Studio Musings

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Girls Rule, Especially at Geek Girl Con

This weekend I took a side trip out of the regular world into the wonderful, amazing, zany world of Geek Girl Con.  A world of games, science, imagination and fun where women took center stage for a change. 

Panels ran the gamut from sneak peaks and hosted play for upcoming games, to in-depth looks at the demographics of various genres fan bases and their actual representation therein, to DIY science and art projects, to a panel on building realistic fake languages and hardcore STEM panels such as Droid Building 101: Build Your Own Astromech and Build Your Own 2G Phone With that last one, the first 20 participants participated in the workshop, everyone else was welcome to simply listen in. 

For myself, I ended up skipping most of the hardcore panels this time and settled into a schedule of make-and-takes and games, including a group story building workshop. 

Saturday opened with a little Betrayal at Baldur's Gate
Betrayal at Baldur's Gate starts as a territory exploration game.  You and your fellow explorers build the board a tile at a time, gathering loot, battling monsters and uncovering periodic mysteries as you go.  Until the game suddenly turns into a pitched battle or adventure game, where your party must learn to work together to defeat the threat.  Worse, it may turn out that one of your party members is a betrayer, in which case you must defeat them to win the game. 

The designers at Avalon Hill have written 50 different scenarios for the second half of the game - circumstances within the game determine which one you will face.  As far as I could tell, every table in the room was faced with a different scenario, which makes for great replay value. 

I was the only one at our table who hadn't played the earlier version, Betrayal at House on the Hill (totally non-D&D). We encountered a pve (player vs environment) scenario.  We lost spectacularly, but it was still a lot of fun.   If you're a long-time D&D fan, the game has the right feel.  If you've never played D&D before, it's a fun adventure game (according to tablemates who fell into this category).

D&D Dinosaur Races with the Adventurers' League
My appetite whetted for some real D&D, I stuck around to play a new adventure from Wizard's of the CoastsTombs of Annihilation.  Wizard's hosted a hands-on game.  Totally unexpected, they gave each of us participating a dice bag with dice.  At the end of the game, they surprised us again with free minies - we each received a random 4pack!   

Sunday, I joined the local branch of the Adventurer's League for another scenario.  My fellow players were a mom who'd never played before and a passel of tween girls who'd played for the first time the day before.  This time we got to go to the Dinosaur Races!  Complete with cool maps and minis perched on dinosaurs. 

I've also learned there are sort of two different organized, drop-in D&D groups around here - the Adventurers' League and Pathfinders.  I'm such a geek!

But enough gaming, I did attend a few panels, too.

The Force is Female panel speakers
My favorite thing, hands down, about all of the panels I attended?  The speakers were predominantly women, unlike most other cons I've attended where at best there's a token female panelist.

a photo from a PAX 2017 panel for comparison
Back to the GeekGirl panel, I fear that I didn't stay through the full talk.  I discovered I was no where near a hard-core enough fan.  I hadn't watched any of the auxiliary series they referenced and couldn't begin to match their level of analysis of the source base as they referred to characters and scenarios with which I am wholly unfamiliar.   

Even still, much of what they said resonated with me.  One of the panelists also happened to be an engineer.  She noted that in one scene (I think from Rogue One), there's a call for engineers and a bunch of guys come running.  Her question, 'Where are the women engineers?'  I had noticed this too; that while the new movies were getting better about female leads, they still had a long way to go including women in bit roles outside of female stereotypes. 

Speaking of Star Wars, I happened upon these wandering the halls:

Daleks and Droids wandering the halls
And I learned a few new crafting techniques, including a great one for making quick, inexpensive masks.

My mask is lower left, but other participants let me photograph theirs

My mask, at the lower left, is unpainted.  The woman who made the black one in the upper left corner designed hers to fit over her glasses!  How cool is that?  These were all made using tinfoil and masking tape, that's all except for the paint.  

Moro and San from Princess Mononoke
I'd say at least half of the attendees showed up in costume.  Many were of their favorite characters, like this fantastic duo from Princess Mononoke, but just as many were their own original designs.  I  wish I'd taken a photo of the member of the Women's Badminton Protection League, dressed in slightly steampunk, but very proper Victorian attire complete with a spiked badmitton racket and shuttlecock 'grenade'.  Instead, I was focused on taking a photo of the band playing just outside the windows.

Band busking just outside the conference center
Equally cool were the men who attended the con.  Men of all ages; fathers, brothers, sons, boyfriends and friends of women.  Having a blast.  I'd say the male to female ratio was the opposite of other cons I've attended such as PAX.  A refreshing change.  The con also seemed much more relaxed.   I kept finding myself wishing my sister and her boys were in Seattle - there were so many panels and workshops that seemed perfect for one or another of them.