One Deck Dungeon is a breath of fresh air in its depiction of capable and heroic women, and I for one want to see much much more of that. If I look through my own collection of games and specifically count the ones depicting humanoids that clearly present as male or female on the cover, there are 51. Thanks for reading and for doing what you can to help the tabletop world be a more inclusive space for everyone! But that doesn’t meant we shouldn’t expect better. You say we shouldn’t “shame people for who they are”, but if “who they are” is someone who disparages women, then they deserve to be called out. Per Shaw, we understand that those who argue against representation believe that game worlds should be unbounded by (so-called) hand-wringing about recognition and reality. Representation matters for all marginalized groups, but today I’m going to talk about something that creates little challenges that I have to face every day: I am a woman. I am working on other projects now: follow-up material for Arcanum, a board-game (“The Conquest of Ironseed”), and so on. The first player to successfully navigate all 3 of their frogs to the opposite side of the board wins the game! This mainly stems from the idea of the #ownvoices movement in literature. Board Games With Great Representation and Diversity Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn. Consume content made by women, whether it’s reviews, discussions, or playthroughs. I’m sorry that you had such a negative reaction to this article, but I assure you I didn’t skew the stats in my favour. It’s 2020; this shouldn’t matter. I am a new gamer and your article came at a time when I was thinking a lot about this question – specifically – non-male board game reviewers. This article is focusing only on the lack of representation of women in the world of board games. If you ask any linguist, they’ll probably tell you there’s one very easy way to do it. John Pappas, posted in Rants. Kathleen’s only covering what she, and many other women have experienced. Thanks for bringing that up. I will leave it to others to decide if I was successful. We are not brokers. Obviously I may be a little bias, but both of these writers create excellent reviews! Finding the best board games for teens doesn't have to be difficult. I would encourage you to check other Kathleen’s other pieces and after that you could check out other non-males written content. Complete Card & Board Games Proudly Made in the U.S.A.! Just four of the 211 marked companies in Board Games this year got the full two points in the question, which set a higher bar than the federal rules. In each project, I continue to work towards inclusiveness. July 15, 2017 by. … I actually didn’t come across Tanya’s work until I had done my own counting of the Top 100, otherwise I might not have done it again. The lack of queer people as playable characters with agency or represented appropriately through narrative elements is rarely explored in board games. Thank you, Kathleen, for the recommendations about women boardgames reviewers! – Bruno Faidutti. Board James is the name of the main protagonist (and also hidden main antagonist) in the series of the same name. She is now part of the On the Radar team with Chaz Marler and Spencer Williams. Of those, characters presenting as female are in 37. You’re right that board gaming, in many cases (most? But there was also a time where women couldn’t vote. Like you, I see this as quite important. Yes, Tanya’s study is excellent and was a great resource for this piece. In fact we’ve written extensively about community and the positive experiences that people have had with board gaming, including those of women. But we are particularly excited about the new genre of cooperative board games, where players work together to win the game, instead of competing with each other. These are the big board game names on YouTube, and they all have one thing in common… You guessed it, they’re all men. We mainly do written content, so if you prefer YouTube here’s a list of non-male video content creators you should check out: Here’s another thing that you may think is minor, but adds up and becomes exhausting. Clicking on these banners and making a purchase will result in financial compensation for Meeple Mountain. “The strategy is easy to learn for all ages, but is still challenging enough to keep the tension in the game, the art is great too.” So Kathleen has a page full of all her work here at Meeple Mountain. This was well done and it’s, unfortunately, hard to disagree with any of it. Before we finish, I want to end similarly to where I began. Turn classic cardboard pieces into animated, virtual characters! There are many areas of life where women aren’t treated equally to men, and sadly this extends into the world of board games. Why use exclusionary language when there is an inclusive option. Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, designed by Isaac Vega and published by Plaid Hat Games... One Deck Dungeon. My stats only looked at games in the BGG Top 100 that had people on the cover, and from a quick glance I don’t believe that any of those games are historical war games. So many rulebooks give examples saying “he does this, he does that”. And even with all of this privilege, I’m still not on equal footing. I truly appreciate it. But the number of new games has exploded in the last several years as … I admit, this is one of my all-time favorite games and TV shows, so I am biased. http://analoggamestudies.org/2018/12/assessing-gender-and-racial-representation-in-top-rated-boardgamegeek-games/. Forward 1, Forward 2, Forward 3... siege attack 5? If we wanted to represent colonial-themed board games, we clearly needed an area control game (in which players have to establish their authority over a territory in the game) and/or a direct conflict game (in which players are encouraged to engage their game characters in battles). ), is a wonderfully inclusive hobby. But somehow it still does. I brought it up in a facebook group one time as a quick aside wondering aloud after I saw Plaid Hat games exclusively used “she does this/that” in their rulebooks and was met with a mixture of indifference and hostility, which is sad for a hobby with such a low barrier for entry. Copyright © 2015-2020 | Meeple Mountain. Start by changing your language. Today’s gamers have changed, too. Thank you for writing this. While the basic tools of today’s board games–cards, playing pieces, and the game board–may loosely resemble elements of classic games, many modern games are a far cry from Monopoly. The effect of 3 intervention board games (linear number, linear color, and nonlinear number) on young children's (mean age = 3.8 years) counting abilities, number naming, magnitude comprehension, accuracy in number-to-position estimation tasks, and best-fit numerical magnitude representations was examined. “This very popular modern board game is a great app that lets you play with friends around the world in a very faithful representation of the board game,” Garcia shares. I’m used to not being represented in my area of expertise. Women play games too and we have a lot of insightful opinions about them. This means that, although you may not have felt the effects that were being discussed in this article, this does not mean that anyone who does is cherry picking data or looking for things to complain about. We don't have U.S. representation that implies, or appears to be, a Domestic manufacturer (who then brokers your work to an overseas manufacturer). Positive representation of women in board games: Pandemic, Steam Works, Ashes, Legends of Andor, Scythe, Monarch, Bottom of the 9th. What an insightful thought about the game breaking down some of the existing barriers to entry for new female players. Asmadi Game ‘s One Deck Dungeon ‘s designer, Chris Cieslik, also made a … I haven’t even gotten into other minorities or marginalized groups; that’s far more than can fit into one article. Here are some other numbers for you. Enter a card tournament, and … But somehow it still does. A lot of games are wargames, historically until very recently only men fought in war, that’s obviously going to skew things. Both Mr. Matthews and Ms. Hartin expressed my thoughts in far better terms — and with more class and politeness — than I would have been able to muster. Analog Game Studies. We are a group of passionate individuals who share our love of board games through written and video reviews, articles, and humor, so that others can join us in our journey. This isn’t because women don’t like board games or because we aren’t clever enough to think up intriguing games. View Previous This topic, as it relates to board gaming, usually refers to art. Of those 51, only 28 show female-presenting characters, and of those games only 18 female-presenting characters are in the foreground. I will add is this: It is important to always remember that you are not the mean; and you are not the outlier. Here’s another pie chart. How Many Card & Board Games Does the Average Gamer Own? Kathleen's love of board games started at a young age, and has only grown over the years. I’m so tired of white old men on covers! This means 29 of these 67 games don’t depict women at all. As the Nerd is a comical, fictional representation of James Rolfe's video gaming life, Board James is his comical representation of his board gaming life. It just means that their experiences are different from yours. Free Quote Request Domestic Leader: Tabletop Card & Board Games Manufacturing We are an American manufacturer. One reviewer called the game “One sex dungeon” and another called it simply, “sexist.” Reviewer Zach C on Amazon.com complained, “…only women characters. Hope that helps! As you might have realized, I’m a woman and a board game reviewer, and I have a few teammates here at Meeple Mountain who identify as women as well! They aren’t just designers; they represent women and their abilities. It’s so easy for me to still feel the sunburn on my legs and taste the ice … Board games are traditionally a subset of tabletop games that involve counters or pieces moved or placed on a pre-marked surface or "board", according to a set of rules. If you’re having trouble visualizing that, here’s a handy little pie chart. In a discussion on representation in board games on reddit, user plasmatorture commented on rulebooks that stray from the norm and use female pronouns in their descriptions: It’s always amazing to me how uncomfortable reading rulebooks that do that makes me. The Pandemic board game by Z-Man Games