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Subject: do girls play historical games? rss

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Samuel Friedman
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My question is related to whether kids like games with historical or other education themes. I designed a game called Heroes of History, which takes in history/mythology from the US and around the world and plays a good casual card game. While I've had some success with boys liking the game, I don't get the impression too many girls are into board games or historical games. I went to Origins, DexCon, GexCon, and several local indie cons and I rarely see girls playing board games past the "mass market" ones like Parker Brothers would make. Anyone know if girls like historical, or any type of education, gaming?
 
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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My daughter asks to play By Jove, which is a roll and move game with an ancient Greek theme.
 
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Ponies. Girls like ponies. And brushing their hair.
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Nicolette Tanksley
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IMHO, girls like the same kinds of games that boys do. Really the question is what they are exposed to. If all they watch or are encouraged to play with is ponies, then that is what they will like...at least for a while. My daughter at age 5.5 enjoys lots of different themes...she will play Ghostbusters with me just as happily as playing Unicorn Glitterluck. The one thing she doesn't like is when her character gets killed or maimed. We have had issues with games like Get Bit! where this happens. I'm not sure about war/confrontation games for that reason, but I see no problem with historical games in general. Furthermore...some girls can play games as ruthlessly or strategic as boys. I think many parents are trying to distance their girls from the whole girly bit anyway and would probably appreciate an alternative...
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Nicolette Tanksley
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One other issue for your card game. Are there a good variety of female characters/historical figures? If not, this may be why they aren't drawn to it...
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Nathanael Robinson
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Dimmendarkgirl wrote:
One other issue for your card game. Are there a good variety of female characters/historical figures? If not, this may be why they aren't drawn to it...

I completely agree with you on this point: historically-based games don't tend to represent women well. I play historically-based games, and there are very few women represented in artwork, let alone playable characters. Add to that gaming generally gives preference to adult men, it's not difficult to imagine that girls feel not only left out, but might feel that they are intruding at the LGSs and gaming conventions.
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Chris Mcpherson
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Obviously, people will gravitate to themes they like and I don't think it has anything to do with someones sex.

I really don't care for a historical theme but if the game played well and had some solid mechanisms in place I would have no problem playing the game. I have never bought a game based off of its theme, only the gameplay.

My daughter is twelve and will play any and every game I own. I'm sure some of my games fall into a historical theme but that doesn't stop her from playing them.

I think you might be running into things like societal norms, or stereotypes about board games in general, along with what the last person wrote(what children are exposed to).
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Mark Jackson
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Why bring gender into this question? Girls have just as wide a spectrum of things they're into as any other people.
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Francisco Gutierrez
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Do some girls like history? Jeez, I sure hope so, otherwise some of the "women" I've met in History classes have some explaining to do...
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Veethika
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Well I'm a girl and I made a historical game. Which implies I also play them.
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Mystery McMysteryface
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Well, the only female that I know is famous for not liking history is Jane Austen. But then again, she isn't a girl.

“I read it [history] a little as a duty, but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all — it is very tiresome: and yet I often think it odd that it should be so dull, for a great deal of it must be invention.”
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

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Virginia M.P.
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casualcasual wrote:
Ponies. Girls like ponies. And brushing their hair.

Really? And you were tipped for this?
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Mr Osterman
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Part of the problem with the OP's assertion also seems to be based on sampling bias.

Are women/ girls statistically in attendance at cons like GenCon in the same numbers as men? I'm suspecting no, but given the diversity of my friends who go to conventions I'm not entirely sure that's accurate.
 
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RenaissanceMom wrote:
casualcasual wrote:
Ponies. Girls like ponies. And brushing their hair.

Really? And you were tipped for this?


I hope I was tipped for the sarcasm directed at the OP.

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C&H Schmidt
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bradansworld wrote:
Anyone know if girls like historical, or any type of education, gaming?

You got lots of good answers already, but I just wanted to point out some things that are wrong with the question in itself, as it is asked:
- "Girls" are not a uniform mass. They have different interests, and I assure you that whatever the topic is, there will be girls who are interested in that topic. There will also be boys who are interested in that topic.
Asking "Do girls like X?" is like asking "Do blond people like X?" or "Do people who live in New York City like X?".
- Just because a certain activity or interest may not conform to common gender stereotypes it doesn't mean that "girls do not like this". Do not try to stereotype or pre-select your audience through stero-typing, that will just put people off. Why not instead try to be as inclusive as possible and make your game attractive to anybody who likes history (since that is what the game is about), not some pre-selected demographic.
(On a similar note, you also don't need to make things pink or glittery or about fashion so that "more girls will be interested". That is extremely limiting.)
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Mr Osterman
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Gswp wrote:

(On a similar note, you also don't need to make things pink or glittery or about fashion so that "more girls will be interested". That is extremely limiting.)


