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Town and City sculpts

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Bunston
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Foote wrote:

My honest opinion is that, given the context of the game, I do not see a significant need to include 2 different gender-based invader sculpts/pieces outside of just doing it for the sheer sake of doing it.

I think the general concencus was to make the invaders gender neutral, either as sexually ambiguous people or just using a symbol like a flag. I think most people would agree that having two different invaders, one male and one female, would be needlessly expensive for the developers. Also, this doesn't even solve the problem as there are a good number of people who don't identify as either male or female.

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I have been considering a thought in a similar vein, which is: How does one avoid running into "noble savage" stereotypes for the Dahan? The choice to couple them to nature spirits seems like it might be headed toward that direction. (An alternative might have been to have them re-appropriate Invader technology, something analogous to King Philip's War in North America.)

Fundamentally, I do think this game is coming at settlement from a different a fun angle. I think it's great to be fighting back against invading colonists, and it's wonderful that the game's mere existence has me thinking about these complex issues. I'm kind of curious how the game development handled this sort of thing, if at all.

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So, people are really good at pattern recognition and particularly good at internalizing patterns without thinking about it. This isn't about: what sorts of folks are the invaders? are they treating each other well? should we like them for it? In my mind, it's much more visceral. It's about seeing: all of these explorers are men; therefore explorers are only men. If attention isn't drawn to it as an issue, it probably doesn't even enter the realm of critical thought for most people and so it passively perpetuates an undesirable pattern. In this case, I don't think the complaint is so much that anyone is actively saying that women can't be explorers, but that men shouldn't always be the default and women only incorporated when it serves the theme or some other purpose.

What can we do about it? Here are a few options:

  1. Nothing. Leave all the explorers as men.
  2. Turn it on its head: make all of the explorers women
  3. Be more inclusive: make multiple explorer sculpts - some men and some women (this means more cost and lead time)
  4. Remove unnecessary details: make all of the explorers gender-neutral humans; gender isn't critical to the role that explorers play
  5. Get more abstract: make all of the explorers non-human symbols (just as Towns, Cities, Dahan, and Spirit Presence are)

I lean towards #5 because it feels more consistent with the other pieces in the game. Also, if there's ever an expansion where aliens are invading, you don't need a new set of explorer greys.

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Bunston wrote:
Foote wrote:
My honest opinion is that, given the context of the game, I do not see a significant need to include 2 different gender-based invader sculpts/pieces outside of just doing it for the sheer sake of doing it.

 

I think the general concencus was to make the invaders gender neutral, either as sexually ambiguous people or just using a symbol like a flag. I think most people would agree that having two different invaders, one male and one female, would be needlessly expensive for the developers. Also, this doesn't even solve the problem as there are a good number of people who don't identify as either male or female.

I said in an edit to my post that I don't see gender-neutral pieces being an issue and could be a way to please all sides easily. 

But I also quite firmly believe that if the designer wants to create a world of his own where their antagonistic invaders don't share the same gender-equality views as we expect in our own real-world society that the designer should have the right to do so without accusations of being a sexist pig. That's where my disconnect with this whole conversations lays I guess. I'm all down with equal and positive representations of women. It's one of the reasons why I loved SotM from the very first printing. But I don't think it demands to be shoehorned in at the expense of world building (if in fact that is the world in which the designer is envisioning).

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Foote wrote:

I said in an edit to my post that I don't see gender-neutral pieces being an issue and could be a way to please all sides easily. 

Ah, you must have been editing while I was responding. We agree on this then.

 

Foote wrote:

But I also quite firmly believe that if the designer wants to create a world of his own where their antagonistic invaders don't share the same gender-equality views as we expect in our own real-world society that the designer should have the right to do so without accusations of being a sexist pig. That's where my disconnect with this whole conversations lays I guess.

Overall, I do agree with you. However in this specific scenario, I don't think the designers are really trying to give us insight into the political/social views of the invaders. We (as the spirits) seem to just think "They are here and I want them gone." So in that sense I don't think that changing the figures from masculine explorers to either gender neutral explorers or a symbol really affects the game world that much. I also don't think anyone here was accusing the designer(s) of being sexist, but perhaps you were speaking generally or hyperbolically.

