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Author Topic: Most attractive setting for female players  (Read 23026 times)
xechnao
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Posts: 108


« on: September 19, 2003, 08:21:22 AM »

What do you think is the female vs male participation percentage of the rpg gaming sessions of 4 to 8 persons of the various settings?
What setting do you think attracts female players the most?
And what setting do you think female players would enjoy playing most as per the standard 4-8 persons gaming session.
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b_bankhead
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Posts: 259


« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2003, 10:03:27 AM »

Make of it what you will, but 90+% of the female rpg gamers I have met since 1977 have been Vampire LARP players.  From examination of this phenomenon I have concluded that "women like" games which allow throwing an aura of fantasy and glamour over what would be normal social activities, i.e. they are goth chics who would be hanging out with their dressed-in-black friends anyway and the WOD gives them something more interesting to talk about than another round of 'who sucks most , Marilyn Manson or Rob Zombie"?
(It is unfortunately this social specificity that has largely kept me out of it. If you aren't a part of the 'teenage-goth-dress-in-black routine it really isn't for you.....)

 On the topic of systems rather that settings I would say "women don't like'" (please notice the quotes) games that resemble the American 1040A tax form and are organized around wargame oriented priorities.

There are plenty of female Tolkien fans for instance.  How about a Tolkienesque fantasy LARP game?  But it wold have to be something essentially that would be an analogue for a real world social gathering not the 'go into the guilded hole and kill stuff' that 95% of rpg-ing is stuck in.  The meeting at Rivendell rather than the mines of Moria to use the Tolkien comparison.

Other than this I cant say. The number of female rpg-er's I have seen in 25 years who are NOT Vampire larpers can be counted on the fingers of one hand....so I can't make any other comments on what such a small sample prefers.
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Windthin
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2003, 10:30:14 AM »

I must have significantly more fingers.  I've known dozens of female non-vampLARP RPers (I happened to marry one, as a matter of fact).  I do not believe you can easily generalize ANY group.  I know women who love the thrill of battle, hack-n-slash.  Some prefer social aspects (SCA, for instance, has no lack of female participants, but one might compare it to a LARP itself), some adventure, some deep plots, some just... fun.  If you want a setting that will appeal to women, make it rich, vivid, and not your typical male fantasy (I.E. barbarian women in armor that wouldn't protect them from a cold who can wield a sword competently but still must be saved in the end by the male hero.  Bleah).  It's not a matter of setting so much as the game itself; know your players as individuals, not by their gender or their backgrounds or what-have-you.  This will tell you what each is looking for in a game.
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jdagna
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2003, 03:00:03 PM »

I think women represent about 20-25% of the overall hobby, but what I usually find is that you have two kinds of groups: 50% female and 0% female.  I've rarely seen just one woman playing in a group of all guys.  I think this makes sense... no one wants to be odd man (or woman) out.  

I haven't seen a gender-based genre preference, though I have noticed that many women are more entertained by emotional/relational conflicts than most men.  LARPS seem to cater to this preference a little more than tabletop games.  This isn't to say that the women I've played with don't like to grab up their swrds and take out the bad guys just as much though.

But it's really pointless to talk about generalities if you're thinking in terms of your own gaming group.  It may be more useful if you're thinking about how to build female interest into your game, but if you're going to do that, I'd recommend finding an existing niche and catering to it.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2003, 04:12:23 PM »

Hello,

Xechnao, this thread isn't going to be helpful unless you can clarify two things for everyone. For purposes of this thread (which means, everyone, don't quibble about X's answers, just take it and like it):

What are the qualities of "female players" that you are hoping to speak to or correspond with, for a given setting?

What role would setting play in the game? Would the conflicts of play arise from the setting, as in HeroQuest or Castle Falkenstein? Or would they arise from initial character decisions, as in Sorcerer?

If this thread represents a bunch of free-associated "well I think" posts, then it will serve no purpose at all. The clearer you can be about those two questions, the more focus and utility we'll achieve.

Best,
Ron
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CplFerro
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2003, 04:24:47 PM »

Dear xechnao,

To your second question: Women appreciate human games.  I mean, games which connect to the concept of humanity, as being superior to the apes.  Most games feature apelike PCs versus apelike NPCs.

To run a human game, you have to be honest, and willing to explore those areas of the mind not regulated or bound to rules, but rather operating in terms of principles.

A good analogy for women, here, is that of alleys, the swirly glass kind, you know, that children play with.  A man will look at a cat's eye alley and start dividing it into parts, and compare those parts.  A woman will appreciate the colour, the swirly-ness, and so forth, taking the entire alley as a gestalt.

So with games.  If the game is predominated by colourless number-crunching, women will tend to avoid it.  If the game is predominated by an appreciation of how the totality of human relationships affects the lone man or woman, women will tend to gravitate to it.

"Vampire" is the benchmark, because the characters start off having /lost/ to begin with, and their relationship with the entire world is presented with great embellishment, as being a function of the totality of their environment.  They are not lone rebel questers in the manly sense, they are emotionally adrift, unsure of what they want, but keenly aware that they /do/ want.

