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Subject: Wargames and Women {also girls} rss

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Darwin Beyer
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We all know generally wargames are men's domain; aside from the occassional gem. My question is what "war type games" would interest women the most. I use "war type games" very liberally here. The only one I could think of is the 1977 Pathfinder, because it is basically a capture the flag game.

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Robin
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Interesting question but I don't think there is an answer to this question. It would be like saying, "what wargames to men generally like?" There is no answer for this question either because men aren't necessarly viewed as a category like women sometimes are.

If you want to generalize, the closest answer I can come up with is maybe a wargame that actually involves women. As for myself, I like a variety of wargames such as Wizard Kings, Squad Leader, Twilight Struggle, War of the Ring, Paths of Glory, Crusader Rex, BattleLore, M'44, Battle Cry, C&C Anicents, A House Divided, and Napoleon.
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Michelle Zentis
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??? I'm not sure why gender would have that much of an impact on game taste. I suspect I look for the same thing that men do when starting to get into wargames -- I like a well-balanced, interesting game that tends to reward good decisions.

I didn't grow up playing wargames, so I haven't hit the ASL-level of complexity, but I have enjoyed all of the highly-ranked wargames I've tried so far. My favorite is Paths of Glory, but that may eventually be replaced by WWII: Barbarossa to Berlin as I become more familiar with that game. The Columbia block games (like Hammer of the Scots and Crusader Rex) are nice for a lighter wargame that my boyfriend will sometimes play.
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dgc327 wrote:
My question is what "war type games" would interest women the most.


None!
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Hilary Hartman
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GeoMan wrote:
None!


Nothing like diving into the discussion with blinders on, huh? So far, two women have replied with their answers which makes your one word reply wrong. It would also imply a gender bias, which both women also refute by showing their like for wargames.

Please, let us not have this conversation degenerate into another "women play only abstracts and Lost Cities" conversation.

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Mike Pranno
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Ok. How about... generally, none. laugh

EDIT: My wife does indulge me every once in a while with some of the simpler wargames, stuff like Twilight Struggle, We the People, etc. When my copy of Combat Commander arrives soon, I am going to apply the pressure.
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Neil Carr
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We talked about this a couple of weeks ago in our game group. The unanimous consensus of the three women there were that modern warfare (guns) is something they don't want to touch. But pre-modern with swords and arrows is fine. Evidently it's fine to disembowel someone up close and in person, but if you have to do it in a much more remote and distant fashion then it's unpalatable.

Battlelore, the RPGish games like Runebound and the like are all fine. Fantasy seems to give the twist to make a lot of combat and action something that is acceptable.

My wife things Battlelore is great, but Memoir 44 or Battlecry she doesn't want to come close to.
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Robin
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echoota wrote:
We talked about this a couple of weeks ago in our game group. The unanimous consensus of the three women there were that modern warfare (guns) is something they don't want to touch. But pre-modern with swords and arrows is fine. Evidently it's fine to disembowel someone up close and in person, but if you have to do it in a much more remote and distant fashion then it's unpalatable.

Battlelore, the RPGish games like Runebound and the like are all fine. Fantasy seems to give the twist to make a lot of combat and action something that is acceptable.

My wife things Battlelore is great, but Memoir 44 or Battlecry she doesn't want to come close to.


This is an interesting and pretty accurate observation. I, too, have found that many women detest the idea of wargaming because they feel that it is a bit morbid to recreate killing. Even though I see it differently, I can respect and understand their feelings. I see why fantasy would be more suitable.
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puck4604 wrote:
GeoMan wrote:
None!


Nothing like diving into the discussion with blinders on, huh? So far, two women have replied with their answers which makes your one word reply wrong. It would also imply a gender bias, which both women also refute by showing their like for wargames.

Please, let us not have this conversation degenerate into another "women play only abstracts and Lost Cities" conversation.



My reply was not meant to indicate that women are not able to play these games. But i have yet to see a woman which likes a real wargame (not just confict based games).

Maybe there's a 0.001% out there that likes wargames (lucky husbands you two!)
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Daniel Karp
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echoota wrote:
The unanimous consensus of the three women there were that modern warfare (guns) is something they don't want to touch. But pre-modern with swords and arrows is fine. Evidently it's fine to disembowel someone up close and in person, but if you have to do it in a much more remote and distant fashion then it's unpalatable.

Perhaps it is the recentness of the events rather than the types of weapons that makes modern warfare less appealing.
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Bill
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Although I'm sure from the responses that there are many women who enjoy wargames, these games seem to appeal to a lower percentage of female gamers. This is certainly my experience as I know many women who will gladly play a wide variety of Euro games etc. but don't really enjoy wargames. My gaming group includes several women who attend regularly. Nevertheless, I cannot recall one of our female members ever attending our annual "wargame day." It's always risky to extrapolate general trends from one's limited perspective but I don't think my experience is unusual. I suppose there might be many reasons for this but I suspect much of the it lies in the fact that those of us who play wargames were probably the same people who grew up playing with toy soldiers, model airplanes, fake guns etc. as children when playtime activities tend to be gender stereotyped (although that's becoming less so today).