 

Like I said, we (and it seems most people in this thread) seem to agree with the general statement "I would either be for or indifferent to the concept of gender neutral explorer pieces." Hopefully I'm not putting words in the mouths of the designer(s) or those commenting in this thread.

 

EDIT: Oops, forgot to spellcheck.

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Foote wrote:

@SilverleafHaving the evil invaders and main antagonists of the game be explicitly sensitive to gender equality amongst their exploration parties seems downright strange to me. Why must I be forced to sympathise with this group I am trying to battle against? Why can't we just say "hey, these guys..ermm...I mean, these people, are discriminatory against women and trying to take over our land. BLAST THEM WITH FIRE". To me that sounds both satisfying and rewarding in the same way that shooting/killing nazis in Wolfienstien is satisfying.

I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at here because I'm very tired right now, but I'm pretty sure I didn't ask that the invaders themselves be any more sensitive to gender equality than real world explorers have been (and historically, at least some explorers were women).

It's not even about sympathising with the invaders. It's about the implied message that "explorers are male, explorers are only male, and only males can be explorers" that sqgl was talking about.

If the sculpts are neutral you can imagine them however you want personally, but the game avoids the stereotyping. Win-win.


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Bunston wrote:

 I also don't think anyone here was accusing the designer(s) of being sexist, but perhaps you were speaking generally or hyperbolically. 

No I was very much speaking hyperbolically.

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Foote wrote:
Bunston wrote:
Foote wrote:
My honest opinion is that, given the context of the game, I do not see a significant need to include 2 different gender-based invader sculpts/pieces outside of just doing it for the sheer sake of doing it. 

I think the general concencus was to make the invaders gender neutral, either as sexually ambiguous people or just using a symbol like a flag. I think most people would agree that having two different invaders, one male and one female, would be needlessly expensive for the developers. Also, this doesn't even solve the problem as there are a good number of people who don't identify as either male or female.

I said in an edit to my post that I don't see gender-neutral pieces being an issue and could be a way to please all sides easily. But I also quite firmly believe that if the designer wants to create a world of his own where their antagonistic invaders don't share the same gender-equality views as we expect in our own real-world society that the designer should have the right to do so without accusations of being a sexist pig. That's where my disconnect with this whole conversations lays I guess. I'm all down with equal and positive representations of women. It's one of the reasons why I loved SotM from the very first printing. But I don't think it demands to be shoehorned in at the expense of world building (if in fact that is the world in which the designer is envisioning).

Unless there's some special undisclosed reason why all the explorers in a fantasy world are male, I do think it's sexist to make all explorers male.

If it was a game about a men's prison, I'd be totally good with all male characters. If it was about the future society that John Wyndham set a short story in where all the men died of some disease, I'd expect to see all females characters. Unless there's some specific and relevant reason for every single character to be the same gender, I'd be complaining.

I don't see that "all explorers are male" makes the world any richer or the story any more interesting - quite the opposite, in fact.

And I'm also not buying the "designers should be able to create unequal worlds without criticism because it's their vision" argument. Sure, create what you want for your own pleasure, no-one's stopping you doing that. But as soon as you release something into the public domain you should expect criticism if what you've created perpetuates a stereotype for basically no good reason other than "this is what my world is like". If I published a novel where every thief was black and all black people were thieves I would quite rightly be called out on it, unless that was the context of the actual theme of the story and relevant to the plot.  Being an artist shouldn't excuse you from criticism.


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Also my favourite ridiculous KS comment is now the one where having gender neutral sculpts equals being excited about being able to be violent to woman and eat babies.


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Silverleaf wrote:

Also my favourite ridiculous KS comment is now the one where having gender neutral sculpts equals being excited about being able to be violent to woman and eat babies.

How is that rediculous? Makes perfect sense to me (just to be safe, yes I'm being sarcastic).

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Silverleaf wrote:

And I'm also not buying the "designers should be able to create unequal worlds without criticism because it's their vision" argument. Sure, create what you want for your own pleasure, no-one's stopping you doing that. But as soon as you release something into the public domain you should expect criticism if what you've created perpetuates a stereotype for basically no good reason other than "this is what my world is like". If I published a novel where every thief was black and all black people were thieves I would quite rightly be called out on it, unless that was the context of the actual theme of the story and relevant to the plot.  Being an artist shouldn't excuse you from criticism.

