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Mikael Hasselstein

How can we be more gender inclusive in X-Wing?

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Christ, I hate it when this nonsense gets started. But might as well get my point in, since I feel it is relevant.

Firstly, FFG does not interact with the forum community in any way, so bleating about the excluded woman is pointless, since this is by far the nicest part of the internet that involves competative games.

Secondly, FFG is under zero obligation to cater to anyone but their fanbase, inclusive or otherwise.

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Does this really have to devolve into ANOTHER discussion of gamergate?  Or can we just have people who want to talk about getting females into the game talk about it?  Anything other than that is just going to slide downward and get locked.

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Can you at least acknowledge that "ethics" is not the issue. At its best, Gamergate is about people not liking certain criticism. Because, I don't see them pressuring EA to do anything after the Shadow of Mordor scandal.

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I can't believe I'm posting in this thread, but here goes:

 

Why does X-Wing Miniatures (or even tabletops in general) need more women? I can think of only two real motivations here;

 

A) The person that desires more female participation is a single male.

 

I can completely understand that. I've been there. In high school and college, I watched as women simply passed by my life's passion and hobbies with zero interest. The last thing I wanted was to go out to bars or meetings for activities that I didn't find interesting just for the chance of finding compatible women. It's a treasure for not just X-Wing, but any hobby or passion, to have a significant other who shares your zeal. But, as this is a personal and rather complex issue, it is best solved through means other than "being more gender inclusive in X-Wing". That's not the purpose of the hobby - narrative and strategically interesting space battles are.

 

or

 

B) There must be more women in X-Wing for "social justice". After all, how could it possibly be that there isn't a proper ratio of women:men in this fascinatingly fun and captivating game we've created here?

 

Well, I can understand the appeal of championing the solution for something you perceive as a problem, but, like an impetuous white knight, one must be wary of charging off without any foresight or planning. How does one determine the "proper" ratio of women:men? From the posts here, I see such phrasing as "I see more than ample reasons to suspect [that the ratio isn't correct]", "I believe that the current imbalance is evidence [that the ratio isn't correct]", "the imbalance that we have is just overwhelming", etc. Not only have these observations come from a source which is undocumented, unstudied, and vague, but the conclusion is based purely on personal feeling. Unfortunately, even if the point invariably holds true, the necessary preparation of data collection has not been completed, causing people to (rightly) resist these theories. The scientific method does have a purpose. For these reasons, this motivation must also be discarded.

 

-------------------

 

 

The question of "How can we get more women to play X-Wing?" is entirely missing the point. I see much talk about how FFG is "missing half the potential customer demographic" and how appealing to women will increase FFG's revenue and bolster the X-Wing product line's longevity. Great, and this is probably correct, but, I must ask again, why women? The question should be "How can we get more people to play X-Wing?" (Either men, women, Trandoshans, 'entities', or androgynous asexual elephant-creatures from Alpha Centauri!). Because getting more people interested in X-Wing, surely, is the key to it's longevity.

 

(This is where most people can stop reading, the above paragraph is my main point.)

 

Or is there something special about women in particular? Luckily, that has been answered many times over in this thread: "I do think that the presence of women players has the potential to enrich the game." Alright, I agree with that, but I see no reason that the viewpoints, character, or personality of 1 additional woman is fundamentally more enriching than that of 1 man. We are back to the women vs people question. Ah, but there's more: "Empowerment of women is the magic that unleashes economic potential." Now we begin to see the bias, and this argument starts to fall apart. Are women the magical spice that will unleash the full potential of our metaphorical X-Wing casserole, or are women and men actually equal? Remember that sexism, like racism, is harmful whether negative OR positive!

 

When evaluating an argument or review that someone is putting forth, one important question is "Can you guess the author's conclusion based on their overt viewpoint?". If so, then it increases the likelihood of confirmation bias and is going to require much more work to justify the conclusion. Unfortunately, when the main proponent of this cause admitted to "being the feminist here[, whereas their sister isn't]" (brackets are to show context), it became all too clear what the conclusions were going to be before they were even stated.

 

Conclusions like "I don't think women feel included in our game", that there is barrier of entry to the game (any tabletop even) that is significantly higher for women, and that women are being actively excluded from participating. And these conclusions come with solutions proposing that we specifically mention to potential new women that we don't stereotype them, we must ensure them that stereotype threat is absent here, introduce girls night, market towards them, etc. The theme here, common to arguments like this, is that the barriers are exclusively internal and that the people inside the activity must resolve it - in others words, us X-Wing players are actively excluding women and therefore we must solve the problem.

