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Shut Up & Sit Down Interviews Different Play

Shut Up & Sit Down sat down, but didn't shut up because they were having a conversation with Different Play about bringing more people into the hobby gaming world. Different Play is looking to bring more diversity to all aspects of gaming, from the games that are made, to the people who make the games, to the people playing the games. See how they go about their mission and what you can do to help.

From the post:

Paul: One of the reasons we started Shut Up & Sit Down, arguably the biggest reason we did so,* was to get more people into board and tabletop gaming. We wanted to share something that we enjoyed. Board and tabletop gaming was (and largely still is) ignored by a lot of people who had preconceptions, even prejudices, about how boring, weird or bizarre it was. We don't like that sort of thing and hopefully we've helped change that. Hopefully our invitation to the hobby has also been inclusive and reached out to all sorts of people.

You can imagine, then, how impressed we were to hear about the work being done by Different Play, a collective of experienced mentors reaching out to actively support diversity and inclusion in analog game design, both in terms of the kinds of games being made and also the kinds of people making them. The games industry, even the tabletop games industry, has a diversity problem and this can make it (among other things) intimidating and even outright unfriendly. Different Play wants to make sure that new and different designers are heard, published and paid. We asked them more about their work and their plans.

(Due to the complications of our job/our innate impressiveness,** it was Quinns who got in touch with the brains behind Different Play and talked to them about their aims and philosophy, but it's me who's collating and writing up their answers here. So, while it's my byline, Smith did the legwork on this.)

Different Play boast an impressive team of mentors and skimming their roster reveals names like Avery Mcdaldno, creator of Monsterhearts and The Quiet Year (below), games designer/journalist/author Lizzie Stark and Professor Jessica Hammer, of Carnegie Mellon University. They're an interesting team and their combined talents and expertise mean they touch all kinds of areas of gaming. Using their experience and their connections, the team aims to pair "fresh, new designers with mentors, playtesters, artists, graphic designers and editors," helping them through the design process every step of the way. Specifically, "We’re looking for designers from underrepresented backgrounds," their mission statement declares, and they're pushing original, unconventional ideas.