Sunday, January 2, 2011

Macho Women With Guns!

I decided to dust off the shelf and introduce the gaming group to another fun game from my youth. Wanting to change things up a bit and not commit too much to an intense game, we opted to go with the incredible Macho Women With Guns. MWWG is a thoughtful, delicate role playing game that requires tact and patience on the part of the players. That’s not at all true. It’s actually just what it sounds like. The players are essentially pissed off females with guns and knives, out to kill the oppressive and dumb males that rule society. It’s not meant to be serious (obviously) and seemed perfect for a single night of gaming. The version we played was the original from 1988. The rulebook is all of 12 pages. Totally awesome!

Character creation in Macho Women is a lot of fun for both it’s simplicity and humor. The entire game is actually really funny, but especially making the character. For starters it is just a point based system and allocating them is very intuitive and easy to do. You want your lady to look good? Put a lot of points in Looks. Is she strong? Then her Strength should probably be high. The best part are the skills. Not many roleplaying games offer such areas of specialty as Running In High Heels, Hit Things With Other Things, and Do Technical Stuff (my favorite). As if all of this wasn’t enough to get your inner teenaged boy excited, there is also a blank template to draw your character. Oh, the fun we had! Seriously, more games should encourage players to draw their characters. I’m sort of torn if this game is a parody of the fantasy and roleplaying depictions of women, or just about the most egregious example of such chauvinism. I mean, it’s not really a surprise that I discovered this game when I was thirteen. Our group is half female and they all thought it was funny, if anyone takes this game seriously they should probably be arrested.

This version of the game was made during the height of the Reagan years, and as such the Gipper is attributed to causing many of the world’s ills. With it being well into the 2000’s I didn’t think that was rather relevant or funny any more, but it was shockingly easy to update everything to George Bush era USA, so that is the world that our Macho Women were unleashed into. Throw in some hell gates, a little bit of mysticism and a blatant disregard for order and we were ready to go. Since the book is only 12 pages there really isn’t much source type information, which I found to be totally cool. If anything the book sort of gives mixed signals about the world. For example, the cover shows a woman with a baseball bat and a pistol fighting aliens. Yet, J Edgar Hoover and Puppies of Tindalos are listed among the main enemies. To me this said to just do whatever I wanted to. And I did. And I think that more people should take liberties with fantasy worlds and just shape them to be whatever you need them to be. This is a point that is clearly spelled out in just about every role playing game handbook, yet I feel that a lot of people cling to what is written in them as gospel. That’s too bad, but a rant for another day.

Since the point of all this was to have a quick, fun game I pretty much let the players have and do what they wanted. When we started one character was driving a monster truck and their weapon was an extension cord with a padlock at the end. Another was wearing a Soviet style thong bikini and fought with a hammer and sickle. Another was weaponless, armed with only a pink catsuit and her feminine wiles. It was an excellent crew and no one spent very long coming up with their character. Leaving us plenty of time to play. Which is a good thing because the session was filled with explosions, murder, a thrilling car race and an orgy with JFK and Taylor Swift. Wouldn’t want to run out of time on any of that.

I’ll admit that I’m not sure if Macho Women is actually even a roleplaying game, it seems like it may be more of a table top game (later versions of it certainly are). Regardless, there are very few rules and the ones that do exist are either really easy or real easy to ignore. I found that rolling a character’s Macho was about the most important thing and frequently came up in interactions with the characters. This is not a game for rule lawyers. They will find precious little to work with. Everyone really enjoyed it and I am certain that it will find it’s way back to the table when we are between campaigns again. I do not really see this as being a long term campaign type of game, and I’m sure the designers would agree with me. But not everything needs to be. Macho Women With Guns is perfect the way that it is.

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