Ladies of FOW
Ladies of Force of Will
Team BrewHouse is very proud of our stereotype smashing player-base. We have players from all walks of life. In a previous article, we gave you a highlight of our female players. Then we thought, "Why stop there?"
This time we have contacted women outside of our own team. To bring you the insights of women that play the game, no matter the team affiliation. These women are well respected in our game for many reasons. They were also nice enough to respond to my emails. Check out what they had to say:
What got you into card games?: I started playing Magic: the Gathering when I was in college; I just really enjoy the competitive atmosphere of CCGs, and I've since expanded into Pokemon and Force of Will as a result. It allows you to showcase your ability to evaluate cards properly, build and test decks, and play in a stressful environment. I've always been someone who enjoys pushing myself to extremes, so this is no different.
Are you on a team?: Yes! I'm on On Tilt Gaming .
Who is your favorite FoW Ruler?: Pandora of Dark!
Favorite Win: I think my favorite win was Alice, Valkyrie of Fairy Tales/Alice, Saint of Healing (G1/G2) against Blazer in Round 2 of the 2015 WGP. Both games were very tempo-oriented, which is my favorite style of deck. I double Rapid Growth'd a Medusa and Gleipnir'd one of his resonators to force Medusa past Blazer to do exact damage to win the round in Game 2.
Pros and/or Cons to being a woman card player: I think "extra attention" applies to both. Your achievements are recognized more, and you stand out more in the game, but you also deal with unique challenges during matches and outside of tournaments from over-aggressive guys. I've been hit on during matches, treated like an idiot by male opponents, trashed online by guys, been called "eye candy" by a guy sitting next to me at Pokemon Regional, etc. Plus, it's hard to gauge your true skill level, as your name can feel undeservedly propped up by the community if you do well.
Advice to women wanting to get into playing card games: My main advice would be just to ignore other people. I know that kinda sounds harsh, and I don't mean it in the sense of not being part of the community. But entering into a card game means you will likely encounter some of the stuff that I talked about in the previous answer, and you just have to understand that those guys don't matter in the long run. All that matters is how you feel about yourself and your own skill, and also that you are getting something out of the hobby for yourself. At the end of the day, if you are enjoying the game for your own sake, dealing with the extra attention will seem a lot easier.
Where else can we find you: I'm on Facebook (Stephanie Shaw), Twitter (otgsteph) and Reddit (BMRydia), though I rarely use my Twitter. I get notifications from FB and Twitter though, so either one I am reachable at and usually respond within 24 hours.
What got you in to card games? When I was 14, my friends in high school all played Magic the Gathering, and I just became curious and wanted to play with them. I was not an avid gamer prior to that, outside of some casual Dance Dance Revolution.
Are you on a team? Rebirth Games
Who is your favorite FoW ruler? My all time favorite ruler is the original Little Red (Crimson Girl). The artwork is fantastic, and the yellow-brick road deck was very easy to learn and powerful! Right now my favorite ruler is Lumia, the Fated Rebirth, because there are so many different decks you can build with her and be competitive. I should also add that I tend to only play female rulers, because I feel like your ruler can represent you as a player in the game.
Favorite Win: This is difficult to answer. I've been playing cards for so long (13 years), it's hard to remember my favorite win. Recently though, I got to play Zack Tufford for the first time at GP Atlanta. I've always dreaded playing against him because he's a much more accomplished player than me; it's intimidating. I was excited when I beat him, but he's already said a rematch is in order!
Pros of being a female: I get to fill out these sweet interviews (lol). I've been asked to participate in many extracurriculars outside of playing games because I am a woman. Mostly interviews, articles, or feature matches that are meant to promote gender diversity. Also believe it or not, multiple times I've had male opponents allow me to choose if I want to go first without randomly determining (rolling a die for example). It's a weird perk at casuals, but I insist on a die roll at competitive events.
Cons: There are two big "cons" to being a female card player. The first is finding clean bathrooms, which many game stores don't tend to have. (I'm very lucky that my local store has gorgeous bathrooms!) Shout out to Juan's shop Serenity Games for also having clean facilities!
The second "con" is how big of a deal people make out of my gender. You'd think too many people say "oh wow you're a girl gamer" etc but it's actually the opposite. Too many people want to talk about the lack of female gamers, yet no one wants to interview me about just being a player on a well known team. I practice with Ken Tober who has made top 8 at every single GP he's played in, and made top 5 at worlds last year. No one asks me what I've learned from playing with him. When I played Kaijudo, I was 13th in the country, but I was only ever asked what it was like to be the top ranked FEMALE player. People never ask me about my experiences in the game outside of gender roles, and it's very annoying. Those types of questions perpetuate the very issue they are trying to address.
Third con: This one is twofold, and has to do with how other players address gender in card games. This "lack of female gamers" conversation really should be an all-encompassing gender focus. Women are underrepresented in card games, but so are LGBTQ players. Competitive card games is largely dominated by heterosexual males, which results in a lot of dialogue that isn't welcoming to others. I often overhear players referring to each other, or card characters, as "gay" or "homo" in a degrading manner. These words shouldn't be used as slurs when people who identify as gay are sitting at the same table. You don't hear people refer to female characters as "bitches" or "sluts", probably because it is easier to identify female players in the room. I'd like to see a shift in the gaming culture where LGBTQ members are also taken into consideration. If I ever mention to others, "Hey, you shouldn't use those terms", I'm immediately shunned for "not taking a joke" or "being too sensitive". Yet most players understand the importance of treating female players with respect; I don't understand why they can't attribute that to everyone.
