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Building Diversity at the Grass Roots

So I have a bit of a dream that has been with me for a while. If you hang around this hobby long enough you notice something. More than being dominated by males, it is dominated by males of European descent. In many cases, northern European. The fantasies and the myths of those cultures dominate gaming, especially fantasy gaming the way they dominate fantasy in general.

So it has occurred to me that as we encourage our daughters (and trans daughters) to follow the path of science and math, that we might do something similar with gaming, yet moving beyond gender to include diversity at all levels.

Lots of People Play Games

But the discussion and design are still dominated by a certain class of human being. I cannot change who I am (nor would I), but it occurred to me that not only can the hobby and art of pen n paper role playing be kept alive but it can thrive with a wider audience. So how do we do that?

  • Reaching Kids at the Middle and High School levels.

  • Reach out to parents and kids and teachers to show them how role playing can be a good thing

  • Get established game designers to create settings for a wide variety of cultures and audiences.

  • Low and no cost gaming materials, free to play rules and scenarios, and donations of used or new materials.

  • Work with current diversity movements and organizations

  • Offer Internships to diversity candidates at game design companies.

The Inherent Violence of the RPG

RPGs generally involve violence. They always have. One might call them male power fantasy, but however we define it, there is no doubt its an active and often violent game. I would argue that they should be this as violence in our games, far from leading to more violence may very well lead to less violence. In fact, the games could focus on overcoming violence and finding ways to resolve conflicts in other ways. We can keep a certain level of conflict as a way to teach non violence. It is not impossible to do if we do it right.

I am hoping that 2016 will be the year I can get this off the ground. If you have thoughts I would love o hear them.


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