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"When Worlds Collaborate: The Style of Early..." Topic

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Tango0121 May 2023 9:06 p.m. PST


"Despite some successes in the contemporary gaming community at creating spaces for diverse players and perspectives, examining the early roots of the tabletop role-playing (TTRPG) game community as a subculture that was dominated by white men provides vital insights into why the community still struggles with issue of race and gender. Placing the origins of these games into the context of the Long Sixties and their aftermath, the early formation of a TTRPG "style" emerged as a site in which players engaged in a form of escapism that provided more control in fictional worlds than the perceived chaos of reality in the late 1970s. Though these fictional worlds may have fulfilled escapist desires, the collaborative nature of TTRPGs solidified an emergent "imagined community" of players who also negotiated significant "real-world" issues within the development of a subcultural style of TTRPGs. 1 Examining early example of race and gender in TTRPGs highlights the inherent biases and some initial attempts to engage with those biases. Using fanzines, personal reflections of my own experience as an African-American gamer since the 1970s, and the game manuals and the ten years of Dragon Magazine as primary sources, this article will argue that there was a distinct subcultural style of TTRPGs that reflected and reinforced white male-dominated boundaries. Furthermore, the collaborative nature of the games allowed for the transfer of biases, while also eventually contributing to a negotiation of homogenic boundaries, permitting some positive changes within the contemporary community, even as some players cling to the ideologies of marginalization present in the foundations of early TTRPGS. The first ten to eleven years of TTRPGS from their inception with Dungeons and Dragons in 1974 offered insights into the influence of the social unrest of the Long Sixties on the development of TTRPG spaces and consequently the influence these early games had on the TTRPGs that followed…"

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rmaker21 May 2023 9:24 p.m. PST

This guy is off base. There were plenty of female RPGers from the get-go. Not one for one, certainly, but there were proportionately many more women in RPG's, especially fantasy, than in wargaming or even (at that time) model railroading.

Gozerius21 May 2023 9:48 p.m. PST

Dominant culture creates games based on said dominant culture's history and folklore that glorify and reinforce superiority of said dominant culture. Who would have thought that was possible?
I wonder if they have these discussions in China? Or Japan? Is Anime racist? After all, the heroes appear to be asian, and the round eyes are often horrible caricatures.

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP22 May 2023 9:00 a.m. PST

So much angst and bashing of a hobby. A lot of noise signifying nothing.

Tango0122 May 2023 3:27 p.m. PST



arthur181523 May 2023 5:28 a.m. PST

Gozerius has the right of it. There is, of course, nothing to stop other cultures from creating games based upon their own history, mythology, attitudes and experiences. If they have not done so, it seems rather mean spirited to complain that they are not represented as they would like in games devised by others.

Mark J Wilson Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2023 2:49 a.m. PST

Interesting that they don't mention figure wargaming in their 'about' section "Scholarship on role-playing games, traditional games (chess, go, backgammon), parlor games, strategy board games, collectible card games, larp and similar material will be the central focus of our journal".

Tango0125 May 2023 3:22 p.m. PST

Good point!


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