How the role playing game in the real world is arranged for guests of Armenia with trips around half of the country

    Imagine that you arrived not just like that, but with a very important mission. I mean, you know that everything further will be for you a specially staged theatrical performance, but along the way you will travel around half the country.

    Game-mechanically, it looks like this:

    1. There are 10 points: attractions and places to spend the night.
    2. At each point, a theater and game block is added: conditionally, the place is prepared for a mini-presentation, the actors show you something, you make a couple of choices with actions or inaction.
    3. Then you get a quest-type puzzle, to solve which you need to run around, for example, pick up pieces of tiles in the labyrinth of caves or decipher the coordinates and drive (preferably on a horse) to a point.
    4. At the output, you will find a second plot block, most often a meeting with an actor who gives new information, a video message or something else.
    5. Plus “casual encounters” on the road, as in the classic RPG.

    To turn the whole trip into a performance, the dudes did a very cool job. Especially awesome moments of the start of the next move, when it sounds something like: “we know where they are - this is a cave city!” - and you get in cars to go to attack someone else's base after 200 kilometers.

    Now I’ll tell you how it was with us, and how it happens with adequate people. Plus I will add a gameromechanical analysis. Looking ahead: this is a very good wrapper around classic tourism, and it is repeatable in any region. In theory.

    So, it all started with the fact that we were built in the courtyard of the hotel and informed that we are a special task force designed to investigate a world conspiracy that encroaches on the magical relic of Armenia.

    Judging by the captain’s appearance, this is not Deus Ex, nor Dragon Age. Later, without an image, he turned out to be almost a hipster, but in the image he was severe.

    We are some neophytes joining the Order of the Guardians, the secret organization behind everything important in Armenia. Our task is to protect the weapons of last chance, a certain heart of Aramazd. A mystical layer is thickly spread on all this, which is intended to acquaint us with the culture of Armenia, but so far we have beaten it. Because the cap drew us its special forces show that we are a team and all things. And immediately he gave everyone an army bag with a first-aid kit, wet wipes, a white cloak of the Guardians, two Armenian shirts, wind and moisture protection, a bottle of water, a rope, matches and all sorts of other useful little things. I understood the most important thing: the girls could not worry about the cleanliness of their clothes, because in the issued one you can (and should) ride through the bushes and run through any dirt.

    Most of the first day we drove by car, where we got some introductory notes.

    Actually, these: the Illuminati united with the Freemasons and founded the Teutonic Order. They dominate throughout Europe, and continue to expand eastward. And here on their way Armenia met. Now they have stolen a fragment of Aramazd’s heart, and are hunting for the rest. Fragments are from worthy members of our order. Our task right now is to pass the entrance tests to the order, join the orderly ranks of the Guardians and help with the protection of something, or participate in a retaliatory strike. How will it go. In general, whistle everyone upstairs, so even such crooked curves are clumsy as we fit.

    Then we go through the rituals laid down (to bathe in a sacred spring, to which horseradish can be reached without an off-road jeep, wild jumping over hummocks and swimming a couple of rivers in the same jeep), drink a local superchay, shoot from bows, wave on timbaras, and go through intellectual riddles. In the course of the play, we meet a couple of actors right along the route (I will not particularly spoil, but it is important that the interactions on the game begin to slowly) and then, when we are completely relaxed, we are under attack from the Order battle group. We retreat to the reserve base, where we discuss an action plan, smoke legends and myths in the library and at the same time go through basic training in night and mountain operations - horses, archery, piercing a dummy with a spear (from a horse). In the evening, another theatrical happens, which loads us deeper into the plot.

    The next day, the base is attacked, and, in fact, the core of the game begins. At the core, we travel to places of interest because of the plot, do different tasks on the spot and feel like special forces. The problem is in the logic, because it is assumed that we just go through the game, and we assumed that we need to soak the order. Let me spoil now and analyze one of the tasks of the second day.