Along the same lines, I'm so sick of seeing artwork of women with barely any clothing on. I'm not going to waste time talking about this though, because it is very difficult to understand the frustration if you haven't grown up female. But I have had players ask me why I don't wear low cut shirts, under the idea that I could "distract" my opponent. That's disrespectful to myself and my opponent. My brain is what I use to win, not my breasts. I'd like to see women represented in artwork for the skills their character uses.
Advice to women wanting to get into card games: Don't play YuGiOh. Pokémon is a decent game to learn for beginners. The rules are very easy to grasp, and you won't be overwhelmed by having to play during your turn and your opponent's. If you're a more seasoned gamer that likes a good combination of skill and luck in a card game, I'd recommend Magic the Gathering. That game also has the most players, so you won't have an issue finding a local shop who carries the game. If you're more of a critical thinker who likes problem solving, I'd recommend Force of Will. The mana system places more responsibility on a player than Magic. Last but not least, the draw-upkeep-unrest order adds an extra decision tree. Oh, and don't fall for the sleeves with the pretty pictures. They won't last. Dragonshield mattes are the way to go.
Where else can you find me: Hopefully medical school in the fall. I've been waiting for 7 months to find out if I've gotten in! Fingers are staying crossed.
Aimee Johnson-Price (Simply LaLuna Design)
What got you into card games?: I think it was when I was about 6 years old and I saw the neighborhood boys playing Pokemon and I started asking my mom if I could get some cards if I did chores around the house. So I would always go the extra mile to do my best to clean the house. I was kind of like my mom in a way she was a daughter of a gun collector/dealer, she still collects them to an extent; and now she has a daughter that collects TCG cards, Anime figures, video games, and comics. I don’t think the apple fell far from the tree but she thinks it did.
Are you on a team?: No, not as of currently. I play as a team with my boyfriend and a few friends, but that’s about it.
Who is your favorite FoW Ruler?: Gill Lapis and Alisaris! I can’t pick just one! (I love control decks in general)
Favorite Win: I was using Lapis and siding Dark Alice and was playing locally (When the Grimm Cluster rotated early) and I had made a 5-color Lapis deck. I was playing against a Reflect deck and somehow I managed to get the person completely locked down and pushed all their Lucifers out of the game, so their Celestial Wing Seraph couldn’t call anything out. Plus, Barrier of Shadow was the thing at the time so; they weren’t going to flip anytime soon and pretty much hit my opponent for game. That game took a while... but it was great!!
Pros and/or Cons to being a woman card player: The pros to being a female player… I think it’s easier for you to build a good friendship base with lots of people; but no one really has treated me differently. My gender doesn’t base on how well I play or in some way I can make an advantage, I tend to make my fair share of rookie mistakes and stuff just like any other player. I don’t ever feel like gender is a big thing in a TCG game. The cons… The only con I have is I wish more women would pick up a TCG and join! If you have friends that play, I think you should join! If you have a partner that is totally into TCGs, show interest, it’s the best way to support them and their hobby. Don’t think of TCGs as a man’s thing, anyone should be able to play!
Advice to women wanting to get into playing card games: Don’t be shy, if you ever want to inquire about any TCG, go up and ask! Usually, anyone I’ve ever talked to about any new game has shown me. When I first learned about Force of Will and got my deck where I wanted, I was pretty much immediately adopted in by my locals! Sometimes, if you’re super new and still wanting to learn about TCGs, your local players may just pitch in and give you staple commons and other cards. Don’t have any fear that being a woman will change anything, my locals treats me just like any other TCG player. (Which is a good thing!!)
Where else can we find you: My Art Page - https://www.facebook.com/SimplyLaLuna
What got you into card games?: Matthew Hawkins for FoW, though I had played a few in high school with my friends back home. My husband loves card games, and it was something we could do together.
Are you on a team?: Barcadia—I'm your resident card puller/online inventory/online orders gal.
Who is your favorite FoW Ruler?: Vlad Tepes/Dracula/Mikage (I really, really like the vampire mechanics)
Favorite Win: Blazer Knights, with a flying Arthur for the win. So far my only tournament win.
Pros and/or Cons to being a woman card player: Pros would definitely be the amount of diversity you're exposed to—and women players are so rare that you can pick them out in small handfuls at events. It's nice to be able to chat with them, when you don't always feel like “one of the guys”, so to speak. Cons would also lie across those lines, since this is a male-dominated playerbase. But the majority of the guys I've met have been super awesome to talk to and get to know a little better.
Advice to women wanting to get into playing card games: Start with something you want to work with. If you have prior experience, then look at the game mechanics and go nuts; there are tons of resources out there for decks and the like. If you're brand new, then talk to your LGS and the groups that play there. Associate yourself with online players and the databases, and find something you want to play. I guarantee you, if you like a single card, you can build a deck around it that is playable.
Where else can we find you: You can find me several places, like FB (go via Barcadia's page), Deviantart (nekomida.deviantart.com), and if I'm streaming art, over at Picarto (https://picarto.tv/NekoMida). If you're into BJD's (my particular hobby), you can find me on Den of Angels as NekoMida as well.
Force of Will is a great game and community. The game itself is tactical, fun, and the art is beautiful. The community is welcoming, knowledgeable, and diverse. Although it is male dominated, women are on the rise in card games. Don't be scared if you want to get into Force of Will, or any card game for that matter. Take a chance and have fun!