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  • #86409
    Mike
    Mike
    Keymaster

    BE COOL!

    So, I don’t think it is any big secret that miniature wargames seems to be mostly a white male thing, but why is that?
    Do you have any non white friends that are miniature gamers, or do you know some that are aware of the hobby but are turned off for a specific reason?
    I used to do a few shows/cons and was only ever aware of one black gamer and saw him without fail every year at Attack! the show in Devizes.
    I am aware of some regular female gamers at shows and at least one transperson.
    But they are very much the minority.
    I hear talk of how there are more females in the board game and card game scene, but not being into that myself I have not experienced it so won’t comment.

    I guess I really want to know more than anything why it is mostly a white orientated hobby, but not having many mates in the actual world, and no POC as friends I can’t ask them.
    I have some vague ideas, but they are just pure guesswork.

    Does anyone have any experience with non white friends and their wargaming, or reasons for not wargaming?

    #86410
    yourpaceormine
    yourpaceormine
    Participant

    When I was at uni I spent most of my time rock climbing and mountaineering which was predominately a white, male middle class pursuit. There were a few exceptions but not many. Climbing was a closed shop, the only way you could get into it was if someone you knew was a climber and was willing to teach you, or you went off to uni and joined the uni club. Traditional climbing clubs were the preserve of cynical old buggers who didn’t really tolerate new people. The climbing world was very small and insular, and if you were a climber you knew most of the climbers in your home area, and you knew many nationally. It really was that small of a counter culture.

    This all started to change with the introduction of climbing centres. At first they were populated by the same people mentioned above, but centres realised that when the weather was good the climbers stayed away (climbing walls were the bad weather option). So the centres were open, but empty with bills to pay. They started putting kids birthday parties on, started running learn to climb courses, and set up indoor centre ‘club’ nights where lone climbers could turn up and find someone to belay them (and vice versa). The result? There are a lot more women climbing, and youngsters, and people from every creed and colour. Climbing culture has changed, but for the better.

     

    So playing with toy soldiers? Roll the clock back many years and who played with soldiers? Little boys, and predominantly white little boys. As our societies have changed their make-up, toy soldiers have become a thing from the past. They do still exist but are very much on the side lines, unlike being in the window of every toy shop. Computers, tablets and phones replicate playing with toy soldiers but without the need for Airfix or Brittans (sp?).

    There is an exception, Games Workshop. Pretty much the only place that you will see toy soldiers on the High Street. And it is doing very well at what it does. Still predominantly attracting boys, but now of different creeds and colours. If you visit the games shows you are beginning to see a trickle through of these GW players. Just as indoor climbing walls generated some outdoor climbers maybe some cross over and try other ‘eras’; some climbers who learnt to climb indoors are happy as they are indoors, so many GW gamers are happy as they are. Last weekend I visited my local shop for some spray varnish: Saturday morning, it was heaving with small people playing games. Has to be a good thing.

    The future will tell if these small people stick at it. It worked for climbing. Maybe it’ll work for gaming?

    www.keepyourpowderdry.co.uk

    #86412
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I wrote something about this a couple of months ago and didn’t post it because it seemed such a difficult subject. Partly because it is so large, with enough facets to fuel at least one doctoral thesis. Partly because it risks generating more heat than light, where it surely need not ?

    Statistically the numbers of female and non-white gamers do not reflect the demographic mix of the UK.

    Is that a problem?

    If those groups do not want to game maybe not, but the reasons behind them not wanting to may well be problematic.

    If wargaming is white and male because the other parts of society are too sensible to want to waste their leisure time playing with toy soldiers and glorifying war, that might be a good thing.

    On the other hand if they want to have the opportunity, but are being put off by the image of an indifferent or aggressive monoculture, then we do have a problem. We may also have a problem if they don’t even know about the option to wargame because our hobby is somehow committed (consciously/unconsciously) to appealing only to the type of person who already populates it. Society may have a wider problem too if women and ethnic minorities are still being assigned roles that exclude them from considering participation in certain fields.

