Safety Tools are one of the ways that event hosts can help facilitate a supportive convention environment at Breakout. Situations and circumstance may occur at a table that could make a game not fun, stressful or unsafe for one of the participants. Safety Tools provide a structure to comfortably communicate when those situations occur so that event hosts and Breakout Admins can better support you.
Mandatory Safety Tools
There are two mandatory safety tools at Breakout. All roleplaying games will have an X-card. All board games will be Open Tables.
All roleplaying games at Breakout Gaming Convention feature an X-card. An X-card is a tool that helps maintain a safe environment at the gaming table. Roleplaying games can be very improvisational and adventures can vary widely in content. It can be impossible to predict when uncomfortable content might come up.
An X-card is a tool to keep the content at the table safe for everyone. It is a card in the middle of the table with an X on it. Should someone feel uncomfortable at anytime, they can tap the X-card. The event host and other players will change the content, dial it back, or skip the scene.
Breakout endorses and uses the X-Card as part of our plan to create a safe and inclusive environment for gamers.
The X-Card was designed by John Stavropoulos and more information about it can be found at http://tinyurl.com/x-card-rpg
All board games in play at Breakout Gaming Convention are played with the understanding that they are “Open Tables”. An Open Table is a tabletop game that welcomes all to join, in a spirit of inclusiveness. In addition to the open ability to join, any gamer may leave an Open Table game if they feel they are uncomfortable for any reason, including but not limited to harassment, discrimination, bullying or other offensive behaviours. We encourage all participants in a game to discuss problems which may prompt a gamer to leave a table, but we guarantee the right of all boardgamers to leave a game without explanation if they choose to.
Breakout endorses and uses the Open Table concept to promote a safe and inclusive boardgaming experience.
Additional Safety Tools
Games are not limited to the two mandatory safety tools and may feature additional safety tools requested by the event host. Your event host will introduce and explain any safety tools at the start of your game.
Cut and Brake
Cut and Brake are Safeword tools that help keep content safe for players and can stop problematic situations from escalating. These Safewords are most commonly seen in Live Action Roleplay games, but may be used elsewhere.
The word “Cut” is used to declare an emergency or that a game’s content has crossed a player’s personal boundaries. Gameplay is stopped immediately. The word “Brake” is used to declare that the direction of a game has made a player uncomfortable and risks crossing a player’s personal boundaries. Gameplay can de-escalate or take a step back, but it is not stopped.
Cut, Brake and other Safeword tools were developed by the Nordic LARP community. More information can be found at https://nordiclarp.org/w/index.php?title=Safewords
Lines and Veils
Lines and Veils are tools to establish and handle boundaries in games. An event host may ask you to define any Lines or Veils at the start of game.
A Line is hard limit on content that players or event hosts don’t want to engage in. Defining something as a Line means that the content will not appear in play.
A Veil is a “pan away” or a “fade to black” moment. This is content that the players or event host are okay including in the game, but don’t want to spotlight. Defining something as a Veil means that the content will only occur “off-screen” or without graphic detail.
Lines and Veils were developed by the members of the indie game community. More information can be found at: https://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/30906/what-do-the-terms-lines-and-veils-mean
An Open Door policy means that a play may leave a game at any time, for any reason, and will not be judged for doing so. There is no social pressure to stay at a table.
More information on Open Door policies can be found at: http://leavingmundania.com/2014/02/27/primer-safety-in-roleplaying-games/
Script Change is a tool that allows players and event hosts to control the content, tone and intensity of a game. If a player or event host finds part of the game uncomfortable, they can call for a Script Change.
The event host will provide three cards in the middle of the table labeled “Rewind”, “Pause” and “Fast Forward”. Rewind rolls the game back to before the uncomfortable content. Pause pauses play. Fast Forward skips past the uncomfortable content. Players and event hosts tap the cards they wish to use.
Script Change was designed by Brie Sheldon and more information about it can be found at http://tinyurl.com/nphed7m
The Support Flower, sometimes also called the Consent Flower, is a tool that allows players and event hosts to non-verbally communicate what direction and intensity they want to direct play.
The event host will provide a card in the middle of the table with Green, Yellow and Red petals. The user makes direct eye contact with the person they want to communicate with and taps one of the petals on the flower. Tapping a Green petal requests to push the current scene harder. Tapping a Yellow petal requests that the current scene should continue as it currently is, with no escalation or de-escalation. Tapping a Red petal requests that the current scene should immediately de-escalate.
The Support Flower was designed by Tayler Stokes and is based on the tool Support Signals by Jay Sylvano. More information about it can be found at https://the-act-apart.itch.io/the-support-flower
Hand Queues are an attempt to equalize conversations by asking participants to observe non-verbal turn taking signals. The goal is to allow a more diverse range of voices to be heard in group conversations, discussions, and games.
Hand Queues was designed by Tayler Stokes. For a full list of hand queues, you can find it here: https://the-act-apart.itch.io/hand-queues