The Ashes expansions have been really popular! They have sold out twice already in the US (at CoolStuffInc).
This is actually one of the things I bristled about in Munchkin (I agree with the consensus about quality of Munchkin on this site, but it’s popular in my friends group, so I’ve played it a bunch). I can’t quite put my finger on why, but the whole forced gender thing for equipment/elven coercion really bugged me. I guess because it requires the players to declare their gender right off the bat (and treats it as something obvious).
Relevantly to the topic (broad and narrow). I played Tales of the Arabian Nights the other day, and while it was largely a lark, boy is it hetero- and cis- normative as written. The rules have a bonus paragraph explaining how you can only choose the ‘court’ action with people of the opposite sex, and then there’s the whole mess of the ‘sex-change spring’, which gives you the ‘sex-changed’ status, and says you can’t win the game until you change back.
The extra thing that bugs me (but actually is the source of the fix) is that the game goes out of it’s way to tell you that you can use your imagination to fix things. It has a cringeworthy paragraph about how using ‘he’ is simpler, even if you need to do mental gymnastics to fix it when reading, and it asks you to mentally skip over ‘the other’ in the stories, and replace it with the name of the thing you’re encountering. So it encourages you to duck and weave through the narrative it creates, but then tells you fullstop that it can’t be queer and that gender identity is utterly rigid.
Of course, the salvation comes from the fact that it’s super easy to queer the hell out of the game. The courting rule is incredibly ignorable (you can decide who you fancy, and when you want to court) and you can pick whatever you want to be your reaction to the sex change spring. I’m sure as hell not going to stop you winning the game because you look different to how you started…if you’re happy, I’m happy. The game already encourages you to replace pronouns and nouns as suits, so just make the story you want out of it. I was quite happy for MY Scheherazade to get scorned by the enchantress, convert, marry the princess, become the vizier and try to become the king of thieves (failing miserably after a few sad (but occasionally impressive) months at sea.
Ultimately, the game is about stories, and you don’t have a huge amount of control over those stories, but you have control over the story you wrap around those stories, and that’s enough to fix any normative problems, I think.
But yes, each game will now be preceded with a speech about choosing (and later changing your mind) about your gender identity and sexuality (and if everyone decides to be fluid pansexuals, because it’s the best way to minmax? I don’t think I’ll be that bothered!)
@penguin_lx I actually like Munchkin, except for when I hate it, which is often enough. I actually own it myself, I’m staring it down right now, all sitting on my shelf like it was a better game. It’s almost so good that when the flaws rear their ugly heads, it just makes you more angry that it’s not better. Steve Jackson’s gotta rebuild this thing from the ground up. It’s so close!
But yes, that’s also something that really irked me, that gender declaration has a big effect on game play. I get that you can’t equip some types of armor because you’re a dwarf, but why can’t I equip a breast plate because I don’t have large mammaries? I mean it’s not the worst or anything, but if Captain Phasma can wear realistic, sensible (if a bit shiny) armor in SW:TFA I’m pretty sure you should be able to use any equipment that fits. Don’t get me started on how awesome Brienne of Tarth is in her armor. (She’s really awesome).
But, as you said, it’s merely irksome, not a complete deal-breaker.
@Alexava WHAAAAA? I’ve passed it over in the isles of my FLGS a few times, really wanting it but having to flip a coin because of my budget. This is the first time I have heard of that, and retrospectively, it would have made that decision a lot easier. From what you said, house-rules can make an easy workaround, but… I don’t know.
Maybe they’ll fix it in the next ed? I do kind of get that it’s an older game, and we like to just let some things slide because it was a different time when it was made, like forgiving your accidentally racist-if-liberal grandma for occasionally letting a slur out. Because: old people. (Which is ageist, sorry. In my defense my grandma dropped the “N” bomb a couple of times in casual conversation because it wasn’t a big deal in her time, and also “wop,” but we’re of Italian heritage so that’s OK? Maybe? She came here from Italy?)
I don’t know, though, for a game that basically boils down to having a great time with silly ridiculousness and semi-random scenarios, having that in the rules seems seems discordant, even antithetical to the theme.
It’s odd, because I assume the “special armour for women” rules in Munchkin are meant as a parody of fantasy tropes (as a lot of things in Munchkin are), but it doesn’t seem to convey that very well.
Let’s take an example of a card I’m just making up right now (it may actually exist somewhere, Munchkin’s got a lot of expansions). A Seashell Bra piece of equipment! Right out of The Little Mermaid! Surely it would be more fun for a cis straight male to don that particular item, even in a group of straight players!
I do get what you mean, I agree with you 100%: they are meant to be a parody straight out of a Boris Vallejo illustration. But… wouldn’t that be more fun without the gender rules? It indeed does not convey that well.
I think that’s one of Munchkin’s major problems: it doesn’t let the players join in on the joke. Instead of “this is silly, what silly things can you do with it?” it gives you “this is silly, look at this silly picture of it. Now play this vague game while looking at the silly picture.”
If you happen to be playing in a group of people all of the same gender, then choosing the elf becomes quantifiably less valuable (and thus all elven-only equipment less useful). Or, if only one person is of a different gender, then all of a sudden they become the target of all the elven coercion.
Anyway! +20 points to @Alexava for house rules making games less exclusionary!