    Will we change, as climbing apparently is? (I’d need to see the stats before I believe that ). I’m not sure that leaving the gateway changes to GW is necessarily the way forward.

    On the other hand I live in a very white area and only infrequently attend clubs in more diverse areas, so I may be being blinded to large social changes in wargaming. (When I do attend clubs in cities and larger shows I still don’t see evidence of any growth in diversity).

    I confess that I have never really been concerned about the lack of diversity in my gaming acquaintances over the years (one Sudanese chap and three, white, females – I had to check my memory several times before I would accept that this was the extent of my non-white and female gaming acquaintances), maybe I should have been.

    #86413
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    The 5 of us in our little group are white & male. The other common threads are we are professionals & hence, have spare cash, and a military background (not me).

    I’ve lots of female friends who regard my hobby as a bit of a joke. And who’s to say they’re not right? My 24 year old daughter has long called my pals, “the girls” or “dad’s girlfriends”.

    My male friends from different ethnic groups also don’t show much more than polite interest in what is, after all, a vary narrow & slightly odd niche hobby.

    To be honest, I’d think a lack of diversity in employment or other social structures would be an issue needing urgent attention. But because we’re a bunch of white male faces leaning over a wargames’ table (who do NOT dissuade women or other ethnics from joining in), I can’t see much to get concerned over.

     

    donald

     

    #86414
    Mike
    Mike
    Keymaster

    To be honest, I’d think a lack of diversity in employment or other social structures would be an issue needing urgent attention

    Indeed. But not on The Wargames Website.

     

    #86415
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    Mike, should I have written “significant social structures”?  I love wargaming but it is a footling past time in the great scheme of things.

    Where I work actively strives to incorporate women & minorities at all levels. And succeeds. Now *that’s* important.

     

    donald

    #86416
    Ruarigh
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    It’s a tricky topic. I think Guy has something with his comments about wargaming being an indifferent and aggressive monoculture in general. Some groups are welcoming and very inclusive, but I have encountered others that are really cliquey and difficult to become part of, even as a white male. I remember women joining our RPG sessions in the eighties who left after one session because of the excessive attention they received. Some of the discussion I see on forums suggests that similar behaviours and responses still apply. So, responses to new people is likely to be a significant issue.

    Representation is probably an issue. There are a lot of ‘cheesecake’ figures out there, and too few realistic women. Bad Squiddo is doing great things with promoting realistic figures, but there is probably a long way to go. The same applies to POCs. I vaguely remember a story someone told of their days in a games shop where  POC woman came in looking for a figure that ‘looked like her’. After being shown what was on offer she left and never returned. Maybe providing more figures that make people feel included would encourage them and make them feel that they were welcome. Similarly, the language used in rules books is important. Singular ‘they’ is a great thing for this. Didn’t we discuss inclusive language a while back?

    On a more speculative level, perhaps the types of games played feeds into it too. How do POCs respond to colonial and Darkest Africa games, for example? I know that the RPG Scarlet Heroes was criticised for its orientalism, and that the author of that criticism was someone who stated that they were excited whenever any new game came out with non-white backgrounds. There may also be an element of not realising how multicultural the past was, even in historical games set in western Europe. Many people see the past as purely white in Europe, when it was anything but. In the same way, the past is seen as male-dominated, even though, again, women could do and did more than popular perception allows. Perhaps this works to exclude POCs and women.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://www.lakesidearts.org.uk/whats-on/vikings.html
    #86417
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    I think Yourpaceormine hit it on the nail. Gaming is like climbing was: it is very hard to get into without a certain amount of equipment and, crucially, someone taking you in hand and teaching you how. And because most of the gamers are white guys, it tends to stay that way.

    That won’t change until the gaming equivalent of climbing centers starts up. That’s not GW stores, although they do a good job of recruiting: that’s stores that actively promote diversity because it is good for the pocketbook.

    I saw this happen in Brazil. Devir jump-started the gaming scene from almost nothing. Back in the early 1990s, the only people who played were kids whose parents worked overseas. The scene was aggressively white, male, and very upper class.

