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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
White and Nerdy? Yeah, I am.

But things were not always thus. In fact, I remember back in 1999, a guy I worked with asked me out. I said no. It wasn’t because he was a bad guy, or had a huge hunchback or anything. It was because I had heard him say one time that he and his friends played the Star Wars role playing game. I thought, “Oh. My. God. What a dork!!”

In October 2000, I met Jeff. A tall, cute, funny guy and we hit it off right away. About a month later, he told me that he was running a game (Shadowrun) and he HAD to have a 4th player or it just wouldn’t work. Since I had no idea what was involved in these games, I relented. I figured it was just the one night, so it’d be okay. BOY, was I in for a surprise!

So that was my first experience in the world of RPGs. And don’t you think that I enjoyed it right off the bat. I felt nervous each and every session. Not wanting to disappoint Jeff or have the other players thinking I rode the short bus to the game. In fact, it’s only really in about the last 2 years that I’ve begun to actually get in to the roles more. Maybe it’s that I’m more comfortable with my “real life” self.

One of the things that is so great about gaming (both RPGs and minis) is that it is not real life. It is a fantasy. So even though my real life is being a slave to the daily grind of work, dishes, etc, I can be whatever I want in a game. I can be an ass-kickin’, trash-talkin’ so-and-so. I can be a doctor, a space ship pilot, a cop…you name it. And in the minis games, I can shoot yer ass with a cannon or blow you to smithereens with some futuristic weapon of mass destruction. It’s very cathartic.

Now picture it, winter 2003, in Longview, WA. Jeff had purchased a high elf army and we were snowed in. For a week. That was when I started to learn to paint. It was hard and I got frustrated. I painted like a 3rd grader with a roller brush. (As I look back, I see how bad I really was.)

But Jeff was always encouraging me. Telling me I was doing well and it would just take some practice. In truth, we were both fairly new to the painting thing, so we were progressing together.

When we moved back to WI in 2005, we were able to set up a great painting area in our place with all the lighting, brushes, paints etc. We have 2 bookshelves stocked with minis and all the accessories.

One night, Jeff asked if I’d like to go with him when he went to play Mech Warrior with some guys at a local game store. I asked how long the game would be, since it was on a week night. “About an hour” he said. Again, I think I had a sucker stuck to my forehead. Anyway, we went and I got roped into playing. It was mini robots moving across the board, shooting at shit and blowing shit up. I liked the concept. It was me and 5 guys. Sweet. I was a hit and there were several comments to the effect of “I wish my wife/girlfriend” would play. After one particularly successful night of dice rolling on my part, the guys made me a foam tiara that says “dice queen” on it.

*Jeff made me put this part in.* Everywhere we go, I am a rock star. My reputation precedes me that I’m the gamer chick and how lucky Jeff is that his wife plays and paints, etc. He brags about it to anyone who will listen.

It is kinda like that everywhere we go. I’d say easily 90% of the significant others don’t play and/or can’t stand the idea of even trying to play. That really blows my mind.

Jeff and I do everything together. EVERYTHING. There are a lot of times when we will stay home to just do nothing with each other rather than going out with friends. And our idea of nothing is putting a movie on in the background while we work on assembling/painting “little dudes”.

I can’t get my brain around people whose SOs don’t at least give this stuff a try. I know that not everyone can be with their SO 24/7 like Jeff and me. But come on girls, give it a shot. The guys will love you for it!!

For a time, there was a group of us ladies called the Geek Chic Collective who would get together about once a month. We would go shopping, get our nails done, buy dice to match our new nail polish and then go have margaritas. It was awesome! Real life has prevented an outing recently, but all of us are still gaming.

All the games I have played of Warhammer Fantasy or Warhammer 40K have been with the armies that Jeff has. I’ve had a great deal of fun. Jeff is very patient as I try to figure out what each type of guy can do and explains how everything works. I have my own dice – for Warhammer as well as for RPGs. It has now reached the point where I have more dice than Jeff. Wow.

Last week when we were at WH40K league night, I told Jeff that I wanted to get my own army. One that I would assemble, paint and play myself. He was beside himself with excitement and proceeded to tell all the guys there that I was looking through the different types of armies to see which one I wanted for my own. (My precious.)

I decided on Necrons. I love the look of the skeleton/machine combo. They look fierce and they have a bunch of cool stuff for the army like scarabs and the Monoliths. SWEET. So far, I have 40 ‘dudes’, 10 bases of scarabs (4 per base) and 3 destroyers assembled. I have to put together the wraith, the lord and the monolith that I have. And I think from what we were looking at last night, I’ll probably get a couple more wraiths. MWAHAHAHAHA

One night we were at a game store and I picked up the Citadel Foundation Paint set and took it up to the register. We know the owner of the store so I told her it was my birthday to get the special discount. She looked at Jeff and said “Is this what she wants?” Basically stating that the paints were for him and I was just using my birthday to get them cheaper. I guess she couldn’t have known that I had been anxiously awaiting buying those paints for 2 months – ever since I first saw them in the White Dwarf magazine.