Are you trying to say that calling all black people theives is equivalent to saying all explorers were male? I really can't agree with that at all.

There is no historical or societal precedent you can point to saying that all black people are theieves. That is just flat out blatent racism. However you can do that for explorers/invaders of new lands. Truth is vast majority of those kinds of people were male at a certain point and for a large portion of our history. If you wanted to base a story off of that time period or those particular societies as a storyteller or designer, then it seems both plausible and sensible that most of those explorer characters could happen to be male in that scenario. You can call that sexist if you want or you can say that the story teller in that position has some moral/societal obligation to change that narrative to include women in it, but I just don't see it in this context.

Now, I have no idea whatsoever what Eric and GTG have in mind as it pertains to Spirit Island or what kind of societies they want to portray here. And given their track record in this topic as a company, I am faily positive they will respond with an idea that addresses these concerns. This thread has come up with a ton of great ideas.

Do not mistake me here though, I do agree with what you are saying generally speaking. Again, it's a devils advocate position I'm taking. But I also think folks can be way to quick to shout "Sexism! Change it!" and it's not the first time I've felt this forum has been too quick on the proverbial draw with it (Adam's MindPyre art and that discussion comes to mind here).

There is never a good argument you can make for making all black people in a story a theif. You can have a good basis for making all of your colonial exploreres male however if you wanted to defend the position. But then again, I'm a white male so how valuable is my opinion on this anyway.

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That would be 'thief', not 'theif'.  

 

Other than that, I have nothing to contribute.  Carry on.


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Silverleaf wrote:
Also my favourite ridiculous KS comment is now the one where having gender neutral sculpts equals being excited about being able to be violent to woman and eat babies.
That comment was, of course, ridiculous. However, it did get me thinking about how many of the things we as spirits do in the game are actually fairly horrible. We wipe out entire towns and cities at a single blow, drown people in tsunamis, etc, etc.
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dpt wrote:

That comment was, of course, ridiculous. However, it did get me thinking about how many of the things we as spirits do in the game are actually fairly horrible. We wipe out entire towns and cities at a single blow, drown people in tsunamis, etc, etc.

Ya, but they started it!

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Foote wrote:
Silverleaf wrote:
And I'm also not buying the "designers should be able to create unequal worlds without criticism because it's their vision" argument. Sure, create what you want for your own pleasure, no-one's stopping you doing that. But as soon as you release something into the public domain you should expect criticism if what you've created perpetuates a stereotype for basically no good reason other than "this is what my world is like". If I published a novel where every thief was black and all black people were thieves I would quite rightly be called out on it, unless that was the context of the actual theme of the story and relevant to the plot.  Being an artist shouldn't excuse you from criticism.

Are you trying to say that calling all black people theives is equivalent to saying all explorers were male? I really can't agree with that at all.There is no historical or societal precedent you can point to saying that all black people are theieves. That is just flat out blatent racism. However you can do that for explorers/invaders of new lands. Truth is vast majority of those kinds of people were male at a certain point and for a large portion of our history. If you wanted to base a story off of that time period or those particular societies as a storyteller or designer, then it seems both plausible and sensible that most of those explorer characters could happen to be male in that scenario. You can call that sexist if you want or you can say that the story teller in that position has some moral/societal obligation to change that narrative to include women in it, but I just don't see it in this context.Now, I have no idea whatsoever what Eric and GTG have in mind as it pertains to Spirit Island or what kind of societies they want to portray here. And given their track record in this topic as a company, I am faily positive they will respond with an idea that addresses these concerns. This thread has come up with a ton of great ideas.Do not mistake me here though, I do agree with what you are saying generally speaking. Again, it's a devils advocate position I'm taking. But I also think folks can be way to quick to shout "Sexism! Change it!" and it's not the first time I've felt this forum has been too quick on the proverbial draw with it (Adam's MindPyre art and that discussion comes to mind here).There is never a good argument you can make for making all black people in a story a theif. You can have a good basis for making all of your colonial exploreres male however if you wanted to defend the position. But then again, I'm a white male so how valuable is my opinion on this anyway.

