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Author Topic: Romantic Partners who game  (Read 6913 times)
Meguey
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Meguey


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« on: September 15, 2002, 06:24:41 AM »

Over in Actual Play about Puppies, Paul Czege said:
Quote
Romantic partners who game, and who are fiercely supportive of your design efforts...despite discomfort from circumstance or subject matter. Don't get no better than that.
As such a partner, I have a few things to say.

Let me preface this by saying I'd been playing D&D and AD&D since I was seven, so I was not totally unfamiliar with the concept, lingo, and paraphanalia. However, being a Woman Who Games puts me in a small community. I wish there were more WWG, or women willing to admit to gaming in the past, at least. I also wish gaming folks of all genders to be able to share the fun with their partners as desired.

When I met Vincent, he was playing Cyberpunk and Shadowrun and Talislanta; I'd never heard of any of them, but was happy to try. (Hey, we chicks are just as happy to have partners who are into our hobbies as vice versa) We had some*great* games in college, and then Vincent's homegrown games started cropping up. I was fine with that, cool. But when it came to actual play, the early ones mostly tanked. Why? Well, y'all know he's a good writer, and the ideas were sound, even in reflection years later. Here's the secret: I was put off by the mechanics or by the character sheet.

So, my dear game-designing partner started tweeking with things, asking what was blocking me, figuring out what I'd liked about games we'd played, what stats etc. I actually used in actual play. This was way cool. Eventually, we figured it out, and now it's a pretty sure bet I'll play a game he writes, eventually. I think I've been a decent test of when mechanics are over-worked. For example, I *love* the Otherkind mechanic. Ask Vincent about the Jastenave mechanic, too. Oh, and the sword fight mechanic from Powderkeg.

My advice to game designers with:

   Partners who have ever gamed:

      Ask them about their favorite games and what made them like it. Check out what parts of the game they got stuck in (filling out forms, task resolution, tracking GP/ExP etc), and figure out what was easy. What genre movies, books, etc do they like, even occasionally. Start from there.  

    Partners who have never gamed:

        Start with talking about books, movies, and most importantly, *STORYTELLING*. Lots of folks have played make-belive, or played various storytelling games, even if it was only years ago in scout camp. Every person who was ever a kid has done Live Action Role Playing, they just called it 'playing house' or 'cops and robbers' or 'star wars'. This is all that for grown-ups.

We have friends where the man is into really number-crunchy, slay-the-beast-take-the-treasure stuff (RoleMaster), and the woman is totally put off.  We've been talking about our various games, and she's intrigued enough to want to sit in and watch a session. Different strokes for different folks. That's why there're so many different games. Trust me, there's one out there, maybe waiting to be designed, that will catch your partner's interest.

~Meguey
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M. J. Young
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2002, 11:19:40 AM »

My wife and I discovered games together; we'd read a Psychology Today article back in 1980 (yeah, we're old) and as avid game players (card games, board games, war games, parlor games, miniature golf, bowling, and I've forgotten what else) we had to find it. We'd tried the LotR game from SPI, which was disappointing precisely in the ways that D&D promised to be good. I ran games (D&D) in which she played; she ran games (Star Frontiers, Metamorphosis Alpha) in which I played, and together we played in games (Gamma World, a smattering of Traveler) run by one of our gaming friends.

But she has never played Multiverser.

Part of it is that life got busy, and she found less time to play. I still play mostly with the kids, but she likes to go out with the kids when she's home, or play games with less commitment like board games and card games. (She almost got into a game of Little Fears, but then reading the rules she decided she did not want the kids playing it.)

But part of it is that while the game was in the creation stages, she had a massive blow-up with my collaborator, and wants nothing to do with anything connected to him. It isn't the game she dislikes, but the memories of that time.

It's a bit disappointing that she doesn't play; but then, life has been busy in recent years and I keep having to turn down eager players because I don't have the time to have people over to play. Besides, while we enjoyed role playing, we've got a lot of other common interests, and with me doing this as "work" it's good to get a break from it when I'm with her.

I'm interested in the experiences of others.

--M. J. Young
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2002, 05:46:13 PM »

I met my wife through gaming.

That's right, I came up to the University of Minnesota (finally escaping the stickiest of the sticks).  I sought out the on-campus gaming community; I found the oldest in the world (as the story goes Gygax got started - somehow - here).

Now don't get me wrong, I've got Asperger's Syndrome, which means whatever the social situation, I'm the wall flower.  I met her the first week I was up here (she was flowering the walls too).  Soon after I 'joined up,' I rather took the group by storm (a talented gamer, I guess).

