Simulated combat

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Simulated, Abstract or Representational combat is a mechanic used in some larps, in which the participants resolve combat by abstract methods rather than hitting one another with weapons. It is typically contrasted with live-combat.

Use of simulated combat is often seen as a defining characteristic of theatre-style games.[1]


There are a wide variety of mechanical approaches used for simulating combat. Some examples:

  • Combat can be restricted to certain characters (for example by using ability cards), or be something anyone can engage in.
  • Items and skills may provide bonuses.
  • Combat can be self-adjudicating or GM-adjudicated.
  • It may use hit points, or a single test to resolve victory and defeat.
  • It may be deterministic - A always beats B - or use random resolution using a card draw, finger-flings, paper-scissors-rock, bidding, flipping a coin, or even dice.
  • Ties may be resolved in favour of the attacker or defender, to encourage or discourage combat.
  • Information about characters' relative combat abilities may be open, or kept secret to create uncertainty.

Specific examples

See also


  1. All About Parlor Larps,, 28 October 2013. Retreived 2 February 2015.
  2. Morgana Cowling, The Freeform Book (TAGG, 1989), p. 14.
  3. Michael Wenman, "No Dice, No Table". Playground #3, p 51-58