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Subject: Sad story of women in gaming. rss

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Paco Jaen
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Bit of a sad story.

I was at the UK Games Expo this past weekend and had a beer with my friends Agnieszka and Andrei. They have a company called NSKN Games and produce boardgames. Pretty excellent ones at that.

We were discussing why barely anyone who doesn't make an effort to find out names knows women boardgames designers. Men? Not a problem. Name women? errr... not as easy!

Her answer left me cold: "I don't put my name in the cover of the boxes of my games" she said "because I feel a lot of people wouldn't take a game designed by a woman seriously and it would hurt the business."



Massive

So it's not just that the industry is men-dominated. It's also that there are women out there who are worried about putting their name forward for fear of damage to their companies.

If you need me, I'll be in a corner over there crying.

[EDIT] For clarity, she now does put her name on the boxes of games at the insistence of Andrei. She feels extremely uncomfortable about that and, left to her, she wouldn't add her names at all.
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Joe Salamone
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This is sad, because I usually read about a game and look at photographs of the board, cards, and components and then I decide whether or not I want to buy it. I may not know who the designer is until after I have bought it. Therefore, it would be irrelevant to me if the designer was a woman or a man.

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Scott Hill
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That makes me wonder if there are female game designers using masculine 'pen names', like female writers used to, and sometime still, do.
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Michael Carter
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Leviatham wrote:
Bit of a sad story.

I was at the UK Games Expo this past weekend and had a beer with my friends Agnieszka and Andrei. They have a company called NSKN Games and produce boardgames. Pretty excellent ones at that.

We were discussing why barely anyone who doesn't make an effort to find out names knows women boardgames designers. Men? Not a problem. Name women? errr... not as easy!

Her answer left me cold: "I don't put my name in the cover of the boxes of my games" she said "because I feel a lot of people wouldn't take a game designed by a woman seriously and it would hurt the business."



Massive

So it's not just that the industry is men-dominated. It's also that there are women out there who are worried about putting their name forward for fear of damage to their companies.

If you need me, I'll be in a corner over there crying.


The idea that people won't buy a game designed by a woman is new to me. What makes her think that? Is there a controversy I haven't heard about yet?
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mlcarter815 wrote:
Leviatham wrote:
Bit of a sad story.

I was at the UK Games Expo this past weekend and had a beer with my friends Agnieszka and Andrei. They have a company called NSKN Games and produce boardgames. Pretty excellent ones at that.

We were discussing why barely anyone who doesn't make an effort to find out names knows women boardgames designers. Men? Not a problem. Name women? errr... not as easy!

Her answer left me cold: "I don't put my name in the cover of the boxes of my games" she said "because I feel a lot of people wouldn't take a game designed by a woman seriously and it would hurt the business."



Massive

So it's not just that the industry is men-dominated. It's also that there are women out there who are worried about putting their name forward for fear of damage to their companies.

If you need me, I'll be in a corner over there crying.


The idea that people won't buy a game designed by a woman is new to me. What makes her think that? Is there a controversy I haven't heard about yet?


This ^

That would never occur to me on to influence my decision to purchase or play a game. It's how the game plays and how I feel about it that matters - not who the designer is - or gender of the designer.

What shallow person would be influenced by a female designer.
I backed a game on kickstarter by Schilmil games - both designers are female Manifest. Looks awesome - & New Zealand to boot.
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Roman Kowalewski
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I don't see a gender of a designer being any factor in picking a game. Most gamers are male, it is a fact. Board gaming was even more dominated by males some time ago. To be a good designer you must be around for some time. You can see this in computer games as well. More and more females become players and then some of them will be designers.

I'm very happy for Agnieszka not only for being a great designer apparently, but also because she decided to put her name on a cover of Exodus: Proxima Centauri second edition as far as i know.
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josh willhite
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That's just silly. I would think that there would be situations where an unknown female designer might get attention over that of an unknown male.
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She offered no evidence to support that, she just FEELS that way. That says more about HER thinking than about anyone else's.
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Rick Noetzel
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I wonder why she thinks so little of gamers? As a male gamer, I'm insulted by what she thinks is a common attitude:

"This game looks great! It has everything I want in a game and...oh, hold on a minute...female designer. Never mind, I'll pass."

