Miniature-based wargaming has long been a male-dominated hobby, one that has partially been kept that way by the portrayal of women in many of the games (well-endowed and often scantily clad women in provocative poses, etc...). Anyone who has had any involvement with the hobby can doubtlessly come up with plenty of examples of this, but today I want to touch on one of the newer offenders, Kingdom Death. After over 2.5 years since being successfully funded on Kickstarter, the base game for Kingdom Death: Monster is finally in the hands of the over 5000 project backers. For those unaware, Kingdom Death: Monster is a survival horror boardgame which puts you in control of a band of human survivors awakening in a nightmarish realm of endless night, beset on all sides by cohorts of horrid creatures. The imaginative and unsettling creatures that populate the game take heavy inspiration from Kentaro Miura's fantasy-horror epic, Berserk (Bruticus over at Ex Profundis has an excellent compilation of artwork from the manga if you are interested). To complement this unique theme, all of the survivors and monsters have been skillfully realized in game terms as finely detailed miniatures. The theme and accompanying miniatures would have been enough to support a successful Kickstarter campaign (back in late 2012, Kickstarter was not as inundated with miniature games). However, one of the primary things used to promote the game were "pin-up' versions of many of the human survivors. All of these pin-ups are female, generally very sparsely clothed, and often in suggestive poses. Just a glance at some of the concept art for these pin-ups should give you a good idea of what I am referring to:
|Concept art of three of the Pin-ups that helped promote the Kingdom Death: Monster campaign.|
|The concept art was faithfully captured in the miniature counterparts.|
With the exaggerated and oversexualized porportions of these miniatures, it is obvious that they were not designed to be interesting characters with their own motivations within the context of the Kingdom Death world. They were created as a means to appeal to male gamers. And while sexism in miniature gaming has been around for a long time, these are some of the most degrading models I have come across.
It is not lost upon me that Kingdom Death was designed to be a mature and adult setting, but achieving that goal by objectifying women is not an acceptable way to do it. And interestingly, the pin-up models are not actually part of the game. They were designed as a means to help promote the game, and it worked well, with the project making over $2 million.
Fortunately, for the most part, the actual game does not depict women as they are with the pin-up models. At the onset of the game, the survivors you control are essentially naked and unarmed, but their design is more tasteful and not overly sexualized. Furthermore, both males and females are equally portrayed in the game.
|The designs for the original survivors in the game feature largely nude male and female characters, though their poses are more functional than sexual.|
|The concept designs for the original survivors were followed closely when creating their associated miniatures.|
As you advance throughout the game and slay different creatures, you can craft weapons and armor from the bones and hide of creatures. None of this armor is anywhere near as ridiculous as that seen (or, rather, not seen) on the pin-up models. It is to the point that the pin-up models look out of place with the rest of the models in the game (again, they were not even made to be used in the game).
The identity of Kingdom Death is now very much associated with these pin-up models, rather than the bizarre and disquieting monsters that truly set the game apart from others. And while a lot of these monsters are rife with sexual imagery, they are not objectifying women (or men for that matter). That such sexual imagery can be used to invoke horror does raise interesting questions about sexual repression in our culture (but that is another topic). In any case, the association of these pin-up models with Kingdom Death does not necessarily imply that the game is sexist, but they do not speak kindly towards the culture surrounding miniature-based wargaming.
|Phallical lion heads emerging from vaginal orifices? That’s the Forge God.|
|Proof that not all of the Kingdom Death models are designed solely for sex-appeal.|
One of the lads in the gaming group picked this up and his copy arrived last week. I've said a number of times to him that although there are some models that do inspire my imagination in the range (like the Twilight Knight for example), those models are outweighed by the remainder, being of the more random and exotic variety that aesthetically turn me off. The game play is also on the different side to someone so used to the mechanics of the GW-verse.ReplyDelete
I agree though that Poots has somehow managed to balance the design choice he went with and the production medium perfectly - I've not seen such finely realised minis (in that scale) in plastic, outside of resins. The price tag on the box is near justified on that fact alone.
