Tabletop gaming is a passion held by many people around the world, and it’s no surprise why. You get to meet up on a regular basis with your friends, you get to indulge in that all too human urge to be creative and make up stories, and it gives you a chance to escape the mundanities of daily life and inhabit a more exciting, interesting world for a few hours. Though it’s relegated to being a so-called “nerd” hobby, tabletop gaming has been getting steadily more popular and mainstream for years. Unfortunately, like so many other traditionally nerdy past-times, it’s one that people just tend to assume women aren’t interested in, or if a woman is interested, then they’re a very particular (read: unattractive and socially inept) kind of woman. This sucks, because as I said before, tabletop gaming is a really great pastime, one that’s inherently social and a great way to get more withdrawn people out of their shells by letting them express themselves through characters they create.
Which is why I was so psyched when I came across this video via Twitter from Damsels, Dice, and Everything Nice:
That’s the pilot episode of Dungeons, Dice, and Everything Nice, a webs eries about the Disney princesses all getting together to play dungeons and dragons. Leave aside all the issues of timeline and geography that make it so there’s no way these characters could all meet like this, and then just absorb everything that the episode has to offer.
First off, it is genuinely funny. It makes plenty of jokes that devoted Disney fans (which let’s face it, is everyone on earth with access to a tv at this point) will laugh their butts off to. The actresses are all excellent in their roles (and rolls) and can only get better. But more than just being entertaining, the video is showcasing some of the biggest feminine role models in fictional history-role models specifically aimed at young girls-being thoroughly enamoured with dungeons and dragons. They’re showcasing the player types that long time role players always love to joke about, but this time, they’re doing so in a context that’s accessible and welcoming to women and girls.
More than just showing them roleplaying, it’s HOW they’re roleplaying that’s notable. They’re not being stereotypically girly about it in the slightest. They’re arguing about who gets to play what sort of character, they’re making dry remarks, they’re disorganized-they’re behaving like friends gathered around to RP. They’re not perfectly proper and civil ladies, they’re all people, with quirks and flaws who don’t get along perfectly well every single minute, but still are having fun with each other. The opportunity for young girls in particular to see representations of their role models acting like regular people, not princesses, can only be a good thing in the long run, and bring more of them into a hobby that they otherwise may have felt was “off limits” to them.
Another thing that’s great about this video is that it actually shows that roleplaying games aren’t all about fighting and murder. It showed them stopping to figure out how to best address the challenges of their quest, and then using social acumen to solve their problems. It’s very true that a lot of players of any gender enjoy just killing every problem that comes their way in-game and facing no consequences, but it’s good that this show demonstrated that these games support non-murder hobo play styles as well.
The main takeaway of all this is that it is a really great project, that’s thoroughly entertaining and with potential to make tabletop gaming accessible to more people than it once was. The series is currently running an indie-go-go campaign, looking for funds to support shooting the rest of it’s already written first season, and if you have the cash, I highly recommend donating to this really great project, because with the world as confusing and difficult as it is right now, everyone can use a bit more fantasy in their lives.
Sophie is rolling dice on Twitter.