Ball of yarn

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The Ball of Yarn is a technique used pre-larp to help players generate relationships between their characters.


The players sit in a circle. One of them holds the end of a thread from a ball of yarn. The player who holds the ball throws it to another person in the circle, while making a statement about the relationship between the two. Examples: "I am usually very happy when you enter the room" or "we had an argument at the fishing trip last summer, but have since been the best of friends." The player who receives the ball grabs onto the thread, while passing along the ball and defining a relationship with a different player. By watching the growing web of yarn, participants become aware of who already has plenty of relationships and who need more. The exercise ends when everyone has sufficients relationships, usually two or three per player.


The technique can be used together with character-invention techniques to make up a larp from scratch, as an aid to a group of players who will play together at a larger larp, or as a way for organizers to save time on the relationship-mapping part of the design process.


The technique comes from Norwegian larp, where it is known as "Anitas garnnøste" after its inventor, Anita Myhre Andersen.