While the $400 price tag may be warranted with all of the components and the high production values, I don’t think I would be able to justify getting it if I had not backed it on Kickstarter (getting it for a fraction of the cost). That is a lot of money to shell out for a game. I would like to see the rulebook be put online as a free download so potential buyers could get an idea of whether the game was worth investing in. Posting rulebooks online is a common practice amongst boardgames, and it would be nice to see that here.Delete
By the time the Kickstarter closed, there were a few short gameplay videos, but backers still did not have a good idea of how the game would be played. As such, I think most people backed the game largely because of the promise of nice miniatures, with the hope that maybe a good game would come along with it. But seeing that Adam Poots has not designed a game before, there weren’t assurances that it would be a worthwhile game. I kind of wish that some of the money raised was used to hire a game designer to help out with the project. It also seems like more could have been done to get the excited backers involved with playtesting to get their feedback.
It's unfortunate that you think the game identity is somehow associated with the pin-ups. As a proud owner of the massive game sitting on my table-top, from my point of view, it has no connection to the pin-ups, since they have nothing to do with the game.ReplyDelete
That being said, I don't see anything wrong with the pin-ups. They're basically just anime.
I ultimately agree that the actual game has little to do with those pin-up models. If one were to stumble upon the game at a hobby store, unaware of it, I think most people would be largely OK with it. However, I think the general perception of the game has been colored by those pin-up models. Kingdom Death largely started out as a small collection of those pin-up models, so for a few years that is all that it was.Delete
I think that the game could have been promoted with more reasonable looking female models and still done well. The game itself is filled with more tasteful female models. But as it stands, the existence of those models makes Kingdom death very polarizing. And I think there will be a sizable number of people who will not check it out as a result.
Lokman Lam's pin-up designs do fall into the anime aesthetic, but not all anime puts down women and objectifies them.
I'm not familiar with this game per se, but I am glad other people are speaking out against it. There are some really amazing female minis out there. But these are dumb. I've always thought these games inspire some imagination and art. Appealing to sexuality is pretty basic, not to mention demeaning to women.Delete
On a related tune, I've noticed some shades of racism, especially in some of the GW narratives. I still enjoy them, but it's an interesting look at the rest of the world through the gaming culture "lens."
There certainly are some excellent female models out there, it is a shame so many are tarnished by being put in provocative poses, and outfits. While Wyrd’s Malifaux is not immune to this, I feel they usually do a fairly good job, developing their female characters to have engaging and believable backstories, and rarely resort to dressing them in their underwear.Delete
I admit I really not come across anything in GW’s stories that really stood out as being racist, but admit that I have not read too much of their recent material.
An important topic on objectification of women and something it's actually very important that we as men talk about and actually stand up against.ReplyDelete
Having an open dialogue about it is important. If people don’t start calling out companies and their transgressions, things are not going to change.Delete
I don't recall where I first heard of Kingdom of death but I know the first picture I saw was of I think a miniature called the "King" or something of the such, it's a beautiful miniature that appears to be made up of a bunch of children flowing over each other underneath a large robe holding up the figures hands and arms and I was super stoked just looking at it. Then I clicked on the link and the first page it brought up was a selection of the pin-up models. I know everyone likes different things but this was the determining factor of me not backing the kickstarter. If the models had anything to do with the game in the least bit maybe that would make it better, but the proportions alone are so skewed even when compared to the rest of the range its laughable. The sculptors are very talented I give them that but I don't look at any of the pinup models and think "Wow that guy can sculpt" instead I think, "Wow this guy might not have ever seen a real human female in his life" I am not trying to hate specifically on Kingdom of Death, as it is something all miniature ranges have in some case or another(I'm looking at you Sisters of Battle) and Fantasy has been known for this for decades, but how can I get lost in the lore of something when before its launch they are already taking away from how dark its supposed to be with over sexualized miniatures solely made to make money. People say "it's hard to define gender differences at such scale" but Kingdom of Death is proof that's not the underlying problem.ReplyDelete
It was designs like those of The King that you describe that attracted me to Kingdom Death. The game has lots of interesting designs like The King. There is a Phoenix that has a hideous mustached face inside the creature’s mouth.Delete
But all of those inventive designs are certainly cheapened by ridiculously sexualized pin-ups. I agree that all of the miniature companies could do better in the department of representing women, but Kingdom Death strikes me as one of the worst offenders.
