When I started gaming many moons ago, it was rare that you would see a woman come into a game store other than a mother with their child, a sister forced to accompany their brother, or a spouse going to pick up their wayward partner. Tabletop gaming was seen as a boys' club that women couldn’t be a part of easily, without being ridiculed, met with condescending stares, or without being ogled. In the last few years tabletop gaming has come a long way since those days.
I think a big part of this transition from stigma to acceptance in gaming has to be attributed to the way gaming culture is now incorporated into mass media. Whether it's through TV shows such as Stranger Things, and the Big Bang Theory, or maybe via a web series like Wil Wheaton’s ‘Tabletop”, mass media definitely plays a role. These shows and many others like them, show people playing a variety of tabletop games in entertaining and exciting ways and the inclusion of female protagonists definitely helps.
Some of the best magic players in the world are now women. Melissa Detora, who had multiple grand prix top 8 finishes, now is on the design team for Magic: The Gathering. We had our first ever female Grand Prix Champion, Jessica Estephan who was crowned at Grand Prix Sydney back in April. This is a huge milestone for the TCG world.
In the world of board game design, you have Kristin Looney, co-designer of Fluxx, a staple in most board game collections. There is Susan Mckinley Ross who won the Spiel des Jahres, the game of the year award at Essen Spiel, the largest board game convention in the world, for her game Qwirkle. The list goes on and on for titans in the board game industry who are women, which is amazing.
I think that it is a great thing, that so many female gamers feel comfortable in our shop. At all of our Magic: The Gathering events there is a healthy amount of women who come out, and that number is constantly growing. Every Dungeons and Dragons campaign we host has women participating in them, which when I started roleplaying 18 years ago almost never happened. I am extremely proud to be a part of this renaissance in tabletop gaming.
-- Saul --