The Last Cigarette

There’s a new chamber larp up on my website – The Last Cigarette.

“A group of people meet each day, in their workplace’s designated smoking area. They are not close, but they have this one thing in common: so they chat. What will happen when together they decide to try and give up – to have the last cigarette?

This larp is not really about smoking – it’s more about casual friendships and regular encounters, and the way that those people can make an impression upon your life.

This was one of those larp ideas that comes together very quickly. I had the mental image of a bunch of people gathering in the smoking area, chatting in a desultory kind of way for ten minutes or so while they worked through a cigarette, and then dispersing. And then thinking about how smoking is becoming increasingly rare (in the UK, at least), it seemed natural to structure it towards an effort to give up. The larp then wrote itself, pretty much, in half an hour or so. (Coming up with all the event cards — which had to be the right balance of banal and playable, with a sufficient variety — took a bit longer.)

I had no idea if this was going to be fun or interesting at all, and at the time of the playtest I didn’t really know what the larp was about. (Except that I was pretty sure it wasn’t really about smoking, or about giving up smoking.) But the playtesting went well, with people saying it was fun and engaging to be exploring and evolving the kinds of social relationships that are not deep or emotional – which are such a feature of real life.

A couple of people picked out the value of not actually talking about / playing openly on the events that had happened to their characters between scenes – instead, just having them internally as background. Which hadn’t occurred to me at all, but it makes sense I guess.

Anyway so, The Last Cigarette is available on that link above, to download and run as you wish. It works for any number of participants from 2 up to 12, and it doesn’t need a separate facilitator – just for one of the participants to read the instructions in advance. It might make a good icebreaker kind of event, I think, perhaps?

(image: Zamaie Chinye from Pexels)

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