As for recommendations of wargames that might appeal to women -- I would give the same suggestions that I would give to someone who asked me about wargames that might appeal to people who are primarily Eurogamers -- Friedrich, Wallenstein, Command and Colors, Hammer of the Scots, Twilight Struggle, We the People etc. These are probably my favorite wargames as well.

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Lori
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dakarp wrote:
Perhaps it is the recentness of the events rather than the types of weapons that makes modern warfare less appealing.


I think you could be onto something here. I say this as a generalization, obviously--of course we are not a monolithic group with only one taste or opinion. BTW, I'm a non-wargaming woman (haven't really tried them, might do so if the occasion arose, but they have no great appeal for me).

I would relate this to some of the threads and discussions I've seen about what sort of game themes are offensive or in poor taste. People draw the line there in different places, but I think that a big factor driving those judgments is the extent to which people feel connected to the historical events in question, vs. feeling that they are remote from us.

Even those of us who don't care for wargames can surely recognize that, for instance, it's not that 50% of the gamers who play Memoir '44 are Nazi sympathizers--the interest in recreating modern warfare is rather in the strategy, tactics, etc. But I've been to the beaches of Normandy, and when I think about those fields of crosses, I don't feel so much like playing a game about it.

So I think that's why a game about the Holocaust or 9-11 causes an outcry, whereas if it's someone like Julius Caesar or Attila the Hun who's on the rampage, it's more likely to be just seen as a game. Likewise, there's been criticism of Puerto Rico for allegedly incorporating slavery, but I've never seen a word said against Mare Nostrum, which does so quite explicitly. Could be just that the #1 game is more of a target, but I think it's also that slavery in the Americas happened more recently and is a heritage that American society still lives with, whereas slavery in the ancient Mediterranean seems more distant.
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Neil Carr
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dakarp wrote:

Perhaps it is the recentness of the events rather than the types of weapons that makes modern warfare less appealing.


That would make sense. We didn't go into great depth in our conversation but fantasy seemed to be a key theme in making things acceptable for my wife and the other women in the group.

My wife actually prefers "battle" games and finds the euro economic/building games kind of boring. But she was in the military and most likely got an intimation of the horror and banality of real conflict. Then add on real life events and modern themes of conflict are just too real. What she is drawn to are "hero's journey" archetype forms of conflict. She likes it when she can be a winged valkerie decending on her foes to smite them, not "target aquired, go with delivery of munitions package".

Going from the glint in the eye of the other two women present while we were talking about this, I'd say they probably would all agree that it's a metaphor of conflict that delivers the catharsis, rather than a simulation of it. Not to say that every simulation isn't arguably a metaphor, but it's more of an issue of emphasis.
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Will DeMorris
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Interesting discussion.

My personal experience mirrors a lot of the other posters in this thread. The women gamers I've met (For the most part) did not care for pure wargames. That's not to say they didnt play games that simulated violence or direct conflict (MtG, Descent, Talisman) but war wasn't high on the list of themes they liked to play.

My wife will occationally join us for some wargames. Nexus Ops, Shogun (the MB version), and Wizard Kings have hit the table recently. I know she is interested in the crusades and english history, so Crusader Rex and Hammer of the Scots are on the list of potentials. I figure the key with getting women gamers to try wargames is the same as it would be for getting any new player to try any new game. Find one that has a subject they are interested in that goes beyond just war.

-Will
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James Davis
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Im very interested in this thread because i would like to get some wargames but because my number one gaming partner is also my partner for life it put s me off a bit to dive in and get one.

She was very curious when i brought up a game called twlight struggle. im not sure if you class it as a wargame but it is a war themed game. But that is one of my top wanted games. Especially because i could get my girl to play it.

I really cant ever see me getting her to play an in depth war game because she hates long rules which i have found with alot of women i have ever gamed with.

I think there is a gender bias, this is because women have more of a empathetic way of thinking then men do. Generally women dont like violent movies, music, games etc.

It is like generally men dont like the happy and fuzzy things of life. There will always be exceptions to the rule, but generally this is the way it is.

I also think the time a game is set in also affects the thinking of women because of the apathety, because game is set recently it is more recent in the mind so there is more apethy. While things that happened before there are pictures, movies, tv etc and there is no one left around that was there or new someone that had anything to do with the events it is much harder to have empathy.
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It is true that I have found a certain resistance to wargaming in some women, but often those women have a resistance to any kind of gaming (computer, RPGs, etc.)