 

What's ironic is that these solutions specifically target and single out women at best, and are actively sexist and exclusionary at worst. If a woman is truly feeling uncomfortable for simply being a woman in a game of X-Wing, the last thing they want is further attention brought to the fact that they are a woman. Things like a girls night only encourage the further segregation of men and women (and also imply that women need a sort of 'gaming training wheels' before they can game with the men). Worse even is the suggestion that we need more female pilots as, again, it paints women as simple creatures who are interested more in the artwork on the cards or the sculpting of the models than the actual gameplay. What we really need are less pleas for those of us on the inside (who must be mostly men in this male-dominated activity) to come rescue the women and open their eyes to this whole new wonderful world of X-Wing. Instead, we should look at external factors.

 

I have a very close friend whom I've known since high school. She used to play Magic and a few other board and console game things. She's since moved out of state so we rarely meet anymore but, when we do, one of the first things she always says to me is "Do you still play those silly games? It's time for you to grow up!" Now, hmm, that sounds a bit familiar to me. We all here know that gaming isn't silly or childish by nature, though it's a common theme in popular culture that board games and similar "nerdy" activities are the realm of the socially challenged and men who never matured. Just look at Big Bang Theory, or The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Heck, they both feature Star Wars prominently and Steve Carell has GW miniatures on his painting desk!). These are the problems that must be addressed. People like my friend will never join a gaming group so long as most of the world and society are telling her that it's just not something normal adults do.

 

There are other external factors, too but, most people don't want to read multiple pages of social commentary, so I'll keep with the above example.

 

To summarize, women (and a wider variety of men) will enter X-Wing and other tabletops when society as a whole opens their minds and changes their preconceived notions about them. And this is something that will only be changed by raising future generations differently than previous ones, not implementing policy that singles out women for, well, being women.

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And if you believe that is truly the issue, than I have a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you.

Been with it since the story broke. Can confirm that is what the core issue is. Would post again.

 

Completely true. 

 

Honestly, the two are kind of intertwined. There are similarities in the discussions, or there is when you look at Gamergate beyond the rotten seed it was started with.

No. Stop already.

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Honestly, the two are kind of intertwined. There are similarities in the discussions, or there is when you look at Gamergate beyond the rotten seed it was started with.

 

We disagree here.  Gamergate is about video games, terrible review system, and threats against women in video games.

 

This forum is about miniature games.  There is no real problem with review companies.  There is no problem with people hounding females online.  Gamergate has nothing to do with X-wing Miniatures.

 

If you want to talk about getting more women into X-wing, that's another thing.  Trying to tie gamergate to this game is comparing apples to oranges and not really productive.

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I think we can do better, but I'm starting to get the hint that the community doesn't authentically want that. I find that disappointing.

 

I'd want it...to a certain extent.  This game is for fun.  I already solve problems 10 hours a day at work, I'm somewhat reluctant to use one of my creative/fun outlets to solve a social justice issue.  However, I have tried, and here is my track record...

 

<ANECDOTE>So far, I'm 0/11 in getting girls to become part of the player base:  

I invited 5 co-workers to try the game but they declined (though they will drink and play other games with me).  

 

My girlfriend lost interested after wave 3 due to the sheer number of options diluting the cool stuff from the film (her words), though she was only casually interested to begin with.  

 

I have a male friend who is just as obsessed with the game as I am.  His wife used to be (and routinely beat him) but now doesn't like him playing the game and refuses to participate herself.  She doesn't like the constantly evolving rules and growing ship count and isn't willing to put the time in.  

 

Had a mass battle (kinda fudged the rules a bit in favor of having fun) with 4 other women and 8 players total.  They had fun, but refused to play in a 1 on 1 setting.  They never played again.  

 

I had a team game with my girlfriend and me versus my friend and his girlfriend.  The men took a backseat and let the girls order us around.  After a few satisfying barrages the match devolved into arc dodging and the girlfriends lost interest.  Never finished the match.  

 

I feel like I've put in the effort.  These women I've tried to include are self-proclaimed nerds/gamers, both video and tabletop, but they just aren't interested, and I'm not going to force them.  They just aren't interested (not necessarily women in general, just the ones I've asked to play).   </ANECDOTE>

 

I had a much longer analysis of this but I started to ramble and I feel this discussion needs wrangling.  Too many people are saying too many different things (directly and indirectly).  To understand where everyone is at, I want to ask:

 

In what way would a strong female player base improve our game that a male player base cannot?  