I have to admit I didn't realise there was a distinction between the pinups and the game pieces really, I figured they might have rules or would cross over in some way. Is the art also distinct?ReplyDelete
I just think Kingdom Death is a bit embarrassing. On the one hand it has this really mature take on horror and sex that just isn't present elsewhere in wargaming, it reminds me Silent Hill 2 where the creatures are manifestations of repressed sexual urges.It's like Slaanesh but without the PG certificate: the creature designs are imaginative and horrendous.
But then on the other hand it has these ludicrous pinups that I feel undermine it all. The association - however remote - of the pinups and the game makes it feel a bit sleazy, like the focus shifts from horror to titillation and that put me off ordering the game despite basically loving everything else about it. Even the packaging looks great.
The pinups themselves don't offend me exactly but it's all the sort of stuff that can make you somewhat ashamed to be a geek sometimes. Aspects of geek culture are misogynistic and immature and we all get tarred by the same brush. I don't like that Kingdom Death seems to think that appealing to horny teenage boys to sell more copies of the game is fine, but I guess the thing I really don't like is that I bet it worked.
The pin-ups models could be used as stand-ins for survivor models in the game, but they were not designed specifically to be used in the game. Each pin-up is associated with one of the monsters from the game, so they share some small visual cues with the respective monster. I imagine a few pin-up promo models come with a card or so to be used in the game.Delete
To comment on the art style in the actual game: it has a slight anime aesthetic, but it is not as accented as it is in the pin-ups. And while much of the artwork work depicts nearly naked humans at the mercy of terrible creatures, it largely does so in a manner that does not objectify. And it features both males and females in equal measure.
I agree that the pin-up models are embarrassing, not only to Kingdom Death but to miniature gaming as a whole. I think that Kingdom Death would have been successful as a Kickstarter without the pin-ups, but I don’t think it would have been as much of a runaway success. So, it is pretty upsetting that such blatant sexism could be used so effectively.
Awesome review, man, and thanks for not stopping at the "KINGDOM DEATH IS SEXPLOITATION! FLAME!" I like that you named the elephant in the room (as us dorky dudes need to do more), but still went on to talk about how perfect and stunning the models are because... Well them and Arena Rex are some of the most beautiful I've ever seen.ReplyDelete
Now I'm kicking myself for not having backed :P
Look forward to the unboxing!
I think the game certainly has something interesting to offer to the miniature gaming hobby, but the issue of sexism needs to be mentioned (even if it does not apply with the actual game).Delete
$400 is a really high price of entry, even if it is technically worth the price. Kickstarter backers got the game at a significant discount.
First saw Kingdom Death a while ago, and the pinups put me right off the game - I got into gaming at the height of horny teenagerdom, and even back then the overly sexualised stuff just looked silly. It's a shame, because some of their models are fantastic, but it killed any real desire to collect their stuff for me.ReplyDelete
I got into miniature gaming as a teenager, as well. And a lot of the oversexualized stuff looked stupid to me then, too. I was primarily playing Warhammer 40,000 at the time, though, which does not have too many female models.Delete
It is really cringe worthy looking at the pin ups in my opinion. I mean having a sprinkle here and there is fine but it is seriously out of control I think. I do have a slight criticism or nitpick for that matter for your wording. Please don't call it misogynist, this word is tossed around so frequently that it just loses its meaning. Remember that misogyny is HATRED of women. And is kingdom death isnpired by a Japanese anime/manga?ReplyDelete
Good review over all though.
I appreciate the comment and the critique.Delete
While the term misogyny may derive from the notion of “hatred” of women, I tend to think that is not all that the term implies today. I think the term speaks towards the prejudices that our male-dominated society holds, often unconsciously, to keep women as second class. And this manifests itself in many ways, such as the sexual objectification of women, like in the Kingdom Death pin-up models, to imply that women are merely objects to use and enjoy, and not actually people.
