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Gaming rant

Let me paint you a picture. Imagine, if you will, that you enjoy gaming. I'm speaking particularly of board gaming, but this can probably be modified for video gaming, CCGing, RPGing, etc.

Now, let's say that you are beginning a game with a group of people. You are very familiar with the game, and will be the one (theoretically) teaching the rest of the group. Two of these other players have played the game once or twice, and so are somewhat familiar with the basics, but still have many questions.

You begin by explaining the rules. The rules are available for reference, which you use for little questions (how many cards each player starts with, for example). There are four other players - the two who have played before, and two who are completely new to the game. One of the new complete newbies defers to you for all questions, and is confident in your answers. The other newbie ignores you completely, and will ask the other two with experience all questions, disregarding everything you say (possibly with the occasional leer). The two with experience generally listen to you, unless you say something that contradicts what they think is true (e.g. are right when they are wrong). Then they will argue with you, snatch the rules away from you in an attempt to prove themselves right, and will occasionally play through with their own rule rather than yours. This last occurence happens most often when you just give up and don't want to argue. (They will usually back down if another member with experience agrees with you, particularly if this other person is of the same gender as they are.)

Congratulations! You are now a Girl who Games (tm). And you've been playing a game with a group of boys.

*sigh* Last night's Game Night got me thinking about the way Girls who Game (tm) are treated, in the broad, general sense. I've decided that, in the most broad of generalities, there are three different kinds of boys/men a GwG (tm) encounters:

The Skeeze (super rare): He won't listen to you, will perhaps 'humor' you if you're relatively attractive, and will spend a good chunk of your time spent explaining the game staring at your boobs. You are automatically wrong in any disagreement, and you can't possibly be trusted to know what you're talking about, because of said boobs. There may be drool.

The Good One (rare): He acknowledges that you know just as much, if not more, about a game as he does, and is willing to take what you say at face value. If there is a rule he doesn't think sounds quite right, he will go to the rule book first before arguing, and will not treat you like an idiot on the off chance that you are, in fact, wrong. He's in it for the game, not the power-play.

The 'Experienced' Ones (common): Generally, they're willing to listen, especially if it's a game they've never played before. They will, however, double-check you against the rules all the time, or will ask someone non-female to verify what you are saying. If they have a disagreement, they will argue. Loudly at times, usually quite stubbornly, and will depend on you giving in for the sake of the gameplay. After playing a game once, they will consider themselves to be the expert and will contradict you or answer questions incorrectly, refusing to check their sources or verify that what they're saying is correct.

I know full well that I'm lucky to be living when I am. I went to college to study, not to get my MRS degree. I'm going to be 25 when I get married, and people think it's young (well, except a couple of my aunts and uncles, but pft) and not something I should have done several years ago. I can work where I want to, and am not relegated to the land of secretary or waitress. Where the big things are concerned, I've got it really freakin' good, by and large.

Unfortunately, that means that the little things stand out more, and are more frustrating. Being considered either stupid or incompetent by people who don't know you is one of the more frustrating experiences ever. Being told you don't know what you're doing when you clearly do, even moreso. I understand that Girls who Game (tm) are still outnumbered by boys/men, and that it's likely to stay that way to some extent for some time. I understand that some kinds of games (video, RPG/CCG) are still considered the domain of boys in their parent's basement with a bunch of their buddies and a whole lot of Mountain Dew (inaccurate though that image may be). Just because that's the way it seems, doesn't mean that's the way it is. I've gamed with quite a few GwG (tm), and they've all (well, almost all...there's always a couple) been intelligent women who understand things rather quickly and, most importantly, had fun with the games. I spend significantly more time arguing than playing when playing with boys/men, especially if I'm the one who has played before.

My boobs do not take away my brains. Being capable of ovulation does not make me incapable of using strategy. My ability to give birth does not take away my ability to play. So bring it.



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Jan. 26th, 2006 10:30 pm (UTC)
Brining said "it"
So, where do you put the boys/men you gamed with that are on your friendslist?

Or, if you'd rather not go that far, where would you rate me?
Jan. 26th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Brining said "it"
I haven't had a ton of experience gaming with you, but probably in the Good One category, bordering on 'Experienced' One - in part, because, well, you know your damn games, and are used to the role of explaining them. You're not one to start bitching too much if you argue with a rule - or, rather, you're about as likely to bitch at Eric as you are at me. :)

Jan. 26th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Brining said "it"
That, and commonly Eric takes the role of "game explainer" when we all lay together.

So yeah, I can see that borderline there...
Jan. 26th, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Brining said "it"
When we all "lay" together? Freudian slip? Saying one thing and meaning your mother? ;)
Jan. 26th, 2006 11:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Brining said "it"
Sometimes a typo is just my hand betraying me.

Bad cigar!
Jan. 27th, 2006 12:45 am (UTC)
Re: Brining said "it"
Even when we don't game together, I'm frequently the game explainer.