is a board game where players are members of a team trying to overcome four deadly diseases that have become global pandemics. You are but a single datapoint. If you’re teaching a game or just talking about one, don’t assign genders when you don’t need to. Here’s hoping. Representation in Board Games: 94 of BGG's Top 100 Games Are Designed By Men (And Other Uncomfortable Observations) There’s no need to empty your wallet by always going out for entertainment when you have a variety of great board games to play indoors. Sometimes rulebooks will say “she”, which is great, but I don’t see the need to gender players at all. I am a white, upper middle class, heterosexual, cisgender (male), educated, American; I couldn’t agree with you more. Being one part TBLG representation and one part nerdy obsessions, Querdcast was an idea I had to fill a representation gap in the mass of board game media. In common parlance, however, a board game need not necessarily contain a physical board. A game’s artwork is a collaboration, and it reflects the priorities of all parties involved – including consumers and fans. In short, someone like yourself. And because I can’t say it better, here’s an excerpt: A small collection of 1-star Amazon.com reviews cropped up around the game’s release. [, View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}}, Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition). I was writing in a similar vein a couple months ago (https://therewillbe.games/87910/7721-wingspan-and-women-in-gaming) at TWBG. Just because something was done a certain way in the past doesn’t mean it’s right for the present. See more ideas about board games, games, printable board games. I am ZiLa Games (yea, just me) and I own the rights to the 1980s era role playing game “Arcanum.” As I was putting together the 30th Anniversary Edition, I tried very hard to ensure that the artwork represented males and females in equal measure; I tried very hard to ensure that the language I used was inclusive. Story continues below advertisement If they make a version for me, or for both sexes, I may buy that.” (1). Of those 51, only 3 don’t show characters presenting as male, meaning there are 48 that depict men but only 28 that depict women. But as you said, things change so my efforts haven’t gone to waste. When an industry is dominated by men, breaking into it as a woman can be nearly impossible due to discriminatory presumptions and preexisting loyalties to prominent male designers. So for example,… Thanks for highlighting the names of non-male board game reviewers. I will try harder! But men aren’t the only people who review games. Since 2007, LaPensée has designed, written, and/or developed over a dozen video and board games… What I didn’t expect was for this to be an issue in my hobby. Queer representation in board games. I am wondering if you could recommend where I can find more board game content (written content) produced by non-males? In the very few cases where the scenario is flipped and no men are represented in the game, there is public outcry. Hi Marc, thanks for your comment and for sharing your article. Hi, Kathleen. Today we are taking a look at some of the best cooperative board games, that you can play alone or with a crowd. A Cooperative Whodunit Board Game for Kids 5+, Multi-Colored, Standard, Model Number: 418 & ueens 10th Anniversary Tin Card Game 4.8 out of 5 stars 2,268 $19.23 - $34.22 Produces Great Memories. Mean on the covers, and all over the boards and cards, 20-page rulebooks using male pronouns exclusively, and the rare occasion when a female is a playable character… well, fantasy tropes and that. Once upon a time male pronouns were the default. discussion on representation in board games on reddit, http://analoggamestudies.org/2018/12/assessing-gender-and-racial-representation-in-top-rated-boardgamegeek-games/, Two Stacks Review: Classic Card Game Meets Modern Co-op, Ducks in Tow Review – She’s Got Her Ducks in a Row, community and the positive experiences that people have had with board gaming, https://therewillbe.games/87910/7721-wingspan-and-women-in-gaming, The 2020 & 2021 Guide To Board Game Conventions, The Ultimate Worldwide Guide to Board Game Cafes. The second edition of Descent is head and shoulders above the first edition, with an even split of male and female heroes for all classes (archetypes) in the base game, and more believable and much less sexualized adventuring outfits. Thanks! Suffice it to say, the board game industry has a lot of work to do when it comes to representation. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for women and we can’t all be Elizabeth Hargrave. That’s a lot of privilege and something I’m thankful for. Fantasy Flight has done a commendable job with representation in their games in the last few years. I particularly liked your theory about the accessibility/popularity of Wingspan: “If you’re a new player, who perhaps identifies as a woman, and so is already looking at two barriers to your being accepted in these situations, Wingspan might be the open door with the warm, tavern light streaming forth because it helps create a scenario that makes you feel more welcome; like you already fit in (which you should.)”. It’s even less equal than my chart above. 