Friday, March 16, 2018

The Joy of Gaming: Women Game Designers - The Dragon and Flagon

Women's History Month: 

A Joy of Gaming Tribute to 

Women Game Designers


Sydney Engelstein (with family)

Originally this entry was going to focus on Space Cadets (2012), primarily due to it's release date in 2012 and it fit into the timeline I was building. I've been trying to show where the ebb and flow of female designers lies. For example, in the upcoming entries, you'll see a huge surge in 2014 of female designers. Then it tapers off a bit. Same with the mid-90s. There was a surge and then it faded a bit. We weren't able to play Space Cadets for this particular article due to a high workload and low social interaction month. So far it's been a very work-work-work time of year. But my husband and I did find time to sit down with The Dragon and Flagon, so I was still able to cover the designer, just not the game that I wanted. I do love Sci-Fi games, though, that cater less to the intense 4X style and more to a cooperative team building style. That's not a black and white preference, I just enjoy cooperative games versus heavy, interminably long games. 
The Dragon and Flagon is an incredibly unique bar room brawl game. It uses wonderful 3D pieces for tables, barrels, chairs, and mugs to enhance player interactions and make the game more tactile. Character pieces are cardboard standees that move around the board using action cards. Each specific character has its own set of cards that allow for customized turn-taking opportunities. You can team up against your opponent and form alliances to help take out the other players.  The brawl stops when the guards show up, which is set at the beginning of the game, but is unknown to the players.

The Dragon and Flagon was designed by Geoff, Sydney, and Brian Engelstein and with them we have our first father, daughter, son design team-- which is really wonderful when you think about it. Geoff Engelstein is a prominent member of the board game community-- a fixture at cons, a number of other designs to his name, and a member of the Dice Tower podcast network. But along with D&F, two of his most popular games are ones where his daughter Sydney (and her brother Brian) share credit -- Space Cadets and the sci-fi re-theme of the classic Survive: Escape from Atlantis! (2011), Survive: Space Attack (2015).

Sydney is clearly involved in the game community. Geek Dad offers a really great interview where she talks about the creation of Space Cadets. Clearly the game creation process is incredibly intertwined between the two of them and their shared credit reflects her level of involvement. Would any of us really be surprised if she didn't go on to make a few solo games?

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