Secret Base Blog

Awesome girl power game design moment - and a plea

My 6 year old son and 9 year old daughter really enjoy playing the Lord of the Rings deck building game. It had been an optimistic hope that there might be another female character beyond Arwen to play as in the next expansion.

It was with great excitement they cracked open the Two Towers expansion one morning while I was waking up. I smiled in deep satisfaction as they did.

And then it all fell apart.

My daughter rushed in weeping inconsolably: "There is no Eowyn!!! I can't play as Eowyn!!! There are no girl characters! Why? Why!?! WHYYYYYYY!?!"

The only feeble answer I had was that maybe she would be in the next expansion where she really kicks some misogynist Nazgul butt. And that the world sucks a bit.

After 5 minutes of alternating fits of explosive fist-pumping-foot-stomping anger and quiet weeping, she disappeared for a little and then came back to me with this card:

eowyn

I am no man
+4 power against Nazgul, otherwise +2 power.

For me this was a moment of elation higher than when I first read that most awesome scene in the book 30 years ago.

I appreciate the game designers might have something up their sleeve for the final expansion. But if a 9 year old girl can solve the problem in 5 minutes, why can't they?

Because they never saw it existed I presume. And that is the issue.

The role of women as consumers, gamers, stereotypes and objects of sales generating desire within the world of digital and tabletop games is a broad issue full of debate.

But here is my plea - when designing your games please consider putting appropriate or strong female characters into your game. And please try to avoid having them in chain mail bikinis. Make them old, make them young, powerful, weak, funny, serious, heroic and villainous, normal and abnormal... just like you do to your male characters. Help create the space for girls in games - thematically and mechanically.

...

This is a repost of my popular thread on Board Game Geek game design forums.

As explained in that thread, Cryptozoic did in fact produce a limited promotional version of Eowyn and have plans to include an Eowyn card as a core starting character in the final expansion for the game. Which is good. Although I still hope future print runs will include copies of Arwen / Eowyn.

eowyn 2

And I managed to get a copy of the Eowyn promo card. 

And we still use a substituted version of my daughter's more powerful version when we play.

 

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Rampaging through stores in early 2016.

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