[Sidebar: I’ve now been watching Vi Hart videos all day because of your link, and it’s glorious. There’s math everywhere!]
Yay! I spent much of this February sick and bedridden with the flu, and YouTube math videos were real comfort watching. At least I got to rediscover Vi Hart. So good.
Those hands, that voice, mathematics… just perfect. Wau.
I really don’t want to fuel more discussion of Munchkin () but have people seen this: https://medium.com/@RedPenOfDoom/my-thoughts-on-the-munchkin-survey-827f7ebcb275#.n94a0krcb They recently did a big player survey, and specifically talk about the gender issues. It’s not the best possible answer, but it’s also more than just lip service (I think).
It’s definitely more than lip service. In fact, it’s pretty awesome. I’ve been a fan of Steve Jackson since… oh heck, I can’t remember. Car Wars?
But yes, I think that survey did a pretty good job. I think Hackard wrote more about that one question than any other one on that survey (I’m not actually going to measure it in inches or word count or anything, because that’s boring).
So yeah, not exactly “problem solved,” but a good, honest response from SJG about gender inclusiveness.
Most of my game group (including myself) are gay men (and women) - theres between 5-10 of us that fairly regularly play (London)
I think we are pretty bad at throwing around terms - I don’t identify with ‘queer’ as a term because i’m pretty boring(!) but i routinely say ‘bender’ ‘breeder’ ‘tranny’ ‘dyke’ etc. and I know that outside our group that may be very insulting to some.
CAH is a total fail with us because we dont like someone else prescribing Lolz. We can be silly and offensive all on our own, its called booze.
News, gaymers! Fucking Pokémon Go… is everyone already done with this yet? It’s 35°c here, it does not influence me to go outdoors at all.
Apparently, the infamous hate group of Westboro Baptist Church is a Pokéstop. Which is kind of hilarious. They even tried to force a meme out of it:
Well, if that wasn’t viral before, it certainly is now. It’s kind of hilarious, but you know there will be people who will use it to fuel the fire.
PS: I’ve been playing Niantic’s Ingress since it was invite-only, and I’m kind of done. In fact, Niantic blatantly reused assets from Ingress to make Pokéstops and other areas of interest. I know this because I submitted a few “portals” in Ingress that are word-for-word, GPS accurate, the same as my submissions that got accepted.
They are very different games, though, Ingress is counter-intuitively both secretive and social. I had enemies that became my irl friends. It even “hooked me up,” in the modern parlance (j/k, we had a lovely intimate relationship. Dating sites have nothing on team-based massive augmented reality games. Eat it, OK Cupid!)
Pokémon Go has a much sillier and individualistic conceit, that does not encourage coordination, or even meeting your foes f2f. The tech is cool and all, but it’s still a generic GPS game with a camera and Pokémon.
And apparently, Jigglypuff hates fags.
That’s a Clefairy, you fool!
I used to do this all the time. My sister, who is also straight and doesn’t-give-a-damn-what-anyone-else-is joined in as well. Our Game of Life couples were always going to be a complete mystery, whatever people came out of the container first. It was fun.
Also, we played like a hundred games and tracked all of our stats, college vs. no college, career and income, number of children, etc., then did a statistical analysis… the only relevant factor is life tiles. Whoever gets more life tiles will win. We were odd preteens.
That’s incredibly nerdy.
Yeah, this was long before the magical board game Renaissance we’re currently living through. We had to do something to make it entertaining…
@MinuteWalt, I never thought we would disagree about something, haha. I’m quite enamoured of Pokemon Go (although I am worried that people are going to start walking into traffic).
I played Ingress until the next set of achievements felt unattainably far away (the jump from level 9 to level 10 feels like an eternity). I only played with a small handful of other people, and never in an organized way, so I wasn’t able to develop an ingress community, which probably colours how I feel about Ingress vs Pokemon Go. What I appreciate most about Pokemon Go is that the game rewards you for just walking around, since the pokemon can pop up anywhere, whereas Ingress is more about the strategy and metagame of efficiently capturing territory. In my mind, Ingress is more about walking to a place and getting a reward when you get there; Pokemon Go is about seeing what you encounter between stops. They’re working on implementing multiplayer things (trading, PvP, multi-user gym battles, etc) and I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop. There’s a little bit of strategy involved in maintaining and training gyms but sadly not enough customizability in terms of individual pokemon.
I thought it made sense that Niantic took its Ingress database and transferred it to Pokemon Go (why build an infrastructure from scratch? and technically it’s their digital property), but I can definitely see how it would be frustrating to have created labours of love to benefit a specific community only to have it taken and repurposed without your permission.
In terms of the Westboro Baptist Church, I do have a little hope for the human race, as the incident that spurred their stream of hateful gifs was a pro-LGBTQ player taking over the gym with an aptly named Clefairy:
Hopefully other pro-LGBTQ users can keep the gym full of well-named pokemon that will give the WBC the finger.
Pokemon Go is bringing people out of their homes and into their local communities. I’ve talked to more random people on the street this past week, excited over having caught a giant digital rat, than I ever did playing Ingress. There are people actually gathering parks now, laying out lure traps and sitting and talking while waiting for pokemon to show up. This even includes local police chatting with civilians and acting like human beings. I’m not saying one game is better than the other, but the fact that Pokemon Go is as widespread as it seems to be gives me a little hope that maybe it can do a little bit to ease the tensions in our communities.