    Devir knew it couldn’t make money unless it turned gaming into a democratic scene. They hired Alexandre Bubel and me to do exactly that. For about seven years, we had open shop gaming all day every friday and saturday. We’d also run games at schools, in shopping centers, at fairs… everywhere. This was mostly RPGs, but we’d use minis to illustrate and draw people in and most of the scenarios had battles.

    Well, the numbers of PoC  playing almost immediately began to reflect the venues we played in and given that Brazil is about 60% PoC… It was still more white than not, because gaming is still middle class and not too many games were going on in the favelas, but it got very diverse compared to the U.S. and Britain.

    As for women, we heavily recruited girls to become game masters. We ran all girl tables. We had girls do painting workshops. (Where we’d also encourage the kids to look around at all the skin colors of the people in the shop and paint miniatures realistically.) Crucially, about this time, adult-oriented roleplaying games like Vampire came out in Portuguese and those really appealled to the girls. Our gaming scene very quickly became around 30% women.

    My take away from all this is that affirmative action is needed to open gaming up. A small amount of diversity will “just happen”, but you really need what Annie Norman is doing: games for girls, say, front and center at cons, with neat female minis that look like that chick from Vikings, say, and not cheesecake on high heels. You need to get gaming into public schools.

    One of the things that I am most proudest of is that my colleague Silvio Compagnoni Martins (who once saved Dave Arneson’s life, but that’s a different story) took gaming into the favelas.

    We found out that there was this group of kids who lived in a Rio favela and who had made a scale model of it out of bricks and trash. They used toys to recreate the gun battles in the favela and also to tell its stories. It was very cool, because they were publically talking about stuff the media wouldn’t show, in very detailed and graphic fashion. So Silvio took them some sets of GURPS and some minis, taught them the rules and how to paint, and the kids began incorporating all this into their play. They are still going strong, although most of them are adults now.

    So I don’t even think it is “objectionable” material that turns people off from gaming, but rather the way it is portrayed. You probably could do a Scarlet Heroes game with a lot of kids whose grandparents were black and African: just let THEM make up the stories and do the game.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #86419
    Mike Headden
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    Can’t say I have any answers but I’ll add a few observations.

    I ran Friday night RPG sessions for decades (80’s to early 2000’s) and, of the eight regulars, two were female. To be fair, the most ethnically diverse player was male and half Scandanavian. So score two for gender equality but zero for ethnic diversity. 🙂

    These days I game semi-regularly with about fifteen people and three of them are female. All three women and most of the guys are card/ board/ computer gamers and not interested in “3D gaming” as one of them calls tabletop figure games! The group is white, middle class and, with the exception of one Spaniard, British. That’s about the same as before, I reckon.

    Looking at the board, card and computer gaming scene for people of my children’s age (late 20s/ early 30s) I see many more women involved than there are of my generation.

    I think it’s significant that the women gamers I know don’t have kids, for one reason or another, and are bringing in a significant part of the household income.

    I play or have played a number of MMORPGs and ethnic diversity there is much greater, not surprisingly given their global reach.

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #86424
    Paul
    Paul
    Participant

    I’m making assumptions here but I believe I am one of only a few (if not the only) participant on this forum from Africa. Now, I am a white male, but where I live that puts me in the minority. However, my gaming group is still all pale males.

    One of my black colleagues is a big video gamer, so I invited him to come past the club one night after work for a few beers and a game. His response: “Nah, that’s for old white dudes.”
    All my other non-white friends are not interested at all in the hobby (but the same goes for almost all of my white friends).

    As for females: none of my female friends are interested at all in the miniatures side (except to mildly poke fun at an eccentric hobby), but a few did play D&D in the days of 3rd ed. My wife appreciates the art/craft side but nothing else.
    I am aware of only 2 female wargamers in the whole country, and I have never played a game with a lady. The closest I have come was playing “zombie doll house” with my 28mm zombie stuff when my wife and I were babysitting a friends daughter.

    Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let's go kill them!

