As a kid, my tabletops were limited to Monopoly and Clue. My parents kept it simple. Looking back, I appreciate the experience and patience my parents bestowed upon my brother and I. My daughter is coming to the age where I may be able to muster the same amount of patience, but I know the classics won’t pull her interest. Every year Table Top Day comes and goes and even though I plan to attend an event at my LCS, I always forget. Good thing there are plenty of articles in the WWAC tabletops archives to give me a starting point. If you’re a complete newbie, like me, be sure to give them a read. Enjoy!
Diversify Tabletop: Finding Diverse Designers Among the d20s, September 23, 2015
Recently, I noticed a new hashtag pop up on my Twitter feed: #DiversifyTabletop. I took notice because I’ve seen a couple of attempts to make lists of tabletop games made by women, PoC, and members of the LGBTQ community. The assumption is that these type of creators are not as visible as the traditional straight white male designer. There are a lack of resources, promotion, and cultural support for those outside of this mold. Tanya D. and Emily Care Boss are trying to fix that through their initiative “Diversify Tabletop.”
Hi Tanya! Thanks for agreeing to this interview. Could you tell me a little about I Need Diverse Games?
Tanya: So, #INeedDiverseGames started off with a few tweets on October 7, 2015 with that hashtag. Thanks to some friends retweeting, especially Mikki Kendall (@karnythia)—who has over 37K followers—it began to trend on Twitter. From there, I asked folks if I should make a blog, it’s own Twitter, etc. After a resounding “yes,” a community began to form, and because I’m ornery, I used the anger from being harassed as fuel to keep going.
So, now we’re a community with the following as our mission statement; our purpose can be found here.
The Mission of the work done under #INeedDiverseGames:
“INeedDiverseGames via this blog, twitter and other mediums seeks to bring projects, works and research by marginalized folks to light. We also seek to discuss, analyze and critique identity and culture in video games through a multi-faceted lens rooted in intersectionality.”
And Emily! Thanks for talking to me again. Could you tell me a little about OMG – Our Many Games?
Emily: Hi Sarah! Thanks for chatting with us. Our Many Games is a site (in progress!) meant to highlight and promote games by folks from groups often under-represented in game design: people of color, people with disabilities, queer folk, trans designers, and women of all ethnic backgrounds, for example. The site has links to the games and has been focusing so far on games that can be picked up and played easily from the text or that have quick-start rules and maybe a pre-written adventure—things to make it easy for interested GMs and players to get the game off the ground. READ MORE
Winter Break: How to Game with Your Family, December 28, 2015, (can apply to summer break as well!)
Last year I introduced my mother to the wonders of modern board games and it was amazing. Rather than loll about on the couch after consuming way too much turkey, we worked together to stop some diseases threatening to wipe out civilization. And while I haven’t converted her into a full-fledged gamer, you too can reap major benefits by including your relatives in your gaming habits. Here are some tips and tricks to convert the non-gamers in your family:
Tailor it to their interests
I chose Pandemic for my mother because I hoped the medical jargon would remind her of nursing, which she loves. My partner and I bought Ticket to Ride for his father, who used to work for a railroad. With the new popularity of board games out there, you can try to find something to match what they’re interested in. Does your aunt talk about wanting to travel the world someday? Try playing Tokaido. Does your uncle wax nostalgic over playing Dungeons & Dragons as a kid? Introduce him to Dungeon World or Munchkin. Is your Grandma really, really into Game of Thrones? Marvel at her ruthless side by playing the board game.
Only bring games you know really well
I was looking over which games to bring with me, and picked up Apocalypse World, thinking that Mad Max: Fury Road would be just the hook to get some of my relatives to roll some dice with me. Then I pictured the awkwardness of playing a game that has Sex Moves with family members. While that might work for some, I really didn’t want to be part of that conversation. I’m still recovering from explaining some of the terms in Cards Against Humanity to my aunt.
Us tabletop gamers like to make jokes about rules lawyers, but there’s a time and a place to dot every i and cross every t while gaming. Is your very young cousin having more fun pushing your Ogre tanks around the board than planning a long-term strategy? Maybe just go with it and save your finely-tuned military plans for the next game night with your friends. If you have a hard time letting go of the rules, try to pick a game with clear, simple rules that are age appropriate. Hanabi is a elegant game where you try to put together a fireworks display from cards that you hold outwards, so that the other players can see them but you can’t. READ MORE
Scary Times with Dice: 15 Horror Games, October 26, 2015
Halloween is on a Saturday this year, and while some people will don their costumes and head out to the bars, others of us are looking for something a little quieter, but still fun. I’ve reviewed a few creepy games before, but here are fifteen RPGs you can play with friends this Halloween, with options for all levels of familiarity with role playing and levels of horror!
A Little Light Spookiness…
You’re the self-loathing servant of a master villain, who commands you to help his evil plans. Will you resist his evil machinations and join up with the townspeople to destroy him—or will weakness compel you to carry out his vile wishes?
You and your friends can hunt down monsters just like your favorite TV shows! Pick an Archetype, and the Keeper (the person who runs the game) will make a suitable monster for you to fight. Will it be vampires this week? Chupacabras? Play to find out!
Monsters are real—and you’re just a kid! But that doesn’t you’re powerless, as in this game you play children who have the power of Belief, a kind of magic you can use to take down the Monster Under the Bed, the Closet Monster, and more!
Instead of being the kids fighting monsters, in this game you’re the cats protecting your owners from the monsters they can’t see. Intended for adults and children alike, you can play out all your best Cat’s Eye dreams.
Tell your own Lovecraft-inspired story in this GM-less game. Cosmic horror and terrifying elder gods can show up just about anywhere—much to the dismay of your Witness.
While the stories you tell with this GMless game always take a turn for the worse, some of the free playsets are primed for horror. Back to the Old House has a creepy mansion ripe for the haunting, while Salem 1692 reenacts the Salem Witch Trials, and Camp Death brings classic slasher movie elements to your tabletop game. READ MORE