I'm not very experienced in writing an analytical actual play report, but I'll give it a shot and try to illustrate how a 360-degree LARP is run, what the game play is like, how I experienced this particular LARP as a player and what I think worked and what did not from my account and in general (based on other players comments and my observations). This is going to be a long one, though I'll try to concentrate on the actual experience and not the why's and how's. Please ask questions and clarifications if you want to know about something specific.
Crime pays was a weekend LARP played in early June, lasting from early friday evening to late saturday evening (around 30 hours in all). It was a city-LARP which meant that the playing area was not restricted; the game had designated playing areas around Helsinki metropolitan area, both downtown and in the suburbs. Most of the players knew only two or three of these locations - I think it had around 10 of them in all. Transportation was provided either through a public transportation (which is in pretty good shape in Helsinki), by car (players with cars paid half of the game fee), by walking or by taxi (not a very popular choice). Cell phones were used for long-distance communications.
The setting and theme centered around criminal activity, from street gangs to the upper echelons. There were around 60 players and 10 organisers controlling the game and playing NPC's. There were two known major factions in the game, which had a "professional" criminal gang and a street gang, several smaller factions (arms dealers, pimps and hookers, underground medical facility, an illegal bar considered to be neutral ground, and so on) and some independent characters.
The game material had relatively short notes on the setting: it's Helsinki as you know it, except more like what the tv-series about cops and criminals emphasize. More criminal activity, hard-hitting cops, corrupted officials. There was a brief introduction to the underworld of Helsinki, short history of gangs, movers and shakers, and a short bio on the characters known to all everyone. The game mechanics were simple: players decide what happen. If someone hits you, it hurts. If someone stabs you, it hurts a lot and you have to seek medical attention. If someone shoots you, you either end up wounded badly or die, but you have to seek medical attention.
The actual rules and advice dealt with how to behave in a city LARP. What to do and what not to do, how not to alarm and disturb people who are not part of the game, how to recognise the designated playing areas where you can pull out that replica pistol and feel good about it - and how not to, never ever, do that anywhere else. How not to break any real laws. A common sense 101, but a very necessary one.
I received a short description of my character about a month before the game and the full character background about two weeks before the game. I was to be Albert Kujala, a honest businessman hit with bad times and having fell in with bad crowd - at least, that's what my character told himself to keep his chin up. In reality, he was a white collar criminal with delusions of normal life, running a money laundry business for one of the gangs. I considered myself to be a bit of an outsider since I really didn't want to be assosicated with the ruffle. I knew most of the "professional" leaders of the gang from a long time ago and had worked with them. I had a secret of having been a lover to a female luxury car thief over ten years ago, having been found out by her husband, and arranged his assasination before he could do me in. Albert and Suvi - the woman of my life - had gone separate ways sometime after that because we didn't want the ex-man's buddies to find out about our relationship, put 1+1 together, and take revenge on both of us. Several lean years later, a female criminal boss put a gang together and brough Albert, Suvi and several of the old gangmembers back together. Me and Suvi have kept quiet about our relationship out of fear and we haven't really talked about the issue.
The big picture was that the leader of the other major gang wanted to form an unified mob to Helsinki and had assigned a meeting of criminal bosses. Personally, I knew that my boss was not about to be second in command and was known for her ambitions and not really being a negotiator. I had a clear goal; I wanted to cash myself out of the local scene and head to safety before the shit would hit the fan. To this end, I had opened negotiations with the financier of the other gang about borrowing money (200.000 euroes) against my stocks in the local restaurant business. In reality, I had sold a large portion of my ownings several years earlier and the stocks weren't worth anything near the amount I wanted to borrow. I also wanted to take Suvi with me, so I would have to have a long discussion about our relationship and convince her to leave with me. I also had a niece in the city, towards whom I displayed my caring attitude as uncle by sending an occasional check. I wanted her to have a good life.
The background of my character was about three pages long.
(To be continued later with how I prepared for the game.)