To make a long story short, we had everything gaming in common.  (We also have the same metaphysical beliefs and political stance.)  Together, we decided to create our own role-playing game (so that by retirement, we'd at least have a great toy); her system, and my text on 'good gamemastering.'  (She has a charming little story about playing Dungeons & Dragons out of books hidden in Tunnels & Trolls books, because her best friend's father believed that Dungeons & Dragons was 'only for boys.')

The rest, as they say, it history.  Two kids later (did I mention that Asperger's Syndrome passes down the male line especially when both parents have it?), we have what you've seen so far.

Marry your design partner, your best friend, your soul-mate, favorite gamemaster, or all four.  The best thing I ever did.

Fang Langford
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kevin671
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Posts: 76


« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2002, 06:31:13 PM »

I can't say I've ever had the experience of a romatic partner who was a gamer......hmm.....maybe because of the high "geek factor" involved?  See, I am usually too scared to introduce partners into the roleplaying world, for fear that they are going to think that I am a geek.  The few times that I did bring a girlfriend to the table, they usually left in a combination of frustration and disgust, with a quick "Call ya tomorrow," on the way out the door.  Maybe I'm just a crappy teacher?  Added to the fact that my main gaming group for my entire high school career was nearly entirely male, and when a female player did become involved I suppose the fact that all the other players were guys probably drove them away.  It might've not been so bad, if there were more female gamers out there, so that a newer female gamer might be a little less intimidated to come to the table.  I truely envy those of you who are able to blend the two worlds effectively.
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"Know thyself,"  the master said to me "lest I verily clout thee over thine head with a really big stick and take thine shoes, thine coat, thine hat, thine wallet and thine watch."

And thus I was enlightened
Bob McNamee
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Posts: 685


« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2002, 06:40:01 PM »

I too met my wife in the college Gaming-type club! Its great! I highly recommend it!
 (although we would never have believed it if anyone back then would have said "10 years from now you two will be married")

We watch the generally the same types of TV shows, read the same types of books, and have started more gaming together (after both being away from gaming for quite a while).

Bob McNamee
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
jdagna
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2002, 08:22:27 PM »

I too met my wife Sally through gaming, though in this case it was an online free-form kind of thing.  However, I'm not really sure I'd describe her as a "gamer."  She enjoys playing, but doesn't seem to fully grasp the concept of a system.  She'll remember the steps it takes to do something, but only as a series of steps.  Likewise with other concepts.  If a long sword did 3d6 points of damage, a knife did 1d6 and you asked her what a short sword did, it would stump her (but she'd agree readily if you suggested 2d6).

As soon as she can articulate what exactly it is that she likes about playing, I'll write a system for her.

However, she's still been an invaluable assistance in getting Pax Draconis together when it comes to art and handling many of the behind-the-scenes details.
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Justin Dagna
President, Technicraft Design.  Creator, Pax Draconis
http://www.paxdraconis.com
greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2002, 09:26:07 PM »

I didn't meet my wife through gaming -- that's an entirely different story -- but after we had started writing to one another, the subject came up...I have no clue how, I don't remember in the slightest.  It simply arose and was discussed like anything else a courting couple discusses.

She wasn't what you'd call a "geek girl," either: she was into parties, cruising, heavy metal and not into Star Trek, computers or art.  She had played MERP a couple of times before I met her, and after we had been going out for a while, decided she really wanted to try to run a game.  I wanted to get her more involved in my hobby and since she was willing, hey, I wasn't going to complain.

However, she decided MERP was NOT the way to go (and I agreed, after staring at the rules for a while whilst attempting to make a character).  Instead, she ended up running a session of D&D for my cousin and I -- and there's another story there, first time playing D&D and first time time GMing, and we both agreed it was unequivocably the best game we'd ever played in.

Long-story-short (too late): She and I have been gaming together ever since.

Unfortunately, she hasn't had as much time to play lately, but she hasn't had much time to do anything lately.  We still play together in a D&D game on Saturday nights, but that's about it for gaming due the demands of nursing school.

She has, however, recently been talking about getting a couple of her friends together for a weekly or (more likely) monthly game at our place (yes, female friends).

Which brings up an interesting tangent in this thread: most of the gamers I play regularly with are female.  Both the groups I have been a long-term member of are female dominated (and the two groups share only me as a member).

In the Saturday night game I spoke of that my wife attends with me, out of seven other players, I was the only male in the group besides the DM for over two years.  Recently, I have regained that distinction in the group.

