My LARP Heroes: Johanna Koljonen

When I began to advocate for change within my LARP community, I was left feeling very isolated. Not only because LARP itself is a niche gaming genre, but also due to the lack of productive conversations about social justice in local games and online LARP networks. This landscape is changing, within LARP and the world at large, but there is a lot of education and understanding that still needs to happen.

I think the current state of LARP in Southern Ontario boils down to the fact that many of us just haven’t been given the tools to build safer communities. So, this post is my salute to an author, LARP theorist and game-maker who provides some of these vital community building resources, and who has really furthered discussions of LARP ethics and safety on a global scale. Thank you, Johanna, for making me feel less alone.


Johanna as Professor Vellamo at ‘College of Wizardry’. Picture by Nadina Wiorkiewicz.

Johanna is a co-creator of Nordic LARP Talks, an ongoing series of lectures that peer into the world of LARP in the Nordic style. These talks delve deeply into LARP theory, and the psychology surrounding game play and design. To my delight, many lectures are focused on creating a safer and more harmonious game environment – especially for games that push emotional and physical boundaries. LARP safety and calibration are concepts that Johanna continues to evolve through her work. Her videos have a wealth of practical applications, and are delivered in a friendly and light-hearted manner.

Johanna recently launched a Safety in LARP project – it’s presently a blog, but may be a book in the future! I highly recommend it for players and game facilitators alike. If you can, lend some spare coppers through Patreon to further support this work.


More Links

Video: Safety and Calibration in LARP

Video: Introduction to Nordic LARP

The Basics of Opt-In, Opt-Out Design

Nordic LARP Talks Author Archive: Johanna Koljonen

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