Mini Fastaval and reflections over …And that’s it

So my most minimalistic Fastaval is over. Due to my neck problems I had to limit my time at Fastaval. Had I not lived in Hobro, I would have had to cancel it all together. But I managed to get some Fastaval.

I gave on the honorary otto to a very well deserving Rene Bokær, but also got to congratulate the other amazing nominees:

  • Fastaval Junior (Maya Krone og Mette Finderup)
  • Andreas Ravn Skovse
  • Designer brætspil (Troels Vastrup + Bo Thomasen)
  • Bjarke Pedersen & Johanna Koljonen

One thing I have learnt during this process is: god there is many amazing people in our community!

I had a chance to have some great talks with many of the lovely people there at the organizer reception, the author reception and at the ottoparty.

But I also ran my game “…And that’s it”, and that is what I want to talk about now. Designing this game has been a strange experience as it stayed flexible up until the very end. What I mean by that is that, normally when I design I game I reach a point where it kinda freezes up and I have a very hard time changing anything. This game didn’t hit that point, I even made a few changes after the GM run a few weeks before Fastaval.

It’s also a game that kinda snuck up on me. It started as a bit of a provocation. How strange a game could I make for Fastaval. But slowly it became more and more important to me. And now I think this is one of my favorite of my games. And that leads me to something else:

One of the things I like about “…And that’s it” is that it shows I’m not at my peak. “The Courage of Teddies” was a good story, but the design and especially writing is a bit flawed. “Waiting for flight GO901” was the best I had made and I have been worried about never being able to top it. It is such a clean and simple design and it just works. “…And that’s it” was for a long time way more clunky than Flight. But through the many edits and changes it ended up almost as clean but still more complex. And I’m proud of that and it shows I’m not done.

It ran five times and all the runs seems to have gone well. I ran the two international groups myself. I’m really pleased by the experiences that I have heard that people have had. Many have said that afterwards they felt empty but in a good way, and that is exactly what I was aiming for.

And the five runs have now been added to the online gallery, see them here.

I’ve been allowed to share share Anne Vinter Ratzers reaction to the game. And I think she sums it up very well:

In the evening I had a deeply moving experience playing Simon James Petitt’s And That’s It… A scenario without words, with only gestures, touching and drawings as communication, it struck a chord deep inside me from the first moments, and my character – created only as a handful of drawings and relations decided in a few minutes – still lingers in my mind. We really found each other in my group, and every death tore a hole in my heart. It was emotionally exhausting, but in the best of ways. It is hard to do this scenario justice with words. I can only say that I have a deep admiration for Simon’s ability to take tragedy and sorrow and make it beautiful and gentle and deep and unforgettable at the same time.

My dream and hope for the game is to run it at a gallery or some other aesthetically pleasing place with a mix of larpers and artists for a whole day and then after that showcase the artworks that come from it.


…And that’s it galleries – visualizing the ends

Part of my Fastaval larp “…And that’s it” is the creation of drawings ingame by the characters. As a different way of documenting a larp I’m going to be publishing galleries with the drawings from each run of the game.

As a warm up for Fastaval I’ve created the galleries for the four playtests of the larp that I have held before Fastaval.

You can see them here.

On that page the runs from Fastaval and any future runs will also be found.

Read the preview of the larp here

Read the synopsis for the larp here

… And that’s it – preview text



One of many drawings from the first playtest

That’s it. We’re done. Humanity is over. You are the last group of survivors and the first signs ofthe plague has reached you. Now you know your fate. It won’t be painful, it won’t be violent, but over the next day or so you will, one by one, fall asleep and never wake up. What do you do with your and humanity’s last day?

How do you put the loss of your friends, the loss of relations and your own imminent death to words? It’s impossible, but through the childlike act of drawing, this larp aims to get that little step closer to expressing and reflecting on these thoughts.

“…And that’s it” is a quiet, contemplative larp about loss, but also about friendship and togetherness. The play style is slow and lingering, with focus on the quietness of creating together. This is a game about putting all your emotions in small gestures, like a simple drawing, a light touch or a lingering look.

It is a tragic but beautiful game, that leaves behind a lasting impression through the drawings the characters make ingame. It’s not about being good at drawing but about putting meaning into the drawings you make through your character. Intent matters more than quality.