No, it was a deliberately extreme example of how if an artist chooses to create a stereotypical world for no good reason they should expect to be called on it. I wasn't equating the two.

I'm totally accepting that historically explorers were predominantly male. That's already happened and it would be foolish to deny it. The world was (and still is) a sexist place where women have fewer opportunities to do awesome/interesting things than men do.

The problem is that no-one's arguing for historical accuracy when it comes to, y'know, not having magical nature spirits that exist and can influence the environment and people, but somehow we have to reflect the real world when it comes to non-male explorers. I hear this kind of thing all the time on BGG - "Dragons, elves, goblins, wizards, ghouls? Awesome! A woman who's good with a sword? UNREALISTIC!"

I still maintain that if you've created a world where you've chosen to include spirits but kept in the "only males actually do stuff" bit, you've created something sexist even if that wasn't the intention. If I choose to make all the black people in my fantasy novel slaves, then there's a good chance that I'm being racist or at the very least culturally insensitive.

And this last bit is hard because it makes me sound like I'm being a massive dick and I'm trying really hard not to be. But honestly, if you haven't experienced the pervasive sexism in society in general and gaming in particular first-hand, I don't think you can understand how important all this imagery is. Sexism (and racism and homophobia and all the other types of discrimination) are so inherent and internalised that unless you're on the other side of it you often can't even see it. I don't want to dismiss anyone's opinions, but I do give more weight to the opinions of people who have either experienced the discrimination themselves or based their opinion on reports from discriminated people.


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Silverleaf wrote:

The problem is that no-one's arguing for historical accuracy when it comes to, y'know, not having magical nature spirits that exist and can influence the environment and people, but somehow we have to reflect the real world when it comes to non-male explorers. I hear this kind of thing all the time on BGG - "Dragons, elves, goblins, wizards, ghouls? Awesome! A woman who's good with a sword? UNREALISTIC!"

Alternate history as a genre tends to assume by default that anything not pointed out as being different from our history is the same as our history.

The problem is ripple effects.  For European society to produce explorers that are significantly different from the ones we are historically familiar with, that implies that European society is significantly different from the one we understand.  That is a difference that Spirit Island cannot and should not explore, because the game is not about alternate history European culture.  This is not to say that Spirit Island's world can't have this change, just that Spirit Island itself should not address the topic, because it is not prepared to address the associated complications.

This is why, incidentally, Spirit Island's explorers should absolutely not be female.  Doing so would declare a historical change which is not explained, explored, or relevant.  The change itself is not bad, but it flunks all the criteria of good storytelling.

Male explorers are less problematic* because there is not need to explain or explore the concept.  The default assumption of alternate history explains it, and history itself explores it.  But it's still not relevant, which is why male explorers, while less problematic, are still problematic.

Androgeny or symbolic explorers are the ideal answer from a storytelling perspective, because it takes the detail that isn't relevant and doesn't include it.

 

 

This post has meandered several times while I was writing it, and it doesn't say everything I want to, but whatever - I'm tired of writing it, so it's done.

 

 

*As a storytelling device.  They're more problematic for other reasons, but those reasons have already been covered in this discussion.


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I totally agree with the majority of that, AL. I'm not convinced it's the case for generic fantasy worlds, but you're right that if you're going alt-history then irrelevant alts can detract from what your game or story is actually about. I don't like it, but then I don't like that my gender has been marginalised since forever.

We can all imagine that our neutral pieces are whatever gender we want, and everyone will be happy.

Everyone except the handful of commenters on KS who will probably complain about pandering to the unreasonable wimminz who want to ruin all their toys. And that guy who's taking comments extremely personally and essentially making up what he imagines I've said...


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I think they should look like dwarf bunnies.


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Pydro wrote:

I think they should look like dwarf bunnies.

I am totally on board with this.


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Damn rabbits! Coming over here, eating our grass, stealing our jobs...


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Can I say that I really admire your restraint, Silverleaf?

