LARP ("Live Action Role Playing") is an abbreviation of English and stands for Live Role-Playing Games. First of all, LARP is a game and the participants have voluntarily agreed to overcome the artificial obstacles that the game poses to them in order to experience fun. In this type of games, participants enter into roles, having the context in which the development of the action takes place, the main directions for their characters, and subsequently develop them. This process can be defined as the collective creation of history. This was stated by Ilina Konakchieva, Chairman of the Board of the Association for Role-Playing Games LARP Bulgaria in the show "In Development" hosted by Veronika Denizova.

Since 2006 there is a community that deals with such games. It has been proven that the game can be learned and it is a process in which we overcome artificially created obstacles. People play to learn and create a cultural product. Through the design and obstacles that are placed in front of players, we can make them learn without even feeling it as a teaching, says Konakchieva.

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As a major advantage in applying LARP in the learning process, Konakchieva pointed out that people are more interested and also role-playing games give protection from errors. Entering the magical circle of the game, we can afford to relax, and this is especially important in adult education. This gives them a kind of shield so that they can learn from their mistakes.

"Simulation is an artificial environment that mimics the real situation so that people can do the same thing they would in a crisis moment. The difference between simulation and LARP games is that in role-playing games we play a role."

According to Konakchieva, everything can be taught through LARP games. It is important to have a clear idea of what we want to teach so that our intention can be translated into design by creating very precise game tasks that aim to develop precisely these skills.

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LARP is most often used to teach soft skills because it is most easily perceived that through this type of interaction we can train people to collaborate, work in teams and make decisions. But at the same time, you can imitate simulations and learn all kinds of hard skills, says Konakchieva.

"The most important thing about learning games is debriefing afterwards, because during it people process what happened and turn it into an experience that has learning value."

According to Konakchieva, the interest of Bulgarian businesses in training through LARP games is currently non-existent, and this is a good opportunity for a variety of ways of teaching related to staff training and development. She gave an example of a Danish school where, through LARP games, children manage to learn even mathematics. According to her, we can develop classes in different subjects in which there is time for this type of games.

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We also have several Erasmus+ projects that have given us a lot of useful international experience. In addition to the Nordic countries, Poland is also an example of a well-established practice of LARP training. The LARP community in Bulgaria is small but active and consists of about 300-400 people, Konakchieva noted.

The largest LARP game on the Balkans with international participation is organized by the Board of the Association for Role-playing Games. Each year there are about 400 participants and is held outdoors in medieval fantasy. This year was one of the best games, as there was a reproduction of LARP a reconstruction of the struggle for liberation, inspired by the April Uprising and the meeting of Oborishte, Konakchieva said.

The profile of people with an interest in LARP is that of younger people with an average age of between 25-35 years. Usually these are people from larger cities and with a higher level of education.

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