Anna / @minis_by_pixie_dust_studios on Instagram

I’ve always been a bit nerdy, started playing D&D in middle school, and picked up video games around the same time. Took a long break from D&D because I moved to a small (very religious) town – and only recently got back into it after finding games on Roll20. I was roped into commission painting in 2013, but I’ve only really started trying to get serious about it in the last couple years. I also do a bit of sculpting, mainly for basing and conversions, but hope to get into full figures eventually. I’m also currently writing/developing a VNG (Visual Novel “Game”). Does that count as a creator?

Besides the usual eat, sleep, & work? I’m either painting, writing, working on some big terrain/table project, or watching Netflix/Crunchyroll.

How did you get into tabletop gaming?

I was drawn into the hobby a few years ago – intrigued by a single rainbow-mohawked miniature owned by a friend (it was a Chaos Noise Marine). They explained the lore behind the miniature and offered to teach me how to play the game. I was hooked and quickly began to collect and paint my own army. Six years later I play four tabletop wargames and have several armies for each one.

What do you love about tabletop games?

The astounding variety of amazing miniatures, throwing gobs of dice/pulling cards, and the associated cheer or dismay that fate has bestowed upon me and my army.

Have you overcome any obstacles in tabletop gaming?

Luckily for me, the two stores I’ve frequented are very welcoming and squash negativity pretty handily. It still catches a few by surprise when a girl wants to play 40k, Malifaux, or Infinity – I believe that while the ratios in local stores are getting closer to that perfect 50/50 split, most women do tend to stick with rpgs, tcgs, and or boxed tabletop games, rather than tabletop wargames.

What would your advice be to women who are interested in tabletop gaming?

No better advice than to just get to it! I would probably suggest speaking to the manager/owner of your local hobby store as the first step though. How he (or she) treats you is what matters. If they are welcoming/accommodating, then any issues you might (hopefully you won’t) have with other players or staff will at least not fall on deaf ears once you take it up the chain of command. If you have a game in mind that you are interested in, ask them if they know any staff or players that would be knowledgeable enough to answer questions, reveal lore behind it, and/or would be able to run a Demo game with you. If you don’t know what you’d like to play, ask them for suggestions, or simply observe the tables that seem to be having the most fun. Sometimes, it helps to do this over several days as most LHS have loose weekly schedules for which games are primarily being played (ex: At my LHS, Wednesdays are RPG night, so expect lots of D&D being played – some players even cosplay their characters. Fridays are MtG tourneys).

Two suggestions for new gamers right off the bat, Malifaux or Infinity. Both are skirmish games, which means smaller armies and therefore less of an initial investment (vs something like WH40K). Guild Ball is good one for any that happen to be sports fans – think of it as a fantasy rugby/European football with minis.

Malifaux is interesting in that it is based on an alternate steampunk-cthulu’ish Victorian-Western world and uses a standard card deck (or their Fate deck) as the random number generator for combat. The Cheat Fate mechanic and alternating activations are two stand out features that keep things fresh. Malifaux is just coming out of 3rd Edition Beta testing so the Rules/Stat cards will be free to print initially (all final beta material is still available on their forums), and there’s likely to be a large influx of new players and returning veterans, so it’s a great time to get into the fray. It’s easy to learn, challenging to master. There are so many amazing combinations of synergies between their minis, but the new keyword system can get a new player into the action a lot quicker with a group of models that perform well together.

Infinity is a skirmish game set in the cyberpunk/anime future. Rules and access to model stats are and always have been free (say good bye to the big rule book, chapter approved, codexes, and faqs that you have to replace every few months – I’m looking at you GeeDubs). Infinity is a d20 based system which allows for better randomization and addition of more modifiers (range band, cover, TO camo, etc.) to your rolls. One of the most unique aspects of Infinity as it is always your “turn”. Even though it may be the opponent’s active turn, if one of their models activates in line of sight or within one of your model’s zone-of-control (ZoC), your model may declare an Automatic Reaction Order (ARO) and take a pot shot at that enemy, or maybe dodge back into cover. Giant mech models and high tech armor are a big thing in Infinity (with exception of lo-tech Ariadna) and with that, hacking is an actual part of the game play, an enemy hacker can infiltrate your armor and immobilize it, take control of it to attack your own men, or even destroy it (you).

What kind of characters are you drawn to play?

I’m nearly always a healer type (Cleric or Druid), although I’ve been having a blast with my Drunken Monk/Bear Totem Barbarian lately.

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