We have lots of female gamers in our crowd. None of them had wargamed before they met me (I'm a guy) and maybe I'm just good at selling it. Here's a summary:

Janice: My wife--loves Civilization, likes Pax Britannica, Barbarian,Kingdom,and Empire, Grand Imperialism... basically all the games I like. Not so much a counter pusher type, but then few of us are.

Martha: Bloodthirsty. Likes Imp and BKE and sorta liked Pax.

Liz: Called me up to ensure she got into the New Year's Imp game. Didn't care about the after-game party. Just wanted to blow stuff up.

Kim: Has played a wide variety of games and is pretty good at them. Not sure what her favorite would be though.

Cassie: Just played her first game of Kingmaker yesterday. Still in the fresh meat stage but definitely interested.

That's just off the top of my head. It is still easier to find men for the hobby than women, but that seems to be the case for all of my interests (anime, science fiction, etc.) But I keep recruiting.

Bottom line: I know many woman wargamers. Not Euro-gamers. Not card-gamers. Not reluctantly pushed into it by their spouses gamers. Wargamers.
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Sifu
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echoota wrote:
Evidently it's fine to disembowel someone up close and in person, but if you have to do it in a much more remote and distant fashion then it's unpalatable.


Wow. This is *exactly* how I feel about wargames.
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James Davis
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SettlerOfCatan wrote:
jgerman wrote:

Because there are differences in the way the brains from men and women process language, information, emotion, and cognition. It wouldn't be unreasonable to discover gender pre-disposes one gender to liking or disliking a type of game.


How very true! The sole fact that women would choose to play a game based on the theoretical method that fictional characters in a game would kill eachother is a huge gap in itself. When I choose a game to play, the last thing on my mind is how exactly the fictional characters kill eachother. It's not like I actually witness someone being shot when I play ASL. No one actually gets killed! If you look back on the history of men and women in it's totality, Men are far more predisposed to interest in combat and war, it grooves with our brain chemistry and our bodies and minds have evolved to be highly effecient in those regards. The strange thing is, if you look at the totality of men's history, we're also far more predisposed to interest in competition of any form. Which leads me to the question....why do women compete? It seems like it goes against their evolution if you take into account all the trends going back to hunter-gatherer times. On the flip side, women are heavily predisposed to cooperation, and any womens lib who disagrees with any of this might be pleased to know that without woman's capacity to cooperate we'd be equally lost! On that same note, I think the cooperate game genre is still highly untapped.


I agree whole heartily about this. I might be totally shot down by women (and some men) but men are fighters and women are comforters. Looking way back in time, men because of the stronger physical make up of our bodies had to do the fighting whether it being against animal or other human enemies, so it is our brain make up to fight, while we have developed into having to fight less we begin to compete in other ares like games, sports etc. While women have always been the caring mothers, which i think takes alot more strength, but its a mental strength so they have a different brain make up to men. So while most of the make up we have today is much the same as history, we dont use it the same way.


flowerkin wrote:
Wargames in general require people to think the same as movies that have people who shoot 17 times from a gun with 6 rounds. It's called suspension of disbelief. People have to halt their thinking of reality and put themselves into the game, which is exactly what it is, non-reality. Women tend to personalize more than men, and I think that removing themselves from the game and being the character is harder. I had a hard time with that for a long time. Last month I bought the Avalanche Press black box special and got 8 good games. I want to get into wargaming, but i'm having a hard time doing so as my husband doesn't have any interest in that genre of games. I'll eventually find someone to teach me and play.

Bottom line, there are men and women who don't enjoy games. And there are men and women who don't enjoy wargames. It is likely that the gamer group here has more wives who don't play games than do. Statistics generally are skewed when you look at a group without the proper controls. Wargames are just another genre that may appeal to different people, men and women alike.



While i do agree with this, i have to say there are alot of things that are biased towards men and women.

It is true men enjoy participating more Competetive things, such as sports and games, because of our make up. Women enjoy more social things like arts and crafts, gossiping and shopping. Now i know women are going to kill me for saying this, but its true. I think it comes down to that most women dont have the energy to compete because they are usually too busy looking after the kids.

I could be completely wrong with my observations. But from nearly all the men and women i have met they nearly all fall into these categories. There will always be exceptions to the rule, but in the general scheme of things this is how it works.

And just remember women have more power then men. Its probaly a good thing you havent fully realised that yet.

But i hope more women get into gaming because they bring a different kind of thinking into play which makes games much more interesting!
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Phil
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This is a topic that is really of interest to hobby gaming in general. In some areas the numbers are less skewed, such as in eurogaming, and, perhaps, some of the LARPs. In others, such as wargames, the numbers seem to be very heavily skewed toward men. I think most people could agree on this, but the causes are probably fairly complex.

