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Subject: Abject misogyny on BGG rss

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Dave
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This was posted a few days ago here on bgg, in a long running thread where the designer answers questions about his current and upcoming games. He described "the Venge" as a "twisted ex-girlfriend type" civ, one of 20 or so available to players in a game to be kickstarted later this year. So of course someone asked:

Quote:
I'm curious on how a twisted ex-girlfriend type race works.


And here's the unedited answer:

Quote:
this civ is compulsive. She wants to be loved, but she strikes out at you, almost like she's testing that love. She makes herself vulnerable, but when she decides you’ve taken advantage she seethes in lust for payback.

Here are some of the basics: at the game start, each other player gets a Venge “Friend” token. If you attack the Venge, her units don’t get to shoot back, but you have to return the “Friend”. So everyone gets to Pearl that Harbor at least once. That’s her weakness (every civ has one – the human flaw is “nationalism”, which prevents her from researching any technologies that another civ has already researched).

Please note that if the Venge attacks YOU while you’re still her “Friend”, she suffers no ill effects and gets her full attack. In fact, if she has her unique “Talon of Friendship” tech, she adds 1d6 to her attack vs. a Friend, which is really good.

The Venge have a couple of advantages as well, though. One is that they can vengefully (see what I did there) destroy your damaged ship in drydock, and their Hateship special ability is that if it is destroyed or sent to refit, it gets one final extra vengeful attack against the enemy. My son is trying to get me to rename their vessel the Friendship instead.

Overall the Venge have proven to be pretty popular, enough so that I'm putting it in the core game.


I stared at the screen for a good 10 minutes - especially the first paragraph - really unsure if I was reading what I was reading. This is straight up gamergate screed, "men's rights" ugly and infantile paranoia about women. "Seethes in lust for payback" - what the fuck does that even mean? I'll let you deconstruct the rest of that shit; it's like shooting fish in a barrel (except the fish is a whale and the barrel is a goblet).

I'm not sure what to do. Addressing it in the thread will get flagged. DM'ing the designer? Don't even know where I would start. As a cis male I don't feel comfortable posting in the women & gaming forum. RSP is a cesspool I'd like to avoid. Suggestions, commiseration, thoughts - all welcome. Right now, I'm just mad and I'm gonna try to disconnect and calm down. This hobby has a long way to go.
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Dylan Thurston
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Just to be clear: "civ" = "civilisation", so this whole bit of personifying the race as a woman is completely gratuitous?
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Kevin Salch
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Well, yes that sounds bad. Was any of the other 20 races described in similar terms? As different personalities?

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BGG has no moderators to the left of, idk, let's say Jonathan Chait. Versus on the right, there's at least one full-on /pol/ "the arabs are outbreeding us!" shithead with an admin flag. And since he's tolerated, there's probably more.

That is to say, fretting over what's posted on BGG qua what's posted on BGG is not going to do you any good, because it's not going to change without a lot more direct action than you can leverage over a message board. At best you should be trying to make the moderator's lives hell until they're forced to take action, but because they're at best "apolitical" idiots that action is just as likely to be banning you as banning the asshole. Acceleration's not a great option, but sometimes maybe it's the only one you've got.

On the other hand, you could probably collect a bunch of such comments and take a run at ruining that guy's KS (ideally through KS - media pressure might backfire even with sympathetic publications).
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Olli Juhala
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You can name names, you know. I'm 99% percent sure I know the designer and the game based on the quote. I think I'd first DM them on the matter (maybe not put misogyny in the tutle in that, yhough). Conceivably, it could work.
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David Nichols
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This designer sounds both spiteful and psychologically fragile. He reminds me of James Raggi, designer of Lamentations of the Flame Princess, who developed that role-playing game in response to a bad breakup (with the eponymous FP), and whose adventures spend way too much time inflicting pain on the PCs. Doesn't sound like much fun. Nor does this game.
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Amy (Other Amy)
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I agree with piman. There's no need for you to waste your spoons trying to enlighten him, because from what I've seen of similar incidents in the past it will come to nothing for the designer, but you may well get suspended yourself.

(Edited to add: in a way I prefer it when jerks feel free to announce that they're jerks on the forums. Helps me to avoid games with hateful agendas, you know?)
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Julian Wasson
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Just... ew. 100% skeeved out, especially at the phrase "everyone gets to Pearl that Harbor at least once."

Also, notice as soon as he starts talking about their advantages, he switches pronouns?
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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
Also, notice as soon as he starts talking about their advantages, he switches pronouns?

Intriguing; I confess I didn't notice until you mentioned it. But indeed!
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Julian Wasson
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Almighty Dave wrote:
This designer sounds both spiteful and psychologically fragile. He reminds me of James Raggi, designer of Lamentations of the Flame Princess, who developed that role-playing game in response to a bad breakup (with the eponymous FP), and whose adventures spend way too much time inflicting pain on the PCs. Doesn't sound like much fun. Nor does this game.


