The Auction

Following the suspicious death of Baroness Audry von Munchen, the fabulous von Munchen relics are to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. In the absence of a legal heir, it looks like all the proceeds will go to her favourite charity - unless a claimant comes forward at the last moment.

The Auction can be purchased at http://www.murdermysterygames.net/index.html

Basic information

  • Number of players: 12 to 40
  • Setting: Auction for archeological relics after death of Baroness Audry von Munchen

Cast of "The Auction"

  • Family, friends and neighbours of the deceased, household staff, antiques dealers and collectors, police

Reviews

  • Reviewer: Petter Olsen, additional comments by Michaela Aschan
  • GM: Petter Olsen
  • Michaela's role in game: Freddie Farr (also co-organizer)
  • Venue: Fairly big private house in Tromsoe, Norway (our regular venue)
  • Game played: September 4th 2004
  • Participants: 22
  • Michaela's rating: 5 (of 5)
  • Petter's rating: 5- (of 5)
  • Our experience: Our favorite larp for beginners and one of our best larp experiences ever; the game that started it all for us. We had played a handful of dinner-type murder mystery games (fixed form), and there was something there that we liked, but a lot of things that we disliked. Through internet we had heard of this larp thing, and after some investigation we decided to try to play "The Auction". Neither GM nor any of the players had ever played in a larp before, and it was a tremendous success. Many people who now know each other met for the first time at our first run of this game, and it took them a while to find out whether the person they just met was actually as crazy as the character seemed. We had players from very diverse backgrounds and almost 50 year age span from youngest to oldest. We have been told numerous stories about people who wouldn't normally know each other meeting by chance in social situations later on, and going into detailed and animated discussions about the game and their role, to great astonishment of their friends who weren't there ("What on earth was all that about and how come you go to parties with him/her; he/she must be at least 40 years younger/older than you?"). The game material explains in great detail what the GM and all the players have to do, and we didn't really have any problems running it. In retrospect there are probably some small aspects of the game that could have been improved, making truthful information more valuable and perhaps reducing some of the randomness related to the "Who will end up with most money?" competition. One small problem for us was that since this was the first and only game we knew, our players expected our next games to be somewhat similar, and some of them were quite disappointed when it turned out that not all games have a competitive and quantitative aspect. These are minor quibbles though; it is still our first game, one of our favorite games, and the game that we recommend most highly to all who haven't played a larp before (we should probably ask for a percentage of sales).
  • Reviewer: Petter Olsen
  • GM: Petter Olsen
  • Venue: Biological research station in KilpisjƤrvi, northern Finland
  • Game played: November 4h 2005
  • Participants: 24
  • Star rating: 5- (of 5)
  • Our experience: Following on the success of our private game, when given responsibility for entertaining 24 people (scientists, researchers, administrative staff) on an annual department outing in a _really_ remote location, we knew exactly what do to. Again we staged "The Auction" for a group consisting exclusively of first-timers, by far most of them non-gamers. Again a great success, with some people (especially some of those perhaps viewed as introvert or shy) having the time of their lives, improvising madly, and going _way_ beyond their character descriptions. We learned a few things from this that have come in useful later. Casting is obviously important, and a good rule of thumb in a situation like ours was to place the naturally extrovert people in more peripheral roles, and give the meatier roles to those who might otherwise have become wallflowers. We also discovered what was new for us then, that the people who _most_ enjoyed the game were those who were not necessarily very talkative in real life, and who saw the game as an opportunity to break out of the 'role' that they played normally. We made a mistake in this game in not pointing out explicitly what was allowed and what was not allowed (well actually, we did explain this, but some of our players thought that the explanation was in character and part of the game) so all our precious relics were stolen. Getting the relics back turned out to be problem, as some players chose to be in character when they professed their innocence. It all worked out in the end though, and it was all worth it to see people I thought I knew fairly well (including my then boss) behaving in _completely unexpected_ ways; some of them were in character even at breakfast the next day. One, or possibly two people didn't really enjoy it, so perhaps it is not such a good idea to have a larp in a situation where non-gamers cannot really opt out. Many of the rest of them talk about the game until this very day, and every year at our department outing someone asks when we are playing the next larp. A problem there is that it is difficult to find another game as lightweight, but clear and engaging as "The Auction".
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