That’s another thing. I knew I was a nerd when the White Dwarf is sitting on MY nightstand. And I’m taking notes on which base coats to use and drybrushing and inking…

Boy, how things can change. I guess the gist of this rambling is that I think more women should get involved. Hell, paint a glitter army like my friend Kate wants to do. There is no rule against it that I’m aware of!
 

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Jac "Baneblade" O'Bite
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Chimp you lucky lucky thing. Geekchick you lucky lucky thing. Its great to see a girl who is actually willing to give these sorts of things a try and can actually put the stigmas aside.

Now to see if this little post can get Meg interested hmm. :D
 

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There's no rule if you're not actually willing and wanting to play with it, but good luck finding an opponent.

As for female gamers, especially younger female gamers, there's a mighty gender and clique stereotype against it. For one, the GW game worlds are rather bloodthirsty, masochistic, and stereotypically played by young teenaged males, a group few people who aren't young teenaged males want anything to do with, and something I can hardly blame them for. Secondly, wargames themselves tend to be geared well towards men in particular. There is no greater example than page 5 of the Warmachine rulebook, something so idiotically hypermacho yo'd think it was satire if you hadn't paid for the rulebook it came in. You're going against not just years, decades or centuries but millenia of gender stereotyping, unless you happen to descend from a matriarchal tribe only recently integrated into society as a whole. There aren't many girls who, in my experience, can so casually discard these notions. You got lucky, being with someone who was in general one of the positive role models for fantasy-scifi wargamers, and being with them for a very long time.

Then, you've got the players themselves. They aren't all stereotypical, but a statistically improbable number of them are either screaming thirteen year olds, sixteen year olds with poor social skills, and suspicious adults with neckbeards and poor hygiene. They're probably a quarter of the shop's population, but that's usually more than enough to drive people away who aren't comfortable with these groups. Funnily enough, few girls or women really like spending time around these people, particularly as many of them have hardly talked to a female that wasn't a relative in their lives. Again, they're the minority, but there's enough of them to drive people away. Hell, they're enough to get me only playing in private groups, and I used to know plenty of them.

Finally, you've got the girl's own peers to deal with. For some reason I've never been able to fathom, female social groups, from my perspective, seem to be about as kind, stable and respectful as a U.S. election campaign. Something like being found in a wargaming shop for any reason other than hiding there during a terrorist attack is tantamount to social suicide in more thna a few groups, and even the less bloodthirsty ones will cost you some respect and power. Eventually some people figure out that what the other people think doesn't really matter, but that's almost always too late for them to do anything about it. Once this period passes, the only way I've ever seen an adult female enter the dreaded murk of wargaming is through the cajoling of a significant other. Given the low number of significant others of wargamers and the general malaise associated with wargaming, it's not suprisising how few women you see playing wargames.
 

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Thanks uberschveinen for hitting on every stereotype. Fortunately it's not universal. Of the people we play with, about 12-14 depending on work schedules, we have a couple of the stereotypical game-nerds, the rest are pretty normal people. Ranging in age between 25-50, and in profession from IT professionals, lawyers, an archetect, a day-trader, a customer service agent, a senior project manager at Raven Software and a couple construction workers. About half have kids and can only play alternating weeks due to soccer schedules. Just looking at these folks you'd never know they were gamers except one/ well...two really....and even they are hygenic.

I've traveled across the US and Europe, and played in 4 countries so far. Several Gamesdays and a dozen GenCons and you would be surprised at just how many normal people are there. Regular joes who take baths and get laid on occasion.

It's ironic that some folks, including the popular media tends to focus on the lowest common denominator and claim it to be "the standard".
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Stereotype is a very big problem. When you say "gamer" most people envision exactly what you described. I make it a point to tell people that not all gamers are like that. Then I show them pictures of our friends who are all normal, washed, fun people.

For the violence aspect, that's one part I like. :twisted: Since society tends to frown on just walking around busting a cap in someone's ass that you don't like, you can take that frustration out in a game. Whether it's RPG or minis.

And you really hit the nail on the head about the relationship dynamic in a lot of friendships. I generally break people in to my nerdyness a little at a time. Most "mundanes" as we call them don't get it. (see paragraph 1 of this post). Again, I then explain to them what we do. Some get the SCA and gaming mixed up or put them together which would be a LARP (I'm not into that.)

Once they see it's not of the devil, they usually think it's cool that we paint and make these cool figures. And if they don't accept me for what I am, then they are not my friend.
 

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Grey Knight Converter
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I think a good way to get a female involved is to start with the painting aspect of the hobby. I find that most females get interested based on the painting than pick up the gaming, actually that is true for a lot of males too.

But yeah I guess the problem with image is that the odd or different always gets the spotlight and norm is just blah. So if you talk about gamers, seeing a bunch of normal people playing games isn't interesting, seeing a bunch of fanatics, obsessed strange people playing games is something to talk about and gets people's attention, its a sad state in the world.

PS Geekchic you quote Wash from firefly so you are good in my books haha
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks man. The Firefly/Serenity fans gotta stick together! :clap:
 

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Browncoats get everywhere, don't they?