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Michael Off The Shelf Board Game Reviews
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Leviatham wrote:
Bit of a sad story.

I was at the UK Games Expo this past weekend and had a beer with my friends Agnieszka and Andrei. They have a company called NSKN Games and produce boardgames. Pretty excellent ones at that.

We were discussing why barely anyone who doesn't make an effort to find out names knows women boardgames designers. Men? Not a problem. Name women? errr... not as easy!

Her answer left me cold: "I don't put my name in the cover of the boxes of my games" she said "because I feel a lot of people wouldn't take a game designed by a woman seriously and it would hurt the business."



Massive

So it's not just that the industry is men-dominated. It's also that there are women out there who are worried about putting their name forward for fear of damage to their companies.

If you need me, I'll be in a corner over there crying.


Not to bore everyone but this has been a problem throughout history with things you could consider 'Geek-centric. Look at the Sci-Fi writing genre for a fairly good example from the 20th century.

Some very famous Sci-Fi writers were in fact women using male sounding pen names and this wasn't the only industry it happens(ed) in. Video games, comics and more.

It is a double edged sword really women were forced to masquerade as men so women wouldn't get recognition they deserved, so they were forceed to masquerade. . . and the cycle continues until more women step up and make a name for themselves.
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Paul DeStefano
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rickn99 wrote:
I wonder why she thinks so little of gamers? As a male gamer, I'm insulted by what she thinks is a common attitude:

"This game looks great! It has everything I want in a game and...oh, hold on a minute...female designer. Never mind, I'll pass."



BGG is fairly enlightened.

I GUARANTEE you you can find that attitude among game groups.

Whether or not it is correct, it is still a business and needs to take the course of action that will allow it to continue.
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Joe
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stlm wrote:
She offered no evidence to support that, she just FEELS that way. That says more about HER thinking than about anyone else's.


Now I think turning it around and blaming it on her is a bit of a stretch. You don't know her past experience. She used the word "feel" but that could be in regards to feelings that are in response to something she's observed.
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Eldritch Condiment
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Well, women are treated differently than men in pretty much every other context. Why not with board games too? The same pattern is found over and over again with things as diverse as books and job applications. The one with the female name attached gets judged more harshly than the one with the male name, even if they're identical (i.e. in experimental designs). Tons of research on this, just one dated example linked below (first one that came up in a quick web search) but you could google scholar more easily if you're really interested
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00290006

As a man, I certainly wouldn't presume to tell her sexism doesn't exist - and a bunch of men suggesting otherwise even in this limited context is not surprising. Besides, it's especially dangerous when we don't even know we're doing it. I certainly hope the world changes, but for now I also certainly understand her concern.

I'm guessing this will have to be moved to the politics section soon?
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Rick Noetzel
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Geosphere wrote:
rickn99 wrote:
I wonder why she thinks so little of gamers? As a male gamer, I'm insulted by what she thinks is a common attitude:

"This game looks great! It has everything I want in a game and...oh, hold on a minute...female designer. Never mind, I'll pass."



BGG is fairly enlightened.

I GUARANTEE you you can find that attitude among game groups.

Whether or not it is correct, it is still a business and needs to take the course of action that will allow it to continue.


Among some people sure; there are a lot of people in this hobby. But I've been gaming for 40 years, with a lot of non-BGG exposure. I don't believe that attitude is prevalent amongst gamers -- to the point where companies are damaged by producing her games -- which she apparently does believe.

I think more highly of the people I've met and gamed with over the past 4 decades than she does. I just think she's wrong and I'm offering the same level of proof she is -- my personal feelings.
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Also even if someone says explicitly it wouldn't make a difference, there is still subconscious/cultural bias at play. That's why some employers will X-out the name and gender of applicants, not because they feel a conscious bias, but to guard against subconscious bias.
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Bryan Thunkd
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rickn99 wrote:
I just think she's wrong and I'm offering the same level of proof she is -- my personal feelings.
You're trying to equate your opinion to hers, except she's speaking to the point of factors that influence games sales... and I have to believe as a game designer she has a better knowledge of that than you do.
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For a while I thought Andrea Chiarvesio was a female. And then I knew even fewer female designers.
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(ɹnʎʞ)
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Depending on the target audience, this is quite common practice. One big example would be literature: many authors hide their gender behind initials of their first name or even make use of a ghostwriter name. One famous example here would be J. K. Rowling with her Harry Potter book series.

