It seems only fitting that our first blog post for the Ladies is going to highlight games designed by women. Our game day is dedicated to getting women together to game and introduce little girls to gaming while being surrounded by confident women who share the hobby. There are some amazing woman-created games out there. We are going to highlight just a few for you here. Each one is highly recommended and odds are that the games are on one or both of our game shelves.
Qwirkle: Created by Susan McKinley Ross
If you are looking for a great beginners game for families to play together, Qwirkle is it. These colorful shape tiles will earn you points based off of the pattern that you can put together. It is very much like Scrabble. Unlike Scrabble, you can build on other players patterns. If you get the full complement (All the shapes in one color or one shape in all of the colors), you get to say “Qwirkle” and you earn extra points. The person with the most points when the tiles are down wins. It is a fast game and can scratch the gaming itch on a weeknight when there is not time for a long game.
SET: Created by Marsha J. Falco
This was a game we played at our first ELS Game Day at Comicazi. It is a game that is Mensa approved for a reason. It is super complex. Marsha Falco created this game by evolving the coding system she used as a geneticist. There are 81 cards that are varying in four features – colors, symbol, shading and number. The dealer lays down cards until someone sees a set or twelve cards are laid out. The person who sees a set will yell “Set!” and then point out the set. The person with the most sets is the winner.
Candy Land: Created by Elanor Abbott
Everyone remembers the Lollipop Princess right? The history of this game is fascinating. It was created in the 1940’s when polio was widespread in the US. A victim of the disease, Elanor Abbot, was looking for a game that would be a fun way for the children who were sick to pass the time and still be able to use their imaginations. The game that she created is now the gateway board game for 4 year olds. Although a warning to parents everywhere, there is now a “modern” version that has a spinner. If you want the original game that we played as kids, you should look for an edition that says “classic” on it or check the contents list so you are not surprised. In the classic version, you are gingerbread men trying to get to the Candy King’s Castle. The cards indicate the color that the player will move their pawn to. Sometimes, they get a card that has a citizen of Candy Land, which can be great if you are at the beginning and devastating if you are close to the end, because you can go backwards when a character card is pulled. And it hurts. A lot.
Monopoly (AKA The Landlord’s Game): Created by Elizabeth Magie
Monopoly is probably the most infamous game around. Even if you’ve never played it, you know it as the game that breaks relationships, makes families hate each other, and was the inspiration for many a table flip. But what isn’t well known is the fact that it was originally created by a woman! In 1904, Elizabeth Magie created The Landlord’s Game. It was designed as a teaching tool, to show the economic ideas of a man named Henry George (if you’re interested,click the link! Poor Meepline fell into a rabbit hole of reading about it… It was an interesting read, but is definitely off-topic for this!), who had built the foundation of groups that would facilitate women’s suffrage. Speaking of rabbit holes, if you look up Elizabeth Magie herself, she was quite the firecracker, blasting the institution of marriage, auctioning herself off as a “slave,” and fighting tooth and nail for the patent to this very game. The game went through changes and growths to become the game we know today, and in the 1970s, rumors were circulated that it had been created by Charles Darrow, therefore dashing Ms. Magie’s legacy to the rocks.
Jenga: Created by Leslie Scott
Jenga has a newer use in a RPG household as a resolution tower for the RPG Dread. (Lady Diceacorn has several different versions of Jenga to use as Dread towers. Her one of choice is a Haunted Mansion themed Jenga tower.) However, traditional Jenga was created in the 1970’s using children’s blocks. The point of this game is to remove blocks from the tower (using only one hand) without knocking the tower down. The last person to successfully remove a brick wins. This game gets harder and harder as more bricks are removed and placed on the top of the tower.
Eldritch Horror: Created by Nikki Valens and Corey Konieczka
Do you enjoy the works of HP Lovecraft? Are you familiar with Cthulhu saturating our geek culture? Do you wear a hooded robe and chant “Ia! Ia! Cthulhu ftagan” by the light of the blood moon? If yes to any of the above, grab a few friends and a copy of Eldritch Horror! One of several Lovecraftian games produced by Fantasy Flight Games, Eldritch Horror casts you as one of several investigators trying to prevent one of the Elder Gods from rising and destroying the world! Travel the globe looking for clues, fighting cult members and monsters, and solving mysteries to gather the tools you need to end the horrors! The art is gorgeous, the rules are simpler than other Lovecraftian games, and the stories are diverse and entertaining. You either win together, or watch yourselves eaten, driven insane, or utterly destroyed by an Eldritch horror.