To accommodate women, accommodate the human part of yourself, and run a human game.  Include romance, colour, narrative, dream, family relationships, the concept of the powerful /being/ ("princess") rather than the powerful /doing/ ("prince").  Then women will more likely appreciate it in spite of the numbers, or, better, realise that the numbers themselves have wonderful colours of their own.



Cpl Ferro
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AnyaTheBlue
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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2003, 05:09:06 PM »

I do have something to add, outside of what X's answers are to Ron's questions.

I read some time ago that Men can't think and feel simultaneously.  That is, if they are thinking about something, they aren't experiencing emotion.  Conversely, if they are in the grips of a strong emotion, they aren't thinking or being very rational.  It's one or the other.

Women, on the other hand, do think and feel simultaneously.  That is, thoughts tend to have an emotional timbre, while feelings tend to have thoughts and reasoning hoooked to them.

This is obviously a pretty large generalization, and clearly doesn't hold for everybody on any side of the various gender lines that people can draw.

But it does suggest something.  It suggests that there are people who prefer a clear seperation of plot and events versus relationship and social interaction.  And then there are people who prefer an integrated whole, where social interaction, relationships, plot, and events are all connected in an organic whole.  I suppose there's probably more like a continuum between these two poles, with most people able to appreciate a wide range of experiences, and probably prefering a variety of focus all along it.  But not everybody is going to be centered in the same place.

I think a lot of 'Standard Fantasy RPG'-type stuff ends up having a pretty strong seperation between the two approaches.  But at the same time, look at the number of female Trekkies, Anime fans, Xena fans, Farscape fans, X-Files fans, and Renaissance Faire/SCA/LARPers.  It's not the subject matter or the genre turning women off gaming.  It's the approach and focus, IMHO.
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Dana Johnson
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xechnao
Member

Posts: 108


« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2003, 03:15:13 AM »

First I am answering Ron's requests.

1)The qualities is just that of being female players. Players means that they are going to deal with this which means buy and/or speak about it which means promote trends about it. Female means belonging to the female part of the population so having what qualities this assumes. I guess I should put a target age to focus so let's say the 16-46 interval.

2)I am sorry but I can't see the actual difference you are talking about. If there is something to care that matters could you explain it?

I wanted to make the thread to see what people could know about this matter of female interest for the established settings* and thus try to understand if there could be some norms about it.
From the replies I got I admit I got a bit confused about the complicity of things about this matter. The imagine I got is that it does matter the type of game that goes along with the setting for studying the possibilty of some type of norm female-setting related wise. As if it was that a norm could only be researched on the basis that females preffer specific combos over others, for example the card games going along to a thriller setting and vice-versa and a comic setting going along to a LARP game and vice-versa.

I don't agree with this. While I believe that also game wise there are some norms about the matter of female preferences I can distinguish an independent study of setting preferences.
For instance, from my experience I could say, but to not the specific degree that females preffer horror, thriller, romance, fashion-style, modern, romance settings over fantasy, sci-fi, war, action settings.
I was hopping to analize better this with you and why not, take over the analisis and through specific examples-works setting-wise (like Jurrasic Park film, Blade-Runner, Millenium's End, Cthulu-Mythos, ...) in regards of female-interest attractivity to them.

*I could say settings of the hobby but because this settings originate from various others trends I didn't.
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RaconteurX
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Posts: 262


« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2003, 03:34:11 AM »

Female players whom I have known have, by and large, been into games with a significant amount of social interaction: Amber, one World of Darkness game or another, Tekumel, Pendragon, Over the Edge, Albedo, Glorantha, Star Trek, Star Wars, Castle Falkenstein, Teenagers from Outer Space, LARPs based on any of the above...
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xechnao
Member

Posts: 108


« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2003, 04:15:48 AM »

Quote from: RaconteurX
Female players whom I have known have, by and large, been into games with a significant amount of social interaction: Amber, one World of Darkness game or another, Tekumel, Pendragon, Over the Edge, Albedo, Glorantha, Star Trek, Star Wars, Castle Falkenstein, Teenagers from Outer Space, LARPs based on any of the above...


Amber=Fantasy?*  (how many and what percentage in respect of men)
WoD=Horror          (how many and what percentage in respect of men)
Tekumel=Fantasy   (...)
Pendragon=Fantasy(...)
Over the Edge=???  (...)
Albedo=???             (...)
Glorantha=DFantasy(...)
Star Trek=Sci-Fi      (...)
Star Wars=Sci-FI     (...)
Castle Falk=Fantasy?(...)
TFOS=Sci-Fi?           (...)

If you give the numbers then we could go on with more and better analisis and thus conclusions.
*?=correct me if I am wrong. Also where ??? I don't know the setting so lable it.
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Christopher Kubasik
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Posts: 1153


« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2003, 09:57:08 AM »

um, guys.  I'm not a moderator.  I don't even play one on tv.

But this doesn't seem like a Forge thread.

