What role-playing games will be played during Genderplay, the conference on the relationship between role-playing games and gender roles? Let's find out!

Last week two weeks ago because we are very slow to write, we told you about Gender play. If you want to deepen the subject, I refer you to this article, in which we explain in depth on what theoretical basis and what program we have in mind for this event. But anyway here is a short recap!

Genderplay wants to be an opportunity to discuss all together about how gender roles are addressed in board role-playing games, both from the point of view of mechanics and from that of the themes. A little by analyzing the games we know, a little by bringing our personal experiences, we will try to tackle this difficult and complex topic in the best possible way, despite involving the lives of all of us. 

The idea would be to start with a round table moderated by us Seekers of Atlantis and AICS Bologna, inviting to speak a series of prominent figures of the Italian world of RPGs: the boys of Morning gift and activists de The Guild and Women, Dice & Data/Sisterhood of Evil.

Then, after a nice buffet, we would split up for tables try a variety of board role-playing games, which I will present to you in more detail in this article. Let's see them a little!

Cover by Kagematsu
Cover by Kagematsu


Be women in feudal Japan it is not a good job, especially when your village is inhabited only by you, by old people and by children, completely defenseless against impending threats. Luckily, however, a ronin passes by, a samurai without a master in name Kagematsu, who might even be convinced to stay and help your village ... if you can convince him to stay.

In fact, during the various scenes that mark the game, the women of the village will have to interact with Kagematsu, trying to get him a Sign of Affection. The more Signs of Affection will be conquered by women, the stronger and more determined the ronin will be in protecting the village. However, at the end of each woman's scene, the player who plays Kagematsu will have to decide, on a totally subjective and personal basis (as is also right), if the scene inspired her Love o Pietà towards the female character: only by getting enough love, in fact, will one of the village women manage to make Kagematsu fall in love.

To make the gaming experience more interesting, basically Kagematsu is played by a player, while the remaining participants (male or female) will have to interpret the women of the village. The choices on how to seduce the ronin and on how much to risk exposing yourself and showing your feelings, as well as the choice of how effective these actions are, are totally subjective and personal. Kagematsu, in fact, it offers mechanics to create the game of seduction, but the effectiveness of women is defined solely by the choices of the players who play them and the personal tastes of the player who plays the ronin. 

So, the real question is: how much will men be able to put themselves in women's shoes? How correct are their assumptions about the game of seduction? How will the Kagematsu player react?

The cover of Sagas of the Icelanders
The cover of Sagas of the Icelanders

Sagas of the Icelanders

Iceland of the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries AD is not a nice place: those who live there, escaped from wars and injustices, have to deal with adverse weather, very rigid social customs, internal feuds, invaders from the sea and a thousand other difficulties. It is also tough because the social norms which regulate the lives of Icelanders force men and women into roles, behaviors and obligations from which it is difficult to escape.

The game proposes to immerse oneself in the Icelandic society of the time, experiencing a generational adventure (complete with a family tree) which, in its brutal normality, composes the roots of ancient Icelandic sagas. Not only will the characters have to fight to survive the hardships of life, but they will also have to deal with the limitations that their gender, age and social class impose on them.

In fact, in addition to a base of common actions and the moves of the chosen booklet, men and women have different sets of moves: where women cannot fight, but are able to face difficulties with diplomacy, men are forced to resort to physical confrontations, in which however they are more versed. There are, however, particular social classes that allow one to get out of commonly accepted social norms, albeit at the cost of being "different" forever.

Recall that, in this sense, Sagas of the Icelanders uses the mechanics of World of the Apocalypse.

Can you survive the coming winter, bringing home a good harvest and wisely managing your resources?

Pictures of Nightwitches!
Pictures of Nightwitches!


We are in 1942, in the middle of the Second World War: the German armies are advancing and the Russians are scraping the bottom of the barrel to find the last resources with which to stop the Nazis. Now driven to despair, the military aviation begins to enlist women as well, thus forming an all-female regiment of pilots.

In Nightwitches you play the women of the 588th regiment, isolated from the rest of the Soviet army, sent on suicide missions and constantly judged by their fellow men. Basically, you will discover what it will be like to be a woman set to do a "man's" job, in a world in which anyone will surpass her in her military career, in which she will be given very old planes and materials, and in which all of her will be questioned, aspect included.

In fact, if you are too feminine you will be judged frivolous and unfit for military life, while if you are too masculine you will be branded as a lesbian and put under pressure by the NKVD. However, in this isolation, you can forge very strong bonds between yourselves by exploring what love and friendship mean during the war.

Always based on the rules of World of the Apocalypse, Nightwitches it is not a game with light themes, but it certainly offers great emotions and explosive adventures.

Image of The Watch!
Image of The Watch!

The Watch

It is not that the world before the Shadow was perfect, but certainly after the arrival of this mysterious enemy the situation has precipitated: little by little, all men have fallen under the control of the Shadow Broker, turning into terrible aberrations. Thus, the ten clans came together, creating an elite force capable of withstanding better than others the mind control of the Shadow: The Watch.