I was thinking the same thing. This is the sort of thing you think up when you treat someone really shitty and then lack even the barest scrap of self awareness to understand how you hurt them.
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Dave
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costguy wrote:
Well, yes that sounds bad. Was any of the other 20 races described in similar terms? As different personalities?


This is the only one I've seen described in detail. The other civs are mostly based on standard sci-fi tropes, but also this gem:

Quote:
Vorck (former slave race with major inferiority complex)


Can't wait for the lore.
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Dave
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dthurston wrote:
Just to be clear: "civ" = "civilisation", so this whole bit of personifying the race as a woman is completely gratuitous?


So far as I can tell.
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Dave
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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
Almighty Dave wrote:
This designer sounds both spiteful and psychologically fragile. He reminds me of James Raggi, designer of Lamentations of the Flame Princess, who developed that role-playing game in response to a bad breakup (with the eponymous FP), and whose adventures spend way too much time inflicting pain on the PCs. Doesn't sound like much fun. Nor does this game.


I was thinking the same thing. This is the sort of thing you think up when you treat someone really shitty and then lack even the barest scrap of self awareness to understand how you hurt them.


This is why I'm hesitant to take it directly to him. This is like Paula Deen completely shocked that she could be accused of racism for planning slave-themed parties.
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Shader10 wrote:
You can name names, you know. I'm 99% percent sure I know the designer and the game based on the quote. I think I'd first DM them on the matter (maybe not put misogyny in the tutle in that, yhough). Conceivably, it could work.


Re: Ask Sandy (Cthulhu Wars designer) Sulphur thread 16
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I think this is a tricky issue, and I understand people who think that getting into it on an internet forum isn't necessarily going to make things better. However, I do think it can be worth making noise over certain issues, not least because I don't think the hobby won't ever improve if we don't speak up when we have an opportunity.

Of course, everyone needs to gauge their own willingness to engage in that kind of emotional labor, not least because it can get nasty. For what it's worth, when I was more actively posting on my blog here, I'd sometimes come across games I wanted to talk about, but I'd weigh whether or not it was worth just ignoring them versus talking about them and trying to illustrate points. This happened with several Kickstarter games that were absolute trash- themed around things like "pimps and hos" and the like- and I decided that it was better to let them die, unfunded, than talk about them.

So, if this seems like a game that's not going to go anywhere, it might be better to just ignore it. If, OTOH, it doesn't, it might be worth respectfully approaching the designer in a DM and/or on the thread, and trying to explain why it's problematic. But that, of course, is dependent on whether or not you're willing to do that (and I'm not saying you should be- cf a previous post about spoons). (And people can get nasty; goodness knows I deleted plenty of comments from my blog.)

It's entirely possible talking to the designer won't have any impact, but it might be useful for the other viewers/commenters in the thread who aren't thinking too deeply about the premise and why it's problematic.

(If you'd like to DM me about it, please feel free; I'd be happy to follow-up with it.)
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ScoobyG wrote:
This was posted a few days ago here on bgg, in a long running thread where the designer answers questions about his current and upcoming games. He described "the Venge" as a "twisted ex-girlfriend type" civ, one of 20 or so available to players in a game to be kickstarted later this year. So of course someone asked:

Quote:
I'm curious on how a twisted ex-girlfriend type race works.


And here's the unedited answer:

Quote:
this civ is compulsive. She wants to be loved, but she strikes out at you, almost like she's testing that love. She makes herself vulnerable, but when she decides you’ve taken advantage she seethes in lust for payback.

Here are some of the basics: at the game start, each other player gets a Venge “Friend” token. If you attack the Venge, her units don’t get to shoot back, but you have to return the “Friend”. So everyone gets to Pearl that Harbor at least once. That’s her weakness (every civ has one – the human flaw is “nationalism”, which prevents her from researching any technologies that another civ has already researched).

Please note that if the Venge attacks YOU while you’re still her “Friend”, she suffers no ill effects and gets her full attack. In fact, if she has her unique “Talon of Friendship” tech, she adds 1d6 to her attack vs. a Friend, which is really good.

The Venge have a couple of advantages as well, though. One is that they can vengefully (see what I did there) destroy your damaged ship in drydock, and their Hateship special ability is that if it is destroyed or sent to refit, it gets one final extra vengeful attack against the enemy. My son is trying to get me to rename their vessel the Friendship instead.

Overall the Venge have proven to be pretty popular, enough so that I'm putting it in the core game.


I stared at the screen for a good 10 minutes - especially the first paragraph - really unsure if I was reading what I was reading. This is straight up gamergate screed, "men's rights" ugly and infantile paranoia about women. "Seethes in lust for payback" - what the fuck does that even mean? I'll let you deconstruct the rest of that shit; it's like shooting fish in a barrel (except the fish is a whale and the barrel is a goblet).