    So, we have a jamming tower, which the Order has deployed near our base. First, we look for it from the air, using a drone to search for this art object. Then we come to her to disconnect. There is a tablet with a captcha on whether you are from the Order.

    There is a logical inconsistency at this place. Instead of passing the quiz, I tear the tower off the ground and am going to chicken in small pieces. To which the cap says that you can’t do this, because you need to disable it. Oooh. It is also impossible to leave her coverage area. Therefore, we look for clues around and then we get three points on the terrain that you need to go to, complete tasks there, find cryptex capsules and then make answers for them from the tower.

    The same cryptex

    Is it logical? Not really. Imagine that the enemy decided to attack our base at night and deploy a jammer. To do this, they put a shutdown system on it (instead of remote control), provided it with a quiz, then hid a map next to objects on the ground where there are clues. And they brought the objects themselves, and also hid them. No matter how the motives are very clear. In a regular game, you expect the enemy’s logic to be calculated, to predict his next steps and take countermeasures. At this point, logic pours, but the pure pleasure of the quest remains.

    Further with the plot it becomes more and more equal, but all the same, the "rails" are felt. That is, he came to a point, watched a theatrical performance, did something on his intellect and sportiness, watched another storyline movie (more precisely, a theater block), and moved to the next point.

    I must say that the theater level is very cool. The directorial work is amazing without question. For example, how to make such a landmark as a circle of stones cool? You can just come there, fight, leave. And you can come there at night, arrange a ritual of initiation there, show the coolest fire show within the framework of this ritual, and then drag a theatrical character with whom there will be a conflict - so that the players already decide what and how to do.

    What can be done on menhirs, where are you going to pick up one of the pieces of the artifact? Not only letting the actors go there, but also putting it on the other side of the field is optional, letting out the drone from there and watching our actions. When you wait for an ambush on the way back - it's very cool.

    What can be done in the cave city? Yes, anything from a shootout, a full assault on the reserve base, night searches with a flashlight, rummaging around caves, stealing enemy food and so on. There are very cool little things - for example, enemies store the key to the chest in a bank with cockroaches. You have to get in there to get it.

    Multiply all this by the constantly presented plot, a bunch of new places, stories about the place, the surprised looks of the locals on us (and we walk in groups in white coats and national shirts), and you will get some impression of how cool this is.

    Now one of the coolest moments of the game, which simply tears those who have experience in such productions.

    I put it under the spoiler, because if you are going to play in this particular plot, DO NOT look there.

    I know that you click all the spoilers in a row, but this one is really important. Right?

    Ambush on the road. You are directly stopped with pistols, one of the players is handcuffed and taken away. At the move, you do not expect this. Just once - and you fully stuck. You beat, and you want revenge. And revenge further, and revenge terribly. But this is not the main thing. The main thing is that the locals quietly go by (who look at it and put pressure on the gas). I still wanted to understand exactly how the actors insured that the OMON bus would go by - it turns out they are warning local law enforcement officers and the Ministry of Defense that they will play. Who does not understand - they say that this is a film. Well, the person with the camera from behind is present, which reassures the locals too.

    Yes, we have a player - the beautiful Marie - managed to escape from the acting team into the forest at night, turn the handcuffs forward, take one off and contact us in the telegram where she transmitted the geo position. Usually people don’t do that, but here the team was ready. True, I would not recommend walking in the mountain forest at night in a T-shirt and handcuffs. Avoid this if possible. We were afraid for the snake - Masha was skinging in the bushes, and in the same place snakes were skinging.


    Groups of players - from 4 to 30 people, the optimal composition of 8 snouts. Three actors travel with the group: a cap who plays the leader; technician in charge of the group's technology and insurance cap; an operator who makes a film about your game and takes all the important photos - this is so that the players clutch their weapons during the attack, and not take selfies with smoke of explosions.

    Entourage at the level The

    good old exercise “Lunokhod-1”, it’s “lead a person blindly on the radio”, it has an analog camera with a radio channel.