  • Expected run time: 5 hours
  • Number of players: 5 to 15 players, 1 GM.
  • Type: larp
  • Keywords: beautiful tragedy, utopic downfall, creative reflection.
  • Player type: You like to immerse yourself in the character and the simple but tragic story. You like to create a strong character through a thorough workshop. You like a slow and lingering game, where silence can say much more than words. You don’t need to be good at drawing, but you like the challenge in reflecting via drawing.
  • GM type: you love and master running a good and concentrated workshop. You can support and communicate the meditative slow game style that the game requires. During the game you will play the gray spirit that one by one end the characters lives.
  • Death seems to be a theme in Simon’s games, from a dying child in “The Courage of Teddies”, to the loss of loved one on a plane in “Waiting for Flight GO901”, now he has upped the ante and everybody dies in this new larp. He promises to try and not makes his next game so much about death.
  • Language: danish and english
  • Age: no requirements

… And that’s it – a finished synopsis

In this post I talk a lot about the process of pitching a game to Fastaval, read more about what that is here.

So some time ago I published the first, very rough, rambling draft of my synopsis here. When I finished the synopsis and sent it in, I was quite pleased with myself, it’s not a perfect case study of an synopsis, but considering what it looked like before, it’s a big improvement. And it got in. Now it’s important to note, you can write the perfect synopsis and still not get in, if you just happen to pitch a game in the same genre or style as a lot of others. Simerly a rough synopsis can get in if the game being pitched is something the program needs. You never know, but you do know that a well worked out and clear synopsis helps a lot.

I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous about a synopsis than this one. “The Courage of Teddies” meant as much to me as this game, but I was more sure I would get through as it was a very clear and traditional game. “…And that it” I know sounds strange and it was very hard to describe what the players will be doing and why that is cool, so I don’t think I have spent as much time on a synopsis as for this one.

So this is how the synopsis ended up, if for nothing else, it can be used as a case study of how much a synopsis can change from draft to finished text.


One of many drawings from the playtest (text: a light in the dark)


…And that’s it – Synopsis take 4

Humanity has been wiped out by the grey plague, now the last group of survivors have settled down and slowly begin to hope that they have survived it and can begin again. Then the plague strikes, and they know it’s all over, that’s it. We follow the last days of this last group of humans.

How do you put the loss of your friends, the loss of relations, your own eminent end to words? It’s impossible, but through the childlike act of drawing, we can get just that little step closer to expressing and reflecting on these thoughts. That is what this larp aims to do.

The focus of the game is three things the characters will lose during the game: them as an individual, their relations and the group. From attempting to deal with these losses comes most of the play. As you try to face your own end, as you try to sort out your relations before it’s too late, and as you see your group dwindle and try to connect to the few that are left.

Visual creation as communication and reflection

The central tool in this game is visual expression, like drawing or painting. The characters express their thoughts through visual means rather than verbal. Talking is allowed but the culture and workshop will make sure it’s greatly diminished. Drawing is used for communication and as a means of reflection. By expressing your thoughts as drawings, you focus on the subject in a very quiet and intense way. This makes the game a very personal and immersive experience. It will also be a very different way of documenting the larp.

This means that during the larp the players will often be sitting around quietly and drawing, alone, in pairs or as the whole group. They will be talking, often using the drawings as a starting point for the conversation. The end result is making an already emotional game more intense as the players are focused on their emotions and thoughts and not what the right thing to say or do next is. It’s important to note: drawing happens ingame, it’s not a metatechnique, it’s the characters trying to handle their situation through drawing.

The story

  • Act 1: They dare fearfully to hope. Gradually they think of a possible future, they dream. Act 1 ends with the first sign of the plague.
  • Act 2: Now they know they are going to die, there is no escape. They try to handle their end, they try to reflect over what this means. Act 2 ends with the first death.
  • Act 3: They die one by one, they say their goodbyes until the last human on earth closes her eyes. Act 3 ends with the last death.

During the game the GM will play a grey spirit, representing the memories of what the characters have lost to the plague, being touched by this spirit will bring forth these memories. This is also how the grey plague spreads, with the GM putting gray marks on the players. When you have three, you have minutes left to live. Will this touch be the one that dooms me?

As the characters die they also become grey spirits that represents the memory of that person. They move around wordlessly, longing to be remembered, but only through concentration can they connect to the living and be remembered. They can sense the other spirits around them, and if they try hard enough they can connect with them for a fleeting moment. When the last human on earth is gone, the spirits linger for a moment more, looking at what they left behind.


The workshop will focus on the three things mentioned before: Individuality, relations and the group. The workshop will also teach the players how to express and reflect visually. The workshop is very structured and run by the GM.

