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Gaming Culture

Happy Pride Month, Active Players!

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Happy Pride Month, Active Players!

Happy Pride Month, Active Players!

 Queer representation in the gaming community has always been significant, and in a lot of ways, this seems natural. Like people who are LGBTQ+, people who game feel that they are just outside of society’s “accepted” view (though to our credit this is changing), and gamers find community together through FLGS, online communities, and conventions. And of course, manymany people who game also identify as LGBTQ+, and the combination of these two communities means a safe space for people to be who they are without fear or intimidation. Both communities talk greatly about chosen families, and that really speaks to the depth of love and acceptance we find together. Naturally, with more and more LGBTQ+ individuals not only playing games but making games, we’ve seen an encouraging increase in representation within the games we play.

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RPGs have really been leading the way, with both player characters and NPCs providing a much-needed amount of diversity. Here you can find a list of 50 LGBTQ+ characters in Pathfinder. I recently finished DMing Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and the scripted NPC characters included a gender-neutral elf, a same-sex genasi couple (male in the book, changed to female in my campaign to include more female representation as well), and a trans drow. Both homebrew and official campaigns are becoming more and more inclusive, and as they should be. We’ve got worlds with magic, spaceships, shapeshifters, and fey. It’s not like you can say a queer character would be “unrealistic”. The question that seems to be on people’s minds is “Why not? If being cishet isn’t integral to this character’s story, why not write them as something else?” And in that way we are seeing a wonderful increase in both flat and round characters (“flat” meaning just-here-to-drop-a-quest-and-then-I’m-out, “round” meaning dynamic characters with growth and character arcs) that are just as representative and diverse as the world we live in. 

It is admittedly a bit harder to include LGBTQ+ representation in board games because a lot of times the characters just aren’t as well developed, if they are true “characters” at all. For example, in Hanabi, you play “absent minded firework manufacturers,” but no more is said about your characters, in Tsuro, you’re abstract pieces of stone on a path, and in Sushi Go! you’re just you. There is nowhere to include representation because who you’re playing just isn’t important to the game! But for all of those examples, there are certainly times where character identity is a vital part of the game, giving you different abilities, stats, jobs, etc. Sometimes you get to flesh it out yourself and create your own character, so including representation is easy, like in Betrayal: Legacywhere each game you’re playing another member of a family through generations.  However, there’s no reason that when characters are laid out for you that game developers can’t include LGBTQ+ representation. Like in the original Betrayal at House on the Hill, there could be a mention that Flash Williams has a crush on a boy in his class. I have seen the argument that in Pandemic, the Dispatcher represents a trans person through both the gender-neutral character design and the pink totem matching the shade of pink in the trans flag. Why not? It hurts no one and helps everyone who longs to see themselves represented in the games they play. Fog of Love has two alternate covers for same-sex couples. Sentinels of the Multiverse contain several LGBTQ+ characters, as noted in their bios. We’ve come a long way but we can always go further. It’s up to us as gamers to insist we go further. 

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For more information check out Tabletop Gaymers, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to address homophobia in the tabletop gaming community; I Need Diverse Games, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing awareness to diverse games, game designers, and intersectionality; this list of queer tabletop resources; APN’s feature on the PAX Diversity Lounge that exists at every PAX event and, of course, check with your FLGS to see if they offer any LGBTQ+ game nights or events (and if they don’t you should tell them to).

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Player Character - Mike Fehlauer Hayes

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Player Character - Mike Fehlauer Hayes

Player Character Level 1, Episode 9.

"Gathering around in person - with a table - is humanity. We are a tribal species. We want to gather around that fire."

Meet Mike Fehlauer Hayes, Treasurer of Board of Directors at Child’s Play Charity.

Created by Anne Richmond and Active Player Network

Special Thanks:

  • Mike Fehlauer Hayes

  • Penny Arcade

  • Child's Play

  • PAX

  • The PAX Unplugged Enforcers

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Player Character - Kate Welch

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Player Character - Kate Welch

"Dungeons & Dragons has the best community in gaming." - Kate Welch

Meet Kate Welch - Game Designer on Dungeons & Dragons and Rosie Beestinger on Penny Arcade's Acquisitions Incorporated: The C Team.