 

Do women players receive benefits from this community not offered elsewhere?

 

If the player base became 85% female, would it matter?  Would you still play?

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your claim to be serious about [...] is ultimately a sham.
Mate, was that really necessary?
 Really? You're starting to quote fragments of sentences out of context in order to score cheap shots now? :huh:

Sorry, I'll get to the rest of your post later on, just want to respond to this. I wasn't trying to quote you out of context. I'm not sure either what "cheap shots" you think I was trying to score. I was referring to the "your claim to be serious about" part, and why you felt it was necessary to suggest I might be falsely claiming to care about this.

 

For what it's worth, I had quoted your post in its entirety just a few lines above.

TLDR: It feels like you're calling me a troll for wanting to talk about these issues. No offence was meant.

 

 

The problem is that the full sentence basically says that if you dismiss any explaination that doesn't fit with your preconceptions, then you're not really being serious about fixing the problem. You've then fragmented the quote in such a way that it just looks like a personal attack to anyone who isn't more carefully reading the full textwall.

Using such a trick to make it look like I'm just a troll flinging personal attacks is a particularly nasty personal attack against me IMHO, so I hope it should be obvious why I took offence there.

 

tldr;

I'm all for talking about these issues as long as personal attacks are kept out of it.

 

 

I'm happy to accept that you weren't intending such an attack though, so back to business eh? :)

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What's ironic is that these solutions specifically target and single out women at best, and are actively sexist and exclusionary at worst. 

While I am inclined to agree with you, there is a popular opinion right now that states this view is negative and complacent.  I've been casually reading/talking with a few social activists (race, gender, etc).  Essentially, their view is this: 

 

(Fill in the blank) group suffers from oppression/inequality/discrimination and trying to treat them like a "regular person" is not acknowledging the issue.  Doing so is being complacent and since you are not actively trying to break down barriers for (fill in the blank), you are part of the problem.  

 

To me, people are people.  Everyone is capable of being smart/funny/rude/unreasonable/strong/weak regardless of their background.  Though, I do understand where the viewpoint is coming from.  

 

I think that's part of the conflict here...when people say "Let's do nothing and treat everyone equally.  Anyone can play!"  others respond with "Not everyone has equal access to the game, even if they can afford the cost."  There's a lot of room for argument and resentment here, both for people discussing it, as well as the people we're talking about.

 

This brings up another question...Imagine you're a T.O. for a small tournament and you have an odd number of people.  One player is a woman, though she has shown up alone and is clearly a new member of your LGS.  She wants to play every game.  Someone has to take a bye once the pairings start...would you actively bar her for receiving it, or would you leave it to chance?  

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What's ironic is that these solutions specifically target and single out women at best, and are actively sexist and exclusionary at worst. 

While I am inclined to agree with you, there is a popular opinion right now that states this view is negative and complacent.  I've been casually reading/talking with a few social activists (race, gender, etc).  Essentially, their view is this: 

 

(Fill in the blank) group suffers from oppression/inequality/discrimination and trying to treat them like a "regular person" is not acknowledging the issue.  Doing so is being complacent and since you are not actively trying to break down barriers for (fill in the blank), you are part of the problem.

 

Well, I didn't state that 'doing nothing' is what one ought to do if they really thought this was a problem, but (a gross oversimplification..) to change how society views the activity in question rather than target and single out the group that is supposedly underrepresented.

 

 

 

This brings up another question...Imagine you're a T.O. for a small tournament and you have an odd number of people.  One player is a woman, though she has shown up alone and is clearly a new member of your LGS.  She wants to play every game.  Someone has to take a bye once the pairings start...would you actively bar her for receiving it, or would you leave it to chance? 

 

This is sort of a strange question, but I would definitely determine the bye randomly or however it is usually chosen. Lots of the guys at the tournament would like to play every round, too, I'm sure. So the answer to that question should be "Exactly how I'd handle it if it was a new guy who'd shown up".

 

More than likely I'd be trying to get another player so we have even matches all around, because everyone likes playing matches.

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Right, further to previous requests on what to do to combat the problem of stereotype threat (women not playing because they're making assumptions about the mostly male playerbase) - for this we are ignore the questions of is it a problem worth the effort of fixing instead of ignoring:

- Stereotype threat in this case is ultimately sexism against men being performed on the part of the women who we're trying to get to play the game.

- The sexism in question is a deep seated assumption about men which is especially being reinforced by misandronist feminists.

