Saturday, September 5, 2015

Big cats

My progress towards a Kickstarter for my game Camp Nightmare is getting real.  We have a facebook page to show off our stuff and everything!  Nathan has finished the artwork for the cards and we are most of the way through getting the pictures done, so now we are busy refining flavour text and mechanics and such before we get a prototype built.

One concern that has come up is the way we handle humour in the game.  Originally when I was building cards I wrote up a card called Cougar, which is a disaster that has a Cougar arrive at the player's camp and steal their food.  However, my idea was that the players could discard a card to keep the Cougar away, and the only card that made sense for Cougars to eat was sausages.  Now Cougars, the wild big cat, might well want to eat sausages.... but there exists an obvious joke in that Cougars, middle aged straight women who are into younger men, might also be said to be very interested in sausages.

I found it hilarious that I wrote up and printed the card before I realized that joke existed.  Now it is part of the game and I can't just wish it away.  Even if I deleted the flavour text completely the relationship would be there every time I saw the card.

However, the question has been raised about whether or not having this in the game is an issue.  My original flavour text for the Cougar card said "Only the biggest sausages will truly satisfy her" and the new text says "Proud, majestic, hungry." which is an awful lot less ribald.  However, if the card contains a sort of reference to cougars as it pertains to women it might be considered anti feminist.

So I was thinking - is cougar a derogatory term?  I don't personally feel like a term that denotes a middle aged women who is actively sexual and interested in younger men is insulting, but there exists the undeniable fact that this sort of term doesn't exist for men (because there is the assumption that *all* middle aged men would love to bed younger women) and this means the term has some real sexist double standard baggage.

I am sure that sexually loaded humour that isn't explicit is a better marketing plan than the new flavour text but I don't want to publish a game that has issues with being sexist.  Both Nathan and I are avowed feminists, but we also want the game to have guffaw value!

I suspect I will end up leaving the Cougar and Sausages cards in the game but leave the flavour text to be not at all suggestive.  The joke exists, but I am not making it obvious.  I can't erase it from my mind now, and if people find it then they are finding a joke that I didn't even write deliberately.  Worrying about how feminist my game might be certainly is not a thing I was concerned about at the outset.  Funny how these things come up.


  1. I had not noticed the joke when playing, possibly because I was thinking only of cougar as a disaster, not in other context. I do see the dilemma though.

  2. How about puma or mountain lion, both names used (in error?) for a cougar.