Player Character Level 1, Episode 8.

Created by Anne Richmond and Active Player Network

Special Thanks:

  • Penny Arcade

  • The PAX Unplugged Enforcers

  • Elyssa Grant

  • Kate Welch

  • @archimer

  • @iscaneus

  • @kristielpond

  • @maxwellsdeamon

  • @mcboots42

  • @robinachilds

  • @somethinglkthat

  • @thescarletmoth

  • @vonkamelon

  • @wondersanta

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Player Character - Ivan Van Norman

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Player Character - Ivan Van Norman

Meet Ivan Van Norman - Producer/Publisher/Host at Geek & Sundry, Exec. Producer for International Tabletop Day, and Owner of Hunters Entertainment.

Player Character Level 1, Episode 7.

Created by Anne Richmond and Active Player Network

Special Thanks:

  • Ivan Van Norman

  • Geek & Sundry

  • PAX

  • The PAX Unplugged Enforcers

  • GTS Distribution

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Player Character - Kris Straub

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Player Character - Kris Straub

"There are a lot of characters and a lot of ways to exist. I don’t feel like it is a necessary touchstone for every single character to have romance."

Meet Kris Straub - Cartoonist, Animator, and K'thriss Drow'b on Penny Arcade's Acquisitions Incorporated: The C Team.

Player Character Level 1, Episode 6.

Created by Anne Richmond and Active Player Network

Special Thanks:

  • Kris Straub

  • Penny Arcade

  • Elyssa Grant

  • @deggey

  • @brosephene_

  • @dragon_

  • @iscaneus

  • @kristielpond

  • @maxwellsdeamon

  • @tobyricher

  • @wondersanta

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Unpacking the Pathfinder Playtest

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Unpacking the Pathfinder Playtest

The Pathfinder Playtest ended November 18th and according to Paizo Inc., it was huge in terms of the number of players and incredibly useful to the designers!

Jason Bulmahn updated players on the findings from the Playtest and thanked them heartily for their participation in a video missive from the Paizo Studio.. He talked about data, surprises, and even gave a few spoilers as to what the final version of Pathfinder Second Edition will be like. 

The Paizo team was very clear that Pathfinder Second Edition will not be identical to the Playtest. The Playtest made bold choices to test various options and players will absolutely experience the game differently when the Second Edition is released in August.

While still being written, Pathfinder Second Edition will add storytelling flavor and polish, provide a better introduction for new players, include more useful GM tools, do away with magical Resonance, and refine the Proficiency system. All of this moves towards making a game that is easier to learn, faster to play at all levels, providing the depth of character customization that Paizo is lauded for, and giving GMs the tools to tell the stories they want to tell. Getting the rules just right allows players to focus more on the story at gaming table.

Even though the Playtest is at an end, the Pathfinder Playtest books still create a fascinating and challenging adventure - especially for any party who might want to gain an deeper understanding of game design, compare their experience with the final version coming this year, and of course explore the vast World of Golarian. The chapters of the Doomsday Dawn adventure take place in many of the same locations as Pathfinder’s previous Adventure Paths, giving a sampling to new players and a sentimental journey to veterans. Let’s be honest, it’s just plain fun. Reach out to your FLGS to see if they still have copies available!

Paizo has plans to make the buying experience special for customers who plan to buy Pathfinder Second Edition at their favorite local gaming store which they plan to announce in March.

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Sneak Peek! Munchkin: Warhammer 40K

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Sneak Peek! Munchkin: Warhammer 40K

Munchkin: Warhammer 40K is slowly making its way to us, fam! If you have been thirsting for it since it was announced at Gen Con last year, then you’ll be super jealous to know that our friends at Steve Jackson Games gave us a sneak peak at the cards in production.

Don’t stay mad at us though, because we are passing them along to you!

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That being said… this did just arrive on my doorstep.

