What is Jeepform

edited August 2009 in Story Games
I have seen a lot of references to Jeepform on the forum. Can anyone explain what it is?


  • It's a philosophy, or perhaps a modus, of story gaming. For the details, go to:

  • edited August 2009
    Sure. It's a style of play that makes use of improvisational and dramatistical techniques to guide players in the creation of character-focused narrative. See the Jeep home page for more information. EDIT: Cross-posted with Julian.
  • edited August 2009
    It can be a bit obscure just going from the site.

    Jeepform is a LARP form focusing on highly-structured play environments with few mechanics that directly impact gameplay. One of its selling points is that the Jeepform techniques lend themselve to dramatic, non-fantasy ("realistic") play that often carries a message. Jeepform resides in an interesting place both topically and conceptually.

    In addition to this sort of heavy overhead of big ideas and gritty realism, Jeepform games are super-fun, challenging, and creatively fertile. If you have a chance to play at a convention, I can't recommend it highly enough. The Upgrade! is a good game to use as a starting point.

    (EDIT: Oh! The other thing that's neat about Vi Aker Jeep is that they actively post their games for free, and have promoted them in a vigorous and friendly manner here in the States.)
  • The Upgrade! in a con setting was a little bit gonzo for my tastes, though my tastes are pretty un-gonzo so if you are sillier than I am then you'll probably enjoy it.

    I'd like to do The Upgrade! sometime in a softer, more serious-minded setting.

    Maybe with some women playing, too.
  • FYI, The Upgrade! is a live-action enactment of a fictional dating reality show.
  • Jeepform combines elements of LARP, freeform, and narrative story games.

    Generally, Jeeform:
    - revolves around exploring a specific message or premise
    - usually dealing with everyday issues
    - and the game’s message takes precedence over immersion
    - there are no rules for resolution that decide if actions succeed or fail
    - you act out your character in the first person
    - but you don’t necessarily own a character, multiple players can play the same character
    - scenes are heavily structured
    - the GM is more of a director, they usually don’t play NPCs but rather structure and direct scenes so they stay focused on the games message or premise
    - in scene, metagaming is kept to a minimum
    - out of scene, metagaming is used to keep the game focused
    - everything happens and is acted out in the open
    - props, costumes, and realistic locations are not used

    I think it’s fair to describe Jeepform as narrative structured freeform that will alter its structure as best needed to deeply explore normal everyday issues.

    Hope that helps!
  • Posted By: AntiquitusMaybe with some women playing, too.
    I don't care what the Jeep say about this: in my opinion (and in my experience) you HAVE to have women playing the women characters. Much more so than usual, even for LARPS. :-)

    About the question in the subject, these are some links of interest:

    Jeep Invasion Q&A

    How to Jeep

    And a couple of actual play threads from the Forge:

    the first one is mine, about the first time I played "Doubt" (that in my opinion is still the best jeepform ever). In hindsight I did write too much about the minute details of the game and the thread as a consequence is rather dry (if not even boring), but if you want to know how "doubt" play in minuter details, they are there.

    The second one is about Emily Care Boss' "Under My Skin" (With pictures!)

    Last, some Tips for a good Jeepform...
  • I've played a game of Utflykt (which I have no idea wether it's availible in English and if so by what name). It was pretty damned intense. And awesome.

    Also, so as not to get confused in other discussions, it might be good to know that most swedes, myself and, I think, the Jeep guys included, wouldn't think of jeepform as a LARP. Over here, it's considered a type of freeform ("jeepform" basically just means "freeform run by the guys of Vi åker jeep").
  • The issue is one of regional terminology, Simon. To we tabletoppers in the USA, LARP includes freeform as a subset. Basically we don't actually discriminate freeform from other forms of "indoor LARP" if you'll allow me to coin a term. The USA definition of LARP also includes such things as "Boffer LARP" (see NERO), or even pedagogical play such as National Security Decision Making. Um... if you don't sit around a table, and describe the action, but instead act it out, then it's "Live Action" and therefore LARP.

    Thus, Jeepform, as a cousin of freeform, all falls under LARP to us.

    Let's see:

    RPG Breaks down into:
    Tabletop RPGs, LARP, CRPGs, RPing, etc

    LARP then further breaks down into:
    Host A Murder Mystery, Standard LARP (oh, think Minds Eye Theatre), freeform, etc.

    Freeform breaks down into:
    Standard Freeform, Jeepform

    So we're not disagreeing with the definition of Jeepform as a subset of freeform (as the site defines it, in fact). We just think of all of that as LARP.

    Note that this seems reasonable to us because the term freeform often derives from starting with a RPG with lots of rules (D&D), and then dropping the rules to "just play." As such, freeform is just LARP sans most or all of the mechanics. So no disagreement on this really, other than terminologically.

  • No, I agree. Totally a terminology thing. But the terminology issues are a good thing to have in mind if you're going to be reading about Jeepform, since there might be swedes involved who use a different terminology.

    (Of course, I could counter with how freeform is considered a subset of tabletop gaming here, and completely unrelated to LARPing. But I fear that'd derail the thread, so I won't. Uh, except that I just did. Damn!)
  • To confuse stuff further, IIRC jeepform is considered "tabletop larping" in the nordic countries, or something. :)
  • Posted By: AntiquitusI'd like to do The Upgrade! sometime in a softer, more serious-minded setting.
    Yeah, me, too. It'd totally support a more serious and thoughtful tone and the game discusses how to set that tone. There's no expectation in the game as written that it will be ridiculous - that's an artifact of convention play, expectations, maybe discomfort at the premise. I love that mode, but it's only one mode.

    We played an all-male game at GPNW and it was fine. I totally agree that it's better when character gender maps to player sex, though.
  • Thanks everyone, I have a much better idea now.
    I was wondering exactly how it's not just freeform and LARPing, and that question has been comprehensively answered.
Sign In or Register to comment.