I think that Kingdom Death did have some of its inspiration in Japanese manga/anime. While the art style for the pin-ups is heavy on that aesthetic, it is also present in the rest of the actual game art (though not as accented). I think that some of the imagery in the game is a very clear, and not subtle, allusion to the manga series Berserk. Perhaps the strongest example comes from the King's Hand/Guard, with the exposed brain of the helmet, the grasping hand motifs, and all of the porcelain faces. One of the promotional models the kickstarter helped fund was a miniature version of the main character from Berserk, further cementing the influence in place.
Thank you so much for posting this critique. It's rare to see this kind of conversation and awareness in the gaming community. I'm surprised you haven't received any sort of backlash about it.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your awareness and willingness to talk about it. If you were to do a regular series I would be excited to read (and contribute)!
I am glad that you liked the article. We have an article on here about Kingdom Death’s multipart kit, and their portrayal of women in that, which you might find interesting: http://betweenthebolterandme.blogspot.com/2015/12/kingdom-death-multi-part-kits-their.htmlDelete
I have been mulling over writing some additional articles in a similar vein to this one. In particular, I would like to write something about female representation in Warhammer 40,000. The topic has been addressed elsewhere, but has generally been focused on the lack of female Space Marines. I feel that there is a lot more to be discussed.
Between the Bolter and Me has been putting substantial effort into increasing female representation in Warhammer 40,000. Adam recently built the first of hopefully many more female Imperial Guard troopers, and has been building a group of female soldiers for the Church of the Red Athenæum.
If you are interested in potentially contributing an article, send me an email and we can discuss possible ideas (you can find an email address in the About Us section of the page). And at the very least, maybe it will prompt me to start writing more!
Feel free not to play it. In art women and men and creatures can be portrayed however an artist wants. The sexuality is only offensive to those offended by sexuality. The whole blizzard over watch tracer pose... Which was perfectly fine... This bs censorship and feminist agenda CA move to some other country.ReplyDelete
I am not saying that Adam Poots can’t produce the art that he wants. He has the right to produce it. But, I have just as much right to criticize it and him for it. These models represent sexuality as a straight white 15 year old boy understands it. And this narrow lens of sexuality is one that most of mainstream media is focused around. It ignores all other forms of it and creates the impression that they do not matter. These pin-up models suggest that women do not have sexuality, and are merely objects to be used and enjoyed.Delete
I want the miniature-based wargaming hobby to be one that is welcoming and safe for everyone. Models like the Kingdom death pin-ups are firmly telling women, or anyone with a different sexual identity, that they do not belong in the hobby.
Well said. A great reply which stands on a foundation of an understanding of representation and identity in media.Delete
No... see, this is the problem these days. Everyone has some particular agenda, and are tunnel-visioned for it. The models ain't the issue.
How many women have emulated Betty Page and Marilyn Monroe, not for the enjoyment of others, but because they were strong, sexual women? There's no difference in genders in the game, except you need a pair to have children.
No, the KD models aren't telling anyone they don't belong in the hobby. Men are equally nude, all bearing the Spartan six-pack... Nor are the bare-chested and muscley Khorne marauders. Infinity does a decent job these days of sticking with somewhat realistic propertions, but look... you can't do a damned thing in the world without alienating someone. All these games have strong female leads (KD also has the plump thing going on for the character who just had a baby and is on the run). If these particular games aren't to their liking, there are war games with robots instead of people, games with anthro mice battling centipedes, blah blah blah. Anyone willing to turn their back on a hobby because the single game they saw happened to have some sexy female models instead of some neutral body-armored space Infantry or whatever probably had a bizarrely focused Google search, no friends to help them out, and no inclination to go to a hobby shop anyway. And to be real, if someone were to go to a hobby shop and get treated like an outsider, that's the real problem here. The idiots who ostracize or exceptionalize others are going to do it based on a zillion factors, and the bust size of figures in miniatures games probably ain't gonna be the thing that does it. On top of this, there's about a 65 percent chance any FLGS you pop into at random is run down or only sells a handful of items.