    #86426
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    I don’t belong to a club, so can’t comment about that (I am not a clubby type person, so maybe that says something about me), but ….

    My local gamestore is a visible public space and I visit several wargame shows a year, which likewise a visible public place and I image both present some sort of opportunity to gauge diversity. In both these places I am seeing a greater representation of young people, a greater representation of mixed gender, but not of ethnicity. The shows do largely cater for disability (mainly because they are in public function spaces and they have had to make changes), but I don’t think my gamestore does, the door is very heavy and the loos are upstairs (an old building).

    In the gamestore, the younger element is playing Magic, Star Wars, Age of Sigmar, 40k and systems that come in boxes as packages having usually started on kickstarter. there are a small group of Euro boardgamers and they tend to be older guys and I do not see anyone putting on what I would describe as historical mass battles type stuff (i.e proper wargaming).

    I follow blogs and video blogs for both historical boardgames and figures and model making and these media are heavily dominated by middle aged plus white males.

    I suspect the real diversity is happening when a few friends are getting together in each others homes, to play any one of the raft of new boardgames, Euro games etc and this is invisible from a commentary / trend point of view.

    Edit .. I do have a regular opponent and we try to game weekly and have done for 30 years, but outside of that, I don’t really know anyone who plays games and there is certainly no-one who would understand toy soldiers

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by norm smith norm smith.

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #86429
    Autodidact-O-Saurus
    Autodidact-O-Saurus
    Participant

    In my 40ish years of wargaming I’ve seen very little diversity. Just a couple women, occasionally, over the years. I can think of only two other non-white male gamers that played regularly. But I suspect that is true in most hobbies, too. I suspect that in white-male society, hobbies, while perhaps considered eccentric, are not unacceptable behavior. I think there is more of a bias against spending time and money and effort on such silliness in other segments of society.

    But then I may be falling prey to my own stereotypes. I think there’s a bit more of a gaming culture in Japan, isn’t there?

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #86433
    kyoteblue
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    I don’t have any answers, but wish there was more diversity in my hobby.

    #86437
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    I don’t have any answers, but wish there was more diversity in my hobby.

     

    I’m quite impressed by Thaddeus’ affirmative action. I don’t belong to a club, nor want to, so such a course is out for me.

    FYI, Women’s sport in Australia got a huge lift in terms of media coverage & payment for professionals a couple of years ago. It is very noticeable how much a lift this gave girls & young women: their sport was finally considered to be as serious and consequential as men’s sport. I should add sport attracts females from across the ethnic spectrum.

    Clearly, our society has a way to go but it is heartening to see progress. I still think miniature gaming is small beans. Electronic gaming, on the other hand, has seemingly made a start and it’s an area of massive interest.

     

    donald

     

    donald

     

     

    #86444
    Blackhat
    Blackhat
    Participant

    People have a tendency to group together with people like them – it is simply human nature.

    There was a recent study in London and it found that despite London being very diverse in cultures, people didn’t mix outside their own groups outside work.  It may be multi-cultural but the cultures stick together…

    Mike

     

    Black Hat Miniatures -
    http://www.www.blackhat.co.uk/

    #86460
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Perhaps, but that describes a situation, not necessarily its cause.

    People may want to be grouped with people like them, but it may be a reflection of social and economic necessity. Bit difficult to group with Old Etonians if you can’t afford the bus fare from Newham.

    I take your point that you can’t make people who don’t want to wargame, wargame.

    But ensuring people get opportunities to know enough about it, and letting then know that it need not all be based on European dynastic, colonial or nation state conflicts might help. Add in a bit of reasurance that it isn’t about reliving or rebranding anyone’s cultural or military hegemony might be a bonus too.

    Fun, intellectual curiosity and art – all good places to start?

    #86461
    Phil Dutré
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    It’s always difficult to provide meaningful insights about this, especially since wargaming is not a centrally organized hobby, but thrives on individual gaming groups and clubs. Hence, our own individual experiences can easily give a distorted view in any direction.