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So, the green-eyed monster may have returned - and frankly, I understand if it did. The art will delight and tantalize all Warhammer fans and Munchkin fans alike and there are 168 new cards to explore in the box. It comes with a game board as well as a custom six sided die and twelve standies with even more of that classic Munchkin art from John Kovalic.

Dare I open it on APN for all to see? Tell me in the comments if that’s something you’d like to see!

BUT! Don’t let me have all the fun! You should head to your FLGS and preorder because this game will be hitting shelves in March!

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Player Character - Amy T. Falcone

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Player Character - Amy T. Falcone

"It's me taking a really hard look at myself - having self compassion."

Meet Amy T. Falcone, creative streamer, illustrator and Walnut Dankgrass on Penny Arcade's Acquisitions Incorporated: The C Team.

Player Character Level 1, Episode 4.

Created by Anne Richmond and Active Player Network

Special Thanks:

  • Amy T. Falcone

  • Penny Arcade

  • Elyssa Grant

  • PAX Unplugged Enforcers

  • @nurse_normal

  • @iscaneous

  • @becdar

  • @robinachilds

  • @willthecoe

  • @mattwhodraws

  • @elithecartoon

  • @archimer

  • @parsonssi

  • @nanovarose

  • @thatscarletmoth

  • @lady_zel

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Get the Game - Ghostbusters: The Card Game

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Get the Game - Ghostbusters: The Card Game

Get the Game helps you understand games and accessories that are taking the world by storm. Whether you're a gaming veteran, tournament champion, or you've just dipped your toes into tabletop gaming, everyone is welcome to tune in and learn how to craft the play experience that's right for them.

Follow/Subscribe to Active Player Network to make sure you don't miss out on new episodes and game giveaways:
YouTube
Facebook 
Twitter 
Instagram

Host: Anne Richmond
Twitter: @annerichmond
Instagram: @hearthsinger

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Get the Game - Root by Leder Games

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Get the Game - Root by Leder Games

Get the Game helps you understand games and accessories that are taking the world by storm. Whether you're a gaming veteran, tournament champion, or you've just dipped your toes into tabletop gaming, everyone is welcome to tune in and learn how to craft the play experience that's right for them.

Follow/Subscribe to Active Player Network to make sure you don't miss out on new episodes and game giveaways:
YouTube
Facebook 
Twitter 
Instagram

Host: Anne Richmond
Twitter: @annerichmond
Instagram: @hearthsinger

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Get the Game - Ultra Pro Accessory Preview

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Get the Game - Ultra Pro Accessory Preview

We got a sneak peak at some amazing accessories headed to your table from Ultra Pro!

Get the Game helps you understand games and accessories that are taking the world by storm. Whether you're a gaming veteran, tournament champion, or you've just dipped your toes into tabletop gaming, everyone is welcome to tune in and learn how to craft the play experience that's right for them.

Follow/Subscribe to Active Player Network to make sure you don't miss out on new episodes and game giveaways:
YouTube
Facebook 
Twitter 
Instagram

Host: Anne Richmond
Twitter: @annerichmond
Instagram: @hearthsinger

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Get the Game - Architects of the West Kingdom by Renegade Game Studios

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Get the Game - Architects of the West Kingdom by Renegade Game Studios

Check out Architects of the West Kingdom - a new worker placement game for 1-5 players that kicks of the new West Kingdom trilogy from Renegade Game Studios.

Get the Game helps you understand games and accessories that are taking the world by storm. Whether you're a gaming veteran, tournament champion, or you've just dipped your toes into tabletop gaming, everyone is welcome to tune in and learn how to craft the play experience that's right for them.

Other games from Renegade Game Studios:

Gunkimono
Spell Smashers
The Cosmology of Overlight - Shards, Chroma, and Folk
Overlight - Character Creation
Overlight - How to Roll Tests

Follow/Subscribe to Active Player Network to make sure you don't miss out on new episodes and game giveaways:
YouTube
Facebook 
Twitter 
Instagram

Host: Anne Richmond
Twitter: @annerichmond
Instagram: @hearthsinger

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