• Digital Publications and Gaming as a Woman

    by  • February 25, 2013 • Essays • 3 Comments

    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.



    Player of games both tabletop and electronic, as well as being a writer. I spend way too much time on the internet, and am most accessible at Google+ and Twitter as @sweetpavement.


    3 Responses to Digital Publications and Gaming as a Woman

    1. avatar
      February 25, 2013 at 16:21

      Is Women in Reassonable Armour active again?

      Another up, on a side note, is custom character sheets. I prefer those, because I can tailor them to my characters’ specific needs, and can update them as often as I like without wear. I’ve been off paper character sheets since … I believe, the mid-late 90s? I used to bring the most current versions of the character in print to sessions and make notes on the sheet more liberally, since I’d edit the parent document after the game and print a new one next time anyway. Makes for better tracking of a character’s development too.

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    2. avatar
      February 25, 2013 at 18:18

      I use my laptop when running a game and I would be lost without it. I keep a spread sheet for combat, another one with a small database of names, never mind the WotC tools like the monster builder. I don’t know if I would have put on the DM hat without this kind of tech. A couple of the guys have character sheets on their tablets.

      Up until now, we were tracking hit points and status effects on mini white boards. This weekend at the mall, I came across this: http://www.brookstone.com/writing-tablet-paperless-environmental-stylus-notes-portable-memos

      If you’re like me and grew up in the late sixties or earle seventies, it’s the next evolution of the old “magic slate” toy, which makes me laugh a bit. If there’s anything left of my tax refund, I’m buying at least one.

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      • avatar
        February 26, 2013 at 13:16

        If your group all has a tablet or laptop at hand, http://www.scriblink.com/ is great for fast maps and keeping track of movement. You can also scan and put an image of a map in as a background if you want, which is really nice to have.

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