The group I run a campaign for (and also play in campaigns run by a couple of them) is comprised of four players.  In the past, it usually had more women than men, though that statistic evened out somewhat recently as my wife had to cut her gaming down for reasons already mentioned, and I lost a few other players (thankfully) at the end of the last campaign.

Another interesting note: at the computer lab I administer, there are a couple of high school girls who come in every day to use the facility.  I learned in the first few weeks that they role-play as well, as they just out and discuss it as though it is no big deal, even though one of the girls is a fashion model and quite obviously the "popular preppy-girl."

Getting even more tangential: my group in high-school was comprised of...well, everyone.  Jocks, potheads, skaters, nerds, nice-guys and artists (and we did, indeed, talk to each other between games...as often about gaming as anything else); the most popular folks in my high school gamed (you know, the kids everyone knows and likes).

Though my high-school group only had one girl, my friends the next town over all played RPGs, and the majority of them were female.

RPGs have a geek stigma?  Girls don't like or get gaming?
I wonder how close to reality our conceptions actually are, and thus why finding a mate who games is considered so difficult as to be a special occurence?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Maurice Forrester
Member

Posts: 73


« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2002, 03:11:25 AM »

I introduced my wife to gaming before we were married.  That was in 1979 and, except for a few years when the kids were little, we've been gaming regularly ever since.  Other couples play golf or bridge or whatever together, so there's no reason why couple who game together should be so unusual.  My only complaint about our arrangement is that my wife likes gaming so much that she's a poor critic of my games.  She likes everything I run.  (I'm going to see if I can force a change in that attitude by running Kill Puppies for Satan.)
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Maurice Forrester
wyrdlyng
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2002, 03:47:41 AM »

I'm another one who married a gamer. My wife and I met at one of the few gaming cons down here in South Florida almost 10 years ago. It was at a Champions game to boot.
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Alex Hunter
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2002, 06:00:47 AM »

Hello,

Hearts & flowers aside, I would like people to consider that Forge threads are not encounter groups. What's the issue at stake in this one?

Meguey's initial post is tremendously high-potential - I see many possibilities for discussions arising from it. If you would, folks, try to work from there and not simply pound the keys with "Well, for me" kinds of input.

Here's my thought based on the big issue: why should or should not one attempt to interest one's romantic partner in role-playing?

I'm not talking about fellow role-players findin' one another; that's a no-brainer, insofar as people involved in the same hobbies tend to sleep together - the basis for all singles' vactions and activities and whatnot. No, I'm talking about active role-playin' folks who do have Sig.Others.

One more qualifier: individual instances are not evidence for anything. Anecdotes about what happened to you or to your friend Ned or Sally or whoever aren't going to address my question. I'm interested in broader perspectives on this one.

Meguey, any thoughts on that?

Best,
Ron
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Bob McNamee
Member

Posts: 685


« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2002, 06:53:59 AM »

Well, for game designers and people finding the Forge recently, having a spouse who only is a "new gamer" or "non-rabid gamer" is a big help.

Starting out as a D&D gm back in the seventies, I found it pretty hard to stepback and really evaluate that game and others because their methods are so ingrained. All the inconsistencies and complexities come right to my notice when helping to instruct my wife in my friend's D&D2ed game.  Even such things as dice... hard to remember how confusing they can be when I can pick them out by feel.  She played Traveller way back but "that used normal dice..."
She's a good cold reader for game designs, if its confusing in anyway she'll know.
[edited in: This really could apply to bouncing things off any newish gamer, so maybe its not a spouse thing]

There's the social issue too. But this can be two-edged. On the plus side, you're both gaming together. This is the same as is you were both golfing, fishing,shopping,hanging with friends, whatever. Eliminates "You spend more time XXX-ing than with me..." from the other.
 A secondary personal plus, for me as a GM, is having a person to share "What's going on in the game". Someone to share secrets with etc. This isn't really a mate thing though, way back in the 70s-80s D&D day my DM friend and I agreed not to play in one anothers games so we would have someone to share all the (probably Illusionist) "what's really going on, what's going to happen next" kind of stuff.