I'm thinking about opening a Rules Question Hotline for board games. "$1 per answer!"
Jan. 27th, 2006 03:07 am (UTC)
Re: Brining said "it"
Good luck with that...

Jan. 26th, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
I suspect that what you're ascribing to gender is not a function of gender at all. The experienced gamers who think they're right will think they're right regardless of whether it's you or Eric they think is wrong. On the other hand, when they look for adjudication, they're more likely to look to Eric or me when Selena and Natalina have as much experience in the same games. So, maybe.
Jan. 26th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
What ended up causing this rant is dealing with the group of teenagers last night, and having two of them completely disregard me and go to Scott instead, even though the information he was giving them was DEAD WRONG. But 'he's played before', thus he was right. I couldn't get to the rules in time to have the non-gendered authority present, and I really can't get into a pissing contest - I'm just not built for it.
Jan. 27th, 2006 12:02 am (UTC)
I really can't get into a pissing contest - I'm just not built for it.

Jan. 27th, 2006 12:42 am (UTC)
It's not completely a function of gender. But when gaming on Wednesdays, I've noticed that when we have new people and STEPHANIE explains a game, she gets questioned and challenged and double-checked a WHOLE LOT more than I do. And it's not because she does a lousy job of explaining - she could explain most of the games we play to Poun (who is six).

The issue is:
I explain game while playing with n00b and Experienced One (XP1). Question comes up. XP1 says one thing. I say another. n00b listens to me, and XP1 usually backs down. Sometimes I need to resort to the rulebook.
Stephie explains game with same two players. Question comes up. XP1 says one thing, Stephie says another. n00b ignores Stephie and goes with XP1. Or n00b listens to Stephie and XP1 argues the point. Stephie frequently has to resort to the rulebook.

What's different? Stephie is just as confident as I am. She knows the game as well as (or, in some cases, better than) I. Why don't they listen to her when they will listen to me?
Jan. 26th, 2006 11:01 pm (UTC)
I've experienced "the experienced one" as well, my gender had little to do with a whole-hearted eagerness to argue.
Jan. 27th, 2006 12:43 am (UTC)
See note above - XP1 is more of a problem because she's female than it is for you or I.

We're really lucky because of the gender mixes of our game nights. Wednesdays nights is usually about one third female. Saturday is usually about fifty-fifty. But it makes incidents like last night more visible (to me, at least) when they do happen.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 27th, 2006 05:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, good heavens, no. Honestly, most of the guys I game with regularly are Good Ones bordering on XP1 (on occasion), and even then, it's nothing I get offended at. It just means that dealing with Skeezes stands out that much more when it does happen (see also the game of Gloom on Wednesday.

So, in conclusion, yes, we can tell when you're looking at our boobs. Y'all don't really have the 'stealth' thing down, sadly. :P
Jan. 27th, 2006 01:02 am (UTC)
Gwarrr. While not really a GwG per se, I experience a similar amount of 'Well, are you sure you did it right?' kind of questioning a lot in my line of work. The other day our receptionist reported a problem to our tech guy and immediately he CCs me, saying 'Urs, did you restart the server?'
Like I go around restarting the server willy-nilly. N00B.
Jan. 27th, 2006 01:10 am (UTC)
Like I go around restarting the server willy-nilly. N00B.
Well? Don't you?
Jan. 27th, 2006 01:16 am (UTC)
Yes. Ten times a day, and five of that before breakfast, just because I like to fuck shit up.
I can't help it- it's the female hormones. They control my every illogical, unreasonable move.
Jan. 27th, 2006 01:29 am (UTC)
This doesn't happen too much at my BGN, right?
Although, we do have a slightly higher ratio of girls to guys than in most game-type situation.

Maybe next week us girls can take over and play all those girly 80s terrible board games... or better yet, make the boys play them while we play the fun stuff.
Jan. 27th, 2006 02:12 am (UTC)
Jan. 27th, 2006 03:48 am (UTC)
The problem is that boobs take awya THEIR brains.
Jan. 27th, 2006 04:20 am (UTC)
I kinda like it when they stare. :-)
Jan. 27th, 2006 08:01 am (UTC)
sounds like it's been brought!
Jan. 27th, 2006 04:10 pm (UTC)
I actually have found my gender matters a lot less in gaming than I thought it would. Maybe it's the group I run in (there are plenty of girl gamers -- maybe even close to 50-50), but I never get anything but Respect.
Jan. 27th, 2006 05:54 pm (UTC)
Usually, that's the case! It means that, when I get no respect (and I mean NONE - these guys I dealt with on Wednesday flat-out argued with me about something stupid, but important to the game, because I was being contradicted by an XP1 who was, unfortunately, DEAD WRONG, and they would not listen), it stands out that much more. Grr, I say.
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