My girlfriend is a keen collector, painter and, to a slightly lesser extent, gamer. She even loves da Boyz almost as much as I do! It doesn't get much better than that, does it? She's a long way from normal, but you can't have everything, eh?
:mrgreen:

Waaagh da gurlz!
 

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Porn King!!!
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GeekChic said:
Thanks man. The Firefly/Serenity fans gotta stick together! :clap:

Damn right we do! :D



I find that here in my town it is the stereotypical gamer that populates the local store on game night and the more normal folks who play in the more private groups. Unfortunately it is the ones in the store who are the most visible and therefore are defined as the average gamer. As for my wife, I have tried for years to get her interested, even got her to paint a model once but she didn't care for it at all. Any time I mention 40k I see the :roll:
 

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Yeah, same here. I persuaded my 'significant other' to take part in a D&D game I was DMing years ago, but she hated it (maybe I'm just a dull GM); she has never shown the slightest enthusiasm for Warhammer or 40k even when I mention connections with things she does think are cool (I was sure that the fantasy battle zombie pirates, and by extension the potential for chaotically mutated pirates, a few years ago in WD would work... no, look, it's like pirates of the Caribbean, right? Or maybe... Star Wars? Or Doctor Who? Or Zelda?). Nope. Nor did the idea of doing an Empire regiment based on characters from her favourite fantasy books.

Ah well, you can't have everything.

Where would you put it?

:cyclops:
 

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Elchimpster said:
Thanks uberschveinen for hitting on every stereotype.
I would like nothing other than to be able to go to any game store and smile as I realise that not a single person there is even remotely close to a stereotypical wargamer depiction. Unfortunately, I can't. There may not be many of them, but there is a small and very real proportion of wargamers who seem to go out of their way to match themselves to the stereotypes. Not once have I seen a gaming session in which no self-inflicted stereotypes showed up. All it takes is one self-inflicted stereotype backing up a preconception to pretty much render any possibility of a person accepting a different viewpoint of wargamer very, very unlikely.
 

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Not really. As long as we keep harping on the few trolls out there, yeah, we'll never get over it. But the trick is to get people to focus on the vast majority of regular joes out there who play as well, and help remind people that smelly people are in every social group...not just gaming.

We can either accept that gamers are stinky trolls that never get laid, or try and dispel that misconception by showing that the smelly folks are really a minority.

For my part I think it's worth attempting the latter.
 

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Maybe us average people need to stand out more, I should start going to game nights after work in my suit and tie. That might get some attention away from the smelly scruffy people who inhabit the store.

:D
 

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Ehh...my wife will play as long as she plays me. I built her an SOB army but I have to get to painting it.
 

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The other day some friends and I were sitting down to resurrect the magic cards from decades past. My one friend (who got me into warhammer and on that night magic, god bless him) had his girlfriend over and he tried to explain the issue of nerd stereotyping like this: "Sure I do nerdy stuff, but I only do it with people who are really awesome."(simple enough) After playing a game with my girlfriend on my lap and explaining the rules to the both of them, they saw how much fun we were having drinking beers and goofing off around this table of cards and they both decided to play. They really liked it and it was a lot of fun...unfortunately our manly competitiveness with each other took over and they don't play with us very often.

My girlfriend liked playing the white angels deck cause of the artwork (she somewhat of an artist) so I think I'm gonna let her paint my St. Celestine which I converted to look very angelly just for her (she actually asked me if she could). She also loves skulls and her favorite colors are red and black...I think Ill ease her into my sisters of battle army thats painted the classic black armor with red cloth and has Exorcist tanks addorned with the skulls of many heretics.

Moral fo the story...just try to get girly to hang out with your friends and realize they are just cool guys too, and ease them into some of the aspects of the game that deal with things they like by bringing it up casually...unless your friends are the stereotype, then I wish you much luck!

p.s. My friend worked at a wargames store and he does say that the majority of people who are there for more than a quick stop are the stereotypes...also when the staff has to act really excited about everything...its obvious why people are more than hesitant to play games that are deemed nerdy.

pps Just a year ago I was a fine, outstanding jock...now I play warhammer, 40k, magic, World of Warcraft (until it started taking over my life), and my friend (who is unfortunately a stereotypical nerd) and some others are gonna try out D & D. I believe that's just about every corner of the nerd universe. Not that I dont spend about 10 hours a week watching football and play tennis, basketball, football or whatever I can whenever I can.
 

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I was recently introduced to WH40K by some paintball buds, so I went into the GW store to check it out.....

I was very concerned when I first walked into the GW store, it was ALL kids... like the wargames club from school type kids. :shock: Not that I would have a problem playing a game against them or an unbathed drooling nerd...

My issue was I'm 44 and didn't want to look like a dang pedophile pervert hanging out w/ kids, and honestly didn't think they would want to play some "old" guy.. :p

Fortunately the manager told me it was just because of summer vacation and during gaming evenings it is a much older crowd. Also the GW mgr seemed like a cool guy so that eased some of my nerd phobias a little too.
 

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Heh, tis merely curfews and a lack of driving ability that keeps us away at night. Like vampires in reverse.

Way to go on being open minded GeekChic, eliminating ignorance is the first step.
 
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