October 17, 2009

Kagematsu: Encouraging Cross-Play

A friend of mine told me about this game a while ago called Kagematsu, which in the rules requires cross play. I think here is the latest website I found for Kagematsu, but on this wordpress blog are rules from 2007, before the game became published.

This game reminded me of the cross-play post I made earlier this week.  In the rules, there is one lone warrior wandering through the village that is played by a woman.  The rest of the characters, regardless of gender, play women who try to get the warrior to defend the village.  The question is why would the creator have the woman play the lone, wandering warrior?

I have a theory.  This game is very dependent on a romance story line, and seeing if that story line succeeds or fails.  Women are generally perceived to be more inclined to romantic notions.  Just think at who the entire romance novel market is geared to, and which gender is expected to like random flowers, chocolates and other similar affections.  Maybe this creator thought it would be easier to get to the love story element of the game if the person being desired really understood what makes a man desirable.

As I said, this is only theory.  I would love to see what you readers think.


  1. I'm thinking the requirement for the Kagematsu (who seems a little like the GM) to be female may be to encourage that player to enact romance tropes rather than wandering hero/adventurer tropes (when have you heard of a male gamer not taking the "the village is under attack!" hook?). Also possibly to avoid sexual harassment issues ("How about a real 'roll in the hay'?") via a little role-reversal.

  2. Hi Sapphire, my name is Danielle and I published Kagematsu. You and Oz are not that far off the original and present intent of the game. The original designer, my good friend SR Knipe (who has the wordpress blog) was starting to consider gender reassignment. Kagematsu was a game to help those trans-gender and cross dressing people learn about being a woman through interaction in the game setting. I was the only woman at the time so I played Kagematsu many times. Sabrina (aka Riz) was kind enough to give me the reigns to finish the game.

    My present purpose is a bit different but has the same intent, beyond playing a pretty fun game. I hope that men who play the game (as women) learn from the Kagematsu player something about what women respond to. The best mechanic, assigning Love or Pity, should make someone realize "wow, none of that stuff I thought was cool got me love". I have found that after playing some games makes me reflect on my life, relationships and how people interact with each other.

    Kagematsu has been refined and completed since Sabrina's wordpress blog. The Confrontation rules never worked perfectly. I have gotten some very good feedback and actual play posts on Story Games and at The Forge.

    I would be open to having some conversation about this post or your cross-play post. I'm also a part of a group of women game designers who teamed up for a GenCon booth. We call ourselves Pirate Jenny.

    Thanks also for posting about the game.
    Sincerely, Danielle

  3. Thanks for all that insight Danielle! I would love to talk about this project further with you, you can email me at d20sapphire@gmail.com

    I'll try to get a copy of the game as soon as I can. :D

  4. I'm all about cross-play, but for the purpose of romance? Meh, that's not what i'm about, and i'm kind of sad that it's assumed that's what women want from a game. Maybe some do, but i would like to think they're creative enough that they don't need something so contrived to get it.

    I think that requiring cross-play is an interesting concept, but pigeon-holing it so specifically to an adventure like this is too stifling, creatively. It sounds like a good story besides though.