05 October 2016
All-female design team create version of D&D retro-clone ‘that’s no less appealing to older male gamers, while being MORE appealing to younger and to female gamers’
Frog God Games is casting the RPG net out to younger and female players with its latest reprint of Swords & Wizardry.
The Dungeons & Dragons retro-clone, based on the original 1974 rules of the iconic RPG, first emerged in 2008 and picked up an ENnie Award one year later.
Frog God revived the spin-off in 2012 with a Kickstarter campaign for a new 1st edition of Mythmere Games’ rulebook, and has now returned to the crowdfunding platform for a third printing of the core texts.
This time, however, something is different. While the rules and ‘feel’ of the book will remain untouched, Frog God has drafted in an all-female team of designers to kick open the doors of accessibility to a new audience for the game by revamping its artwork and layout.
Heading up the squad is project manager and ConTessa founder Stacy Dellorfano, working with cover artist Kaos Nest and seven illustrators, including Abigail Larson, Gennifer Bone, Jenna Fowler and Angela Rizza, plus layout designer Leigh Tuckman.
“Many OSR [Old School Revival] games have a physical appearance and presentation that really targets the 40 year old guys who’ve been gaming since forever, and doesn’t have nearly as much appeal to younger or female gamers of the generations following that first wave of players from the 1980s,” Frog God writes on its campaign page.
“If the appearance and presentation make the game look like it’s purely a throwback and not a modern tool for good gaming, then there’s a real obstacle to the game’s push into the mainstream gaming community.
“As a result of this analysis, we engaged Stacy as a designer to produce an edition that’s no less appealing to older male gamers, while being MORE appealing to younger and to female gamers. Stacy put together a team, all women, to address this dual objective.”
Both Frog God and Dellorfano are keen to express that the new style isn’t aimed solely at women and younger players, but is instead designed to be appealing to all genders and ages.
“This isn’t a “pink” edition of the rules,” the publisher explains. “It’s the more-accessible next printing that we are targeting toward the mainstream market.”
What’s also nice to note is that many of the artists employed to work on the project are emerging freelancers or first-time tabletop illustrators, bringing extra female and younger talent into a pool that has – traditionally – been occupied by older, white men.
Seemingly, the book’s new approach is proving a hit, as it’s amassed more than its $12,000 target with over a month left to run on the campaign. You can pick up a hardcover copy for $35, with a PDF version priced at just $1.