Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Showing posts with label Women designers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Women designers. Show all posts

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Hearing Women Tell It: A Review of "Girls on Games"

At a time when the board game community has become gradually aware of the unique experiences of women in the hobby, the gently feminist Girls on Games, an anthology on gender perspective in gaming particularly and in geekdom more generally, successfully Kickstarted in 2014 with over 900 backers.  Elisa Teague - designer of games, events, costumes, and props - compiled 15 essays by women and a foreword (by a man) and herself wrote six more plus an afterword.  She also interleaved “Share My Story Spotlight” anecdotes by two women, three men, and a girl, plus a poem – or perhaps a song lyric – by “The Doubleclicks.”  And to read and hear women tell it, despite a consistently optimistic tone throughout their essays, they experience some ugly behavior in our gaming hobby  – from condescension, to scorn, to challenges to their bona fides as game lovers.  After reading of these experiences, frankly, I don’t know how they put up with it.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Feminism Discourse Part 3: Who else has asked this question?

This post is the third in a series of three essays on the topic.
Part 1: Why are women the exception in boardgame design?
Part 2: Who are the women that design games?

I'm certainly not the first to question the disproportion of men to women in the boardgaming hobby.  Here are just a few recent efforts (and one not-so-recent) to shed light on the question in one form or another.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Feminism Discourse Part 2: Who are the women that design games?

This post is the second in a series of three essays, following
Feminism Discourse Part 1: Why are women the exception in boardgame design? 

Last week I started to consider the question about why it seemed that there were so few female game designers.  But that post admittedly begs the question:  Is it actually true that game designers are disproportionately male, or is it just that male designers are simply better known?  I decided to actively identify women designers and some of the games they've designed to see if I could validate the notion that they are rare - or if not, to investigate why they are not as well known as male designers.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Feminism discourse: Why are women the exception in boardgame design?

Susan McKinley Ross at
2013 New York Toy Fair
I've recently come to consider seriously why most of the game designers with which I'm familiar are male.  I became more aware of this observation when I learned of a couple of women who won game design awards over the last few years and realized how unusual it seemed to me at the time - specifically, Susan McKinley Ross, who won the 2011 Spiel des Jahres for Qwirkle (which I only learned of when Tom Vasel interviewed her last November), and Leslie Scott, who won the 2012 TAGIE for Excellence in Game Design for Jenga.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

UnPub Mini Chantilly Recap

Last Saturday, Keith Ferguson ran an UnPub Mini event at Game Parlor Chantilly.  (I helped a little.)  We had about twelve designers and about 20 gamers playtesting over the course of the 11 hours that the store was open that day.  It was about as successful as we could have wanted.  For my part, I got to playtest "East India Company" and "Reactor Scram" one time each, as well as to play about four other games, though there were many more I wish I could have played.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

More designers for 21 June UnPub Mini in Chantilly, Virginia

As I mentioned in a post on May 8, there will be an UnPub Mini event this Saturday 21 June at
Game Parlor
13936 Metrotech Drive
Chantilly, VA 20151
We now have a full slate of eleven designers lined up, so we have plenty of opportunities for gamers to come and try out new game design prototypes and provide feedback to the designers.

Monday, February 3, 2014

UnPub 4 Part III: Sunday publishers

Publishers' Panel
Sunday of UnPub 4 opened with a pancake breakfast sponsored by Eagle and Gryphon Games and a panel discussion featuring eight publishers in a question-and-answer format.  UnPub convention director Darrell Louder moderated the panel.  Panelists included

Sunday, February 2, 2014

UnPub 4 Part II: Heartland Hauling and Ten-acre Farming

"Great Heartland Dice Game" with Tiffany Bahnsen
and Adam O'Brien (r.)
Great Heartland Dice Game
I was tremendously pleased to get to meet Jason Kotarski (Great Heartland Hauling Company) in person.  I got to playtest his dice-game spin-off, "Great Heartland Dice Game," with Shawn Purtell, Adam O'Brien, and Tiffany "Socially Inept Gamer" Bahnsen.  This was a fun variation on GHHC, kind of Yahtzee with cows.  Actually, there is an element of resource management, since having a gas reserve makes it possible to re-roll dice and score more effectively.  It's also possible to sell of extra dice to other players for gas.  The result is a clever little filler game that deserves a publisher's attention.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

UnPub 4 Part I: Pitching and playtesting

I spent Martin Luther King weekend at UnPub 4, the fourth annual unpublished games convention for designers in Magnolia, Delaware.

Friday night - designers dinner
I had the privilege of an invitation to a designers and publishers dinner the night before UnPub, which I attended with my friend and fellow designer Keith Ferguson ("Santa's Workshop").  It was so great to see so many other designers and publishers again, many of whom I hadn't seen since UnPub 3 last year.  UnPub founder John Moller passed the reins to Darrell Louder (designer of Compounded), who hosted the designer-publisher dinner and directed the UnPub 4 convention admirably, with the able assistance of his wife Lesley Louder, Stephanie Straw, and other volunteers.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Qwirkled

Susan McKinley Ross at Speil des Jahres 2011
Recently I've been catching up on podcasts, including Tom Vasel's Boardgame University.  Back on Episode 16, he interviewed Susan McKinley Ross, designer of 2011 Spiel des Jahres winner Qwirkle (Mindware Games).  I was fascinated by the evolution story of Qwirkle, which started in "specialty toys," evolved through the "gamer market," and ended up in "mass market games."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Congress of Gamers 2013 Part 5: Five-player "East India Company"

Wrapping up my Congress of Gamers coverage from almost three weeks ago, I've got a five-player playtest of "East India Company" and just a few other odds and ends to close things out.

Clockwise from left foreground:  Jason Tagmire, Marty, myself, Alf Shadowsong, Kiva Fecteau, and John Weber as I facilitate a five-player playtest of  "East India Company" - Photo by Mike Mullins


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Congress of Gamers 2013 Part 4: Tiny Battles and Big Battleships

Tiny Epic Battles
One of the cool things about the UnPub ProtoZones is that you get to meet new designers and discover their creations.  I met Alf Shadowsong and Kiva Fecteau, who had a couple of prototypes, and the one I got to try is called "Tiny Epic Battles."  The way Alf tells it, he designed this little card game as a method to teach tactics to Kiva.  The exercise evolved into a stand-alone two-player deck-construction game.  Each player starts with an action deck, a resource deck, and three "houses" face up in a tableau that he needs to defend.  A player loses if he exhausts either deck or loses all of his "houses."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Congress of Gamers 2013 Part 3: "New Bedford"

Anna Rutledge and Nathaniel Levan
demonstrate "New Bedford"
I had been looking forward to playing "New Bedford" since I first heard of it on the UnPub.net website.  My family has deep attachments to that old Massachusetts whaling town.  Nathaniel Levan is the designer of this worker placement prototype, and I got to meet him in the UnPub ProtoZone at Congress of Gamers a couple of weeks ago.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Excellence in Game Design - Leslie Scott

I received the January issue of the "Business of Play Inventor Newsletter" recently.  This newsletter covers the events surrounding the Chicago Toy and Game Fair, an annual occasion in November that includes a series of multiple of events, to include the International Toy and Game Innovation Conference (T&GCon), the International Summit for Professional Inventors (I-SPI), and the Toy and Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards.