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Introducing New People to Gaming - Hazel's Women in Gaming Room [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Introducing New People to Gaming [Apr. 23rd, 2004|09:15 pm]
Hazel's Topics



So I recieved an e-mail about a week ago from a self described "male AOL gamer". He said neither his wife, nor any other women he knows, is interested in gaming. Then he asked how would I suggest changing that. (Note: That is about one sentence shorter than the actual message, I didn't have much to go on here.)

My Response

First of all, I need to know more about what you play. You’re a gamer on AOL? What exactly do you play? What kinds of games? Are you looking to interest her in playing against you? (Like at Quake or something similar) Or are you just interested in having her understand your choice of hobby a little more?

My first thought is that it’s really going to depend on what kind of game, and how you can make it seem interesting. You need to consider your wife’s interests as far as books & movies go. She’ll probably be more interested in games with the same kind of themes. For example, my SO asked a friend of ours who’d never played an RPG before (she did play video games though), if she wanted to join her boyfriend in our newest campaign. We knew he was playing, and felt bad leaving her out. She gave it a try simply because she’s fascinated with Japanese culture, and we just happened to be playing a game based in feudal Japan (Legends of the Five Rings). It wasn’t exactly a hard sell. She picked it up pretty quickly, with the exception of game mechanics, which she's still getting the hang of. I wouldn't say she's hooked. I do think, next time around, she'll be more inclined to give it a try. Basically, because now she know what she's getting into.

Still, table-top has to be handled differently than video games. (As for on-line RPG's I've never tried it, so I can’t really say much).

For me, tabletop role-playing is like being at a party. Or a maybe play rehearsal....without a script. Everyone is participating at the same time, there's food, music... Our games happen anywhere from once a week to monthly, and sessions can last 4-12 hours depending on the group.

Computer games are often 1 or 2 people at a time, and more players means you need more hardware. More often, it means somebody is going to be a spectator for some of the time. My S.O. and I have completely different tastes in computer games, which means we have to take turns using the computer if we're both into a new game at the same time. It’s great when we find something we both can play, but it’s rare.

Lucky for him though, I am an avid backseat video-gamer. There are tons of games I don’t play because I can’t manage the controls. But I love to watch other people play. And I’m a sucker for pretty graphics and puzzles. However, once I figure out a game's controls, I find myself less and less interested in watching someone else play. It isn't long before I have my own saved game. There are also games that I play, that my SO (and most of my friends) are completely bored by -point and click puzzle games like The Neverhood, Bad Mojo, and well, I blew through Dungeon Keeper before he'd even looked at it twice. What this means, really, is that my video game voyeurism has made me try games that I might not have tried before. I try to dedicate atleast 30 minutes to watching his newest toy. More often than not, the stuff I can watch is the stuff I end up playing when he's off with the guys.

And in the end, if the interest isn't there. The interest isn't there. People game for numerous reasons, and if the woman (or man) in question, just doesn't see the point, little is probably going to change that.

Original Responses

Posted on 11/12/01

Well, I was always kept out of games at school because of the no girls sort of response. I sat back and watched every game, picking up the rules as I watched but mostly enjoying the role-playing rather than the roll-playing aspects. I know that for me the idea of being who I want to be is the drawing card.

Now I'm out of school it's harder to find people to get together with and so I turned to the net. I looked about trying to find games, (that interested me enough to stick around), for two years and I still didn't find anything I really loved. So I got rid of the dice (to an extent) threw some message boards together and created my own game. I think women will like it particularly because it is almost completely involving the playing your character side of RPG's. The city life and living in a medieval realm is what interested me and so not finding it elsewhere I put it together myself. I love being able to involve a life in the game not just going out killing the monsters. In many games I found that the story line was really weak, your characters would go on an adventure for something, get led off on a tangent of other mini adventures and kill things along the way but they never really existed for me. They were just numbers, STR 17, DEX 15 etc, no matter how hard I tried to get people to play the role as well they were interested in whether the number on their dice meant they hit the monster. *SIGH* How boring could you get.

In one group that I managed to find on table top the we were three couples. The women of the other men were putting across and attitude of having been dragged along and forced to play and by the end of things they looked as if they would enjoy things if they're men just buggered off and let them play. So men, if you want your women to join in stop telling her what to do. You'll find that if you shut up and let her think she'll come up with some great idea's of her own and it might not involve killing the stranger. What I really wished was that I could get an all female group together, I'm sure those two women in that group would have really flourished and learned to love the game but it never came to be and since the birth of Kaylie (daughter) I've never been able to join in table top games and enjoy it because I've always had to keep an eye on her rather than falling into the role like I really want to do.

So I suggest if you want to get people to join, women in particular, put away the dice and just have an acting session, of course you can sit down around a table and use your little figurines to put the idea across for all but enhance the amount of problem solving and living rather than the killing.

Have fun and keep gaming
Yours Truly
Outlanda Games! A fantasy role playing (RPG) site. - http://www.outlanda.com

Posted on 8/13/01

I found the best tools for bringing non-gamers into gaming is the funny stories (a lot harder with computer gaming, which I think is very different from pen and paper). I now have three of my girlfriends wanting to play because when we talked about our weekends, I wouldn't say "I gamed", I'd say "I DMed and x did this stupid thing, and y saved this person, then z got cracked onto by a myryny*" They all want to roleplay (it helps that all three are avid fantasy readers) various things, and have some really great ideas. The sticking point is rules and the combat mods (I play D&D so I think it's fairly understandable) but like me I think you get to know that kind of stuff by doing it.

With computer gaming it's harder. I got into it because I'm naturally an annoying person and wanted a hobby that would shock people, so computers it was. I haven't brought any of my girlfriends into it, although my sister is a dab hand at the Sims (and Doom of all games). Computer gaming is a rather solitary hobby, and although I go to lans, I can understand why many women don't want to. ie. the first thing I heard walking into a lan was "Suck it you french whore" and I had the lovely experience of playing Blood (those who have played it deathmatch will know what I'm talking about). Another sticking point for my girlfriends is the people I game with, which are/were the same for pen and paper and lanning. Quite frankly they tend towards the arsehole side of things. If you try to get someone to game with you, but they only like one or two people out of the five (and they have good reasons for not liking the rest) there are problems that you cannot ignore.With D&D I am willing to game without the group (in another post I detailed why) VERY willing, but with computers there is a large expenditure, for a hobby you might not like.

L (aka Sister Ananke )

From: ruthiea
2005-10-26 11:52 pm (UTC)

My introduction to Role-Playing Games

I actually came apon it quite by accident a few years ago. I was reading a startrek book in which some of the characters played a role-playing game. I had really know idea what it was(I was about ten or eleven at the time), but thought it sounded interesting, and after about a month I GMed a game for my Aunt, which kind of fizzled, but was really fun. After getting bored and looking on the internet I decided to try to start one up again, although I'm still trying to get her to find the time to play. As for computer games, I don't really play computer role-playing games, and my experience is basically limited to a couple harry potter games. ---Ruthie
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From: ruthiea
2005-10-26 11:57 pm (UTC)

An addedum(sp) to my prievous post

um, also an addendum(sp) to my prievious post: I think problably the best way to introduce women and girls to gaming is to highlight what they find fun in it. I love the fantasy adventures, the quests, the worlds, and characters. I have to confess I love making up characters, this is problably my favorite thing about writing and Role-Playing. I love getting to know the characters, and giving them personalities and histories, and all of that good stuff. It's also fun to live in another world for a little bit :-). Maybe women and girls would like this better than combat? ---Ruthie
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[User Picture]From: morgansong
2005-10-27 11:51 am (UTC)


I have friends who have made characters for games, but have no interest in playing.
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