(This is in response to the question ‘how do we get more girl gamers,’ which it doesn’t directly answer, but that’s ok.)
The biggest difference between male gamers and female gamers is simply that there are fewer of the latter. Any discussion of differences in gender is going to be so broad as to be practically meaningless, and typical of only one’s personal experiences.
However! It is important to point out a few key things:
Young girls roleplay. This should be a ‘duh’ response- they play house, with dolls, etc. Most young kids in general roleplay, though girls typically play ‘house’ and boys typically play ‘war.’
Ok, so we’re all grown up now, and we’ve got this thing called a ‘roleplaying game’. Is it any surprise that the grown-up boys (in general) want to play ‘war,’ and the grown-up girls generally don’t?
(Personally I could play hack ‘n’ slash games all day long. But that’s just me.)
The type of game that *generally* appeals to women is a “story-driven” game, whatever that means. It’s like playing house, only you’re the Vampire Prince instead of the Mommy.
However! I’ve known plenty of hack ‘n’ slash or violence-minded women, and even more drama-focused guys. So that angle may not be as useful as you might appreciate.
Here’s what I can say that WILL be useful. The following is a list of things that count as ‘turn-offs’ for plenty of gamers looking for new game partners, and just random people trying a new activity.
*Meeting a stranger at his house. (A neutral location, like a local game store, is far less threatening.)
*Playing in someone’s grungy basement.
*Playing with people who haven’t showered in weeks. (The stereotypical gamer, the balding overweight underemployed thirty something who has pieces of doritos in his beard, lives in his parent’s basement, can’t shut up about his World of Warcraft character, and spends his Sunday bilking first-graders out of their rare YuGiOh! cards is NOT someone the typical woman will want to ever be in a mile radius with, much less spend an evening every week.)
*Taking the rules too seriously. (I have been described as a ‘rules lawyer,’ but too much emphasis on rules, especially on rules discussions that take time away from the story, are a big turnoff for nongamers trying out the hobby.)
*Raping her character. We really hate that.