- There is a good number of egalitarians under the feminist banner, and they do a good job, so we definitely don't want to counter their work. Our first challange would therefore be to persuade them to abandon the feminist label so that their work is not caught up in the fallout.

- The next task would be to tear down the feminist movement which the misandronists are using as a vehicle to indoctorate the idea that all men are evil misogonists.

- Wait for a decade or so for the effects to filter through to society. During this time you will need to counter any further misogynists and misandronists that pop up and threaten to counteract all your work to date.

 

Surely there's someone here who can get all of the above done without too much trouble? We'll even smoke you a kipper if you're done before breakfast :P

 

 

Seriously though, I'm hoping the above should make it clear why some of us consider the problem to be well out of scope for a small games company and their fanbase. The root of the problem (the cultural indoctoration of the idea that all men are misogynists) is something that needs to be tackled on a society-wide international level.

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What if three people (two male, one female) want to play every game? Leave it to chance is the only fair thing to do. Otherwise, as was said above, showing any preference (or disregard) is sexist and wrong. 

 

 

 So the answer to that question should be "Exactly how I'd handle it if it was a new guy who'd shown up".

 

 

But what if she receives it?  That, and say something happens outside of your control (like she catches a male player looking at her chest) and she decides "Well, that's typical..." and never comes back?  

 

Personally, I agree with you both, but one of my co-workers (she is a woman and feels strongly about gender disparity) would disagree.  The woman player in the example is showing up with a disadvantage: she's a girl trying to play in a boy's club.  The male players aren't worried about her staring down their tops or them being called "fake geeks."  Even if no one at the tourney says anything, the possibility exists (based on real-life precedents).  The fact she ends up with the bye could be seen as being "singled out" even if it was random.  

 

Even though you thought you treated her like everyone else, she went away with a different idea of what happened.  

 

 

*I'm just playing Devil's Advocate here.  I've had some similar situations in my workplace and I just want to share my experiences.  I like to treat people as people, but sometimes it backfires on you.  

Edited by cody campbell

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A) The person that desires more female participation is a single male.

 

I can completely understand that. I've been there. In high school and college, I watched as women simply passed by my life's passion and hobbies with zero interest. The last thing I wanted was to go out to bars or meetings for activities that I didn't find interesting just for the chance of finding compatible women. It's a treasure for not just X-Wing, but any hobby or passion, to have a significant other who shares your zeal. But, as this is a personal and rather complex issue, it is best solved through means other than "being more gender inclusive in X-Wing". That's not the purpose of the hobby - narrative and strategically interesting space battles are.

 

or

 

B) There must be more women in X-Wing for "social justice". After all, how could it possibly be that there isn't a proper ratio of women:men in this fascinatingly fun and captivating game we've created here?

 

Well, I can understand the appeal of championing the solution for something you perceive as a problem, but, like an impetuous white knight, one must be wary of charging off without any foresight or planning. How does one determine the "proper" ratio of women:men? From the posts here, I see such phrasing as "I see more than ample reasons to suspect [that the ratio isn't correct]", "I believe that the current imbalance is evidence [that the ratio isn't correct]", "the imbalance that we have is just overwhelming", etc. Not only have these observations come from a source which is undocumented, unstudied, and vague, but the conclusion is based purely on personal feeling. Unfortunately, even if the point invariably holds true, the necessary preparation of data collection has not been completed, causing people to (rightly) resist these theories. The scientific method does have a purpose. For these reasons, this motivation must also be discarded.

 

I'll choose 'B' - and I've already confessed to that earlier in the thread. And, because I don't want to charge off with foresight and planning, I create a thread in this forum asking how one might bring more women to the X-Wing gaming table. You're right that discerning the "proper" ratio of men to women, but I'm pretty confident that ten-to-none ain't it. Yes, that's purely based on personal feeling. I confess. Do you think that the ratios we observe are natural for an activity such as ours, which has absolutely nothing to do with gender?

 

What you say next, however, is just truly bizarre. If I may paraphrase: "Because ... science!... your motivation for social justice is invalid."

 

The question of "How can we get more women to play X-Wing?" is entirely missing the point. I see much talk about how FFG is "missing half the potential customer demographic" and how appealing to women will increase FFG's revenue and bolster the X-Wing product line's longevity. Great, and this is probably correct, but, I must ask again, why women? The question should be "How can we get more people to play X-Wing?" (Either men, women, Trandoshans, 'entities', or androgynous asexual elephant-creatures from Alpha Centauri!). Because getting more people interested in X-Wing, surely, is the key to it's longevity.