On the minus side, some folks use their "special hobby" as a way to get away from their mate. Too much togetherness, I guess.
 Another minus, and the biggest one, we're seeing in another thread.  What effect is one partner's opinions/feelings/issues conflicting with the members of the gaming group, and/or the game, going to have on the relationship, the partner's opinions, the group, and the gaming experience.
(Social contract can help, and good communication, but people aren't always rational)

Hope this is more on topic,
Bob McNamee
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
damion
Member

Posts: 198


« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2002, 08:20:54 AM »

I am the only one who has a romantic partner who doesn't game?  She expressed interest, but didn't really like it.   I think part of it was I had not discovered the forge yet and only knew traditional games.  Also, the game I tried to get here into didn't work out as well as I'd hoped.  (It was Falkenstien, and the GM made it sound, what I would now call Narrativist, but it turned out be to hardcore Participationalism.)
My observations of my partner/ideas to introduce her to gaming(I just want to see if she just doesn't like, or did I mess up earlier tries. She admists she would like it as an activity we could do together.)
My main problem.
She's a radical femminist. Now this is not a problem in our relationship(I agree with her on this). But the problem is most games have elements that conflict with this. Also, here tolerance for books seems to be higher than for games.  She likes elizabethan books, but seems to have a low tolerance for the games. Another problem here is finding other Gamers she can put up with.
 
She also seems to be one of these players who wants to go off an explore their own charachter and not do anything with a unified plot or group. I've wondered that if she was allowed to do that for a while, she'd become more 'group' friendly, but....

Any ideas on addressing the first point? I think that's my main issue.
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James
Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2002, 08:29:08 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Here's my thought based on the big issue: why should or should not one attempt to interest one's romantic partner in role-playing?


I'm going to approach this from the "should not" angle for two reasons:
a) The "should" angle has been portrayed as good here, so a dissenting view would be nice and
b) I don't think you can separate personal views from a topic like this as much as Ron wants to.

Having a romantic partner that games sounds like a great idea. You have someone that's supportive of your hobby (and maybe of your business) in your home at all times. However, a biased view of your own game can form very quickly. If you're working on your own game, most likely your spouse or partner is not going to heavily criticize it. You're most likely writing it to fit the personal game style that has evolved between you two anyway.

Now, if your partner isn't involved in role-playing, you can get an outsider's opinion on your game - an idea from a non-gamer about if the concept even makes sense, for example. It's hard to find non-gamers to discuss your game with - the opportunity of having a non-gaming partner is a treasure, in my opinion.

The other issue is one no one discusses on the Forge, no matter how much I try to bring it up. Many people play role-playing games to deal with personal issues. If you're dealing with personal issues in the context of role-playing, your partner is the last person that needs to be there. Before everyone bounces up and down and says, "But what about honesty between partners?", think about it for a second. In a lot of cases, your issues will involve your partner, issues like:
 - Your happiness/lack of happiness with your sex life
 - Your satisfaction/dissatisfaction with care for your emotional needs in the relationship
 - Your attraction to a person outside the relationship, and your comfort/discomfort with that

Like I said earlier, I don't think you can separate personal views from the issue as much as Ron would like. My personal view is that issues like this are best dealt with in a situation without your partner present.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2002, 08:49:57 AM »

Hi Clinton,

OK, I buy that - that's a sound argument regarding the role of "personal viewpoint" in this sort of discussion. I think we agree though, that the goal is to arrive at more general or applicable ideas rather than only to expound or describe "well, to me ..." type positions.

So let's take a look at not sharing role-playing with one's partner, and put aside for the moment the partner's role in that decision. One reason might be just what you describe: the role-playing represents a fair amount of emotional catharsis that's better conducted in the partner's absence.

Another reason is to consider that not all couples like doing every damn thing or activity together. The "joined at the hip" lifestyle is fine, and it's pretty common especially among people in their early 20s. But it's not the only way to conduct a relationship, and the world is full of folks for whom Joe can go bowling with his buddies, or Carol can go to her kickboxing workout classes, without the other one either (a) participating or (b) constantly trying to make the partner stop.

It's conceivable that one doesn't include or encourage one's partner to be involved in role-playing on that basis alone - no need for the "emotional issues" angle to be involved.

Best,
Ron
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Clinton R. Nixon
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Posts: 2624


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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2002, 09:02:13 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Another reason is to consider that not all couples like doing every damn thing or activity together. The "joined at the hip" lifestyle is fine, and it's pretty common especially among people in their early 20s. But it's not the only way to conduct a relationship, and the world is full of folks for whom Joe can go bowling with his buddies, or Carol can go to her kickboxing workout classes, without the other one either (a) participating or (b) constantly trying to make the partner stop.

It's conceivable that one doesn't include or encourage one's partner to be involved in role-playing on that basis alone - no need for the "emotional issues" angle to be involved.


I wholeheartedly agree. I never referenced that because for people in this situation, it's not even a question of "is my partner role-playing with me a good idea?" It's a statement: "role-playing is my thing."

I've personally found it to be a great equalizer in relationships where one partner wants more "apart time" than the other. By making your "apart time" into a productive activity, the reticent partner often becomes more open to the concept.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
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