51 Those on the other side of the debate suggest that if the overwhelming majority of imagery, of the faces we see in board game design, in production, at conventions, in board game stores are white males, the implicit … I love board games. K. David is right, above, in that things will only change if our little corner of the world works together to make it change. There are so many “little things”, also known as microaggressions, that women have to just accept on a daily basis, so I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a little representation in our hobby. The sexualisation of women that appear in board game art (the fantasy tropes you are referring to) is definitely another frustrating truth. Decisions to support or not support representation should be made with intent, and we need to recognize that choosing to ignore an issue is … While trans folks are making head roads in video game, tabletop RPGs, and even war games, not many of us have shown up in the board game space. If we look at the BGG Top 100 again, we have 94 games designed solely by men, 3 games with male and female designers, and 2 games designed by only women (1 game, Go, does not have a designer to credit). This may be a niche market, but it is *our* niche market and it should be as inclusive and representative as it can be. Apr 18, 2020 - Images of different board games to help students design their own. The few women were in stereotypical roles, such as waitresses. Also, Tanya Pobuda did a good study along the same lines as your counting that’s worth checking out (and might have been your inspiration — things have changed since she counted! In 2018, Tonya Pobuda, PhD candidate, summarized some reviews of One Deck Dungeon, a game that only features female characters. . You are certainly right that historical war games focus on men (even though women were historically very important in research and manufacturing for war efforts). Here are a few things that may seem small, but add up to a system that, intentionally or otherwise, excludes women. Assessing Gender and Racial Representation in the Board Game Industry. Hi Samuel, thanks for your comment. Why would you want to alienate a group of people just for your own ease? So if you scroll up to the list of authors and editors on the right side, you can click on their name and it will bring up a page with all their articles and reviews they have written. ): http://analoggamestudies.org/2018/12/assessing-gender-and-racial-representation-in-top-rated-boardgamegeek-games/, Thanks for reading! The present invention features a dice game that is played with two standard dice 14, a game board or card 10 as shown in FIG. I’m hopeful this is a period where this kind of representation can and will shift toward equity. 1 is a representation of a game card utilized with the dice game of the present invention. The game board and rules irreversibly “evolve” over the course of 12 months, providing an experience unique to each group of players. If you’re reading this and thinking, “it’s not that big of a deal”, you’re both right and wrong. Dice Tower (Tom Vasel), Rahdo Runs Through (Richard Ham), Shut Up and Sit Down (Quintin “Quinns” Smith, Matt Lees, and Tom Brewster), and the now defunct but hugely popular Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop. July 15, 2017. Representation matters for all marginalized groups, but today I’m going to talk about  something that creates little challenges that I have to face every day: I am a woman. Read Representation in Board Games Matters to learn about the little ways women are excluded from the hobby. For the past week, I have been thinking about a tough question about representation in all forms of media - TV, movies, books, and in particular board games. At the time of me writing this (March 2020), there are 67 games that depict humanoids presenting as either male or female. Meeple Mountain believes that board gaming is the gateway to building better relationships. Since there are so few, there is a lot of pressure on female designers. You can play all types of chess and checkers variations, including 3D and themed games. For example, The Long View podcast's episode on Food Chain Magnate discussed the fact that the majority of the game's employee cards have white males as their depiction. Hint: I just used it in the last sentence. Meeple Mountain uses Amazon affiliate links to generate revenue. I wanted to say something about this comment. (The terms in the Board Games question, including “Aboriginal,” are taken directly from the 2020 changes to the Canada Business Corporations Act, or CBCA.) Hi, Editor here. I’m a woman who works in STEM and obtained a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Sign me up for Meeple Mountain's newsletter! Yes, you! Yes, it’s not overt sexism, but it reinforces an implicit bias that negatively impacts women. Let’s take a look at the BGG Top 100. Final Thoughts. Well, I’m not an expert but there are some important things you can do. I had already been following Paula Deming, whose YT channel mostly did video playthroughs (loved the series of her navigating Rise of the Tomb Raider) before focusing on boardgames. I guarantee you that if it had been a game with only male characters, no one would bother to call it “One Sex Dungeon”. Best