When filmmaker Meredith Jacobson overheard her boyfriend tell a group of 9-11 year old boys that young girls aren’t interested in playing D&D, the producer wanted to prove that the joy of role-playing games knows no gender—and thus the idea for DnDnG was born.
To prove that girls could be just as invested in the fantasy tabletop game as their male peers, Jacobson crowdfunded $1,600 on Indiegogo and recruited four girls (many of whom had never even heard of Dungeons & Dragons) from the boys’ school. Prior to filming the girls and boys playing their first-ever game together (featured in the documentary, which you can watch in its entirety above) the girls played once alone to learn the rules so that “the boys didn’t have an unfair advantage.” Jacobson told Boing Boing that the all-girl game was
…just as lively and active as any boy game I’ve witnessed […] unsurprisingly, [girls] were even better at paying attention than the boys are. Once it was over and past their bedtime, they begged for more! That’s when I knew my hypothesis was correct and the boys would be in for a surprise on game day.
The sentiment behind DnDnG is really commendable (probably even more so for viewers better familiar with the D&D community than I am), but I actually felt the film undermines its wonderful message a little by reinforcing some gender stereotypes—for instance, when the adult Dungeon Master worries about the boys offending their new members by being “bawdy.” It’s an incredible privilege to watch the faces on these girls light up as they discover a new outlet for their imagination and self-expression, but I felt the filmmakers validated almost as many gender biases as they discredited. But hey, maybe that can be fixed in another game. I’d be up for a DnDnG II.
What did you guys think?
(Image via DnDnG)
- Watch the first minutes of Dark Dungeons
- You can also check the trailer out here!
- Ice T and Felicia Day have recorded a Dungeons & Dragons short story collection