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Much later, I joined a local group of much smaller membership in a new area. A very different experience from my previous writing endeavors, our first meeting of plot was on someone's lawn. Here I come, with binders full of plotlines, modules, and story concepts, only to be greeted by dazed staff members lounging in the grass going "Um, yeah, that will be cool." Little was provided in the way of background information for the campaign, nothing was held onto in writing. By and large, the group came from a mindset of weekend roleplayers, sort of a weird "Hey, let's get together and play this NERO thing." kind of club, rather than a team with staff working to put out a consistent product.

NERO, both Alliance and International, has grown beyond its ability to provide a consistent game across the nation/nations. The style and flavor of game played in one region differs vastly from the style and flavor of another. By and large, campaigns fight amongst themselves as to who is "doing it right", and are so burdened by politics that they have stopped remembering to just play and have fun. Likewise, because they are such a far spread game, they lack in unified vision of what the game should entail. The rulebooks have the appearance of being geared towards a specific style of play and create the expectation of consistency, but then various teams put their own spin on it, vary both in rules and environment, and assorted in-fighting amongst the campaigns ensues.

As well, NERO, in either iteration, has never been a game to truly look critically at itself. To use software vernacular, they keep patching the program rather than taking a fresh write-up of it. As such, holes keep cropping up with every new edition of the rules, and the game rules as a whole have become stagnant. While it has come leaps and bounds in terms of simplicity from what was played in second edition, the game has not changed much over the 14 years I've experienced it. By and large, it only succeeds based on the merits of its histories, and as the larping community as a whole starts taking more and more critical address of its preconceptions and expectations, NERO is losing ground in chunks and pieces. If it hopes to continue on, and grow again to holding the 300 attendee events that it once could brag about, it needs to rethink not only its rules, but the politics and scope of vision.

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2003 Bryan Gregory
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