Our Bicolline's Great Battle
It has been a few weeks since we went to Bicolline, and now that the infamous ''bico-blues'' are behind us, we can reminisce about our experience with happy nostalgia rather than being hunted by the bittersweet truth we nearly have a full year to wait before the next Great Battle.
❧ What is the Great Battle?
The biggest medieval fantasy event in North America, and the largest thematic medieval village in the world dedicated to such activities, the Duchy of Bicolline has been welcoming medieval enthusiasts for decades at the Great Battle, which is its main event and now counts more than 4000 attendees.
Located in Canada, on a permanent site counting more than 200 buildings forming a full-scale medieval fantasy town, it welcomes an increasingly international player base, but has deep roots in Quebec, the first Great Battle dating back from 1996, or rather 996 in the way years are counted at Bicolline.
The Great Battle is essentially what happens when you try to combine together the casual enjoyment of a renaissance fair with the more immersive elements of a live action roleplaying game. It's a week-long celebration of medieval fantasy, with amazing town life, musical performances, ceremonies, comedy, staged combat, and of course, the big battles. These impressive war games occur a few times over the week, and pit against each other hundreds of combatants for mass combat of a scale that is rarely seen in any medieval event.
To learn more about the Great Battle and what is unique in the Bicolline experience, we recommend you to read our blog introducing Bicolline in all its complexity.
❧ Les Artisans d'Azure at Bicolline
✧ The Haute Garde - On Site Medieval Store
Beginning in 1022, Les Artisans d'Azure now own a permanent medieval store at Bicolline, within the famed building known as the Haute Garde. Located in the merchant alley, a well-known street from the neighborhood known as New Town, it allows attendees to gear up during the activity, buying costumes, accessories and LARP weapons for combat.
It's the perfect place to meet our team of shopkeepers and be introduced to our craftsmanship in person, especially for players coming from overseas that do not have the option to visit our regular store during the year. With a week-long event like Bicolline, people may also find themselves short on clothes, or need to replace a weapon that got damaged in combat. When that occurs, we are there to serve!
Having a foot in town also allows us to get a bit more involved in Bicolline, and daily little contests were organized at the Haute Garde, from drawing competitions to cooking challenges, or popularity contests. These fun little activities brought some life in the merchant alley, but we also had something more ambitious in mind, something that required help from the wider Bicolline community.
✧ The Azure Order - Quests and Animation
As not only a LARP store, but also a pillar of the local community, we founded the Azure Order to associate ourselves with various LARP events, but also specific guilds in Bicolline. Among our numerous members in the Duchy, four guilds accepted to help us in organizing short quests to entertain attendees and give them a chance to compete to win prizes during the event.
One of the most influential guild in the whole Duchy, Brabancourt shared bits of wisdom with the brave adventurers that went visiting their camp. Dispatched by the Azure Order, volunteers had to go and learn the motto of the guild, having to win the trust of experienced members to be taught the ways of Brabancourt. Afterward, the adventurers had to return to the Haute Garde and recite the words high and clear.
Famed for their big personalities and their ferocity, the Mayols tested the might of daring adventurers by pitting them against one of their champions in single combat. These friendly duels tested not only the fighters' skill, but also their showmanship, the guild acknowledging the challenger based on their performance as gladiators. Those who passed the Mayols' test were given tokens of merit as acknowledgement of their success and could return to the Haute Garde to claim their prize.
Admired for their technical knowledge and ingenuity, the Naingénieurs tested our adventurers by making them seek a small dwarven statuette, cleverly hidden within the limits of their encampment. It is a true feat to see such a small thing in the midst of their inventions and workshops. Finding the dwarf figurine won the approbation of the guild, and allowed the victor to return to the Haute Garde to be rewarded.
✦ Frontaliers d'Irendille
The elusive and mysterious elves of Irendille are full of secrets, and the Azure Order dispatched volunteers to investigate their forest in search for mystical symbols of great significance. Those adventurers were to tread lightly, for the elves are reclusive and suffer no fools in their domain. However, with diplomacy, the brave volunteers could win the assistance of the locals and find the hidden symbols, returning to the Haute Garde with valuable information about the forest and its lore.
❧ How to Attend the Great Battle
If you want to participate to the Great Battle, all you need to do is to get there! That's as simple as that.While registering in advance gives you a lower price and plenty of time to figure out your sleeping arrangements and food situation, you can simply pay at the gate and enter the event. There is even a few options if you want to come for a shorter period, or event simply for a discovery day, which is always the Friday of the Great Battle.
Since the event last for a week, having a place to rest is very important, but you will not lack options at Bicolline. Medieval tents and encampments can be set in the established areas in the periphery of the town, and modern tents also have a non-decorum zone reserved for them. There is also the option of renting a spacious hut from Bicolline, or to negotiate a personal arrangement with one of the guilds, many of which own buildings and sleeping spaces in the village.
The Voyage North also offers organized travel and camping arrangement for international visitors wanting to attend Bicolline, on top of welcoming them in the camp of the Ordo Cervi, an established guild that can show them the ropes within the Duchy.
With restaurants, showers, toilets, a convenience store, and running water available in town, the amount of preparation required to experience Bicolline isn't as big as someone could expect, and with a basic costume and a budget, anyone can try the Bicolline experience.