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Silverleaf wrote:

I totally agree with the majority of that, AL. I'm not convinced it's the case for generic fantasy worlds, but you're right that if you're going alt-history then irrelevant alts can detract from what your game or story is actually about. I don't like it, but then I don't like that my gender has been marginalised since forever.We can all imagine that our neutral pieces are whatever gender we want, and everyone will be happy.Everyone except the handful of commenters on KS who will probably complain about pandering to the unreasonable wimminz who want to ruin all their toys. And that guy who's taking comments extremely personally and essentially making up what he imagines I've said...

Yeah, other world fantasy is a different story, even if it's inspired by a real world culture.  The only real excuse to build inequality into a world where you have complete creative freedom is that you wish to address that inequality in your story.

Silverleaf wrote:

Damn rabbits! Coming over here, eating our grass, stealing our jobs...

Speaking of which, didn't you promise us bunny pictures?

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dpt wrote:

Can I say that I really admire your restraint, Silverleaf?

I'm surprising myself, to be honest. :/ The fact that my politeness can't possibly last is one of the reasons why I'm withdrawing from further "discussion" with Mr I'm-Being-Attacked. Fighting in KS comments doesn't help the campaign.


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Arcanist Lupus wrote:
Silverleaf wrote:
I totally agree with the majority of that, AL. I'm not convinced it's the case for generic fantasy worlds, but you're right that if you're going alt-history then irrelevant alts can detract from what your game or story is actually about. I don't like it, but then I don't like that my gender has been marginalised since forever.We can all imagine that our neutral pieces are whatever gender we want, and everyone will be happy.Everyone except the handful of commenters on KS who will probably complain about pandering to the unreasonable wimminz who want to ruin all their toys. And that guy who's taking comments extremely personally and essentially making up what he imagines I've said...

Yeah, other world fantasy is a different story, even if it's inspired by a real world culture.  The only real excuse to build inequality into a world where you have complete creative freedom is that you wish to address that inequality in your story.

Silverleaf wrote:
Damn rabbits! Coming over here, eating our grass, stealing our jobs...

Speaking of which, didn't you promise us bunny pictures?

That bolded part says it far better than I could have done, thank you.

I did promise bunny pictures! Let me see if I can sort that out - I'm currently on Meeple supervisation duty while he exercises in the living room so I'm on my iPad, but I'll see what I can do.


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Let's see, does this work?

This is Nemesis a couple of weeks ago.

Meeple's proving trickier to show you so his picture will have to wait until I get to the PC.

 


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Awwwww!


Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
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I'm not sure I can handle that much cuteness.

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Careful. That looks like one of those hypno-murder bunnies.

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Too....cute.....


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I bet they actually have big, nasty, pointy teeth. I mean, they can leap about, just look at the bones!

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grysqrl wrote:

Careful. That looks like one of those hypno-murder bunnies.

Now while I can't guarantee he won't hypno-murder you, what's more likely to happen is him jumping into your lap and proceeding to lick your arms.


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Bunston wrote:

I bet they actually have big, nasty, pointy teeth. I mean, they can leap about, just look at the bones!

What an eccentric performance.


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Silverleaf wrote:

Now while I can't guarantee he won't hypno-murder you, what's more likely to happen is him jumping into your lap and proceeding to lick your arms.

Heh.  My mother had a rabbit that she trained to kiss.  If you held it up to your nose and said "kiss!" it would lick your nose.  Of course, if you held it up to your nose and didn't say "kiss!" it would still lick your nose, but why would you do that?

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Arcanist Lupus wrote:
Silverleaf wrote:
Now while I can't guarantee he won't hypno-murder you, what's more likely to happen is him jumping into your lap and proceeding to lick your arms.

Heh.  My mother had a rabbit that she trained to kiss.  If you held it up to your nose and said "kiss!" it would lick your nose.  Of course, if you held it up to your nose and didn't say "kiss!" it would still lick your nose, but why would you do that?

Cute. :)

I'm clicker-training my two! They were learning to sit up in that cute meerkat-bunny way when I cued them, but I've interrupted that to work on counter-conditioning them to tolerate and eventually enjoy being picked up and handled, which is something that rabbits rarely enjoy unless it's on their terms but is a necessity for health checks and vet visits.

And oh my goodness, they are smart if food is involved!


