September 01, 2009

Welcome to the start of something nerdy.

Hello all!  Welcome to the 20 SIDED WOMEN PROJECT.

So what is this project, you say?  Its simple in concept.  Essentially I don't feel like there is enough  out there about women in the role playing game community.  There are a couple essays here and there, but there hasn't been a real investigation.  So I decided to investigate.

I'm looking for anyone and everyone that has a good amount of experience playing RPGs and have observed women in the community.  This includes women and men.  I'm mainly looking for people who've played for a long time, people who are long time GMs, people who are in the RPG industry either creating games or selling them.

I'm coming into this with no assumptions, no real lead, and just the hope that I can help bring light to something that I'm curious about.  That's all.  

Questions I'm hoping to answer: Do women play RPGs for different reasons than men?  Are women really a minority in the RPG community, or is it merely a perception that we have?  If women are the minority, why is that?  And any other questions that will prop up over time.  

That's the plan, so wish me luck!  If you think of anyone for me to talk to, feel free to shoot me an email at or even talk to me through Gtalk or AIM as d20sapphire.  Meanwhile I'm going to find whoever I think could help me with this, and I hope it works out.


  1. Do you have any specific discovery methods in mind? I have found the inability to reach a really representative portion of any gaming population frustrating when trying to figure out what the collective "they" want.

  2. Well I'm starting out online but also going to go to meet ups in Chicago for RPGers. Also going to stores in person and hoping to be able to talk to people. I have a friend or two I can start interviewing, as well as a couple articles I'm going to review.

    It's not necessarily finding out what "they" want, it's more finding them period, and then hoping they want to talk.

  3. Have you been to Games Plus in Mt. Prospect?
    Good sized game store and there are quite a number of women regulars.

    Most of the women that I game with now are wives to some of the regular guys. But I did have a group that was mostly women at one point.

    As a game designer I would like to find ways to have my product appeal to women more.

  4. I have been to Games Plus and I have to say I have never been there when I haven't been the only woman in the store. Obviously I'm walking in at the wrong time. I'm definitely going to visit them, probably sometime this week, to see if anyone wants to talk about it.

    And I would love to help you broaden the appeal of your games, Tim. Keep up with the blog for one, and also if you ever want to put me on assignment, I could do some freelance work of some sort if you want.

  5. You said you were looking for gamers who've either interacted with or observed women in the hobby. I've been gaming for over twenty-five years, and know nearly as many women that play as men.

    If you're looking for opinions drop me a line! I'd be happy to help arkelias at

  6. In the non-electronic games oriented youth center I volunteered with back in Maine, we definitely saw something in the range of a 20-25% female gamer population. Yet it's worth noting that the girls were a lot more drawn to RPGs specifically than a lot of the boys, at least as newbies to gaming.

    For a while there was a "girl's game" of D&D going on. I'd be interested to hear how that one was, and how it compared to your usual "boys game" :P. Might provide some excellent anecdotal evidence for the question of "what reasons do girls come to gaming, and are they different from boys'?"

    Maybe you should try to start an all-girls game?

  7. I don't know if you've read it, but Dr. Michelle Nephew (of Atlas Games) has a chapter of "Gaming as Culture" that discusses women in gaming.