 

"Why women?" you ask? Because they're the missing demographic. For my sake, yes, social justice is my motivation for this thread. However, as seen in other spheres of life, there are economic rationales for wanting the inclusion of women. I don't see why that rationale should not apply here.

 

 

Or is there something special about women in particular? Luckily, that has been answered many times over in this thread: "I do think that the presence of women players has the potential to enrich the game." Alright, I agree with that, but I see no reason that the viewpoints, character, or personality of 1 additional woman is fundamentally more enriching than that of 1 man. We are back to the women vs people question. Ah, but there's more: "Empowerment of women is the magic that unleashes economic potential." Now we begin to see the bias, and this argument starts to fall apart. Are women the magical spice that will unleash the full potential of our metaphorical X-Wing casserole, or are women and men actually equal? Remember that sexism, like racism, is harmful whether negative OR positive!

 

Oooh, that one's clever, except for the part where you miss the point.

 

Yes, the the empowerment of women is the magic that unleashes economic potential. I say that because they are human beings just as capable of economic activity as men, and their exclusion thus diminishes economic capacity. I guess you think of empowerment as making women more powerful than men. However, that's not what the term means in this or most contexts.

 

And ALL THINGS EQUAL; CETERIS PARIBUS, yes, I do think that 1 additional woman is fundamentally more enriching than 1 additional man. Why? Because I perceive an imbalance and I want to see that imbalance corrected.

 

When evaluating an argument or review that someone is putting forth, one important question is "Can you guess the author's conclusion based on their overt viewpoint?". If so, then it increases the likelihood of confirmation bias and is going to require much more work to justify the conclusion. Unfortunately, when the main proponent of this cause admitted to "being the feminist here[, whereas their sister isn't]" (brackets are to show context), it became all too clear what the conclusions were going to be before they were even stated.

 

Except that you had to dig quite deeply into the thread to find that statement. Am I a feminist? Yes. So? What's wrong with that? Do you think that men and women should remain unequal in empowerment, and are you, thus, not a feminist?

 

Yes, I am a feminist, that's why I think that it's awkward that our community doesn't include more women. I'm not sure you're uncovering a particularly hidden agenda, here.

 

 

Conclusions like "I don't think women feel included in our game", that there is barrier of entry to the game (any tabletop even) that is significantly higher for women, and that women are being actively excluded from participating. And these conclusions come with solutions proposing that we specifically mention to potential new women that we don't stereotype them, we must ensure them that stereotype threat is absent here, introduce girls night, market towards them, etc. The theme here, common to arguments like this, is that the barriers are exclusively internal and that the people inside the activity must resolve it - in others words, us X-Wing players are actively excluding women and therefore we must solve the problem.

 

No, you're missing the point.

 

What's ironic is that these solutions specifically target and single out women at best, and are actively sexist and exclusionary at worst. If a woman is truly feeling uncomfortable for simply being a woman in a game of X-Wing, the last thing they want is further attention brought to the fact that they are a woman. Things like a girls night only encourage the further segregation of men and women (and also imply that women need a sort of 'gaming training wheels' before they can game with the men). Worse even is the suggestion that we need more female pilots as, again, it paints women as simple creatures who are interested more in the artwork on the cards or the sculpting of the models than the actual gameplay. What we really need are less pleas for those of us on the inside (who must be mostly men in this male-dominated activity) to come rescue the women and open their eyes to this whole new wonderful world of X-Wing. Instead, we should look at external factors.

 

Okay I did not call for girls nights, I did not call the balance of pilots into question (I praised FFG for that). So - you're building me into a straw man. Stop it.

 

Now, yes, I did call for explicit measures to reduce stereotype threat, and I've already acknowledged that this one needs careful thought and articulation unless we create the backfire that you suggest. So, yes, I take this criticism to heart.

 

 

To summarize, women (and a wider variety of men) will enter X-Wing and other tabletops when society as a whole opens their minds and changes their preconceived notions about them. And this is something that will only be changed by raising future generations differently than previous ones, not implementing policy that singles out women for, well, being women.

 

Okay, so you're clearly not on board with making X-Wing more inclusive. So, why did you bother to weigh in on this thread, unless your interest is to prevent X-Wing from becoming more inclusive? Clearly you've spent time wading through the thread and replying at length.

 

If it's to prevent me from doing even more damage to current ratio, then I'm all about working together with you to make my suggestions better.

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and she decides "Well, that's typical..." and never comes back?

Then there is simply nothing you can do. It's not like guys staring at a womans chest is unique to game stores or something.