  • Individuality: A character’s starting point will be the player picking a physical item, that one thing they still have with them from before the plague, something that really defines the character. From the question: “why do you hold onto this item?” the  players brainstorm with drawing and via a range of exercises go from wild ideas to a playable character.
  • Relations: Relations are also created visually by pairing the players up, looking at each other’s visual character sheet and drawing how the other character sees your character. This will then be added to the other’s characters sheet. That way you create the others impression of you, but it’s up to them how to interpret it.
  • The group: Each player draws her impression of the group, and present it to the others. From this the GM helps the group create three routines that honors: the individual, the relations and the group. These three things forms the traditions of the group, it’s what binds them together.


  • The game is roughly finished.
  • It has been playtested once at Østerskov Efterskole, where among other things the grey plague mechanic and the visual creation tool worked great.
  • During Larpwriter Summer School the elements that worked less well (for example the use of mood boards and the way the grey spirits worked) has been redesigned and the game is ready for it’s second playtest.


  • Type: Larp
  • Genre: Tragic beauty (Grave of the Fireflies, Mary and Max)
  • Number of players: 10 til 20
  • Number of GMs: 1 or 2 for very big groups
  • Run time: 5 hours
  • Language: Danish and English
  • Writer: Simon James Pettitt
  • Mail:
  • Telephone number: +45 26811833

…And that’s it – Game looking for theme song

My next game, that I hope to send to Fastaval will be “…And that’s it”. Between acts there’s a meditative pause that will last the length of a music number. The beginning of that number also signals the end of the act and is also the signal for the players to go and lie down and meditate over what has happened and what will happen now.

But I’m having a hard time finding an appropriate song or music number that fits. It needs to both the quiet and relaxing enough to be used as meditation music, but I also want it to hit the tone and feel of the game, a sort of tragic, feelgood, immersive experience.

So I’m reaching out to you for help, what music numbers would you suggest?
As a help I have included the introduction texts below here:

I might also use this as the synopsis for when I send it to Fastaval, but is that enough, or what would you add something about, and what am I using too much space on? or:
What more info is needed and what should I cut?


Picture by Sergei Radiuk

…And that’s it

That’s it. We’re done. Humanity is over. You are the last group of survivors and the first sign of the illness has just reached you. Now you know your fate, it won’t be painful, it won’t be violent, but over the next day or so you will one by one fall asleep and never wake up. You know that this is the end, and that you are the last. What do you do with your and humanity’s last day?

This is a larp that has its players create a goodbye. The game has the players think about how they would close the shop on humanity and by doing that have them think about what humanity is, and what we want to be remembered for both as individuals, a group and as humankind.

The players are a group of survivors of a disease called the gray plague that has swept the globe. There’s no cure, and the only sign of it is gray spots on your skin. You know that when they show up everyone around you will already have been infected. There’s no other symptoms, no pain, no choking or throwing up. All you know is that in a day or so after you get the spots, you will fall asleep and never wake up. The group knows that they are the last humans on earth. How they know that is not important, it’s just a fact everybody knows and accepts, no buts or ifs. They are the last.

They have been traveling for many months through the empty cities and landscapes. Every day waiting for the first of them to show the dreaded gray spots. Some were strangers before this journey, some knew each other, but during their travels they have become a tight knit group, a little society in its own right with their own rituals and habits.

During the long days and nights they tell each other’s stories from their former lives and remembers together parts of that long journey. Before the gray plague they all had different jobs and functions, some were artist, some had more normal occupations. But our grand society left plenty of supplies behind for the little group, meaning life is not a struggle.

So during the long travel all in the group has become creators in their own right. Telling stories, singing songs, creating art, making poems, taking pictures. They create by themselves, they create together in pairs and as the whole group. No one in the group thinks the quality of the works are important. It’s the ideas and meanings behind each creation they care about.

Now after a long journey, they have found this place, and decided to stop here and settle down. This will be their new home. No one yet dares to talk of a possible future, the gray plague still lurks in everyone’s mind. To hope is dangerous. But now stopping and setting up a home, it is very difficult not to hope. And the first whispers of time after the gray plague has begun.

This is where the game starts. The first act is the fragile hope. Slowly reluctantly starting to hope and to think and even talk of a future. They use their creative drive to speculate about hope, about the future and maybe still also the fear of hoping to soon. Act 1 ends when someone in the group suddenly develops the first gray spot. Five minutes after this discovery act 1 ends, and after a brief meditative pause act 2 begins.

Act 2 is the main part of the game, and the longest bit. In this act more and more members of the group shows the gray spots. The groups know that within a day or so they will all be dead, and humankind will be over. Our long history will end within the next 24 hours with the last of this little group falling asleep. There’s no reason to run, they already have the plague, all of them, they have just yet to develop the gray spots.

Now they turn their creative endeavor to the end. To creating the works they will close history with. Both their own, the groups and humanities. How do you say goodbye when you know the final end is near? Act 2 ends five minutes after the first member of the group falls asleep. After yet another meditative pause act 3 begins.