Sadly, however, for many girls still, if it's not pink and glittery, it won't get noticed. We never set out to "gender" our 4 year old but she already insists on everything in pink....

Now, as a note, this is our experience with one 4 year old and not a statement that girl's ~inherently~ like pink. It is only the observation that the "pink aisle at the toy store" is still a thing and still impacts our daughters.
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MrOsterman wrote:
Gswp wrote:

(On a similar note, you also don't need to make things pink or glittery or about fashion so that "more girls will be interested". That is extremely limiting.)


Sadly, however, for many girls still, if it's not pink and glittery, it won't get noticed. We never set out to "gender" our 4 year old but she already insists on everything in pink....

Now, as a note, this is our experience with one 4 year old and not a statement that girl's ~inherently~ like pink. It is only the observation that the "pink aisle at the toy store" is still a thing and still impacts our daughters.


No matter what you do they're going to get "girly" presents from relatives and friends, have the ice cream person assume they want strawberry, have the doctor give them a pink sweet for being good for the needle, and then there's the unavoidable advertising and the subtext in shows and movies.

But, despite all of that, it makes it all the sweeter when you see a genuine interest in something shine through. You never know, it might even be an interest in a historically themed game!
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C&H Schmidt
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MrOsterman wrote:
Gswp wrote:

(On a similar note, you also don't need to make things pink or glittery or about fashion so that "more girls will be interested". That is extremely limiting.)


Sadly, however, for many girls still, if it's not pink and glittery, it won't get noticed. We never set out to "gender" our 4 year old but she already insists on everything in pink....

Now, as a note, this is our experience with one 4 year old and not a statement that girl's ~inherently~ like pink. It is only the observation that the "pink aisle at the toy store" is still a thing and still impacts our daughters.
Oh, yes, it absolutely does! And this is why I say it's so limiting and harmful. And while you may not consciously have done anything to teach the "girls must be pink" thing to your daughter, other people around you (relatives, kindergarten...) will have -- not with any bad intentions; gender stereotypes are just really deeply entrenched in our society.
Mind you, there's also nothing wrong with liking pink; what's wrong is that colours are so heavily gendered, and also that the pink usually goes together with the message that the most important thing about a girl is her looks, and that she should aspire to grow up to be pretty, smiling and nice. Whereas boys get to grow up to be smart engineers...

(A couple in my partner's family recently had non-identical twins and while they would certainly say that they are for gender equality and against limiting sterotypes, they, with the help of all the well-meaning people who give their kids presents, do it, too, to a certain extent:
The little girl has pink shirts with the words "smile", "beauty", "princess"; the little boy has blue jumpers with tractors and dinosaurs on them.
Again, nothing wrong with either tractors or princesses, but the fact that they are restricted to one gender only is deeply wrong.)
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Mr Osterman
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Gswp wrote:

Again, nothing wrong with either tractors or princesses, but the fact that they are restricted to one gender only is deeply wrong.)


You should have been here when the wife and I did the "can we pass this down to the next one" with my son's clothes he out grew. We'd hold up a T shirt with a rampaging Velociraptor and then debate if the little girl "could wear it."

Of course, that was before she could voice her own opinions. These days I stay the F*** outa those conversations with her. As long as her bits are covered she can wear whatever she bloody well pleases.

Which leads to me having to explain "4-year old geek chic" to others from time to time.....

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Neil McIntyre
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RenaissanceMom wrote:
casualcasual wrote:
Ponies. Girls like ponies. And brushing their hair.

Really? And you were tipped for this?


Add sniping to the list. They like sniping.
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Mr Osterman
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liencam wrote:
RenaissanceMom wrote:
casualcasual wrote:
Ponies. Girls like ponies. And brushing their hair.

Really? And you were tipped for this?


Add sniping to the list. They like sniping.

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K Fletcher
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The problem may be in the word "heroes" rather than "history".

The first (not necessarily correct) impression is that you are referring to war heroes.

You may need to rethink the name and will need to be careful with the packaging to ensure that it has cross-gender appeal.
 
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Mr Osterman
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GertrudeBell wrote:
The problem may be in the word "heroes" rather than "history".

The first (not necessarily correct) impression is that you are referring to war heroes.

You may need to rethink the name and will need to be careful with the packaging to ensure that it has cross-gender appeal.


