Gaming as a Woman: Surviving in a man's world
Kristi Belmonte
United States
Oregon
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Gaming is a man’s world; at least as far as the percentage of players involved and the atmosphere in most game venues. As a woman who likes being a woman , and not just a girl in a boy suit, there are some distinct advantages and some other disadvantages, depending on how you play the game. I have sketched out four roles that you can play as a woman that provide many opportunities, and an occasional frustration. Gaming is often about how we interact with the other players. Guys have their roles, we should have ours. As many women before me have said, use what you got.

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1. Board Game: Top Secret [Average Rating:3.38 Unranked]
Kristi Belmonte
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Innocent: The innocent woman is easy to pull off with game groups that don’t know you too well. If you keep your eyes open just a little too wide, blink a little less often and slowly, and look up at the guy as he explains the rules, and a little “simple” strategy, you are in. You can get into and out of deals and alliances like changing skirts to pants or heels to flats. Which brings up a point: it is important how you dress for this and the other roles. You cannot wear anything sexy or formal. You have to look new. You also cannot dress too frumpy. If you dress like a boy, you will be treated like a boy. Wear jeans and a sweater or something else casual. The best thing about this role is guys will buy it with every new game you play. Unlike the incompetent, which is limited in replayability, this one is good for every new guy and every new game.
 
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2. Board Game: Hot Company [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Kristi Belmonte
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Flirt: This role takes some practice and to some degree, it needs to come naturally. In this role you can act competent or not. What is important is that you select one guy, preferably not married, and also not the best player at the table. Once you have selected your man, don’t smother him, but target your flirts. Make sure you sit next to him. When you sit, laughingly ask if you can sit by him. Maybe put your hand on his arm when you ask. Talk lightly with him through the early game and put your hand on his arm or back briefly from time to time. At the right time say something like “I think one of us can win this game if we work together to stop (insert the lead guy/best player)”. If you have managed things right, he is in your pocket for the rest of the game: (figuratively speaking) ((unless he is really cute)). Again this one has a dress code. You want to wear something edgy or flirtatious. Never Frumpy. Skirts, nylons, make-up, tight or torn jeans, some skin showing if you are comfortable with that. You don’t have to look like a hoe, just a woman that is comfortable with herself and others looking at her.
 
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3. Board Game: Red November [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:1470]
Kristi Belmonte
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Incompetent: This one is tricky because a lot of guys already assume this about you. Few will admit it, but many guys view playing a game (especially a wargame) with a woman like they would view a coed game of flag football: they are playing down to you. This can have its advantages, but it can also make it hard to deal with the real thick headed ones. Identify these early and find other avenues. But for those who don’t think you are incompetent as a human being, but just at this game, you can get more assistance than you will know what to do with. If you have ever played World of Warcraft (the MMO, not the board game) this is a great way to get the best gear and gold. Guys will pour stuff on the inexperienced girl that they take under their wing. The same works in board games. Let a guy take you in as his charge and work it from there. Ask often about the rules, the same ones a few times, and the “how you win” instead of the victory conditions. Ask about the steps of the turn and if your last move was a good move? If you get in the lead, laugh and thank your benefactor. When you win, tell him how sweet he is. It is amazing how many times this role can work, even in the same game you have won before. This is the one where you want to dress down a little. You can be a bit frumpy here. Never dress slutty. It won’t work for this role.
 
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4. Board Game: Temptation [Average Rating:3.67 Unranked]
Kristi Belmonte
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Seductress / Temptress: This is a more aggressive approach. Here you will take the role of the strong, confident woman that is in control of herself and willing to take the right guy with her. Again dress matters. NEVER EVER frumpy. Confident mature clothes, no skin but lots of curve if you have them. You need a guy to see you and think twice. You want him to be glad you are at the table, and not because you will be an easy victim in the game. Know the rules but don’t be a rules lawyer. Be confident and a bit aloof. Don’t directly flirt. Make them wish you would flirt with them. Then when you make a suggestion or an offer, they will want to listen and likely sign up, even if it might not help them. Find the guy that seems most open to what you are doing and go for it.
 
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5. Board Game: No Man's Land: Where the Wisest Women Win [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Kristi Belmonte
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Other Women.When you do these things, there is the chance that another woman is at the table. Don’t underestimate them. Also know that these roles don’t work on them (except the flirt; see below). Find out if you can work with them or not. Also figure out what role they are playing if any. Then beat them at it. One thing that can work wondrously is if you play the flirt correctly with her. Girls know what this means. This can backfire but it can also get you in quick if they feel like they are connected with you as women.
 
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6. Board Game: Dress Up [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Kristi Belmonte
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A note on dress: we all have our styles and preferences, and you can find what works for you in these roles. But in my experience the girls that frump out and just act like boys not only can’t play these roles, they also don’t do to well at gaming. Take your style and personality and see how you can play it into your game. Not because we can’t win without it, but because it is so fun to win with it. To those gals I have offended. This is all in fun. It’s about games, and gaming, not selling out.
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