In act 3 they say their final personal goodbyes as they one by one fall into their last sleep. When the last person on earth falls asleep a final short meditation will be held on the now empty earth. And then the game is over.

Larping in Minsk

I must start by saying how well organized the whole thing was. I’m gonna steal a lot from Minsk Larp Festival for Black Box Horsens.

Just look at those stickers! They worked as both flyers and well stickers. I now have one on the back of my phone. It’s brilliant! They even had name tag stickers.

And as a game designer I have never felt so taken care of. Before the festival they had asked for a list of what I needed, so when I came into the venue there was a bag with the name of the game with everything I had requested!

First I played “Take a lift” a game about people somehow stuck in life. And in an elevator. Imagine the scene from “You got mail” in the elevator and you get a pretty good idea of the larp. I sadly have no pictures from the larp.

It used space very well. With the lift, flashback and flashforward spaces as tape squares on the floor. The interesting thing was that in flashbacks the player having the flashback could control that scene, but in flashforward he could only set it and then the other players decided what happened. Nice little twist.

Next up was my own game “Waiting for Flight GO901” it went well, there was crying. It was also the record for most surviving travelers. It didn’t change the game that much, which surprised me.

Apparently there’s a game called “Turbulence” from a previous Larporatory. I talked to one of the designers about combining the two games, as Turbulence is about people on board a plane that crashes.

First we were joking, but in the end we actually had a cool idea for how that could work. So it might happen. It would basically be running the two games simultaneously but workshopping them together so that the instead of a bag you are actually waiting for another player character.

Then play the games as normal but when it comes time to find out who survives you bring the two groups together. They stand in each end of a room. One at the time the travelers move forward, then the people waiting for that person also moves forward. We wait for a painful moment. If a red spot turns on, on the traveler is dead and must walk away. If it is white she survived and can go to the ones waiting for her. It’s so over the top it might work.

Any way that was the program for Saturday the rest of the evening was talking and dancing.

On Sunday I had the first slot off so I hung out with some of the organisers and just relaxed. I needed it.

After that I played Ground Rules a very well designed larp from this year’s Laboratory. It’s a funny yet serious game about living in a communal flat in an unnamed communist country.

I really liked it and the tools it used. I could have played it for longer. I kinda want to hack it and make a day long version.

All the plot happened a bit too much at the same time for my taste. But I like dwelling games.

But the structure was so good. A scene took place in the morning or evening with either players waking up and going to work or coming home from work. Work was a space outside the play zone with chairs facing the wall. There we could imagine how our day went. I liked that.

Between each scene we slept and each player was asked to do a inner monologue about what happened between each scene. It was a way we could signal intentions to each other. Really cool.

Workshop and character creation was also well handled. Although a bit too fast for my taste. But they had each family do a scene for the others showing why it was that they had to move into this communal flat. And that had the most alcoholic line I have ever heard:

“Are you drunk again?!”
“I only had one bottle.”
“Of whisky!”
“Oh I didn’t notice…”

Loved it. All in all good players in all my games.

As I said in the last post I could ramble on much more. But if I did I would never get it done. So let’s stop here

Being in Minsk

I haven’t written about any of the things I’ve been doing since JaLL. I haven’t had the time for the long rambling posts I used to. I have long drafts for last years Larpwriter Summer School, Black Box Copenhagen and Before We Wake, but haven’t had time to get them edited and everything after them I haven’t even had time to write a draft. And it looks like that won’t change for the foreseeable future.

So I’m going to try and develop a new and quicker way for me to write about my larp experiences. This is an attempt at that format. Tell me what you think.

So this weekend I went to Belarus to participate in Minsk Larp Festival. They had invited me several times and finally I could go. This first post is about my time in Minsk. The next will be about the games I played.

The format I’m trying out is to write this on my phone on my way home. And I’ll try and make it picture based by picking some pictures I took while there and write whatever thoughts they give me.

All in all it was a great trip where I again and again thought “wow this is not something you experience every day”. Right after we were picked up at the station came one of these experiences.

  We went to a flat some of the other international participants had airbnb’ed. Through a hazarded and definitely not building regulated route they showed us up on the roof of the building that sat right in the centre of Minsk to the view above the central square of Minsk.

The next day our local hosts (all my fellow LWSS alumni) showed us parts of Minsk. Me and Yauhenia (Who I stayed at during the festival and who was a great host and guide) started out by visiting the national library that is housed in the space station you see above. It’s just one example of the size of Minsk. Everything is built big and with lots of space between.

We went to the top of that building and got a great view of Minsk including these soviet era buildings still with the original murals. 

