Dungeons & Divas

This article in the Portland Mercury, “Dungeons & Divas,” talks about a gaming group for women hosted in Portland, Oregon’s Guardian Games. The Dungeon Divas also have their own website.

Gaming really has been a male-dominated hobby for most of its existence. A female game-playing friend of mine has remarked more than once, although usually in an amused manner, how surprised she was by the relative dearth of women at Carnage 11, which was her first large scale gaming experience. And her reaction’s no surprise, as the local board game event she’s most familiar with has about a 40% share of females, depending on the night in question.

The question remains how to make roleplaying more inclusive and diminish the popular misconception it’s a boys-only activity. Does that mean pitching to the presumed tastes of young women, with games like Witch Girls Adventures? Or is it more about activism on roleplayers’ parts to remove existing barriers?

As an aside, one of the things I liked best about Northeast Wars IX was the growing presence of female players. Quite a few of them, I believe, came as friends of people who’d been to the convention in 2008, particularly those in the Middlebury Mob, the affectionately-nicknamed group of young gamers who have become a fixture of the local game convention, no matter its current incarnation. Hopefully, those young women will bring friends of their own next year in 2010 and keep growing the younger gaming set, both in size and gender diversity.

[Originally sighted on OgreCave.]

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9 thoughts on “Dungeons & Divas

  1. Be careful what you wish for. You know how guys playing rogues will backstab you and take your stuff? Girls playing rogues will backstab the paladin, take his stuff, then set you up as the killer and take your stuff after the guard arrests you.

    What I’m saying is, yes, girls bring a new and different kind of creativity to the game. So watch out. (I’m a girl gamer, incidentally.)

    By the way, in most gaming groups I’ve been in involving girls, the girls have racked up far more kills than the guys. So whatever it takes to get more girl gamers, it’s sure not about adding more ponies and sparkly things. Have designers considered bigger axes? I like those.

    • By the way, in most gaming groups I’ve been in involving girls, the girls have racked up far more kills than the guys. So whatever it takes to get more girl gamers, it’s sure not about adding more ponies and sparkly things. Have designers considered bigger axes? I like those.

      I’m pleased to hear it! It’s best to come in roaring.

      Most of the push will probably come down to “silly boys, girls like to play fighters, too.”

  2. Thanks for the link to the article & to our website. I hadn’t played D&D in over 20 years when I picked up the dice again. I was a bit worried about the reception a 40 year old woman was going to get to joining a group, but I shouldn’t have worried.
    One of the nice things about playing at the game store is that Moms sometimes stop to watch while their kids are playing Magic or buying minis. Showing people actual gameplay seems to help dispell some of the worst of the stereotypes.

    • Showing people actual gameplay seems to help dispell some of the worst of the stereotypes.

      And that’s one of the best ways to show parents how rewarding and even educational the hobby can be. Thanks again for being so open with your website and campaign.

  3. I think it’ll take both.

    The Industry has to change , it has to bring in new blood or else.

    Over at Channel M we know their are kids out there who have never heard of table top RPG”s or see it as a geek thing.

    With Witch Girls Adventures we’re trying to bring new people (Tween and teen girls being our main target but we have players of all ages) into the hobby.

    We want to be a starting point to other RPG’s

    • With Witch Girls Adventures we’re trying to bring new people (Tween and teen girls being our main target but we have players of all ages) into the hobby.

      So through what channels are you reaching tween and teen girls? There can’t be many of them visiting game shops or reading RPG-oriented websites.

      • Glad you asked
        First we tend to avoid all the typical game places.

        We ran Demos at places like the opening to Harry Potter, Twilight, Hannah Montanna concerts.

        We Visit Anime Conventions
        We run demos for Girl scouts and Girls clubs.

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