Women in Tabletop Gaming Month #22: Chaosium interviews Raquel Allen
Posted by Michael O'Brien on 27th Jun 2018
Lynne Hardy interviews professional model, LARP influencer and graphic designer Raquel Allen for Women in Tabletop Gaming Month
Serious ones first:
1. What is your background?
I go to school for graphic design and work as a professional model and LARP influencer.
2. How long have you been gaming? What attracted you to it in the first place, and how were you introduced to it
Though I’ve been playing board and video games all my life, I didn’t really get into board gaming as a hobby until I was 16. I played the usual board games when I was younger—stuff like Candyland and Monopoly—but it wasn’t until one of my friends gave me Cosmic Encounter for my 16th birthday that I got into more complex games. While we were all nerds, none of us knew how to play it. I enjoyed the challenge of learning the rules and teaching the game, and I think the experience sparked my fascination with more complex board games, which soon expanded to include tabletop games. I got into LARPing around the same time, and I’ve been doing all three ever since.
3. How did you get into the gaming industry?
I got into the gaming industry through LARP—I did promotional modeling for LARPs as well as graphic design, the latter of which attracted the notice of game developers.
4. What was the first gaming product you worked on, and in what capacity?
The first gaming product I worked on was being staff on a post-apocalyptic LARP called Dystopia Rising. I was a marshal, which meant I helped the people running the game manage players and facilitate storytelling.
5. What was the last gaming product you worked on, and in what capacity?
I recently did layouts for six new Call of Cthulhu convention scenarios on behalf of the Chaosium team.
6. What has been the most challenging gaming product you’ve worked on, and why? (Alternatively, this could be the gaming product you’ve learned the most from working on)
I would say the Call of Cthulhu layouts. I am still in school, and working on the layouts forced me to teach myself to use InDesign in a faster and more productive way than I had been taught. Since I suffer from dyslexia, I had to be careful not to mix words around while I made the layouts.
Plus my schedule as a LARP influencer and professional model means I’m constantly on the move, attending events all around the world. It makes keeping up with deadlines difficult as I bounce from country to country, event to event.
7. What has been the most enjoyable/rewarding gaming product you’ve worked on, and why?
Still the Call of Cthulhu layouts! They required me to improve my time management and learn new ways to use my graphic design software. It made me realize the difference between learning about graphic design in a classroom and reality of applying those skills to a real project. It was a highly productive challenge, which I thought I learned from.
And now for some more frivolous ones:
8. Just how large is your dice and/or stationary collection?
My dice collection is small but precious. My first full set was given to me by my friend Alex in my freshman year of college—it’s teal blue. I recently purchased a set of opal dice at PAX Unplugged that sit on my desk every day. They’re by far the most expensive set in my collection, but I think they’re worth every penny.
I’m also extremely fond of my D6 set for Stellar Age, which my friends at Devil’s Luck Gaming hold onto for me when I’m not using them on stream. The dice have a special place in my heart since our GM homebrewed the Stellar Age game system to only involve D6, specifically to help players like me who struggle with dyslexia or other disabilities that make roleplaying games with more complicated dice rolling hard to play.
9. What is your favourite gaming snack?
Caramel popcorn and pomegranate seeds.
10. What’s the most unusual/exotic location you’ve gamed in? Or that one of your games has been played in?
I once played Love Letter with a film crew at 2 a.m. in a small hotel in the middle of Sweden. We were making a film for a LARP. The whole experience was spontaneous—I’d only gotten the job and plane tickets two days before!
To see more of Raquel’s work, follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.