Card Gaming while Female

The totality of female presence in the Star Wars films. Fortunately there's a few more women in the card game. But only a few.
The totality of female presence in the Star Wars films. Her card is a built-in damsel in distress…

A new article on appeared which is an interview of an experienced tournament-focused woman who plays the Star Wars LCG. It is a very interesting article, which refreshingly gives enough focus onto the gender-shortcoming of the SW card game.  It poses some very good questions on why FFG decided to go exclusively with male pronouns when referring to the human players, and also tells of some personal experiences of treatment of women in male-dominated card game tournament environments.

To be depressingly honest, none of that is surprising in the least. The geek culture is still profoundly misogynistic and even though some progress has been made, we still have a long way to go. In the article itself, male commenters really jumped in to posit that referring to all players as “male-by-default” is the best available options because…historic convenience I guess? It’s the same kind of lazy excuse people make for movies where there’s barely any women around (Incidentally, that very much includes the Star Wars films)  because it’s “more realistic this way”.

Fortunately I got to see the resulting retort.

To bring up fallacy, there are three that we can discuss specifically. The first is the informal fallacy termed the false dilemma, in which a set of options are presented as being collectively exhaustive, when there is at least one other option. As other games have shown, with a little bit of linguistic finesse, the gender issue can be remedied.

But, even granting that those four options were collectively exhaustive, choosing based on previous structure and historical custom presses toward the fallacy of precedent, essentially asserting that nothing should happen for the first time.

Lastly, primarily for fun, is the fallacy fallacy, in which one assumes that, because an argument is fallacious, its conclusion is not true. For example:

P1: Socrates is a man
P2: Socrates is mortal
C1: The sum of the deviation scores about the mean for a given distribution of values will always equal zero

A non sequitur (i.e., the conclusion does not follow from the premises), yet a true and valid conclusion. :)

Just because you find that something was born of fallacy does not render it untrue de ipso facto.

Using a male set of pronouns does indeed have its roots in patriarchal societal structures; this is the reason that we have not traditionally used the female forms as the all encompassing versions. But, language evolves, conventions die, and that type of language is obviously becoming archaic rather quickly. Furthermore, it isn’t about finding the “valid” choice, it is about finding the more inclusive, progressive, and considerate choice, which was not done in the case of the Star Wars LCG. Someone decided to use exclusively male wording for this game, which I think the interviewee found surprising, given her background in Pokemon, MTG, and AGoT, which have all made efforts to avoid that.

Unfortunately that didn’t stop them. so while a very interesting article, it was somewhat soured by the male commenters not missing an opportunity to come and remind us that the patriatchical status quo is really the best.

On a sidenote: Personally I’m quite partial to “they” since it’s small, it fits most situations and you can easily work around the rest. This is also the pronoun I’m predominantly using my OCTGN plugins where humanly possible. It just works without too much hassle and nicely encompasses genderqueer people just as well.

Star Wars: The Card Game LCG on OCTGN

SW:LCG BoxFor the last month or so, I’ve been feverishly working on a OCTGN Plugin for Star Wars: The Card Game, by Fantasy Flight Games and I’ve finally released a polished version that I’m comfortable sharing with the world. So it’s now time to share the news and help people get started in the usual way.

So, Star Wars: The Card Game, is a “Living Card Game” release, much like Android:Netrunner or Warhamer:Invasion and it’s obvious on which theme it’s based on. The game has only gone out to stores this week if I am not mistaken so it’s brand new.

As a game, it is a somewhat asymmetric game, where each side (Light or Dark) has slightly different victory conditions, albeit their core gameplay does not differ all that much. Most of the differentiation happens in the kind of effects each Affiliation focuses on, much like the colours of Magic:The Gathering. I won’t go into much detail here as I’m sure you can find a lot of reviews online if you happen to need them.

I’ve played a dozen games or so by now, and I’m quite liking it. It may not be as deep or thematic as Android:Netrunner, but it has a lot of tough decisions to make and it’s the kind of game that you canot not see its depth of strategy from reading the rulebook and the spoilers, but rather you need to actually get down to the table and get your hands dirty. Even though I seem to completely suck at it (I’ve won 2 games only), it does show a lot of promise.

Game at v1.0.0

So for anyone interested in trying it out, you can now use my polished OCTGN plugin to do so.

EDIT @ 02/07/2013 : I’ve moved the installation instructions on to the dedicated page for this game definition. Please follow the step-by-step installation instructions for Star Wars: The Card Game there.

Once everything is set up, you need to find someone to play with. You can go to the Host/Join tab to see if anyone has a game waiting. If nobody does, host your own and put in the title that you’re a new player.

Once you find someone, one of you hosts and game and the other joins. Leave the two-sided checkbox checked and once the game is started, load your starter decks. Things should be fairly intuitive but keep in mind these basic things in relation to the OCTGN engine plugin.

  • First thing you do after you load a deck is Setup (Ctrl+Shift+S). This will check if your version is up to date, show you the Message of the Day, and also give you some Tips on playing the game.
  • The setup will put 4 objectives in your hand. You need to select one to put to the bottom of your deck. Once you’ve decided which one, simply mouse over it and press “Del”. Now that you have just three objectives in your hand, press Ctrl+Shift+S once more to place them on the table
  • Wait until your opponent has placed their objectives on the table as well and communicate if any of you wants to take a Mulligan. If not, then double-click on your objectives to reveal them and start the game.
  • To move from Phase to Phase and to start/end your turn, simply press Ctrl+Enter. This will automatically trigger any card effects that happen after that phase.
  • To attack an objective, target it and press Ctrl+A (or use the context menu on the table). Now you can assign attackers/defenders.
  • Most actions that you want to do, you can do by double-clicking on a card. The game will intuitively understand what you most likely want to achieve and do it. If you’re in an engagement, double-clicking on a non-participating unit will make it participate (turn it 90 degrees sideways). If a unit is participating, double clicking with it will perform a strike. If you’re trying to pay for a card, double clicking on a resource generating card will focus it to generate resources and so on. Double-Click is your friend.
  • If a card needs a target for its ability, simply use shift+click to target another card before you use it. Shift+Click again to clear a target.

I’ve made a video on how to play. It’s a bit outdated now that the new version is out, but I’ll update it in the near future