    The cost of playing for 3 days coincides with the cost of a guide for 3 days, living for 3 days in normal places, renting a transport with a driver, meals (it’s just gorgeous here - except for the situation when Moscow resident Tanya took large cucumbers for zucchini and baked them on charcoal). The price does not include airline tickets, but includes all transfers and insurance of the "extreme" level, that is, for a fall from a horse you will also be treated with a coverage of 2 million rubles. Plus SIM cards with the Internet for communication. Plus everything that you order, here is a calculator of special effects for different objects.

    Extensions of the case of the numerals indicate that the native language is still Armenian.

    All program items are beautiful, give a bunch of photographic material for showing off on instagram, and everything is organically inscribed in the plot.

    That is, a game with a more or less rational calculation becomes quite profitable in comparison with a regular trip to Armenia. At least, these are the impressions that when you get hell at least somewhere and at least somehow, if you are not a role player. If you are a role player, then you will also show your intellectual superiority.

    The Ministry of Defense supplies pyrotechnics for the game (it seems unofficially). This, of course, is not a simulation of a nuclear explosion with a bucket of gasoline or something even more complicated, but our girls hid under the bed from the shootout quite real, and the shooting scene after retreating from the machine gun can only compare with the scene of taking the underground city in Moscow 2048 "By the level of overwhelming fear.

    The first temporary base, something like a collective farm "Red Communard"

    The entourage is like in “Stalker” or ATOM RPG.

    Inside, of

    course, tactical planning.

    Third time base, caves in the cave city.

    Three groups: a player’s car in the middle (we had a Honda Odyssey for 7 passengers, if there was more, there would be a minibus or a bus), for they have a car with fighters of the order, in front of them is a car of game engineers and other actors. Conventionally, each place is prepared for the scene in an hour or two, then the players go through this story, then the players interact with the enemies.

    Video message

    At each point, there is an agreement with the local chief and responsible that there will be a game. As I already said, the cameraman walks with the group, and the players wear national shirts, so all randomly met people clearly decide that this is a movie about Armenia. They do not touch us and do not ask stupid questions, which is very nice. All people at objects such as bridge keepers, owners of the base house, cafe chefs and so on are even playing along in the course of the game - in some places they have already seen 30 runs and know what is possible and what is not. The police in public places watch with interest and do not intervene, but everything loud happens far from civilization - both we and the Order have the intention to go to crowded places without weapons. True, once we scared by shooting a whole bus of Americans who should not have been there at that time. The camp site (our reserve base on the plain) completely covers the territory for players during the game. The fields that we run around in search of enemy targets - something is growing on them - and now the farmers-owners are aware of what will be there, and they allow this explicitly.

    The composition of the team - theater students, directors, actors, one student programmer, artists, former tourist guides and, in fact, the organizers. Each has its own role and functions, on key roles there are 3-4 replacements (one inside the team, the rest outside for other games).

    Information is transmitted to all by voice. As soon as one of the actors receives information about the players, it is transmitted to a common radio channel (without players and characters around the players). Plus, the actors listen to the players' radio, of course. In our case, the cap realized that we were ready for the final fight with full contact, which is why I got in the face lightly and thought that I was hurt on glasses, Timur scratched his shoulder and knee, a couple of actors did so well with throws and kicks. Then Timur took the stun gun from the main reptile and, during the struggle, poked himself from the back pocket. We were happy. Actors too, they have long wanted to pile on someone. They say this is the first time that there has been full contact. The previous composition was all girly, there was enough pyrotechnics and pathos of conversation.

    Having arrived home, I realized that in addition to all of the above, there are a lot of cool little things that you need to continue to do. We are taught to tie a duffel bag and cook the right Armenian kebab, make a fire, collect tea from field herbs, shave a cigarette lighter , distinguish between plants, ride a horse on a saddle and even more, half of which is used in real life.

