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Saturday 8 October 2016

Will S&W's new Kickstarter Really Bring in Women Gamers to the OSR?

The answer: highly doubtful.

I've already stated that I have no problem with the kickstarter itself, and certainly not with the women who are doing the art/production for it. Even though S&W itself strikes me as a game that really doesn't serve much purpose in the modern OSR.

But if the purported goal was to bring in new women gamers to the OSR, I seriously doubt that will happen. Not really because of the things I mentioned in the former post, but simply because it's a KS project, being pushed largely within OSR circles, for a game that will largely be sold through the KS plus internal sales.

You know, to get new gamers of any sort, male or female, you'd need to be seriously promoting the game to in more public venues.

But couldn't the project itself draw the interest of more women?
Well, in answer to that, I think something should be pointed out:  it was mentioned on theRPGsite thread on this subject, that 29 of the first 30 backers of the S&W project 'to get women interested in the OSR' were MALE backers.

So yeah, this is not very likely to get new women gamers into the OSR.

Meanwhile, I've personally added about a half-dozen women to ranks of OSR-players. How? By running OSR games and welcoming women into my groups, including at gaming events where newbies are present. I've done that mainly with Dark Albion (and a bit of DCC too). I don't think what game you're running matters much, as long as you make it interesting.

But as for publishing? Almost nothing on a small scale will bring in new gamers of any stripe, not in and of itself.

The game that is most likely to bring in new gamers of any kind, including women gamers, continues to be D&D 5e. Mainly because its the one gamers are most likely to encounter.


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  1. I tend to concur. When I run games, they're invariably Old School games, and I've never had a paucity of female players, either in my home campaigns or at convention games. Just don't drive women away from the table by being a jackass, and they'll stay.

  2. Hi RPGPundit, been a reader for a long time and I enjoy your writing a ton. Just wanted to ask, what OSR games do you think are still relevant now in the scene? Especially now that games like 5E aren't alienating people like 4E did. I am genuinely curious and obviously it's in your opinion and all of that jazz, don't want anyone else to misconstrue what I'm asking.

    1. I think that mainly, it's the ones that have some really new and innovative takes on the old-school D&D mechanic (games like LotFP or especially DCC), or games/books that focus on a really different sort of setting (Yoon-Suin, Red Tide, Arrows of Indra, Dark Albion, etc).

    2. Yeah, I can totally see that. Less kitchen-sink types and more settings dominating the field. I know I wanted to check out some books like Perdition that was released recently as well, so I guess the next age really is about creating that interesting setting and then backing it up with rules that communicate those settings in meaningful ways (or not and just releasing mostly a setting book to aid GMs).

      You're either going to become a product like LotFP or DCC at this point or something like Yoon-Suin, Red Tide, etc. in the OSR if you're going to communicate mechanics or settings.

      I wonder how advantageous/disadvantageous newer adventures/generators/settings that don't necessarily fall into the above categories like those of Hydra Cooperative whose adventures are still clinging to Labyrinth Lord versus just flat out supporting 5E or LotFP/DCC/etc. Not that conversions are hard, but the direction of the industry is interesting.

    3. Yes, the "products like LotFP or DCC" are what I call "2nd wave OSR" and stuff like Dark Albion, Yoon-suin etc are what I call "3rd Wave OSR". Those are both the way forward.
      The "1st wave OSR", which are the clones and TSR-derivative modules, are pretty much spent.

  3. the indy crowd and story gamers promoting it too, people i know have done nothing but abused bX style games for years and would never play them

  4. When I run DCC for Goodman Games World Tour about half of my tables are women. I think the post is correct in saying all you have to do is get out in the stores, run games, and be welcoming to both men and women. Incidentally as a result my home game is more women than men players. Even split of genders if you count the GM.