 

The fact she ends up with the bye could be seen as being "singled out" even if it was random.

And again you can't do anything about confirmation bias. If someone goes into a situation expecting to see something, they very likely will see it, even if it means taking things out of context.

If you give everyone a equal and random chance at the bye, and it happens to be the woman who gets it, if she thinks she's being singled out then that's a matter of perception.

I can control my own behavior. I can make suggestions to whoever owns the venue on things that might make it more appealing in general. I can call someone out if they're being rude or offensive.

What I can not do is change someone's perceptions and bias. If someone goes into an event expecting to find sexism, they are very like to find it, even if none exists, because they'll see everything from though that lense.

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Okay, so - I've avoided this topic for a while now, mostly because I tend to ramble and the last thing that was needed was a long post.  However, I really respect Mikael Hasselstein and he asked very nicely to hear my opinion, and Rithrin definitely broke the single post ramble record, so I feel I can do little to damage the integrity of the wall of text.

 

I don't personally believe that there is a problem with equality, or inclusivity with any of the games FFG puts out.  I will however, to explain the overarching environment that may lend to the perception, and anecdotal feeling of (as someone once put it) there being a "sausage-fest" at tournaments.  To this, I will try and explain the following factors:

  1. The difference in miniature games to other games
  2. What I personally look for in a gaming experience (which cannot be applied necessarily to women overall, but is a shared perspective of my friends who play and myself)
  3. The general experience of tournaments
  4. The limitation of visibility of women playing the game leading to anecdotal evidence of imbalance

In the framework of the first point, I can say that feminine interest in either FFG games or Star Wars is not the issue.  The Star Wars RPG's (Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion and Force and Destiny) have many very vocal and active women not just playing, but acting as GMs and running campaigns.  In my experience with gaming at large I can say that I have run games with my sister for about 14 years now, from LARPs at PSU and HACC through weekly (sometimes multiple days in a week) session of games ranging from Pathfinder, to Star Wars, to Vampire and Paranoia (and pretty much everything in between).  In all these events, the ratio of women to men was fairly even, and in our tabletop games was actually exactly even to slightly more women than men.  The reason for this is primarily due to word of mouth.  My sis an I would speak to our friends about playing, and the gender bias of our circle of friends is very representative of the genders in the circle of gamers we end up with.  Ultimately, gaming is a social activity, so those that are introduced to it are typically representative of the group that is currently in it. This leads into the second point, as marketing and product exposure are very key to what one can expect of the game.

 

Staring into the second point, you'll note I only talked about the tabletop RPG experience, and not my predilection for 40K and X-Wing.  The reason is because what I look for in a game is a social and creative experience.  I want to enjoy my time and in the end have something to show for it that I and my friends created together.  My friends and I are creative social animals, and we enjoy getting together and impacting the world in some way - be that creating great stories with our characters in a role-playing game, or having drinks and just socializing.  When I got in to 40K, it wasn't the miniature wargame that I liked - it was the painting mini's that I liked.  The fact that I could then do something with them was really just a bonus, and one that was almost an afterthought.  Had I a boyfriend at the time who was interested in it himself, I probably would never have started playing, preferring to paint his and let him handle the usage.  Alas, as I was single when GW landed it's hooks in me, I wound up playing too (and I'm happy for it - though the games take soooooo long!).  X-Wing holds a unique place for me, because my father and I had very little to bond over, but being former Air Force, aircraft and spacecraft were something I could share with him.  Star Wars was the perfect thing to bond over in that regard, and to this day that aeronautical preference is in every aspect of my life (I'm an aerospace engineer who loves star wars and is obsessed with flight simulators lol).  This combination of things is what led me enjoy the X-Wing miniatures game, and my experience with 40K is what allowed me to pick it up quickly enough to be competitive.  The competition aspect of it is what leads me to the next point.

 