Though you can totally do war heroes and still reference women fairly well especially if you leverage the packaging to show it:

Lydia Litvyak (whom I named a Star Trek Online ship after) - Russian WWII pilot and ace.

Sybil Ludington - Messenger for the American Revolution and who completed a ride much like Paul Revere's but with less historical fanfare.

Joan of Arc - uh... because Joan of Arc.

Lyudmila Pavlichenko - Russian Sniper and one of the most decorated snipers (male or female.

Margaret Corbin - Cannoneer during the American Revolution

Or perhaps this list would be easier


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Nathanael Robinson
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MrOsterman wrote:
You should have been here when the wife and I did the "can we pass this down to the next one" with my son's clothes he out grew. We'd hold up a T shirt with a rampaging Velociraptor and then debate if the little girl "could wear it."

Of course, that was before she could voice her own opinions. These days I stay the F*** outa those conversations with her. As long as her bits are covered she can wear whatever she bloody well pleases.

Which leads to me having to explain "4-year old geek chic" to others from time to time.....


When my wife was still early in her pregnancy, I talked with a friend of mine--a scholar who works on the history of women--about the ethics of raising boys and girls. I was worried that raising a boy to be ethical would be much more difficult than if I were to raise a girl, but our conversation hit on a number of topics concerning gender and parenting. When the conversation hit upon toys and gender coding, she said that I should give the child (whose gender was not yet known) options, but also not be surprised if she wants a doll or he wants a truck. Ultimately, our son like trucks, then planes, then war. He hates the "pink aisles" at Target (which makes shopping for my niece impossible). Conversely, he is kind, generous, empathetic, and sharing, never aggressive--nothing like his male classmates, whose behavior can often be a subject for concern.

It is quite possible that the OP is framing the question in a way that is presumes a specific dichotomy when many factors, social and cultural, as well as familiar, are at play. If we changed the question to "do girls play Star Wars games?," I think it would be harder to ascribe any absence of girls on not liking Star Wars: I know plenty of girls who are fanatical about the franchise, just like my son. OTOH, I have seldom seen any women, let alone girls, playing any Star Wars games at any of my LGSs (sample size: four). Obviously, it can't be ascribed to the franchise. Conversely, the sample size will be small, as gamers are not themselves a large population.

Can the absences be ascribed to the games themselves? What I mostly see is X-Wing, Armada, Rebellion, and Imperial Assault being played, and Imperial Assault is always the skirmish game. When I do see women, it is to play the RPG (though it infrequently comes out). Can the absences be ascribed to how the products are marketed? FFG tries hard to appeal to the acquisitiveness of some gamers, needing to collect multiple copies of the same thing, cultivating identification of specific factions, and encouraging the notion that one's collection is for them alone to play. Do the games provide deep experiences? The Star Wars games I see played publicly are mostly focused on fighting, thus lack narrative or character play. They often are tournaments in which specific aspects of play are emphasized over others. Are the people who play these games publicly welcoming? Many are single men with excessive disposable income and are, moreover, indifferent to the challenges of marriage and family life. Do gamers take their daughters to these events? I don't see many children at Star Wars events. With so few families being represented, the possible number of children who could go is already low. Add to it that many such events occur on the weekend, and that for a gamer to play with the children involves buying two factions, including a child starts to become difficult. I know only one other father who brings his son.

Perhaps there are millions of other questions that could be asked. Some will be only locally applicable, some will point to cultural biases, some related to parents themselves, etc. Hopefully the OP has looker deeper into his game, what it is providing, and use the answers to design his next game to be more broadly appealing.
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MrOsterman wrote:
Gswp wrote:

Again, nothing wrong with either tractors or princesses, but the fact that they are restricted to one gender only is deeply wrong.)


You should have been here when the wife and I did the "can we pass this down to the next one" with my son's clothes he out grew. We'd hold up a T shirt with a rampaging Velociraptor and then debate if the little girl "could wear it."

Of course, that was before she could voice her own opinions. These days I stay the F*** outa those conversations with her. As long as her bits are covered she can wear whatever she bloody well pleases.

Which leads to me having to explain "4-year old geek chic" to others from time to time.....



Reminds me of my daughter. She loves her older brothers coats (really the only thing we saved from his childhood, he destroyed most everything else). He had this bomber style jacket with a sheepskin collar and airplane patches on it when he was around age 4. Needed a coat one day threw her in it and I have to say she looked so stikin cute in it. I think she wore all his jackets from then on ,no matter if they had a truck on them or not!
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