German Government Using a Battlestar Galactica LARP to Train Future Diplomats

A recent trend has seen European live-action roleplaying games, or LARPs, set at actual locations that play into their source material—for instance, the Harry Potter LARP College of Wizardry set in a Polish castle. Germany is going a step further with Projekt Exodus, a roleplaying experience with an educational aspect.

For five days, 80 aspiring diplomats will (according to Projekt Exodus’ website) “analyze the narrative structure” of the 2003 Battlestar Galactica reboot and, through playing out characters and scenarios inspired by the television series, will explore and build on themes including government, ideology, and freedom. Projekt Exodus is funded by the German Federal Agency for Civic Education, which promotes political and media literacy.

Projekt Exodus (which will be conducted entirely in German) starts February 4 on the retired destroyer Mölders, which will be renamed the Hesperios. The LARP will involve a day and a half of character preparation, two and a half days of play, and a day of reflection.

Projekt Exodus’ website details the process, including the use of theater improv exercises to access characters (whose backgrounds seem to be pre-created) and the benefit of there being no spectators, allowing for better immersion. Players will act out episodes in a pre-ordained narrative:

Within their roles, the players will make intense emotional experiences, reach difficult decisions, and learn to deal with their consequences. Constructs of interpersonal relationships will be revealed or break down, and new structures and orders will emerge from the chaos of an apocalypse.

What’s not clear is if some of the participants are also secretly Cylons.

While the project is no longer accepting applicants, locals or tourists will have the opportunity to check out the ship. On February 8, a normal ticket to the Mölders will also give guests a tour of the LARP, as Projekt Exodus will leave the ship decorated “and populated with some of its crew.”

The organization says it hopes to mount an English LARP for a more international audience, but that depends on how effective Projekt Exodus is.

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