    The only good indicator probably is the attendance at large conventions, and indeed, here you see mostly white males. But I have no good idea about the underlying social dynamic. I do see that the crowds that play boardgames are much more diverse these days, but that historical miniature wargaming remains restricted to older white guys.

    What you can do is look at the inherent aspects of our hobby, that would make it appeal only to a certain subset of the gaming population:

    • Strong focus on military history (probably explains why we have mostly men), and especially military history as seen from a Western/Europen point-of-view.
    • Using miniatures and a large gaming table (requires money and space at home).
    • Nostalgic link to playing with toy soldiers and model kits (hence the older males).
    • Miniature wargaming is a niche without the wider gaming subculture, and it is a variety of gaming that currently is mostly attractive to older gamers (reasons above). It used to be that miniature wargaming was the dominant gaming format. Ever since the mid-seventies (D&D), miniature wargaming has lost its prime spot, and young gamers flock to other things these days (boardgames, cardgames, video games).
    • Another social dynamic is that for gamers I know, “games’night” is a “night with the guys”. This makes it not so easy for women to pick up gaming, if there is no larger club nearby that welcomes all people (instead of only small private groups).
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by Phil Dutré Phil Dutré.
    #86474
    OldBen1
    OldBen1
    Participant

    I think people have been more open to ‘geek’ hobbies as of late.  Video games and board games have really opened a lot of doors.  I find that most of the women that I know like board games.   It’s too bad that certain activities have been labelled as ‘white’ hobbies and may scare off potential players.  I think if people keep putting out diverse games with strong themes people will eventually come around.

    One thing I did notice is that some games perpetuate stereotypes, especially Pulp games.  I remember painting pulp miniatures a  decade or so ago when I came across my Fu Manchu Cthulhu style investigator.  My friend Su Fung is from Hong Kong and I was embarrassed to put it on the table.  Neither of us are overly sensitive people, but I wanted him to be comfortable.

    #86486
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    Sometimes I feel like I live in a completely different world from everyone else….  Here’s my experience:

    I am a white dude.  I grew up in San Diego, and my very initial gaming group consisted of me, a black kid, a Filipino kid, a Vietnamese kid, and another white kid.  These guys I met at a summer school for “gifted” children.  We had to take 3 serious and 3 “fun” classes each “summester”.  So, along with Human Anatomy and typing and architecture (my first real taste of my future career) I also took theater, model rocketry and D&D.  Seriously, D&D was a class!  30 kids, 1 DM.  It was a chaotic hoot!  So, these first gamers came from that class, between 6th and 7th grade.

    Later, my jr high group was all white guys that I had met surfing for a while, then a hispanic girl joined, and though her Paladin was annoying she was cool, and an excellent painter.  She painted all of our minis, and taught me a few things that I applied to my first old Rogue Trader SM beaky army.

    High school started with mostly the same guys at first, but then I got into drumline and a couple of gals from drill team joined us, then started their own girlie game (because ours was too manly and violent) and they had 8 players for a few years.  My group by the end of High school was 3 white guys, 2 black guys, ahispanic, and 2 asians, for both RP and tabletop (one of the asian kids was really into ACW, and one of the black kids was really into ECW.  Didn’t think it odd at the time!)

    College:  I was a part of several gaming groups, and despite being in Texas they were pretty diverse.  Dudes, chicks, white black yellow and quadroon (as he put it).  Didn’t matter to us.  I was snubbed by a friends gaming group I wanted to join, as they decided to be “bangladshi only”, and that did hurt.  I didn’t get it.

    Currently, my main gaming group is 4 white guys, 1 black guy, 1 white and 1 hispanic gal.  the white gal teaches at a tech school whose demographic is mostly black and hispanic.  At this school they have a “gaming club”, where they play RPGs (mostly pathfinder), table top (a lot of warmahordes) and board games.  These kids started it themselves after hearing her talk about playing D&D at their ages.  It grew exponentially when Stranger Things came out.  The girls mostly stick to board games because they feel that TTWG are “too violence oriented” but also because they feel they can be much more strategic with boardgames, being able to “use the rules”.  I found that fascinating.  Here’s this school in a poor part of town, with kids from less-advantaged homes, and they want to play the same things I do, and nothing stops them.