Making half-baked assumptions and generalizations about half the world's population (and thus making half-baked assumptions and generalizations about the other half of the world's population), seems like it would be better served at some other site.

That said...  Good luck, y'all.

Christopher
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xechnao
Member

Posts: 108


« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2003, 10:32:26 AM »

Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
um, guys.  I'm not a moderator.  I don't even play one on tv.

But this doesn't seem like a Forge thread.

Making half-baked assumptions and generalizations about half the world's population (and thus making half-baked assumptions and generalizations about the other half of the world's population), seems like it would be better served at some other site.

That said...  Good luck, y'all.

Christopher


What about if it came out that females have indeed preferences in some type of settings and dislike some others? Wouldn't that help you to balance better the setting of a game you want to make if you want to achieve a greater enjoyment propability from part of the females?
If you have a link to some other site that gives answers to this question please post it. Again, if you are not interested you don't need to bother.
As I have understood this forum is a forum that among other things also deals with questions of the rpg industry (even when it goes to generalizations - as for half-baked I hope to finally conclude better and that's why I bother to ask for peoples help). If I understood wrong then accept my apologies about this thread.
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John Kim
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« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2003, 12:46:02 PM »

Quote from: xechnao
  What about if it came out that females have indeed preferences in some type of settings and dislike some others? Wouldn't that help you to balance better the setting of a game you want to make if you want to achieve a greater enjoyment propability from part of the females?  If you have a link to some other site that gives answers to this question please post it.  

The thing is, a survey of what a handful of posters here on the Forge think is unlikely to have any significance.  The largest survey with public data is probably the Wizards of the Coast survey which had about 1000 responders screened from 65,000 individuals (results available at http://www.thegpa.org/wotc_demo.shtml ).  James Kittock conducted a survey with 524 respondents, though these were from an web-based poll with little control over skews in who was contacted.  

Neither of these really addressed genre, though.  We can look at non-RPG sources for this, though it might or might not be relevant.  For example, there is a survey of genre preference in film at http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/sfischo/media3.html  .  This study suggests that men show a preference for Action-Adventure (20.2% vs 12.5%) and Sci-Fi (10.7% vs 4.6%), while women show a preference for Fantasy (9.3% vs 6.5%), Musical (5.7% vs 3.1%), Romance (15.0% vs 9.6%).  Numbers for Horror, Comedy, and Thriller/Murder were roughly the same.  

I wouldn't make too much of this.  I would note that in this survey, women prefer the fantasy genre more than men, with equal preference for horror...  but among RPGs, Vampire is rumored to have more women players than D&D.  I would agree with Anya that it is the approach more than the setting that makes a difference.  

One of my pet peeves is having a sidebar or addendum to the Character Creation chapter on "Female PCs".  Here it explains the differences and special considerations needed for females as opposed to the "normal" character creation process.  Bleah!!  Of course, it is arguable whether this is better or worse than, say, the Lord of the Rings RPG in which all example characters as well as all example players are male.  Females don't even merit a sidebar, it seems -- except a brief rule to specify that dwarf PCs cannot be female.

(Editted for grammar)
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- John
CplFerro
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« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2003, 01:55:30 PM »

Dear Mr. Kubasik,

What /really/ doesn't belong on this board is the modern disease of the mind, that impells its sufferers to try to gag others on a pretense of moral superiority, after mounting a flimsy soapbox of "all opinions are equal" and saying as much that "truth can never be found, only eternally quested after", which is what you're really saying with your girlish, lip-biting post.  So take your own advice and stop passive-aggressive moderating, yes?

Sincerely,



Cpl Ferro
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xechnao
Member

Posts: 108


« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2003, 02:12:21 PM »

Quote from: John Kim
Neither of these really addressed genre, though.  We can look at non-RPG sources for this, though it might or might not be relevant.  For example, there is a survey of genre preference in film at http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/sfischo/media3.html  .  This study suggests that men show a preference for Action-Adventure (20.2% vs 12.5%) and Sci-Fi (10.7% vs 4.6%), while women show a preference for Fantasy (9.3% vs 6.5%), Musical (5.7% vs 3.1%), Romance (15.0% vs 9.6%).  Numbers for Horror, Comedy, and Thriller/Murder were roughly the same.  

I wouldn't make too much of this.  I would note that in this survey, women prefer the fantasy genre more than men, with equal preference for horror...  but among RPGs, Vampire is rumored to have more women players than D&D.  I would agree with Anya that it is the approach more than the setting that makes a difference.  


Vampire has more female players than d&d because setting is not the only facyor of preference (although it could be studied independently and this is the scope I started this thread).

From what your sources say it would be a good 50%-50% balance between males and females the following settings (if we only estimate the per centage difference and not the actual values which I don't know yet how they are calculated and what they rapresent and mean):
1)sci-fi, romance
2)action-adventure, fantasy
3)action-adventure, romance

Musical can't be a choice on rpgs and sci-fi, fantasy can be a choice either. It is interesting that the sci-fi,action-adventure combo seems to bear less balance.

Thanks for the links. I am gonna check them out definatelly.
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