An important aspect of game and gameplay (e.g. in roleplay) is of course the Character Design of figures for the game but also of the game as a whole. In this context it can be argued that set design is extremely close related to character design and both follow the same logic.

One example is the Schlaraffische Spiel or schlaraffic game. Schlaraffia is a live action role-playing game (LARPG) that is played continuously since 1859. It contains impro-theatre aspects, is based on colaborative gaming, the principles of friendliness, even friendship, and (amateur) arts by employing humour, creativity and cultural learning, using the German language. The setting for the game satirises assumed medieval courts and more recent administrative pomp and forms. The game does not fully recognise winners or losers, nor does it deliver any services. Each session of the game consists of two parts, the first focusing on mock-administering the own chapter’s business, the second is centered on more artistic, mostly literary, culture. Music and songs are important for the framing rituals of each session, at least their opening and closing but wherever possible even within the session. Both parts combine role-playing and impro-theatre elements that build on clearly defined challenges. While the game is driven by banter and performances of all kinds of cultural production that mostly reflect on and/or joke about human nature, the principle of friendship between all members of Schlaraffia hinders aggressive competition or trolling behavious by its players. A detailed discussion of play and character design in in the schlaraffic game is given in my booklet Schlaraffia – the faux dignitas of pseudo-knights (free download here).

Within Schlaraffia, I have done a little poetry here and there and others do other things. E.g., I have tested and developed further different forms of puppets and puppet play (quite difficult to do that at work). With one of them I won a tournament that was held by the chapters Schlaraffia Flensburgia and Schlaraffia Malmöhus in Flensburg in September 2014. While my own chapter within the game is Schlaraffia Malmöhus, I can join the game in every other chapter as well: every player is invited to joint in the game at another chapter - an ideal arrangement for people who travel and want to get exposure to the unfamiliar in the familiar - as each chapter does play the game in a different way.

Gaming and games: board games, role play, computer games, etc. - what makes an activity a game, and what turns it into a good game?

Linked to this are issues like social aspects of online-computer games. Games are and offer social and para-social places / spaces that can be lived in besides real physical places. Gender and age specific uses, media competences and dependencies etc important issues.