    Another thing about Texas are the conventions.  I’ve noted that at places like Millennium Con and TexaCon the make up is probably 50% white males.  That’s pretty low compared to Historicon (which was 90% white make, at least).  Several of the vendors are also from various ethnic groups.  In fact, Frontline games is run by a mixed-race family.  THE WHOLE FAMILY works together doing production, packing, selling, and running games.  One of their daughters has moved away to be in the medical field, but even their son who is an engineer still helps out.  These people are a hoot, and good friends of mine.

    Now, I have noticed that professional painters in Texas are more likely to be female, but I do not see that as a problem.  Not at all.

     

    Honestly, I think a lot of the demographics of who plays in my area is down to locations.  1 gaming store in Denton is almost 80% white people, but an even mix between males and females.  One in east Arlington has mostly hispanic players.  The one right next to our local high school is full of teens and tweens of all backgrounds.

     

    These are just my experiences.  I know that elsewhere it is totally different.  I’ve been all over the US for gaming conventions, and yes, it does seem to be mostly white males playing with toy soldiers, but I am finding females to be a higher proportion or painters and RPG gamers, as well as boar gamers.  I have always been very inclusive, mostly by nature.  I don’t care what color or ethnicity you are, I’ll play with ya as long as you aren’t an asshole.

    Diversity does not seem to be a problem in my area, but probably is in the greater scheme of things…

     

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #86494
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    Dudes, chicks, white black yellow and quadroon (as he put it).

    Is it possible that the group may have been larger and more diverse without him?

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #86505
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    Is it possible that the group may have been larger and more diverse without him?

    Without the dude that said he was “quadroon”? (he said that based on an african-american fellow challenging him on the shade of his skin.  He was pretty proud to be “bi-racial” as both of his parents are awesome people)

    Or did you mean without me?  I can be a bit loud…

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #86507
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    I was referring to the person you quoted as saying ‘Dudes, chicks, white black yellow and quadroon’. My daughter might like to join a group of gamers and has the confidence to turn up alone and join a group – she would be well miffed if she thought that the group viewed her as ‘the chick’. I may be missing something in subtle cultural translation, but the sentence just took me as being crass – or at least not endearing for the purposes of recruiting new gamers, from the diversity perspective that this thread relates to.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by norm smith norm smith.

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #86544
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    I may be missing something in subtle cultural translation, but the sentence just took me as being crass – or at least not endearing for the purposes of recruiting new gamers, from the diversity perspective that this thread relates to

    Ah, yes, I could understand that. I was just trying use casual language rather than having to say “men, women, boys, girls” and all other age level in between.  In SoCal back in the surf days, Chick was the female form of Dude and not considered offensive.   Sheila never did catch on, despite there being some attempts at incorporating the Aussie slang into SoCal surf wordage.  But, Betty was the one that was a bit derisive implying a good looking female with minimal brains, and I still hate to hear it used 25 years later.  Time does change words though, as my child is now frequently saying things are “lit”, meaning good or cool, while back in my youth “lit” meant stoned, and even more recently it meant “drunk” to college kids…

     

    So, back to how to bring in more diversity…. honestly, a really good way to do so would be to stage games at local colleges, in their student center or dining hall, some place highly visible.  See about having mini-cons or games days at local high and junior high schools.  Both of those options have worked in Kansas City (both with school gaming days and the Recruits convention), might work elsewhere too.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #86547

    As mentioned above, demographics of the area you live will determine the makeup of your group.  In middle and High School in the late 70s and early 80s, my gaming group consisted of all nerdy white males.

    Once I got to college, I joined a role playing group that initially consisted of white males and 2 white females.  Soon after I joined, 2 black males also joined.  Within a year, the small group of RPG’rs had a nice mix of males and females but people of color were lacking other than the two mentioned above.  It was fine.  Nobody really cared one way or another.  Should anyone want to join, no matter who they were, they likely would have been allowed to join.  I suppose if they were somehow particularly distasteful (racist, sexist etc) they would have been shown the door.  But that never happened.

