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  1. #1

    Default Women GW gamers?

    From the discussion in

    Why are there so few females playing GW games? I know of seven, including myself, and three of those are friends of mine who became hooked after seeing how much fun I was having, two more are the spouses of members of our games club (they do play in their own right, one started before she met her husband) and the final one is a mid-teen girl who joined our group about 18 months ago. A few other clubs we have contact with claim to have a few female players but we never see or hear from them. I don't recall ever going into a GW store and seeing another girl in there, nor can I recall seeing any girls entered in tournaments that my brothers enter.
    Someone in the above linked thread asked why you didn't see many/any female players, I have a few thoughts on the matter:

    -It isn't considered a feminine hobby. I wouldn't say this is a big factor but it is there.
    -Intimidating. If a girl is interested and she goes to a store/club, what is she met with? Hordes of teenage boys and men. Comments, whispers, looks, stares etc. It can all be very off putting. It isn't so bad if there is a group matriarch to keep things in line, but how common is that?
    -Ego. A lot of boys can act very poorly to a girl entering their previously male-only group. It can make them uncomfortable, the idea of a girl beating them. They can often be extra obnoxious to the girl in a deliberate effort to drive them away. I was once slapped by my opponent during a local tournament match when I beat him (I broke his nose, but I don't go in tournaments anymore).
    -LotR. Our new girl got hooked on the hobby through the LotR system, before moving to WFB before she joined and 40k after. When she told us this a couple of the boys scoffed and one made some comment implying that she was just here because of the films and wasn't a proper gamer.
    -Reverse intimidation. A lot of the boys/men who play GW games are a bit shy. Having a girl in the group can be very intimidating for them, worse if they are pretty. This can also be offputting for the girl if people are too embaressed to talk to her, or worse, fight over here (I've seen it happen). In my personal experience I've found being 6ft tall, and at the risk of sounding conceited, quite pretty really tends to really scare new teenage members.
    -Brand exposure. Girls tend not to discuss things like wargaming amongst themselves, unless you have a family member or close acquaintence playing how likely is the average girl to even hear about GW games, let alone see what they are about and be tempted to try it out?

    What do you think? Are you a girl? Are there girls in your group? Does your wife play? etc. etc.

    I'm sure I've missed out some large points I thought of yesterday... I want to add that I'm not complaining, for the most part. The onl unacceptable behaviour is rude comments and (very rare) violence. The rest is a natural reaction to the presence of (very rare) female gamers. It is a male dominated hobby and I would say 90% of male players are perfectly courteous and friendly, once they get over the initial shock.
    Last edited by eldargal; 08-23-2009 at 10:26 PM.

  2. #2


    We have one in our group, and she's like a sister to all of us (she actually is the sister of two of the guys!). I don't know if she's entered tournaments, but she's fun to play with, plays SoB in 40k and Wood Elfs in WHFB. I think it's a lot of the male dominated universe that 40k is set in that can be off-putting. Couple that with the fact that there are copius amounts of blood and gore in the universe, and it isn't necessarily a "female" oriented hobby.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Canberra, Australia


    This is a really interesting topic. I think the problem is that for whatever reason gaming in general is flooded with teenage boys, and let's face it, teenagers aren't the most stable individuals at the best of times (I certainly wasn't).

    What I can't understand though is the actual hostility females can encounter. My girlfriend and I play Halo on Xbox Live a fair bit (she is much better at it than I am btw), and I have actually seen people be hostile to her as soon as they find out she is female. It's totally bizarre. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it. She never plays with her mike on because as soon as she opens her mouth there is a stunned silence, and then some kid goes "are you a girl?" in a horrified tone of voice. Every time she has spoken during a game she has recieved bad rep/been made an avoided player, and when she doesn't speak has never recieved bad rep.

    What is with that? And Eldargirl I can't believe someone actually physically assaulted you! That is just insane. The number of pudgy gamers who fancy themselves martial arts experts is hilarious too, but that's another story...

    I think with 40k as well the whole background is well... in the grim darkness of the far future there is only WAR pretty much says it all. Gender roles are very real in society even if individuals can and do ignore them, and girls aren;t exactly encouraged to be interested in that sort of thing. Honestly, if you're a teenager and none of your mates care about something, why would you?

  4. #4



    I think all of your points hit it right on the head to be honest but it has one running theme within all of your points.

    I think its maturity in the hobby to be honest. There are all different types of people that join and love to play this hobby and after judging this weekend at Bols con I noticed the level of maturity of players overall on every scale. A lot of the people were great and very mature but you could notice some people were less mature then others.

    Players handled a lot of things different and just their mannerisms from people approaching others and discussions just to how they treated other people. The Gaming group is usually targeted to a male group from 18-35 in the demographic area and that is one thing that is a common theme or factor is maturity.

    Now, I think it would probably be better in a one on one scenario but as you add more people in the group the social dynamics change and I have seen it in gaming groups exactly what you talk about. I guess it reminds me of my days in Middle school growing up and the boys were more afraid of the girls at the yearly dance and everyone were wall flowers.

