July 29th, 2012


Book Review: The Book of Kapo (2012)

The documentation tradition amongst Nordic larpers has reached the point where people are starting to demand a focus on design rather than just documenting others' works (see Talk Larp...), I know. Some documentary works, however, nevertheless not only merit their existence but also justify loads of promotion. The Book of Kapo, edited by Claus Raasted, is definitely one of those. In its 200 picture-loaded pages, it documents the design and play of Kapo, a brutal prison camp larp run in Denmark in 2011.

It was not a fun game, but rather something played for the harsh experience itself, and the book very much reflects that. A very big part of it consists of personal reports - to the point of frankly becoming somewhat repetitive. That's a small issue, however, as the book in general is a very impressive piece of documentation, easily able to open the concept - including its essential motives - to also people who did not attend, and even to interested non-larpers. I highly applaud its existence. It does have one big problem, though - it's clearly been designed for aesthetics rather than readability. The changing fonts are often small and messy, making it a slower read than it should content-wise be.

Harsh, visual, effective, this is a game-documentation book that should be found right next to Nordic Larp on the bookshelves of all afficionados of serious larping. It sets a new standard for how extensive larp documentation can - and in the case of certain games should - be.
  • Current Music
    Alexander Scriabin - Poème Satanique, Op. 36 (Xiayin Wang, piano)