    The script is evolving. There are weaknesses that are understandable to the organizers, where something may go wrong, and there are changes for the players. Sometimes new show elements are introduced. The first tests were to synchronize all players and people in the field. In total, it is about 40 people across the country (including actors and orgs in cars). The rehearsals were as follows: we traveled around the objects, rushed into the scenes first among themselves (each in turn played key roles), then with friends, then with beta players. They took artists, requisites - they all had to look at nature.

    The first game was a year ago. A total of about 30 runs, including tests.

    Now about what, in fact, how I can help the project and what I would do as a fairly experienced specialist in games and scripts. Actually, I got into this adventure about this way.

    In the story, this guy runs away, but here the story has changed

    List of corrections and analysis of game mechanics

    We played with a team from our friends from Tutu. Adventures and journalists (it was a press tour). The game went really hard with our group in particular, as it consisted of people who went through several hundred field games of live action (which I put somewhere under a hundred freeform LARPs). As a result, my experience turned out to be useful for a possible improvement in the game. Further, I rely on my experience and, in part, data on past games from the organizers.

    The first obvious problem is the motivation of the players. When you are being built in the yard and they say that you are obliged, the natural reaction is to send a military fuck. Which, in fact, happened in our team a little later. Cool for kids, they don't ask questions. Therefore, you need to give role-based motivation and a little more data.

    The solution is perhaps the following: write a short story for each player, why he is here. And change the opening one from “you are proud of joining the Guardians” to “you are a special unit called up to Armenia to help the Guardians in the operation”. One player finds out that his grandfather was in this organization, the second special services of his native country were sent to study the issue, the third hunts for the main reptile of the game and so on.

    We need Wikipedia as a database of custodians - now books are only at the end of the first day, and they are few. And you need known data about the Order, their bases, comments on each object in Armenia from our headquarters, and so on. So that the players are already in place with a tactical analysis of the situation. Remember the loads of Jagged Alliance 2: intelligence report for geek explorer, dialogs for socializers, scenes with Deidran for killers and achivers (classification of players according to Verbach) and generally the map interface for everyone at once.

    Next, you need to string all the game actions on the logic of the plot. Weaknesses are the logic of the link between the plot and quests. As I said about the tower - why should we play questions and answers if we can chop it with an ax? But in reality, the questions began earlier with mine: “Why do we need to fight the Order? Come along, agree! ”

    Here another weak point comes to our aid - the lack of information flow on the road. When you drive 2 hours, you need to take time completely, and not 15 minutes to talk a piece of legend, and then go “for life”.

    First, we will have a radio game. The player’s channel will constantly have reports on attacks on the Guardian’s cells throughout the country, the sounds of gunfights and the recording of negotiations. It always works very hard and loads a lot into the plot. According to the experience of games, those who missed part of the download about Armenia and the mystical layer are often stupid - it affects the plot. But the players do not just need this, they are not local. And with this change, we have three loading layers: Wikipedia about the game for those who like to read. Cap stories like now. And the radio, where along the action important information is transmitted such as: “Do not let them near the fragment at any cost! We vowed to protect him! Haman! Run, we will delay them! ”

    Secondly, we will have detailed characters. Now the same cap is an actor who plays the military and just tells important things about the plot. You need to make everyone a personality. A cap can suffer from post-traumatic syndrome and scream in the corridor at night, and players will reassure him. A techie can stop by for breakfast with his hands elbowed in blood and say how much he likes to slaughter pigs in the morning. The operator can beat everyone with military tales with a terrible Croatian accent. Etc. Here is an example of the beginning of the development of a cap character, many things start when the players are inactive (and are not needed if the game is “tight”):

    Thirdly, we will have a layer of constant very strange things to discuss. All of them should be done cheaply - estimates decide here. They will play suspense. For example, the Order’s car on the first day should not go after half an hour for the players, but to meet at the first gas station and continue to sit on the tail of the players. And so that in the parking lot they stopped 200 meters and looked at the players with binoculars. The dervish should first beg for alms near the toilet, and then after 10 kilometers stop the car right in the middle of the highway and write “Stop” on the windshield. And let the players wonder how the same dude (they don’t know for the first time that he is an actor) was on foot in front of them. The player’s bag may contain a note: “We can get to you at any time” - there are a lot of discussions, sea emotions, and the cost is near zero according to the estimate.