    I wish my girlfriend would love to play this hobby but she doesn't want to nor does she understand it and I am sure Goatboy could write 30 pages on how she is the devil. :P

    All in all I wish there were more women people in this hobby and it was more diverse as it would bring more to the hobby. As it seems there are plenty of female miniature painters who just clean up on awards yearly at all types of events .

    Please excuse Grammer and spelling as after Bols con I am exhausted.

  5. #5


    I think I'm fortunate in that all but one of our core gaming group is adults, and the teenager (he's 17) is incredibly well adjusted and sensible, and so these have never really been issues for us. We've actually tried to encourage females to get in to the hobby--it always starts with the good ole Sisters of Battle!

  6. #6


    Thanks for the replies.
    Wittdooley, it is nice to hear that. I sometimes feel like I have an extra 30 brothers in the group. It really is so much easier toget into the game, and join a group, if you have brothers you can tag along with.

    Darkwynn, maturity is the key, which actually reminds me of an interesting thing in our group. Most of the girls/women have tended to go towards WFB, I think only three of us including myself regularly play 40k, and part of that is that most of the teenage boys tend to gravitate to 40k rather than WF. I'm not making generalisations about 40k or WFB players, this is just an observation from my group. As they mature they tend toget into WFB as well. On any given night we might have 6 girls clustered around some of the fantasy tables with a few men while there will be 10-20 boys/men in the 40k side of the hall depending on turn out.

    Kahoolin, to his credit he did write me a letter of apology (unprompted, passed to me through the tournament organisers) and sent me one hundred pounds with it.
    Sisters of Battle are certainly an asset, which is one reason why I would like to see more female figures in the GW range. Even just the option of a female leader for most armies (bar SM and those races without girls obviously) I think would help get more girls into the hobby.

  7. #7


    I'm shocked that someone hit you, even barring the "Don't hit girls" chivalry standard, it's just f***ed up to hit anyone. Props to you for breaking his nose

    I must say that I suffer from the reverse intimidation thought. I have trouble telling people, let alone girls, about 40k in fear of being mocked for enjoying a traditionally "nerdy" hobby. Guess I am just wimpy... I blame teenager...ness....

    Anyway, I think it would be awesome to see a girl playing any GW game. As I said in the "Worst gamers" thread, it would add variety to just playing against a guy, which are fine, but it would still be nice to play a girl. As far as painting competitons go, they always seem to have the better painted models too.

    So... if anyone reading this is a girl... or guy... that lives in Ventura County, CA, let me know, maybe we can game sometime.
    "All power... demands sacrifice..." ~ Sindri Myr

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Perth, Australia


    I'm another of the rare female gamers, and I have had a few issues.

    I started with merely painting some of my friend's fantasy models and helping make terrain back in high school, and adjudicating matches. I didn't have much interest in Warhammer or the money required to play the hobby back then, and when I left school forgot all about it. Interestingly, I was the only girl even part of that group and was rarely seen as 'female' (I got invited to the boys only Leavers party; when I pointed out that I was female, they said 'but you're not like them, you're one of us'. I'm not sure if that is a compliment or not.)

    I took up 40k last year after being introduced to the local gaming store by a friend, poking around at the fluff for a while, and deciding that Dark Eldar really appealed to me. It helped that in the beginning, I only ever went in in the company of two close male friends. Having perfected a death glare helped with the inevitable comments about being a girl. I've only had one guy try telling me that I shouldn't be in the store because of my gender, and he shoved me in the shoulder and said some rather uncomplimentary things, so I flattened him. This was the only time I've had major issues. By now, I'm considered a regular and the other mostly male regulars don't bat an eyelid.

    It may also have helped that one of the uh, 'more mature' age-wise players is also a female, and that she is the local WHFB champion. It'd hard to claim that girls can't play if her skaven win tournaments regularly, and most teenage males don't claim a female won by sexual wiles if said female is as old as their mother. >.>
    Kabal of Venomed Dreams

  9. #9


    I have only ever a girl twice at two different stores (one i say at both) and she scared me. besides the fact that she was actually in a GW store,but she looked a bit... well... abnormal. the other was only ever painting, she was there for ever just painting the Balrog in Ice colours. But seriously, if i was to game against a girl i wouldn't demoralize her, i have a few friends at school who are girls (Mind you their obsessions scare me, i never looked at My chemical romance the same way ever since, and i'm sure my 40k obsession scare them) they seriously deserve respect, i'm 14 now, and do not criticize women unless they are REALLY freaking me out. but i don't understand why more aren't in the hobby. Wasn't the sisters introduced to get girls into the hobby? what about our Eldar friends? half of them are probably female to let more women into the hobby.
    Warhammer 4o'ooo Fanon (A.K.A Fan Fiction),000_Wiki

  10. #10


    You have neglected a key element of the gaming world: escapism.