I can't speak for all women, but I can say that for the most part that I have a very laid back attitude about my gaming.  I like to have fun and even when I get competitive, I generally only do so when I am competing against or with people in my close social group.  I happen to know a number of professional women gamers (Xena of PMS is one) and can say that even the hardcore female gaming groups are motivated by their teammates more than they are prizes from winning.  Again, its a social thing.  I am not trying to say that men aren't similarly motivated, but I can say that when it comes down to it, to place in tournaments many participants will abandon lists that they play all the time a local game nights to adopt ones that will get them into the late rounds of the tournament.  That's not bad, or wrong or anything negative at all.  I'm pointing it out because it is the expectation of the "tournament scene."  This makes tournaments fundamentally different than the hobby as a whole - and this level of participation is not really what I look for in a social event.  I've played in Magic tournaments, and 40K tournaments - they were fun, but there really wasn't much social activity.  No kibitzing, no hanging out and talking really - there were a few quick breaks between what is otherwise a very intense, focused activity.  That isn't bad, it's just not my cup of tea.  Which means I enjoy playing the game with my friends and family - I just tend not to go to tournaments.  I really enjoy watching them though - because I love seeing all the amazing things happen during them!  Plus, when I watch them, I can talk about the ships with the people I'm watching it with and strategize and try to anticipate what they're going to do - it's fun to watch with friends!  That however, leads me to my last point - the anecdotal evidence that women don't participate.

 

Since a large number of us (again I cannot speak for other women, just me) like to play socially, we tend not to frequent tournaments as often (if at all).  It doesn't mean we aren't there - just that we aren't showing up to a specific subset of the hobby.  Bobblepopmei has an awesome youtube show she puts on covering the hobby, and I am growing to be a notorious lurker here on the boards, but for the most part, I haven't even been to game nights in my local area.  That lack of presence isn't indicative of a lack of market penetration nor a disinterest by our gender - it's just a personal preference I have in how I want to participate in the hobby.

 

That said, to answer the question of how to address the imbalance of gender due to it not reflecting our social times - I would say that it is an attempt to fix something not necessarily broken.  If you feel your local circle isn't represented by women well, I would say change the argument to say that it isn't represented by families well.  Engage the parents (both mothers and fathers) to play with their children - make it a bonding experience by putting the mini's in their hands through "family game nights" and other events.  Once the visibility increases, you find a greater social experience happening - and that is what is interesting to many like me.

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I stand by my point that, SPEAKING BROADLY, most women, even women gamers, are less than interested in tabletop miniature battles.  Pure tactical excercises, which Xwing definitely is, don't appeal nearly as much.  I've been a GM for 27 year, and while my die hard players were guys, I actually had, over the years, more women players at my table than guys.  Which was cool, actually.  Not one of those players, with the single exception of my daughter, had any interest in battles with minis.  Not just Xwing, any tactical game.  Star Wars has a bigger draw.  True.  Every one of my lady gamers was a Star Wars fan.  Still, only my daughter showed interest in little plastic ships.  Is this anecdotal?  Sure.  No one else is throwing out studies, surveys, or anything more concrete.  Anecdotal it is.

Why is it so hard to look at the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the lady gamers that might be interested in Xwing are playing Xwing?  Maybe not at tournies or stores, which aren't gender unfriendly so much as casual player unfriendly.  I submit that most women who would play would be more casual, more about the social scene of playing, and turned off by the hyper competitive 'Fat Han or Whisper or just surrender now' mentality.  Which, I might add, keeps me and my daughter from joining said games.

I think the real gender issue here is the idea that more women should be playing, and if they're not FFG and the community should find a way to make them.  This, sorry to say, is a load of crap.  Know some women that like gaming of some sort?  Introduce them to the game away from a store.  If they like it, they play.  And perhaps try to reign in and bathe some of the freakier guys at store tournaments.  Beyond that, what exactly would you like us to do to force a demographic that, by and large, shows lower interest not in Xwing but in minis gaming in general.

 

Final thought.  Lots of women like Star Wars.  This does not mean lots of women will like Xwing just because it is Star Wars based.  This is penguin logic (Penguins are black and white.  Some old television shows are black and white.  Therefore, some penguins are old television shows).  Lots of guys like babies.  Yet most guys would rather be dissected and pickled alive by space aliens than go to a baby shower.  Should women be up in arms trying to make baby showers more inclusive of males?  Frankly, I think they like that most of us don't want to go.

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What if three people (two male, one female) want to play every game? Leave it to chance is the only fair thing to do. Otherwise, as was said above, showing any preference (or disregard) is sexist and wrong. 

 

Well, actually, if one thinks sexism only happens in one direction, then leaving it to chance would be wrong, because you might exclude the protected subtype.  

 

I'll leave it to you all to decided who that might be.  

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Engage the parents (both mothers and fathers) to play with their children - 

No!  Children consume ships (either through physical ingestion or careless handling).  If women in X-Wing mean children in X-Wing, then I say keep 'em out!  Men!!!  Only!!!

 

I'm joking.  This is an interesting point, though.  I rarely see X-Wing being a part of family time.  It's usually one or the other.  (More anecdotes incoming!)