In this game, you will play a team of women and non-binary people, called to defend the remaining human villages, sabotage the forces of the Shadow, infiltrate enemy territories in search of information and, in general, prevent the enemy from annihilating mankind. You are the vanguard and the line of defense against the Shadow Broker, leaving the men who have not been corrupted safely behind the lines.

Inspired by Nightwitches, also The Watch is based on the World of Apocalypse game system and its booklets allow you to try out many types of warriors, while also paying great attention to camaraderie.

Cover image of Bluebeard's Bride
Cover image by Bluebeard's Bride

Bluebeard's Bride

Based on the Bluebeard fairy tale, this role-playing game it is not exactly for delicate stomachs.

Indeed, in Bluebeard's Bride players will play Bluebeard's new wife, who gradually will have to discover the terrible secrets of her husband, opening all the rooms of the manor, until arriving in front of the last door, the only one into which Bluebeard has forbidden to enter. 

During the game, participants will each play one of the aspects of the wife's psyche, said Sisters: the Soul, the Mother, the Seductress, the Witch or the Virgin. The sister who holds the bunch of keys for that scene will decide what to do but, if she gets too much trauma, she'll go mad and join the rest of the horrors of the house.

After all these horrors, you will have to decide if the wife will be fedele o unfaithful against Bluebeard: will she rebel against her tormentor, or will she suffer to satisfy the need to be the perfect wife? In any case, his fate is sealed.

Bluebeard's Bride, also based on the World of Apocalypse system, is a horror RPG that explores the rawness of abusive relationships. It's not for everyone, but it sure is a great job.

Cover and interior of Monster Hearts II, published by Narrattiva
Cover and interior of Monster Hearts II, published by Narrative

Monster Hearts II

Now that we are well past twenty, we can say it: adolescence is a shitty period. Between not being taken seriously, bullying, the strange social expectations that are created in that toxic microcosm called school and having a body that is changing beyond our control, being teenagers is not easy. However, those of high school are also years of strong emotions, experimentation and awareness of themselves.

Monster hearts, in its second edition, fully explores the true sense of being a teenager, of not having full control of oneself and of feeling at the same time outside the box, taking everything to the extreme with an interesting analogy. In fact, the characters will not only differ metaphorically, but will be gods real monsters.

The marginalized boy is not only ignored by everyone, but he is also a real ghost. The girl who wants to have power over others and exploits them for their own ends is not only a manipulator, but is also a vampire. The boy who behaves recklessly "at random" is not only a problematic guy, but he has really made a deal with the devil. The girl who cannot control her anger is not only a violent person, but she is a werewolf.

Monster hearts allows you to deal with this constant feeling of not being normal and not to have control over themselves and their sexuality, giving the opportunity to play both a light teen drama and a highly psychological and gloomy story. Definitely, the use of the system World of the Apocalypse it helps a lot in increasing the narrative component of the game.

A random Big Gay Orc from Several gay monsters
A random Big Gay Orc from Several gay monsters

Big Gay Orcs

As the title suggests, you are orcs, big, big and hardened by a thousand battles, as well as waiting to fight the last fight of your life, because you are besieged by an insurmountable enemy in an isolated fortress.

But, again as the title suggests, under this harsh rind of rough DOC dryness, you have a sensitive heart and you love your companions very much. And for some you might even try something more.

These are your last days of life, so you will have to choose wisely: you will sacrifice yourself for your homeland, repressing your feelings for maintain the status quo What about your reputation as a hard and pure orc? Or you won't miss the chance to finally reveal your true feelingsso you can have some love before you die? Or will any of you run away and abandon his companions, to live together with his handsome orcfriend, and fuck the great Khan of the orcs?

In short, Big Gay Orcs it has relatively amusing premises, but it can easily turn into a tragic and very tearful story, even depending on how serious the random Events you will pull and how much Hope you will be able to keep during the siege.

The game system, in this sense, also allows a certain amount of randomness, functioning as a game says pool simplified, where you roll a red dice that affects your Reputation and a black dice that represents the size of your Secret, as well as an additional white die when you act against another ogre.

Cover of SexyTime Adventures
Cover of SexyTime Adventures

SexyTime Adventures

When the bikini mails are taken to another level, the magical kingdom of Sexonia appears where brave heroines and especially, very very sexy they are called to defend civilization from Evil, accompanying a courageous, solitary and very masculine hero.

Basically, Sexy Time Adventures is a small and juicy expansion of Dungeon World, made to experiment and ridicule the most absurd sexist stereotypes of fantasy. In addition to letting male players savor the burden of having to be the sexy woman of the party, or simply of always having to be sexy.

In fact, in this game it will tend to be a player to interpret The Dude, the masculinized predestined hero, who fights evil in his functional armor and with a very square and very virile chin. The rest of the players, however, will dress the skimpy and revealing clothes of sexy women who accompany and help the hero: from the manipulative Sorceress who can get everything with a little sex, to the Druid who does not include the artificial innovation called "wearing clothes".

In this situation, only The Dude will be able to use the standard move set of Dungeon World, while the female characters will be forced to resort to a much more limited series of moves, which force them to act using only deception, agility and sensuality. Because that's how women fight in the media, right?

Focusing on the ridiculous and the absurd, SexyTime Adventures it's a game that does social criticism thanks to satire and parody, ensuring a light and fun session for everyone.