Back when I was planning on designing Lions, I was reading a lot on the internet about how games handle gender relations. In short, very poorly. Almost every game that’s published has cheesecake art and clichéd female characters who are pretty much just a drawing with clevage and a statblock. If a game is described as “dark” or “realistic” you can pretty much assume that it means “there’s a lot of rape going on”. That’s not good.
I can see that many people design their games keeping their audience in mind: boys and young men. I wanted to do something different, namely design a game that everyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation would be comfortable with playing. What does this mean in practice?
It means that there’s no lurid descriptions of bordellos or prostitutes. You can assume they exist or don’t exist, but I don’t think I need to write about that. I don’t want to creep out my readers.
And I promise, rape won’t appear in the book at all. We play these games for fun, I don’t want people feeling uncomfortable at the game table.