No Thank You Evil: Created by Shanna Germain and Monte Cook
No Thank You Evil is great for families who want to start a game group with their kids. This game was created to enhance a child’s creative voice and teaching them about telling a story at a game table. The cool thing about this system is that it can be less complex for children and more complex for an adult. It uses a version of the Cortex system which is used in other Monte Cook Games game lines. This allows the adult to still have the complex game system that they like while the kids have a system that is simpler to begin with. But the best feature is that each player gets a token that says “No Thank You Evil” on it. If the action gets to be too much for a player, it can be turned in and the encounter goes away somehow. The story takes place in Storia – a land that exists in the places behind your bookshelf, in the back of your closet and under your bed. The game sessions are made to not last as long as the normal D&D or Pathfinder game to shorten the time that antsy kids have to be at the table. (They want to play but at the same time they want to dance like a monkey.) The supplements for this game are also extremely fun. There is even a book about being the “narrator” or game master for kids. Check out their extremely fun website (www.nothankyouevil.com) for more information and adorable pictures of kids at the gaming table (and kids behind the screen!). Next month ELS Gameday will be hosting a “Try an RPG Day” and this will be run at least once.
The Romance Trilogy: All three games created by Emily Care Boss
The Romance Trilogy is a group of three games created by Emily Care Boss. Your intrepid Gaming Gurus had the utter delight of hosting Emily at their LadiesCon 2017 table. She has taken the main idea of RPGs and turned it on its head with all of her games. The Romance Trilogy is no exception. The first game in the book, Breaking the Ice, is a simple and lovely game for 2 people (no game master required!). It’s a great way to get to know new friends. You play through the first 3 dates of a couple, and have mishaps and misunderstandings challenge you at several turns. Will your characters be compatible to break through? Or are you playing with a stubborn gamer who refuses to work together, and therefore your relationship fizzles before it flames? There are also several variations after the game, and at the end of the book. Shooting the Moon is for 3 people ideally (you can play with 2, but why would you once you know the concept?) and lets you live out your love triangle fantasies! One of you is the Beloved, and the other two are Suitors (in a 2 player game, you’re both the Suitors) and you play through several Hurdles (or player-facilitated obstacles). Again, there are variations after the game and at the end of the book! The final game, Under My Skin, is for 4-8 players and involves couples, singles, and new relationships budding. It’s slightly more complicated than that, and is an interesting game to play at a small party! This is played a little more like a LARP than a TTRPG in that it involves movement between 2 rooms, and solely character interactions. There are, again, variations to the game. Meepline and her husband have played Breaking The Ice, and it was interesting to re-explore a brand new relationship through the eyes of a long-term committed couple! Check out this and more of Emily’s games at blackandgreengames.com!
(Every month we will tell you about our featured game, which is a game we love that we will highlight at the next ELS game day. Many times, such as this, it will be thematic and seem like it is a part of the post. Other months, this section will be more of a bonus blog.) This month, we will be highlighting one of our absolute favorite games created by a woman. Come try this game (and other great games) at the next ELS Game Day on March 11th from 12-6 PM.
Monarch: Created by Mary Flanagan
Monarch is a new favorite of both Lady Diceacorn and Meepline. It’s a gorgeously illustrated game in which you are 2-4 sisters vying for your mother’s throne! You harvest crops, tax villages, and purchase cards for your court in an effort to gain the most Crowns (points) at the end of the game. For the most part, this is a competitive game, but it has an added mechanic called the Moon Cards. When a Moon Card is drawn, all play stops until it is resolved. Most of these cards will require the sisters to work together to get past the obstacle, and will often reward all the sisters for working together. It’s just like if you really were sisterly rivals; you love each other and work together to a certain extent, but woe to the sister who forgets this is a competition! The point of the game is to fill your Court with 7 cards that will gain you as many points as possible, but watch out for those uninvited guests, like your Boorish Uncle. They don’t count towards your 7 Court cards, but they will provide you with negative points and are difficult to get rid of. Game ends when one sister fills her Court!
At LadiesCon we had the opportunity to meet a 9 year old girl who had created her own game. We are still hoping to try it out at a future game day. It is our wish that the more girls and women see the amazing games that are created by other women they will be inspired to create more fun games that will be played at our tables for years to come.
Until Next time…. May all your hits be crits!