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Ahh nooo, the picture just shows as a grey "No Entry" sign for me :(. I want to see da bunneeez :(. Also, can you move to Kent or something so I can come and give them cuddles? :D


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Foote
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Arcanist Lupus wrote:

Alternate history as a genre tends to assume by default that anything not pointed out as being different from our history is the same as our history.

The problem is ripple effects.  For European society to produce explorers that are significantly different from the ones we are historically familiar with, that implies that European society is significantly different from the one we understand.  That is a difference that Spirit Island cannot and should not explore, because the game is not about alternate history European culture.  This is not to say that Spirit Island's world can't have this change, just that Spirit Island itself should not address the topic, because it is not prepared to address the associated complications.

This is why, incidentally, Spirit Island's explorers should absolutely not be female.  Doing so would declare a historical change which is not explained, explored, or relevant.  The change itself is not bad, but it flunks all the criteria of good storytelling.

Male explorers are less problematic* because there is not need to explain or explore the concept.  The default assumption of alternate history explains it, and history itself explores it.  But it's still not relevant, which is why male explorers, while less problematic, are still problematic.

Androgeny or symbolic explorers are the ideal answer from a storytelling perspective, because it takes the detail that isn't relevant and doesn't include it.  

I 100% agree with everything you said here. *Thumbs Up*

Silverleaf wrote:

I totally agree with the majority of that, AL. I'm not convinced it's the case for generic fantasy worlds, but you're right that if you're going alt-history then irrelevant alts can detract from what your game or story is actually about. I don't like it, but then I don't like that my gender has been marginalised since forever.

But what makes you so confident as to call Spirit Island a "Generic Fantasy" world? It comes off as fairly specific to me. Our one adversarys shown on the KS page is Brandenburg-Prussia, so I think there are clear signs that this is not just some generic world but by and large part of the world we are historically familiar with. 

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Foote wrote:
Silverleaf wrote:
I totally agree with the majority of that, AL. I'm not convinced it's the case for generic fantasy worlds, but you're right that if you're going alt-history then irrelevant alts can detract from what your game or story is actually about. I don't like it, but then I don't like that my gender has been marginalised since forever.

But what makes you so confident as to call Spirit Island a "Generic Fantasy" world? It comes off as fairly specific to me. Our one adversarys shown on the KS page is Brandenburg-Prussia, so I think there are clear signs that this is not just some generic world but by and large part of the world we are historically familiar with. 

I wasn't calling it generic fantasy. I don't think it is.

But even in real-world real history there were non-male explorers. They were in the minority, but they existed. Painting all explorers as male would be like portraying all WW2 soldiers as white.


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Silverleaf wrote:

I wasn't calling it generic fantasy. I don't think it is.But even in real-world real history there were non-male explorers. They were in the minority, but they existed. Painting all explorers as male would be like portraying all WW2 soldiers as white.

Minority is a major understatement. I can't find a single piece of evidence about state sanctioned women explorers in the 1600s or 1700's. I'd love to learn more about them if you can point me in the right direction to read about them though. Jeanne Baré, who was born in 1740, was the first women to travel around the globe but had to do so disguised as a man. That is the earliest example I could find and she was pretty much forbiden to do her travels as a women.

Painting the vast, vast majority of exploreres in the 1600 and 1700s as male is just pointing out a historical fact. You are tredding down a revisionist history path by trying to state otherwise. It is in no way, shape, or form akin to painting all WW2 soliders as white. That is kind of rediculous.

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I was thinking an exaggerated flag with a smaller figure holding it would work.

The aggressive posture of the invader I like, could we make the flag look aggressive and the person holding it less notable?

That would be ideal to me, and be more gender neutral as our generic image of aggressive and arogant is tied in heavily with gender.

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I'm also very interested to hear more about women explorers. Reading about Jeanne Barré was awesome!

I'm not sure that you're looking at the right population, Foote. To me, the Explorers in Spirit Island feel more like frontier folk in the American West, and there were of course settler families and female gunfighters. We're not talking first contact here, the invaders have already been on the island for a few years.

The card art mostly shows male soldiers in morions (as in popular depictions of Spanish conquistadors), with swords. But the game is not necessarily set so early in the European colonial period.