    The group I game with semi-frequently consists of white males and 1 white female.  Occasionally the wife of one of the members of the group would sit in and play one of the NPCs.

    Conventions are usually diverse.  I suspect this is because people come from all over the region.  I don’t think we have 50% of the gamers as females (not close really) but there is a good many there.  There are varying amounts of people of all colors but, again, probably not representative of the population at large.

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #86549
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    So, back to how to bring in more diversity…. honestly, a really good way to do so would be to stage games at local colleges, in their student center or dining hall, some place highly visible.  See about having mini-cons or games days at local high and junior high schools.  Both of those options have worked in Kansas City (both with school gaming days and the Recruits convention), might work elsewhere too.

    Darkest Star – All good, obviously a mix up on my part with interpretation. Re above – There have been a couple of recent blog posts by teachers who have put on a big game for what looked like maybe 15 youngsters (is that about half a class?). Anyway, the involvement level looked high, a few faces gave a clear impression of meh!, but some looked like they were really into the playing and who knows, maybe a few buttons were pushed that might lead to the sort of life-time passion that I have enjoyed. As a simple onscreen observer, it did make me smile, just at the sight of youngsters getting enthused about a hobby that for too long people have been telling me is dying with the ‘greying’ generation.

    EDIT …I don’t think this is the particular post I meant, but it was one of the bloggers games, anyway here is a link to one example-  http://winserswargames.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/syw-game-for-middle-schoolers.html

    Sorry, I can’t get that link to activate, it needs to be copied and pasted. He said it was a voluntary group and that out of 18 students, 4 were girls.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Mike Mike. Reason: fixed link

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #86558
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    No idea why my post looks like that (or why I couldn’t get the link to go active), Gremlins at work!

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #86559
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Norm’s Link from above

    Nothing wrong with the link by the look’s of it – Visual, press link, click in place, select options and type link text. Hmm???

    #86574
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    For those wondering “Why diversity?”, there is an excellent classic article by Heidi McDonald entitled “You guys need to get laid” analyzing the collapse of the comics industry in the 1990s in terms of its ingrained sexism.

    It is really worth a read, if you can find it online.

    I can sum up its main point, however: a diverse market is way more resistent, economically speaking, than one that relies on a single demographic.

    Devir did what it did not because the owners were social justice warriors (one of them is slightly to the right of Mussolini): it did it because it made more money.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #86592
    Whirlwind
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    there is an excellent classic article by Heidi McDonald entitled “You guys need to get laid” analyzing the collapse of the comics industry in the 1990s in terms of its ingrained sexism. It is really worth a read, if you can find it online.

    I have had a look but can’t find it: has anyone else had any better luck?

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #86593
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Not yet.

    Stuff about it and around it but not the actual article.

    #86594

    No idea why my post looks like that (or why I couldn’t get the link to go active), Gremlins at work!

    I think you are just showing off. 😉

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #86596
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    Mike – thanks for fixing the post (link).

    John – I want to show off again … but can’t remember how I did it!

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #86600
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    The big question to me is:

    People who aren’t white dudes play all manner of games.

    They play video games, they play RPG’s, they play board games, they play card games… many of which involve armies, military stuff and brutally dismembering your fellow human beings.

    So why is toy soldiers the one area they don’t tend to engage in?

    Is it because when we evolved millions of years ago, women somehow didn’t pick up the DNA strand for “plastic soldier” ? Seems unlikely.

    Socialization against violence? Sure, but I’ve never had problems recruiting for violent RPG campaigns.
    I ran a super brutal Stormbringer campaign with all women players.

    Is it because military stuff is all dudes? (As in your armies are all dudes).
    That’s possible and might explain why when I do meet women into miniatures they tend to gravitate towards fantasy and scifi over historical settings.