    Now about the logic. When we have suspense, the characters come to life, the radio game goes on, the players understand with their hands what to do (for example, they themselves barricade the base, blocking the windows with furniture) - you can remove all logical inconsistencies such as entrances to quests. Not “disconnect the antenna”, but “hack the antenna to gain access to the enemy database through the control channel” - and now the tablet on it becomes a hacker game. Not “find 3 objects on the map that the enemies left”, but activate three Guardian radio stations to trilate the object. Etc. These are cosmetic shifts that greatly change the attitude of players towards immersion in the character.

    One more thing - I constantly thought about the game not about what to do to us, but about why the enemies did this or that thing. And he analyzed their motives (while they were incomprehensible), the preferred nature of the actions, management style and tasks of their leader, calculated the next steps. But they did not succumb to logic. For example, why make us by surprise, be able to instantly interrupt - and retreat, leaving the bomb to which you need to pick up the code? If I were the main reptile, I would never tell my plan, and instead of a detailed answer to the question from the cap, I would say “No” and shoot at him. I would even shoot first, and then say no. So, this logic is also easy to correct if there is more information about the world. And it could not be given more, because the players before this were loaded incorrectly.

    The next step is sometimes the game misfires. For example, during the final line, our tourists simply stole a piece of props that moved the plot. In another place, we enchantingly stupid two extra hours. For all such cases, you need three plans: a way out of the situation by timer, plan B for an alternative solution, and a basic plan.

    Example. The priestess leads us to the source and says that water will give an answer. And the answer was stolen by tourists. Therefore, water can only give us water, an hour of delay and a sense of intellectual inferiority. Plan B: the priestess has the same object with him, and when dumbasses, she goes to the source, throws it there and they say - now, I feel it is here! Exit plan - the actor runs and moves us to the next block, like: “I saw one of them there, we’ll run there faster!” Workaround: An actor from the village appears who says he found something strange in the source. Etc. Players break everything. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. It is necessary to discuss plans B not on the fly, but to prescribe in the script so that the players do not even feel that something is going wrong. And had more choice than the rails of the quest - there will be an illusion of an open world.

    By the way, the game has several endings, so the choice of players still affects. I would suggest making more choices at the end - after the final battle, the final “movie” with the theater stage, you can give the players a little freedom to decide the fate of the world without leaving the box office. It will be epic as the ending of Fallout 2, if done correctly.

    Now let's get back to the meta level again. In this whole story, I did not understand where the orgies earn. More precisely, this: they clearly underestimate the possible margin from a ticket for all of this, since the calculation of how much it costs to travel to the same places with a guide and elements of the show was carried out just from my submission. Now, I quote: "An actor can get more from the game than we do." I think they are a little cunning, and so it was once or twice.

    The most important point of why all this is possible is because Armenia is a very cheap country. As the local said: “We have everything. Clear mountain water. The factories have not been working for 30 years, ecology. Beauty. 300 sunny days a year. Only there is no work ... ”- hence the ice cream for 14 rubles, and an incredibly expensive cafe with a bill of 500 rubles per person and so on. Metro about 12-15 rubles, by the way. Taxis from the airport in Yerevan - from 150 to 300 rubles (20-40 minutes). So, they earn on this “temperature difference”.

    Tea we collected in the mountains

    It is strange that no one has done just that. More precisely, there are either quests in cities such as “Fights”, or semi-theatrical excursions like “Farolero”, or individual games, or an immersive theater at some fixed points. But not a whole dive trip. So we are now with some slight probability of seeing something new in tourism and games.

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