I wouldn't know how to make a flag look aggressive and arrogant. I must be rubbish at the cunning use of flags.

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Since there has been speculation about designer intent:

  1. The alt-history does follow the general rule of "things not explicitly called out as changes are more or less the same". The societies of Europe are roughly as on-board with gender equality as they were in our history, which is to say, not very.
  2. This does not mean all Explorers are male. As the rulebook says, Explorers "represent Invaders willing to travel into uncharted wilderness: mapping expeditions, the very boldest homesteaders, etc." Most[1] Explorers from (eg) formal armed-forces scouting units are apt to be male, but that is patently untrue for homesteaders, folks who like ranging out into the woods, etc.
  3. The question of "how do we represent Explorers in sculpts?" is really its own, entirely different question. Even if for some good reason 100% of Explorers were male, is there a compelling reason to depict that in the sculpts? "Historical accuracy" is not sufficient; there are a zillion details about historical explorers that might not make their way into a sculpt - eg, they usually wore shoes or boots, and probably had bad teeth. In the absence of some compelling reason to explicitly make the sculpts masculine, there's certainly a compelling reason to go gender-neutral, which is "let's not put another pebble on the 'male by default' side of an already-very-unbalanced scale".

[1] = But not all; history seems pretty clear on the fact that there's frequently been some number of women involved in military action - quietly, in many circumstances, since it often wasn't condoned.

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Quote:
Most[1] Explorers from (eg) formal armed-forces scouting units are apt to be male, but that is patently untrue for homesteaders, folks who like ranging out into the woods, etc.

Heh.  I'd like to see them try an set up a self sustaining homestead without women around.

 

As Twain once said, when asked about the subject, “What would men be without women? Scarce, sir...mighty scarce.”


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- Terry Pratchett, Going Postal

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Silverleaf wrote:

Painting all explorers as male would be like portraying all WW2 soldiers as white.

No, it'd be like portraying all WW2 soldiers as male...


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Eric R wrote:

Since there has been speculation about designer intent:The alt-history does follow the general rule of "things not explicitly called out as changes are more or less the same". The societies of Europe are roughly as on-board with gender equality as they were in our history, which is to say, not very.This does not mean all Explorers are male. As the rulebook says, Explorers "represent Invaders willing to travel into uncharted wilderness: mapping expeditions, the very boldest homesteaders, etc." Most[1] Explorers from (eg) formal armed-forces scouting units are apt to be male, but that is patently untrue for homesteaders, folks who like ranging out into the woods, etc.The question of "how do we represent Explorers in sculpts?" is really its own, entirely different question. Even if for some good reason 100% of Explorers were male, is there a compelling reason to depict that in the sculpts? "Historical accuracy" is not sufficient; there are a zillion details about historical explorers that might not make their way into a sculpt - eg, they usually wore shoes or boots, and probably had bad teeth. In the absence of some compelling reason to explicitly make the sculpts masculine, there's certainly a compelling reason to go gender-neutral, which is "let's not put another pebble on the 'male by default' side of an already-very-unbalanced scale".[1] = But not all; history seems pretty clear on the fact that there's frequently been some number of women involved in military action - quietly, in many circumstances, since it often wasn't condoned.

There's nothing much I can say about this other than thank you. Have 87 Silverleaf points!

Any chance of this making its way into the KS comments, or an update or something?


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Spiff wrote:
Silverleaf wrote:
Painting all explorers as male would be like portraying all WW2 soldiers as white.

No, it'd be like portraying all WW2 soldiers as male...

That would still be inaccurate.

Wikipedia wrote:
During World War II, approximately 400,000 U.S. women served with the armed forces

Several hundred thousand women served in combat roles, especially in anti-aircraft units.

Thousands of others joined defensive militias at home and there was a great increase in the number of women serving for the military itself, particularly in the Soviet Union's Red Army.


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dpt wrote:

I'm not sure that you're looking at the right population, Foote. To me, the Explorers in Spirit Island feel more like frontier folk in the American West, and there were of course settler families and female gunfighters. 

