At one of the PAX Unplugged panels on racism in TTRPGs this weekend, something was said that sort of crystallized some thoughts I’ve had floating around in my head about making sure my games aren’t all white folks. it’s not enough to do an “open call” – I need to reach out specifically to folks and invite them. This balanced against tokenization, too: invite them because they’re the folks you want to play with, not because of their race or ethnicity.
Also, that panel had SO MUCH MORE. My friend Eugenio live-tweeted it; check that whole thread for lots of valuable stuff (especially for us white folks).
There’s still a place for open tables, especially in streaming. With enough games happening, we don’t have to pretend like this is an “either-or” situation. But in general, I want to move away from the recruitment form strategy I’ve been using. The groups I’ve had with the most diversity (in multiple dimensions, not just race) are those where I just asked friends to play and asked them to invite THEIR friends, too. That’s exactly how my current Blades in the Dark campaign happened, and I didn’t even plan on it. I just realized this weekend that I have folks of different ethnicities, gender identities, etc., and that happened because of this “active invitation” approach – not because I had a form or a quota.
That said, I also have heard many times about the importance of highlighting safety tools, because that tells folks who may not know you that you will be giving them a voice in the game and providing everyone a mechanism to ensure that we avoid things that will cause pain or offense. This is something I already do, but every month or so I find a new tool to add to my toolbox. Different situations and games and groups require different approaches.
Anyway I’ll be thinking about this for a bit, particularly as I get ready to run more Trophy Dark and Mothership soon. (Maybe sooner than I’d originally intended, even!)