    I can't tell you how many of us go play these games for the very reason than to escape the female oppression in our lives and relationships. Myself included. My last girlfriend hated the game, hated how much I liked it (and often accused me of liking it more than her because I discussed it with my friends, or would not leave in the middle of games to go sit in my car outside her house with her doing nothing, etc). She hated that I did it at all and found it hugely annoying.

    This always bothered me, and I have noticed many other men in the same position.

    The groups I play 40K with have guys who often can't come because their wives/girlfriends gave them a hard time. We meet once a week on Sunday afternoons and the place we play closes early, guaranteeing everyone will be out and off to do whatever other things they need to without a hitch (i.e. there is never a "sorry honey the game ran later than expected..." situation at our club). Yet still many times I have heard people arguing with their significant others.

    A while back on Warseer, a short film illustrating this conundrum was posted. In it, a fellow had a new girlfriend stay over and the next day he had a game scheduled with a friend, and so told her he had to go do something. When the girl demanded to know what (thinking it was another woman), he told her about the game, trying to approach it from an artistic point of view. The girl was appalled and dumped him on the spot, storming off, fuming that he was so immature as to put "some stupid game" before her. As the character in the film put it, she was even more angry than if it HAD been another woman.

    Later in the film he gets a second chance, but is nearing the end of a rough game when the girl calls him. He is glad she decided to call him and immediately accepts her offer to get together than night, but tells her he just needs to finish his game. She snaps.

    The end?

    This kind of crap has been witnessed by me so many times it makes my head spin. One guy I knew had a very oppressive psycho girlfriend who actually became a member of the club he played at and bought an army just so she could follow him there and harass him with odd tasks and requests.

    I know of one guy who got utterly ruined at a tournament because his wife called and yelled at him so much that he was spending the day playing with his "stupid toys" that he often skipped entire phases of the game and stayed away from the table (so as to calm her down, as hearing him rolling dice or in proximity to a game while she was berating him would have just infuriated her further). His partner ditched him and he was subsequently forcibly disqualified from participating further.

    There is a regular at my club now who often stipulates his scheduled games with "if my wife says its okay." Needless to say...he is often not there.

    Another person I know lives with his girlfriend, and she forces him to hide all of his warhammer paint and models under their bed because she doesn't want them out where anyone might see them, as she's horribly embarrassed. She doesn't let him paint, and he has to buy parts for the game in cash because she handles their banking and has threatened to walk out on their month-to-month lease for their apartment if she catches him buying the stuff. She is a friend of a friend and is unaware I too play this type of game, and so I have often overheard her talking to her girlfriends about it. "He's such an idiot. I don't know when he's going to grow up and stop playing with toys."

    Trust me you haven't felt true insult until you hear your favorite pastime described to a group of women as "it's like some big gay board game, kinda, except with a bunch of creepy old perverts around the board trying to get little kids to play with them."

    I know of many people who have been flat-out broken up with once their women found out that they play the game. I know of even more who are still together but the 40k player was forced to sell or renounce his army in order to do so.

    Another fellow I know only comes every other weekend, because his wife gets angry at him if he goes more than twice a month.

    For every female who understands and wishes to participate in this hobby, this game...there are 1000 more who try to crush it from existence and villify us for enjoying it. You've come up with many reasons why a woman might not be comfortable in the gamer environment...but for me it is the opposite. I think the gamer environment is just uncomfortable with one of its most deadly natural predators hanging about.

    The number one reason people quit and swear off Warhammer is for the sake of a relationship. Even my last girlfriend of three years, who I was going to propose to, in the midst of breaking up with me said "...and you always are so excited about that stupid game!"

    That isn't to say females aren't welcome in the Warhammer world. I for one have found the women I've seen around to be both incredible natural painters and pretty decent tacticians, for what it's worth. But like I said before...for every 1 of them...there are 1000 others who aren't so fond of the hobby...

    You'd be welcome at my club anytime, but ultimately, I have to point out that I am a very prejudicial person, and even if you were the coolest warhammer player allive and one of the nicest or hottest girls in general, it wouldn't change my perception that female domineering is the number one killer of 40K enjoyment in my entire time being involved with the hobby.

    So really I think you are unfortunately caught between these two polar shifts. On one side there are just dweeb-type dudes and pimply teenagers who are just terrified of a woman to begin with; on the other side you have people like me, where I have witnessed any woman within three degrees of separation from this game vocalize nothing but a desire to see it and its players wiped from existence.

    Simply put: a rock and a hard place. It's a shame, but it is true, and in part it is (at least in my experience) the female community's disdain for their mens' hobby that breeds the contention. It's like a bar, sort of; it's a place where a guy can vent about his wife/girlfriend, and where he can take out his frustrations with a few dice rolls and some imagination. You throw a female in there, and all of a sudden you've got one of the proverbial enemy in your midst. It is not always just uncomfortable for the female (though I personally am very comfortable, and would be happy to play a female player!).

    I have to say, it is a real shame to see so many female players being shunned (and so rudely!! How dare people shove a woman over a game?!). What with the horror stories I've told, people ought to realize that any time a woman is brave enough to walk into this world it is a victory for the hobby, not a weakness.


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