And after Eric's post about the inclusion of Homesteaders in the "invaders" catagory along with state sanctioned exploratory groups, It appears that you are correct. I was missing an aspect of the invador population. Good call.

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My ancestors were the Quakers who kept trying to stay away from other settlers in America, and everytime a small community they founded took off and grew big enough that non-Quakers were growing in number they would go farther West and start a new one.  Even though we got along with the natives it always strikes me that they were invaders, maybe the better of the invaders, but invaders nonetheless.

They certainly wouldn't have let some "pagan spirits" stop them from cutting down trees, plowing the earth, diverting the river and introducing foreign crops.  Had no trouble with shooting wolves or ground hogs either.

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Silverleaf wrote:
Wikipedia wrote:
During World War II, approximately 400,000 U.S. women served with the armed forcesSeveral hundred thousand women served in combat roles, especially in anti-aircraft units.Thousands of others joined defensive militias at home and there was a great increase in the number of women serving for the military itself, particularly in the Soviet Union's Red Army.

True, but I don't think your argument is "if even one woman was involved, they have to get equal representation", right?  Those 400k women U.S. soldiers made up just 2.5% of the total 16.1 million U. S. soldiers in WW2.  I'm sure their contribution was important, but 2.5% isn't a lot.  And the percentage of actual female explorers/invaders in history had to be just a tiny, tiny fraction of that.  Vanishingly small, I would imagine.

Besides, as has been said here before, it's not like the invaders are our characters.  We're not meant to empathize with them and they aren't meant to represent us.  They're the scary, faceless, invading monsters of the game.  It seems like making them inclusive in a 21st century way can only reduce their effectiveness as an icon of invading death.

If they have to be flags, that seems like a reasonable compromise, but I don't feel like a compromise is called for here.


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phantaskippy wrote:
My ancestors were the Quakers who kept trying to stay away from other settlers in America, and everytime a small community they founded took off and grew big enough that non-Quakers were growing in number they would go farther West and start a new one.  Even though we got along with the natives it always strikes me that they were invaders, maybe the better of the invaders, but invaders nonetheless. ...
I also had a Quaker upbringing, and got a little bit of the "good settlers" narrative. But I'm with you, however good their intentions were, they were invaders along with everyone else.

(I grew up in New Jersey, so didn't get as much of the frontier narrative that you seem to have had.)

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Spiff wrote:
True, but I don't think your argument is "if even one woman was involved, they have to get equal representation", right?  Those 400k women U.S. soldiers made up just 2.5% of the total 16.1 million U. S. soldiers in WW2.  I'm sure their contribution was important, but 2.5% isn't a lot.  And the percentage of actual female explorers/invaders in history had to be just a tiny, tiny fraction of that.  Vanishingly small, I would imagine.
Hmm, I don't think 2.5% is that small a percentage. The percentage of female soldiers in the time period in question is doubtless much smaller than 2.5%, but, again, the explorers are not just soldiers, and the invaders more broadly (including towns and cities) certainly had plenty of women.

Quote:
Besides, as has been said here before, it's not like the invaders are our characters.  We're not meant to empathize with them and they aren't meant to represent us.  They're the scary, faceless, invading monsters of the game.  It seems like making them inclusive in a 21st century way can only reduce their effectiveness as an icon of invading death.
I just realised something that bugs me about this argument, beyond the points that have already been made at length. On the contrary, I do think we're "supposed" to empathize them to some extent. A large portion of the target audience for this game will have some European ancestors that benefited from colonialism and exploitation, directly or indirectly. For that matter, anyone who can afford the game benefits from the aftereffects of colonialism today. So, yes, when I play the game I do imagine my ancestors in the position of the invaders that I'm washing into the sea. The game doesn't need to go out of its way to make that happen, but it's definitely there.

Quote:
If they have to be flags, that seems like a reasonable compromise, but I don't feel like a compromise is called for here.
I'm not sure there's actually any compromise in question. It doesn't seem like anyone was many people were particularly excited about the original explorer models, and the style that they're shooting for with these pieces is not very detailed anyway.

EDIT: Edited, because there were some people who liked those first sculpts.

 

The card art is another matter, and has individualized and detailed representations. I haven't noticed any bad teeth yet, though smiley

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