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Subject: Women in War Gaming 35 years hence rss

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I'm including this HERE as well, for those that may not delve within where it was initially presented. This is an 'article' from "MOVES" #19 Page 19 February/March 1975, originally written by Linda D. Mosca, and transcribed for HERE, while it got 'moi' to wondering just how well it has held up during the interim, with such as what it contained, to what there were ongoing currently. ALL, or any 'inflections' *denoted* within that were from HERS on this.

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WOMEN IN WARGAMING

With the decline in stereotypical male/female role playing has come a redefinition of the areas of interest formerly considered "acceptable" for one sex or the other. As is the case with many hobbies previously looked upon as being strictly "male" interests, wargaming has been attracting a steadily increasing female following. Unlike the effects of special interest groups on the hobby, attracted by specific game titles, or subjects, the influx of women should mark a widening of audience for the game designer/gaming magazine publisher, as well as a widening of selection of opponents for the wargamers themselves.

The reasons for women developing an interest in wargaming are obvious: the challenge of achieving a victory where history saw defeat, the enjoyment that any hobby, especially one of such broad scope and limitless possibilities, offers the enthusiast, etc. In other words, they are the same as men's reasons. The reasons for there being such a small percentage of women in board wargaming are less overt.

Part of the blame for the small percentage of women in wargaming may fall on the media, and its association of simulation gaming with war itself, traditionally "man's domain". The tone taken in many magazine and newspaper articles (a look at the lighter side of the cardboard warmongers), is one that not only offends those in the hobby already, but "turns off" a great deal of potential gamers, particularly women. This is compounded by the fact that women are less likely to have friends to introduce them to gaming. More importantly, their years of cultural indoctrination normally (abnormally) dictate that they direct their leisure time energies into other, less aggressive (less stimulating) activities. Another part of the blame, which I will merely point out and not dwell on too deeply, lies with those male wargamers who are not over-anxious to accept women as opponents (we present a threat to the "male ego").

Be that as it may, there are still women to be found in all aspects of wargaming. The area which contains, to my knowledge, the largest concentration of women is military miniatures simulations. Perhaps the fact that this area deals more often and more explicitly with fantasy or perhaps the added visual effects attract more people previously unfamiliar with wargaming. Also, this extension of the hobby has been treated to a more favorable inspection by the media, in articles that play up the painstaking paintwork and play down the skills required to deftly maneuver one's miniature army in battle. It must be remembered, though, that the hobby of painting military miniatures almost invariably leads to wargaming, as the one true place to display one's army is on the battlefield.

Another "in" to wargaming available to many women is diplomacy-oriented games. Due to their diplomatic nature, these games are considered in many wargaming circles as half wargames and half adult games. For some obscure reason, men are less likely to resent women in a game, of Diplomacy and are more likely to invite them to participate in this game. (Perhaps they consider it an easy task to seduce us into an alliance profitable for themselves, or that we are less likely to stab them in the back.) Many women themselves, are first attracted to games, that offer more background, which diplomacy does, than a simple order of battle.

This is not to say that the best way to introduce women one knows, or people in general, to wargaming is through either miniatures or diplomacy-oriented games. In fact, one of the best ways I've found to introduce people to simulation gaming is by introducing them to a game dealing with a subject or period I know they will personally find interesting. In this approach, you will frequently find that the more abstract concepts, such as space warfare, are most invaluable, as they usually have a wider appeal.

Now for a word to those women already involved in wargaming. First of all, you should realize that the best way to lessen any alienation you feel in the hobby is to introduce other women you know to wargaming. In most cases, men will not do this for you. Secondly (unless you play with a set group of friends psychologically secure enough that your gender is not constantly taken into considerations, or with a group containing other women), you are likely to find a few, fairly categorized opponent attitudes toward you in male wargamers. Occasionally, you will find that your opponent will not blame you, the commander, for losing that 6-6 armored division, but you, the woman.I outline these few categories merely as a point of interest; not meaning to suggest that all male gamers possess these tendencies.

The first category you are likely to encounter is the "overzealous tutor". He is the one who insists upon informing you of what your strategy should be, where to deploy your initial force, and exactly what units to hold in reserve. He will rarely, if ever, refer to a unit by type, for fear of finding you ignorant of the differences between an infantry and a cavalry symbol. He will usually attempt to play your game for you and, naturally, is not an enjoyable or challenging opponent.

Another unsuitable opponent-type is the one who would prefer to make you rather than make his moves. This type should be avoided for the obvious reasons.

Of course, there is always the chivalrous male, who insists on tossing you the game. (Proving that chivalry is still alive and employed in some of the most unnecessary and demeaning circumstances.) This offers even less challenge than the first situation. To sum this up, any man (or woman) who doesn not normally credit you with equal intelligence to his or her self is not going to begin to do so at the wargaming table. This is more a word of advice to all beginners than specifically women gamers. In my own experiences, however, I have found that women run across these types more often (or, rather, these types zero in on women more often).

Aside from the above mentioned, and those men who flatly refuse to play against women at all (believe it or not, in this "enlightened age" there are still a few), the stereotypes you are likely to have trouble with, i.e., the babbling trivia nut, the sore loser, etc., are the same all gamers try to steer clear of. (Speaking of sore losers, you may have one breed to handle that male gamers don't - the loser who insists that your anatomy had distracted them.)

I would like to remind women wargamers that while they are fewer in numbers, they make equally effective generals. That war is a man's domain is disproven by the fact that its wellsprings are societal and outcome affects all, regardless of gender. That history belongs to men is disproven by the few accounts of great women that filtered down, even as recorded by male historians. Remember, of the three persons most feared by Rome, two were women (Cleopatra & Zenobia).

-Linda D. Mosca

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*NOTE* Since the inception of the disparate FORUMS Subdomains were effected well after this 'posting', then it is most appropriate HERE as well. I'd much prefer hearing FROM the majority of any Women that wished to provide their experiences from this over the years, decades, and across a couple of millennium at that!
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