll only mention a few things here: A few other things could have been better, but I don’t think they diminished the experience that much. But I’m gonna mention them any way.

Saturday evening start
Because I wanted people to have time to socialize after the games but still not go overwhelmingly late to bed, (as the sunday runs started at 09.00 – more about that in a moment.) I set the start on saturday at 18.00. That was a mistake as it was in the middle of the time that people wanted to eat dinner. So next time start at 19.00 one hour would have meant a lot less stress.

Sunday start
So I sat the starting point on Sunday at 9.00 which is early for a role play festival. (people stayed up until 3 in the morning, some even more.) I did that so that people using the copenhagen bus could still play games and be at the station in time for the bus at 15.20.

It was hard, but most people did come and play their game. We only had to close one game, and that was the only game in the entire run that we had to close. And it was a five person game that was missing two players, (still I’m sorry about that Tore, but it sounded like you had fun with “Lets FACE it”.) So I’m not sure I would change this, as it seemed to work, and it is just a good thing that all participants can still play on Sunday.

Cold at prison
Apparently the room we rented at the prison was very cold. If we do that again we will have to get a heater or two.

We decided not to give people any food, except for breakfast and a huge amount of fruit, (last minute decision but a great one.) Charles and I talked about the risk of people forgetting to eat well and lacking energy for the games. We didn’t change anything this year (except for the fruit) but talked about doing like Black Box Copenhagen next year, where each scenario ticket includes a sandwich.

In the end it seemed to work fine, people made sure to eat and seemed to have enough energy. With the exception about Saturday evening that I have covered. So I’m not sure I’m gonna do the sandwich thing. But lets see what the participants say.

The event got a lot of praise, both the program, the venue and the organizers which is great. I can rave endlessly about that but I wont. But I want to mention two things we did, that I’m especially pround of and that i haven’t seen anywhere else.

We made actual tickets that people got for their games when they arrived. It gave you some kind of physical proof, that you could play this game, and it also had all the information you needed. But we also had a little wall where we put any unsold tickets and where people could but thickets they didn’t need for any reason. Anyone looking to play that game could then claim that ticket for free. It worked really well and received a lot of praise. It was also a way for us to keep an eye on any games starting to miss too many players.

Tell me about your t-shirt
The opening event used this little game that I came up with at the Larp Write Summer School. Bring a t-shirt or any shirt that is cool, geeky or have an interesting story. Then move around the room and you have to ask strangers about their t-shirts. It’s a fun and simple way to get to know each other. I’m very proud of this one, and it worked well and got everybody talking to each other at a very early stage.

Next year?
Yes hopefully you never know with these things, but I now have a lot of experience, some very cool people have expressed interest in arrange it with me and people seemed to want it. So yes we hope that there will be a Black Box Horsens 2016. If you want it to happen then consider signing up as an organizer, offering to run a game or just shout out and spread the word.

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