I've had lots of luck getting women into role-playing games. One of the general ideas in role-playing games, which might just be a myth, is that women are drawn to the story and role-playing elements, while not liking all the detailed rules or combat. I never found that to be true. Not that the women weren't into storytelling, but they certainly got deeply involved in the rules and loved the combat aspects at least as much as the men.

Luckily for me, my wife is a pretty hardcore gamer. The only type of games she seems to really not like are the hex-and-counter historical wargames. It certainly has nothing to do with how complex or detailed the rules are. She liked playing War of the Ring, which is about as complex a wargame as I'm interested in playing. She also liked BattleLore fairly well.

I'm fairly certain that for her the big divide comes in the theme. I don't know that she's morally opposed to the theme, but I don't think the theme is a big draw for her. I like watching the History channel, reading history books, etc, and I don't think that excites her at all. She loves reading fantasy books... so fantasy themes probably appeal to her more. As a practical matter, for us, there is the time element to many of these games. With kids, it's tough to have much gaming time at all, much less time to play Paths of Glory or something like that. There is also the fact that I do play historical wargames with a friend, so it's a little intimidating for her to get started knowing that I'm already very experienced.

So, those are the reasons my wife isn't interested in historical wargames. Can you extrapolate this to women in general? No, I think not. I know many of my male friends who would cite the exact same reasons for why they don't like historical wargames.

In long and rambling conclusion, there is certainly a deep gap there, but I think any attempt to say "wargame x, y, or z" will appeal to women is fraught with peril.

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------->plays ASL and asks to play (though hard to fit in with schedule). We have a group that meets monthly. I have gotten to go periodically.
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Michelle Zentis
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Osama Bin Davis wrote:
It is true men enjoy participating more Competetive things, such as sports and games, because of our make up. Women enjoy more social things like arts and crafts, gossiping and shopping. Now i know women are going to kill me for saying this, but its true. I think it comes down to that most women dont have the energy to compete because they are usually too busy looking after the kids.


surprise Wow. Somebody had better alert my boyfriend to the fact that I appear not to be a woman.

Now I am going very much elsewhere for the rest of this thread!
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James Davis
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caesarmom wrote:
Osama Bin Davis wrote:
It is true men enjoy participating more Competetive things, such as sports and games, because of our make up. Women enjoy more social things like arts and crafts, gossiping and shopping. Now i know women are going to kill me for saying this, but its true. I think it comes down to that most women dont have the energy to compete because they are usually too busy looking after the kids.


surprise Wow. Somebody had better alert my boyfriend to the fact that I appear not to be a woman.

Now I am going very much elsewhere for the rest of this thread!


as i said there are exceptions to the rules. there are always going to be a few exceptions.
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Michael Lawson
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dgc327 wrote:
We all know generally wargames are men's domain; aside from the occassional gem. My question is what "war type games" would interest women the most. I use "war type games" very liberally here. The only one I could think of is the 1977 Pathfinder, because it is basically a capture the flag game.

Darwin


It depends on the woman, just like it depends on the man. My wife, for instance, plays We The People and Battle Cry with me, and she's played war themed games like Talisman many times. I've known other women who are more hard core wargamers than I, just like I've known men who wouldn't touch Squad Leader if you offered them $200 to try it.

If you're looking for a generic response or a generic "women's gateway game", you aren't going to find one. Just like there isn't a generic "euro gateway game" out there. Oh, there are plenty of games that could work, but there's no guarantee that you'd find the right type of game for the person. For example, my mother-in-law did not want to try Transamerica at all, but she really liked "Hey, That's My Fish!" My wife really likes WTP, but wasn't that thrilled about Bulge '91.

I liken this sort of questioning to whether women/girls would be interested in participating in many other "traditionally male activities", such as football or hard science. If you asked, you might be surprised by the response. My sister-in-law played two years in the WPFL, and my wife got her degree in Geology. In fact, when I graduated with my degree (Physics), I was the lone male (of 3 grads) that year to get a BS in Physics.
 
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James Davis
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SettlerOfCatan wrote:


I see SO many of these posts and geeklists. What can I play with my wife? Dude....if your concerned about making a pleasant experience for her, take her dancing, go to a play or an impromptu picnic, or if you're really psycho - attempt to cook food together, that's what she wants to do, and if she won't play Paths of Glory or ASL with you, then call me up brotha!


thats true even though my girlfriend plays games with me, what really makes her happy is the little things. They may be little to us men, but to women its what makes them the most happy. Youd be suprised how happy a women is when you cook for her or have the house clean when she gets home.

but i do stand by my comments. i just may have not conveyed them the way i had hoped, the downside of having poor writing abilities.
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Gee! I hope this thread doesn't turn now into some sissified Woman Whisperer thing. devil
 
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