Archive for September, 2010

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PAX: You fuckers need to tip

September 11, 2010

Geek Girls Rule, Quoted for Truth:

Here’s the thing. For many of the SF/F cons I’ve worked on, servers will fight over who gets to work that weekend, because we tip well. We know we’ll be back, we know they’ll be slammed and over-worked, so we tip well. Talking to my friend who works one of the coffee shops around the convention center, when it comes to PAX, they fight over who doesn’t have to work PAX, because you guys have given us the reputation of stingy ass mother fuckers. Service industry folks talk, and no one likes PAX because of this.

I was at that little discussion, and basically, when you get the average of 1 tip per 18 customers?

From people who a) flew across the country to b) buy $60 videogames?

To people who are taxed 18% above normal taxes because the state ASSUMES they get tipped every time?

Y’all make me glad I didn’t go to PAX.

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Gamers and Self Segregation

September 10, 2010

On this trip up to Seattle, I had this interesting conversation about roleplaying groups, and the issues of white male self-segregation in roleplaying culture.

For instance, I live in one of the most diverse areas in the US, yet most groups I encounter tend to be all white male, or perhaps with a token person of color and/or woman.

It’s always interesting to see how normalized privilege and racism becomes- that folks need to be educated in the idea that, no, you don’t have to join the Klan and conspire to keep the scary women/colored folks out, but… if your social groups are primarily white men, guess what your game groups will look like? (and what does it say if your social groups exclude 70% of the local human population???)

The other factor which only highlights it more, is that a great number of tabletop gaming is organized via internet these days- the way to find new groups, new players, etc. is all online… what is happening is we’re not talking about an issue of immediate physical circles and odds of finding each other.

We’re talking about the issues of whether the online networking spaces are hostile to women/people of color AND/OR whether the game groups are hostile spaces which quickly shuffle people out.

Hopefully projects like Rpgirl Zine, Able Gamers, Iris Gaming Network, Geek Girls Rule or similar, will be able to break the critical mass necessary for tabletop roleplayers to start building networks of play that don’t have to play with the “Old Boys Club” or deal with the endless bullshit on the general sites.

Or, you know, maybe a major site would consider actually making a safe space. You’d think publishers would at least consider the possibility of tripling your player/customer base worth it, but, as usual, apparently white men’s money is greener or something.

Running a forum is a nightmare, which is the only reason I haven’t seriously looked at doing it myself, though, it is sitting heavy on my mind about this unserved need.

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A little bit of gaming history

September 3, 2010

Theory from the Closet has a podcast with David Wesely, looking at the precursors to roleplaying in the wargaming community. It’s a long listen, but it’s really interesting how much the experience, as gamers, as publishers, reflects later tabletop roleplaying in general.

– That going above small print runs resulted in losing money and having to mulch games rather than pay taxes on the stock.
– The recognition of the social issues driving play, including the dysfunction of folks who are just there to be griefers and not actually play
– Clear hindsight that lack of clear rules makes even getting to play challenging
– Parlor LARPing, non-military goals… very interesting!
– “Referees” being actually a new idea to that scene – that it was, effectively an innovation for the American Wargame crowd outside of military wargames.
– The issues of having someone else publish your game and losing control of the final product

Really neat stuff!