I'm not sure what to do. Addressing it in the thread will get flagged. DM'ing the designer? Don't even know where I would start. As a cis male I don't feel comfortable posting in the women & gaming forum. RSP is a cesspool I'd like to avoid. Suggestions, commiseration, thoughts - all welcome. Right now, I'm just mad and I'm gonna try to disconnect and calm down. This hobby has a long way to go.


Sounds like a very good candidate for the Themes that make you go...ewh thread going on right now in General Gaming.

~V
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I feel like the appropriate response is "Dude, you have issues". Anything more than that seems like wasted effort, unless you're heavily invested in a particular designer's fandom.

(Do we call them fandoms on BGG? Maybe not. A designer's... oeuvre! That's it. Unless you're heavily invested in that designer's oeuvre.)
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Julian Wasson
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ScoobyG wrote:
Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
Almighty Dave wrote:
This designer sounds both spiteful and psychologically fragile. He reminds me of James Raggi, designer of Lamentations of the Flame Princess, who developed that role-playing game in response to a bad breakup (with the eponymous FP), and whose adventures spend way too much time inflicting pain on the PCs. Doesn't sound like much fun. Nor does this game.


I was thinking the same thing. This is the sort of thing you think up when you treat someone really shitty and then lack even the barest scrap of self awareness to understand how you hurt them.


This is why I'm hesitant to take it directly to him. This is like Paula Deen completely shocked that she could be accused of racism for planning slave-themed parties.


OH WAIT, it's this guy. He's in his 60s and Mormon.

New guess: maybe he's trying to seem hip by making the same tin-eared casually misogynist cigar-chomping good-old-boy "jokes" he got away with 40 years ago. Not that uncritically parroting stale-ass jokes is any better really, but the process of dealing with a clueless boomer and a bitterly calcified MRA are different. The odds of being harassed for bringing it up are lower in this case, although I can't say I think the odds of making a difference are any higher.
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If it bothered me sufficiently, I would try a direct message. Polite but firm. Somehow I don't think that he's a "good old boy" given he grew up on D&D. A cooling off day or so is a good idea in any event.

Casting similar name-calling doesn't improve your own reputation or how your arguments are perceived. Regardless of somebody's age or culture, I would have the same standards. Guess there's also abject ageism on BGG, though that's also a problem with most cultures within the USA.

All the best,
Tom
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tswider wrote:
Somehow I don't think that he's a "good old boy" given he grew up on D&D.

We have clearly not met the same good-ol'-boys (a term which really doesn't imply much about age, more about how long its exclusive social network has been going on). If anything, they've been retreating even more into pastimes like D&D since the early 90s.

Your whole comment is dangerously close to "this can't happen here" but it does happen here, and with alarming frequency.
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I'm formulating a response. I'm not sure yet whether I'll DM him directly or post it in the forum, but I feel hypocritical whining here but not voicing my concern where it is actually happening and could, possibly maybe, nudge someone in the right direction, if only an inch.

The bottom line though, is that I won't be supporting Petersen Games anymore. I collect minis and I'm a completist, that should tell you the extent to which I have supported this company in the past. I'm done.
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Tom: I can't speak for Julian but I think she was just confirming that we were talking about the same person, not necessarily jabbing at his age or religion. I'm not sure a lot of people know he's a mormon, so I would have gone with "the old white dude with the suspenders" and maybe in fact you're right: we are all a little too casual with ageism. All the same, please don't introduce a false equivalency by reusing the word 'abject'.
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tswider wrote:
If it bothered me sufficiently, I would try a direct message. Polite but firm. Somehow I don't think that he's a "good old boy" given he grew up on D&D. A cooling off day or so is a good idea in any event.

Casting similar name-calling doesn't improve your own reputation or how your arguments are perceived. Regardless of somebody's age or culture, I would have the same standards. Guess there's also abject ageism on BGG, though that's also a problem with most cultures within the USA.

All the best,
Tom


I use "good old boy" in this chase to refer to (usually rich) (usually white) men who are connected to systems of patriarchal privilege and are perfectly comfortable wallowing in it. Not all older men are good old boys, and not all good old boys are older. Most of the good old boys I've met in person were 18-22, when I was in college.

I am sorry if I implied that boomers are characterized by cluelessness. That wasn't my intent, but on a re-read I totally see how it would come across this way. My apologies.
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ScoobyG wrote:
As a cis male I don't feel comfortable posting in the women & gaming forum.


I'm sorry that you don't feel comfortable posting in W&G. We try to be welcoming to everyone that posts there in a respectful manner. Please do stop by and visit with us at some point.
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anjulka wrote:
ScoobyG wrote:
As a cis male I don't feel comfortable posting in the women & gaming forum.


I'm sorry that you don't feel comfortable posting in W&G. We try to be welcoming to everyone that posts there in a respectful manner. Please do stop by and visit with us at some point.


Thank you! I do visit - I just cheer from the bleachers
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