I have to admit, I love the future I live in. I own a tablet and a smart phone and they’ve become two indispensable tools to me as a gamer in general, and as a woman gamer in specific. I’ve seen a number of conversations where people talk about banning tech at the table, and I can’t really understand that perspective. I couldn’t live without mine.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my collection of dice (seriously, is there any bigger item of gamer crack than dice?) and my thick gaming books. I love my paper character sheets covered in doodles and notes that I don’t even understand any more. I have nostalgia attached to all of those things that will keep them in a fond place in my heart…even as they gather dust on my shelf.
But with my tablet I can carry multiple libraries of game books, including obscure supplements I never know if I’ll need. And I have access to the SRDs (system resource documents) for any system that has one online as long as I have wifi. I have a convenient repository for my sheets so I never have to wonder if I put the right folder in my messenger bag. And I have a dice roller that will auto-calculate my totals across just about any system.
As a gamer, all of these tools are invaluable. But the technology also opens up avenues for me as a woman gamer that I don’t know if the guy gamers I know can fully appreciate.
Now when I need a representation of a woman in reasonable armor to show what my PC looks like, I just tap on a button on the home screen, pull up the tumblr of the same name, pick an avatar, and show it around the table. I’m no longer reliant on a paragraph of exposition and then having to deal with the fact that my mini still has a split bosom breastplate. (Seriously though, how ridiculous and painful do those look?!)
And often when I want to read a game book without having to look at art that doesn’t reflect what I want to see? I can (usually) load up the PDF on my laptop, turn off the art layer, save it again, and send it to my tablet where I don’t have to look at the art anymore. As a bonus, it’s generally faster to search that way!
But probably the number one thing that digital publications and other tech advances have done to make gaming more accessible to me as a woman gamer is connect me with material and women who share this passion of mine. Games written by women (like Emily Care Boss, Filamena Young, Anna Kreider, and Meguey Baker for instance). Women who play games. Community.
And when I have a question about games, about how the rules work or how to calculate a die pool, these women are right there at the touch of a finger to help me out via IM or Hangout. To help me bring other women gamers into the fold, and to introduce new groups of gamers (both men and women) to games that embrace themes and motifs I want to explore.
So sure. You can ask me not to text at the table, and you can ask me not to type in notes (unless I’m the party mapmaker) but you can’t have my tablet or my phone. I won’t leave them in my purse, or at home. They make my experience richer, and that allows me to share that richness with everyone in the game.