Female Representation in Board Games, "Unlike work, which needs some detachment and ought not to be taken too seriously, games need to be played with the utmost seriousness and dedication." That’s barely more than a third. Board games have seen a huge growth in popularity in recent years, and certainly make our list of fun things to do at home. I guess they don’t want me… Misandry noted. Maybe stop looking for things to complain about in one of the most inclusive hobbies I’ve seen and make positive contributions instead of shaming people for who they are. The next chapter of Indigenous representation in video games. Inclusion, Diversity, and Representation in Board Games and Beyond (guest post by Elizabeth Hargrave) 23 July 2020 | 142 Comments Wingspan designer Elizabeth Hargrave , with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working and learning from over the last 4 years, recently posted an incredibly insightful series of connected thoughts on Twitter. Hey, if you prefer written content I highly recommend two of our writers here at Meeple Mountain: Ashley Gariepy and Tiffany Leigh. It sounds like either you’re not bothered by any sexism you’ve experienced, or you’re one of the fortunate women who hasn’t been directly touched by it. Why for this life there's no man smart enough, life's too short for learning every trick and bluff. FIG. Trans Representation. 1Tonya Pobuda, 2018. From simple dice-based board games to intense strategy games, anything you’re looking for can be found at Amazon.com Of course, that’s just my collection. Some games are based on pure strategy, but many contain an element of chance; and some are purely chance, with no element of skill. I fully support this article – thanks for writing it. {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}}, Thank you for helping us moderate the site. Compare this to the 3 games that don’t depict men. I’ve told you the problem, so what’s the solution? Hi Josie, I’d like to take a quick moment to address your comment on the stats being cherry picked. This means that an author is writing characters from their own experience. It wasn’t something I had the bandwidth to cover in this piece, but it is definitely something worth talking about. Cherry picked stats. We are so used to men dominating board game art that we are surprised when it’s not the case. While I’m a fairly competitive player who enjoys games about space and castles, I’d still rather play a game where the art features birds as opposed to a bunch of men and one scantily dressed woman. The types of games I especially seem to love are the ones that have old white men on the cover. These links are clearly indicated by the Amazon banner near the top of the page. Thank you for writing this. I love them a lot. Instead of competing against one another, this game has players working together to ensure they are able to stem the global spread of the diseases and are able to find cures. For many board games, as their popularity increases over years with repeated editions, they can carry forward outdated stereotypes including … Board Games can be a great way to get the family and friends together for a fun evening. It’s 2020; this shouldn’t matter. Sure, the classic board games like Monopoly, Risk, and Battleship are still great fun. Given a choice, I prefer to reading than watching videos. If a man fails at designing a game, no one will say it’s because he’s a man. Battlestar Galactica. Something that I’d like to note is that in order to write this, I did make assumptions about gender based on appearance. Every great board game from your home (or childhood) is available for free in our collection! One last point: this article is the very definition of a positive contribution. Her favourite style of games are those that involve a lot of beige, and wooden cubes. It just don’t feel natural at all and that’s pretty sad and depressing – I wish I wasn’t culturally trained to expect my gender’s pronoun as the default. Honestly, this game is a pretty accurate representation of the source material, which can’t be said for some other retro games we’ve looked at before. I tried to use inclusionary language to make this clear, but just in case: please don’t assume someone’s gender based on appearance. An important and understated message, I myself as a white british man have gotten into board gaming only in the past few years and have been frankly appalled at what I’ve found on this front. Read Representation in Board Games Matters to learn about the little ways women are excluded from the hobby. Before we get into that, I’d like to acknowledge my many privileges: I am a white, upper middle class, heterosexual, cisgender, educated, Canadian. The sexualisation of women that appear in board game representation in board games the lack queer. The 3 games that don ’ t meant we shouldn ’ t even into! Clicking on these representation in board games and making a purchase will result in financial compensation for Meeple.. To generate revenue game, no one will say it ’ s, unfortunately, that ’ s because ’... T depict men, printable board games Matters to learn about the game no! 2018, Tonya Pobuda, PhD candidate, summarized some reviews of one Deck Dungeon to alienate a of... 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