 

Most of the players at my LGS only play on thursdays.  Much of our player base is married with children and anytime a weekend event is suggested, you see the fathers cringe, imagining the consequences.  Some of our players are in high school, though their parents just drop them off and don't usually participate.  

 

I have a friend who loves the game.  When I go to his house to play, his wife and children usually go out of the house for a while.  His 3 year old son loves the ships, but usually isn't patient enough to watch us play.  If we're not careful, we find missing asteroids, piles of tokens under the table, or ships facing the wrong heading.  

 

Integrating X-Wing into a family experience, instead of detracting from it, is an interesting idea.  

Edited by cody campbell

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At the risk of getting back on topic, I'll offer this:

A historical imbalance of power between genders in western society resulted in traditional gender roles being vastly different. Those differences have tremendous social inertia, and while we've made a lot of progress at correcting the institutional issues (almost nobody can remember being alive when women couldn't vote in this country), there's still a pretty drastic difference (for confirmation, take a look at homicide rates broken down by gender and acquaintance).

Upthread someone told a story about a male MtG player blowing up at an opponent who won a game against him. In an ideal world, he'd blow up at people regardless of gender, but that's not what happened. In an ideal world, the rest of the community would label him a jerk and refuse to associate with him, until he either got therapy, or died alone in his basement, but that's not what happened.

And that's what we need to do.

We need to stop letting the jerks find refuge in our ranks. We've spent so much energy being inclusive of the misfits, introverts and outcasts that we forgot to still have some standards for the company we keep.

I'm not talking about white-knighting, or silently disapproving of "that guy." I'm talking about actively policing our communities for toxic elements and forcibly ejecting offenders. We have to accept that some ostracism isn't just acceptable, it's needed, no matter how much the memories of our own exclusion might pain us. We must make it clear that women have allies in the community, not because they're women, but because they are people that don't want to be assaulted.

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  Even if no one at the tourney says anything, the possibility exists (based on real-life precedents).  The fact she ends up with the bye could be seen as being "singled out" even if it was random.  

 

Even though you thought you treated her like everyone else, she went away with a different idea of what happened.  

 

 

*I'm just playing Devil's Advocate here.  I've had some similar situations in my workplace and I just want to share my experiences.  I like to treat people as people, but sometimes it backfires on you.  

 

 

There simply are people of both sexes that always see the way things go as something "against them".  You and I cannot control how people perceive "injustice", all we can do is do what we can to not overtly add to "their fire".

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I'm not talking about white-knighting, or silently disapproving of "that guy." I'm talking about actively policing our communities for toxic elements and forcibly ejecting offenders. We have to accept that some ostracism isn't just acceptable, it's needed, no matter how much the memories of our own exclusion might pain us.

 

This works brilliantly unless and until the person who needs to be booted is a woman. Then what?  

 

Can't happen?  Really? I know plenty of women who are obnoxious and rude. Even some who need more frequent bathing.  About 70% of my patients are women, and I'd readily avoid 10-15% if my contracts with medical plans allowed me to (not because they are women, because they are insufferable due to their behavior).

 

Treat everyone like an individual, honor the good, turf the bad, and don't worry about if they pee standing up or sitting down.

 

That and this is about a VOLUNTARY GAME, not voting rights. 

Edited by dojimaster

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I think the real kicker is the fact that most people into X-wing are Star Wars "geeks".   By geek, I mean someone who gets really into something....so, someone who is really into Star Wars.  OK....not EVERYONE is a SW geek, but they usually hang out with one that sucks them in. 

 

I'm in my 40's and I just don't know many females that are that into Star Wars.  Oh, I know a few, but they are...few.  Most females in my age bracket just aren't as into Star Wars as guys are.  Take that as it is.  In my experience, younger generations just aren't as "into" Star Wars as my generation is (it being THE big Sci Fi movie of a generation).  Oh, there are people younger that are into it, but I think the further away you get from my generation the less people are "geeks" about Star Wars. 

 

Overall, I think FFG doesn't need to do anything different to market the game to females.  As a feminist (which means I believe females are equals to males) FFG just needs to market a game.  They don't need to make extra special attempts to market it to females.  Just market the game and those that are into it get into it.  I play at the generic board game night at my LGS.  There are almost 50% females in the game store on those nights.  Almost none want to play X-wing and it's not because we are being unfriendly.  I just think they prefer the other games being offered.  They are usually in their teens or early 20's.  Most of their guy friends don't want to play either.  It's usually just the 30+ people that want to play X-wing. 

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