    I think you’d need to look at:
    How do people get into war gaming? Who introduces them? Friends?
    If so, that may be a self-perpetuating problem.
    An insecure 15 year old is not going to teach the girls in his class how to play Flames of War is he?

    I agree with Darkest Star above that I think where you recruit is important too.
    If you tell the kids its for everybody, you might be surprised that everybody is indeed interested 🙂

    I think the image presented may matter as well.
    At the risk of being denounced as the “SOCIAL JUSTICE CAVALRY TROOPER” that I am, I think representation does matter.

    If you put pictures of people playing your game in the rulebook, don’t have everyone be a fat old dude maybe? (in other words, don’t take pictures of me for your book 🙂 )
    When writing game examples, don’t assume the player is always a dude, that sort of thing.

    Maybe it doesn’t actually matter but White Wolf and Wizards of the Coast started adopting those methods and it seems to have paid off for them in terms of audience.

    There’s stuff to be said about making the club or gaming store a welcoming environment too, but when you mention that, people start posting weird political rants, so I’ll leave that aside.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #86622
    Katie L
    Katie L
    Participant

    “How do people get into war gaming?”

    Ah, now you see, for me that was Brian the kid from next door (who was maybe five years older than me) who had a) an endless supply of Airfix OO/HO figures — and somehow apparently b) permission to remodel large sections of their garden for terrain[1]. Imagine a sand table thirty feet on an edge… with hosepipes to flood parts. Turns out enough of those pontoons from the bridge kit can carry quite large attacking forces across shallow lakes.

    {In the garage I still have some of the figures carefully sorted into sections and stored in clear plastic microfilm boxes.}

    I suspect there’s just as random an introduction for everyone.

     

    “Is it because military stuff is all dudes? (As in your armies are all dudes).”

    A lot of both male and female gamers don’t like the people-ness of miniatures. ‘Killing’ wooden blocks is ok, but not things with faces.

     

    [1] I think his parents regarded it as him “staying out of trouble” or something along those lines.

     

    #86623
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    The part about wooden blocks would certainly explain why there’s fewer reservations about board games, where the “armies” are faceless blocks or tokens.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #86629
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    In another world, I am a car enthusiast. Indeed, I happily belong to a car club even though I’d probably never join a wargames’ club.

    What’s noteworthy about this is the number of ethnic men in the club has never been particularly low &, over the past 5+ years, women have reached a notable presence in the membership. And nobody seems to care about such “issues”.

    I’d guess that cars are a traditional area for male interest? This seems to be changing & AFAIK, no-one’s doing anything overt to change it. Society must, somehow, be loosening the strictures on what are male & what are female interests.

    I’m not trying to deduce too much from this but I thought the observation might prove interesting.

     

    donald

     

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Ochoin Ochoin.
    #86632
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Well, one difference between a car club and a gaming club is that car clubs don’t require you to go through huge rules manuals to be part of the action. Gaming has always required that someone on the inside stick out a hand.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #86633

    Russell Phillips
    Participant

    I’ve only just caught up with this thread. It’s an interesting discussion, but one thing hasn’t been mentioned. Some wargamers are very hostile to the idea of female wargamers, and presumably that’s a barrier, at least to women.

    I don’t know where the hostility comes from, but I’ve seen plenty of examples, mostly online, and heard horror stories from women.

    The only solution I can see to this particular issue is for those of us that don’t agree with it to speak up when it happens. Even if you don’t change the attitude of the person you disagree with, if their voice isn’t challenged, it’s easy for outsiders to assume that everyone agrees with them.

    #86636
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    Well, one difference between a car club and a gaming club is that car clubs don’t require you to go through huge rules manuals to be part of the action. Gaming has always required that someone on the inside stick out a hand.

    I don’t know: all hobbies have their stock of arcane knowledge. And when you get into areas such as mods, advice from others is very welcome & necessary.

    The big difference I can see is age. Not many children own cars, so any hostility to very young people per se is missing.

    donald

    #86638
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    Say, where’s Victoria?  Surely she could weigh in on this, haven’t seen her in a bit…

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

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