The fact that I write this blog entry 2 weeks after Calam is a statement in itself.
Calam wasn't good in terms of statisfaction. Some people enjoyed the event while others just didn't and left early.
The blame for this I place with myself. The concept of Calam was based on some Larps that I've played in the UK (Maelstrom) and in Sweden (Dragonbane). I took the high standards from Dragonbane and the no-scenario-by-crew concept from Maelstrom. This I mixed together, added a setting and this resulted in Calam.
One problem was that some people thought our high standards were too extreme (we got comments like: "this is re-enactment, not larp") which led to us not having a lot of participants, which in turn resulted in not a lot of people that could create interesting plots for themselves (via extensive background).
The no-scenario-by-crew concept works if you have a lot of participants (say 200+). So with only 54-ish participants that concept clearly didn't work. Now, we did have some basic plot elements but most of them were connected to too few npc's and when you loose one of the main npc's on saturday morning you have a plot-less larp.
Some people told me that we messed up majorly and that the name Calam is doomed and should be left behind. While I acknowledge that I did mess up I don't believe the name Calam is doomed. Even the most critical participants say that the main problem was scenario, it seems that they liked the high standards, the cooking on open fire, the world setting, ... Also when we asked the women who were present if they liked Calam they were actually all positive. It seems women like the low-action kind of larp (i.e. a larp with not a lot of fighting).
So for now, I will keep working on ways to fix all that went wrong at Calam and prepare the team for Calam II (which I will keep calling Calam :-) ). Cause I believe we can make Calam work, we only need to fix what is wrong and to that end we'll be posting a questionnaire soon to get a full image of what went wrong, but also of what went right.
In the end I have to view Calam I as a testing of a (for Belgium) new larp concept where we were shown what worked and what not. It's that valuable information that will be used to make the next event a real larp and not just a larp camping.