I would not call it sad, but idiotic. People who shun ideas and products because the creator does not fit in their mindset (for whatever reason) should not be allowed to buy and enjoy their awesome creations in the first place.
Also, people complaining about this circumstance while also bending to it by themselves at the same time are supporting it, and thus in no way better, if you ask me. The real sad thing is: only few artists can afford this level of pride they deserve, as they also need to eat - at least sometimes.
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Ben Rubinstein

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JohnnyDollar wrote:
Also even if someone says explicitly it wouldn't make a difference, there is still subconscious/cultural bias at play. That's why some employers will X-out the name and gender of applicants, not because they feel a conscious bias, but to guard against subconscious bias.


This. Thank you. All these comments, which are pretty much exclaiing "What!? I am not a sexist! I have no sexism in me! How could anyone have any sexism!?" are pretty silly.
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Jeremy Burke
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While her impression of her target audience is disappointing, it's nothing new:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/16/showbiz/not-just-jk-rowling-mo...

Female authors have been identifying themselves as male for a hundred years (and probably longer).

Does anybody even look at a game designer's name? If it's not somebody famous (Klaus Teuber or Reiner Knizia), does it even register in the brain?
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Michael Off The Shelf Board Game Reviews
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epilepticemu wrote:
JohnnyDollar wrote:
Also even if someone says explicitly it wouldn't make a difference, there is still subconscious/cultural bias at play. That's why some employers will X-out the name and gender of applicants, not because they feel a conscious bias, but to guard against subconscious bias.


This. Thank you. All these comments, which are pretty much exclaiing "What!? I am not a sexist! I have no sexism in me! How could anyone have any sexism!?" are pretty silly.


Sadly I don't think there is a human alive today who doesn't suffer some
-ism of one kind or another.

How many people would walk down a dark alley with a "Biker-looking" person meandering in it?

Pre-conceived notions are almost ingrained into our psyche as human beings it doesn't make you a bad person unless you act upon these feelings/thoughts.
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Rick Noetzel
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Thunkd wrote:
rickn99 wrote:
I just think she's wrong and I'm offering the same level of proof she is -- my personal feelings.
You're trying to equate your opinion to hers, except she's speaking to the point of factors that influence games sales... and I have to believe as a game designer she has a better knowledge of that than you do.


She's saying she thinks a significant percentage of male gamers are sexist and base their purchases around their sexism. There is nothing magical about game design that gives her that opinion. I base my opinion on decades of talking to actual gamers and seeing what they buy. I'm comfortable with my view of my fellow gamers.
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The gender of a designer has ZERO effect on my buying decisions.

I'm more interested in theme, play experience, and solid reviews.
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Rick Noetzel
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epilepticemu wrote:
JohnnyDollar wrote:
Also even if someone says explicitly it wouldn't make a difference, there is still subconscious/cultural bias at play. That's why some employers will X-out the name and gender of applicants, not because they feel a conscious bias, but to guard against subconscious bias.


This. Thank you. All these comments, which are pretty much exclaiing "What!? I am not a sexist! I have no sexism in me! How could anyone have any sexism!?" are pretty silly.


Really? So now if I claim to buy games without caring about the designer's sex -- I'm lying and I'm really a sexist pig who just won't admit it??

Guess I'm done here...
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Kyur wrote:
Depending on the target audience, this is quite common practice. One big example would be literature: many authors hide their gender behind initials of their first name or even make use of a ghostwriter name. One famous example here would be J. K. Rowling with her Harry Potter book series.

I would not call it sad, but idiotic. People who shun ideas and products because the creator does not fit in their mindset (for whatever reason) should not be allowed to buy and enjoy their awesome creations in the first place.
Also, people complaining about this circumstance while also bending to it by themselves at the same time are supporting it, and thus in no way better, if you ask me. The real sad thing is: only few artists can afford this level of pride they deserve, as they also need to eat - at least sometimes.


Came here to post this, essentially. While there isn't necessarily a direct, proven correlation in tabletop gaming, there are other industries where it is done that do have stats to back it up. Writing being the primary one.
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