Twain is a one-player emotionally immersive larp about reconnecting and texting with a crucial part of your past that doesn’t text you back. It’s about magic in real life, and the difference between how we related to it long ago and how we relate now as adults.
Long ago, you had a twin, and the two of you used to do magic together. You stopped because life got in the way; your twin did not. The two of you lost touch.
Now you have chosen to follow a dream about your youth, coming to a meeting place to find them.
Your twin is not here.
Twain is a mythical layer on top of your real life. You play yourself, with a few changes. Answer prompts as if they were true by writing directly on the beautiful game materials.
Then, play out a live scene in a personally meaningful outside space to explore your relationship with a fictional twin who grew up to do all the magic that you never got around to.
The instructions begin, "Find a pen you love..."
The full game takes approximately an hour, sometimes a little longer or shorter.
"It was a profound and deeply harrowing but also lovely experience. It's not just that it's a well put together game, but one that was of use to me on a personal level I can't really explain." - Gray Pawn
"Twain actually made me rethink everything I've ever thought about Larp. It came into my life just when I needed it." - Jonaya Kemper, Larp Scholar
"Twain generated an experience that grafted onto my own life with an almost eerie seamlessness... I can’t recommend it highly enough." - Alex Roberts, Bully Pulpit
"With Twain, J brings a little more magic into our world. Both in the dreamlike experience of play, and the beautiful form that effortlessly guides the player, it's a truly singular game." - Hakan Seyalioglu, Thorny Games
"The game is beautifully made and elegant in its rules! This is really something very special in solo larping. I've never experienced this kind of bleed before." - Banana Chan, Game and a Curry
"Twain is great; come for the formal innovation, stay for the healing exploration of your suppressed life aspirations." -- Andrew Cedotal, board game designer
"J's games are beautiful, personal, and relentlessly honest. Their pieces fit together seamlessly and without ostentation, so you'd never know they're there. When you play one of her games, you'll have an intense, vivid emotional experience, and afterwards you tell yourself, 'I did this on my own.'" - Ben Lehman, Tao Games
The game is meant to be touched. Written on. Scribbled in the margins. Scuffed and creased.
The first thing you do is write your real name on it. Thereafter, the game belongs only to you. And perhaps, a little bit, also to the twin you never had.
Because the game is so physical, we recommend players use a physical copy if able. A single-license large print pdf is also available at the same price.
DELUXE VERSION: KICKSTARTER ONLY
The deluxe game departs from the standard book format into an experience more like a multi-layered invitation. It uses the very highest quality materials - heavy pocket envelopes with a hint of shimmer, translucent sheets, and custom-length linen trifolds with a rich, unique texture.
Because of the production complexity, this version will only be manufactured for Kickstarter: once it's gone, it's gone forever.
STANDARD GAME BOOK
The standard version is an 8.5" x 5.5" hardbound book meant to be written on. The cover is rich and matte in texture; the pages thick and uncoated and inviting your pen.
LARGE PRINT OPTIONS
The game is also available in large print game book and large print PDF with text boxes. This design is similar to the standard game book but physically larger, with bigger text and minor layout changes for legibility. To receive one or more large print copies, simply order the standard book and select "large print" or "large print PDF" in your backer survey.
(Please note that the large print PDF is meant only for accessibility use: by selecting that option you promise not to distribute and will only receive one license.)
PRODUCTION & DELIVERY
Design is complete, but production will take time. We will do our best to have copies in hand before the holidays, but it may take until Jan or Feb 2020.
STANDARD GAME BOOK
Design is complete and production is simple and fully in place: we are prepared to manufacture and ship books the moment the project is funded. Backers will receive books by mid December.
If you select a reward tier that includes both a Standard and Deluxe version, they will ship separately (and you will still get the Standard book in December).
LARGE PRINT GAME BOOK / PDF
Large print game books will print and arrive at the same time as Standard copies. PDFs will become available at the same time as physical copies.
J Li is a designer and writer who creates emotionally immersive larps. Her past work includes Mermaid, Caldera, Keymaster, and the original Parlor Larps (Queen of Spades, Argentin, &c), as well as A Pattern Language for Larp Design. Studio at Vermillion.Games. Writing on Medium.
EDITING: Karen Twelves, Improv for Gamers
PRODUCTION: Ross Cowman, Heart of the Deernicorn
SOCIAL MEDIA: Misha Bushyager, Black Girl Game Works
WE SUPPORT KICKSTARTER UNITED
We support Kickstarter United and ask Kickstarter to recognize and embrace the workers' union. We feel that a bunch of workers coming together to make something that's more than the sum of their parts and create their future together is literally what Kickstarter is all about.
Risks and challenges
Risks are minimal because almost all development is already complete. However, the unique format of the deluxe version means that all of the different game components must be printed in different ways and hand-assembled. Thus, production runs the standard risks of any multi-piece print and assembly job. The Large Print version still requires some design detail conversion, but if there are delays we will simply pay for faster shipping so it still arrives before the holidays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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