  Inside the top floor was a small art gallery. This picture is from that. The artist painted these landscapes littered with these strange ghost ladies. Very moody. 

  We then meet up with Jamie and Mark, some of the other international participants and lwss alumni, and went to a museum for sculptures. As you can see most of them prominent communists.

  They were all by by the same artist apparently known for his ability to show emotions and personality in is works.  (can’t remember his name). This picture is of one of the first female officers in Belarus, I really like the strong expression.

  The artist was very fond of sculpting Lenin.

  As you can see…

  We were told that during the soviet an artist could make a living just making Lenins because every city, no matter how small, always had to have at least one Lenin. This artist was known for making some of the best Lenin’s. 

  After that we went to the area where the festival would be. It was in the middle of the hippest part of town. 

  It was an old factory area were the old factories were being turned it to studios, cafes, workspaces, galleries and so on. A very strange mix of old rundown buildings and incredible hip and modern activities. 

  In one of the galleries was a showcase called “21” it was a group of 21 year olds who each had been given a disposable camera (with 21 pictures) and asked to show their life and identity through the pictures. It was really interesting and they had really but some thought into the pictures. 

  It kinda connects to “…And that’s it” a game I’m designing where I want the players to create the characters through mood boards.

  We talked about that it could be interesting to give players of a long larp a disposable camera as preparation and take pictures to represent how they will play their character. Then you could put them on wall before game start and that way everybody could get a visual idea of the other characters. That could be cool. 

  In connection to the gallery was an independent publisher and its bookstore. They had not been outright banned but their permit to print kept getting delayed by small “mistakes”. So they had been fined for printing books without a permit. This created an outrage and people donated money to help pay the fine. All these stars are names of the people who helped. 

  In the evening I had the most special experience of the trip. We went to see The Belarusian Free Theatre. A well known theatre group where the writers and directors have had to flee because of their critical plays. Now they continue to work in London and the actors still perform the plays but in hidden locations. 

  The play was called Being Harold Pinter and was a mash up of parts of his plays and his Nobel speech. It was very intense and I both felt like an outsider and like I was being included in something special. I understood the play on an intellectual level. But looking at the local audience I could see this struck them much much deeper. One of them said afterwards: “it was like they kept poking us with the things we know about our country but don’t want to think about.” It was a very powerful experience. 

There’s many many things I haven’t mentioned now that I’m trying out a shorter format. Many cool talks and you know all the social stuff. But you might later hear about it from the ideas and thoughts that they gave me. 

Humm that became longer than expected. Next time is all about the larping. What do you think about the format?

A question and a few ideas

I have so many blog post in draft form, about all the things I’ve been up to, the larps I’ve played. But I just havn’t had time to write them up. And now I wonder if there’s even a reason to write about things that happened in the autumn. And while I ponder that (feel free to help me ponder), here’s a few ideas I’m working on. What do you think, do you have suggestions?

…And that’s it
That’s it. We’re done. Humanity is over. You are the last group of survivors and the first sign of the illness has just reached you. Now you know your fate, it won’t be painful, but over the next day you will one by one fall asleep and never wake up. You know that this is the end, and that you are the last. What do you do with your and humanity’s last day?

Steve-E – A Wall-E larp
For 200 years they have been doing what they were made for. Now with the discovery of a functioning tv showing bits of old films a whole new world of dancing, feeling and exploring opens for them. How will this little group of robots handle it?

Dance of the Perseids
You are shooting stars, and you are about to burn up. But as you dance across the sky you have one chance to live a story. One story, that’s all a shooting star gets. They have to take all their longings, dreams and desires and put into this one story. Not a life, a story. It doesn’t have to be happy, it’s not about joy. It’s about living and experiencing in that one hour you get. It’s about creating a story so bright that people looking up at you will see your fire and wonder.

This last idea is the one I’m furthest with, the core mechanic is dancing. Not being good at dancing but finding that zone when you are just enjoying to move your body to music and don’t care what it looks like. I want music to be at the center of this larp. From character creation to story creation to how the players move and interact.

Ticket sale for Black Box Horsens start december 17th

It’s been quiet in here for long, mainly because I have been very busy. And don’t expect it to liven up in this year. But In the new year I hope to write a lot. I have a lot to say to old things I’ve been to, but not written about yet. I have it in rough texts, but it needs to be gone over quite a lot.header-1

But that is not the point of this post, the point is Black Box Horsens 2016. I just wanted to bring this message:

The ticket sale will start december 17th at 18.00 CET.
The complete program will be online soon, and it looks great!
Admission to the Festival will be 14 euros.
Tickets for games will be 7 euros each.
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