Nope, the real challenge is in hoping any new hobbyist is treated with respect on their first visit. Censorship and criticism will only dilute the hobby, which is born of imagination; with so many gaming options out there, no, not every game should be for every person. The games we play is a personal choice, becomes part of our identity. The parts that appeal to us are as different as our personalities.
So, long story short... it's the people surrounding the hobby you need to worry about, and less about the sex appeal of some boutique, too-pricy-for-buying-on-a-whim game in an enormous black box. If I'm showing a transgender buddy Cthulhu Wars and someone walks up and pats her on the ass, not only is that person screwed up, but I have to make the stand so my friend knows it's not cool in the environment. Get me? If I laugh it off, I'm an idiot, just as bad as the guy who did it. This type of thing is bound to happen to someone here and there, since stupid tends to pop up at random, but how the people around them act in the aftermath is the real issue to solve. Blaming niche models, or even a half dozen other brands, is the same trash as negligent parents say their iPhone was distracting them while their kid was running around unattended and knocked a heavy shelf onto themselves. It's nothing more than a convenient target, something easy to point a finger at. If you were a passerby in the store and saw this kid climbing on the shelf, what would you do?
Making the miniature-gaming hobby welcoming to everyone is not something that is only influenced by one factor. You are right, it is a problem that women are treated like outsiders at some hobby shops. But, that is not what this article is talking about. Multiple things are keeping women away from the hobby. To think that the hobby only has one thing to improve is being myopic.Delete
I would argue that female sexuality is not trying to emulate Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn Monroe’s image was tailored to specifically appeal to the male gaze. Women wearing revealing outfits and high heels is not what they do to express themselves sexually. That is done to appeal to male audiences and male fantasies. Corsets and high heels are not comfortable things that women wear for themselves. To suggest that female sexuality is simply a performance to appeal to men’s own fantasies is to clearly show that you have no notion of what female sexuality is.
The miniature-gaming hobby is dominated by men, and that is not a coincidence. Let’s imagine that you are a woman thinking about getting into the miniature gaming hobby. What sort of model ranges are open to you? Let us think about two of the more successful ranges today, Games Workshop and Infinity.
Warhammer 40k/Age of Sigmar: The vast majority of the miniatures in Games Workshop’s games are males. Strong and impressive looking males. If you saw a miniature line that had almost no examples of your own sex, would that make it seem like the game was made with you in mind? But wait, there are some female models in the range. The Sisters of Battle are a primary example, the Adeptus Ministorum’s entirely female fighting force. What do they look like? Form-fitting battle armor, each breast with its own stylized cup. Does that armor make any practical sense? No. Any sword blow would be deflected right into their sternum with that boob-plate armor. That design was made to appeal to men. How does that give the impression that women are welcome?
Infinity: Infinity has a more diverse range of models, featuring a large number of female models. But, a large majority of them have form fitting body armor like the Sisters of Battle. However, in addition to that, many are in awkward and suggestive poses, poses that very few of the male models are adopting. Who do you think this was done for?
The problems I mentioned with these two ranges are problems that nearly every major miniature lines suffers from. Sure, the companies who make many of these women characters might be intending to make strong female leads, but when they are presented in a clearly objectified light, what image are they actually presenting? It is verging more on a male fantasy of what they are hoping women will be, not not what they would actually aspire towards.
The Kingdom Death kickstarter campaign was outrageously successful, and all of those horrendously sexualized pin-up models were part of the reason why (I fear a large reason why). That is showing the industry that objectifying women is profitable, so they will keep doing it. Gamers everywhere will internalize those images and decide that is acceptable, and women will continue to be dehumanized.
Well, Greg, it's a good thing Denis was here to mansplain sexism and representation to you, otherwise you'd never know how wrong you are. Hell, you might have continued to educate yourself on the topic by talking to women, and reading things women write on the matter.ReplyDelete
"Miniature-based wargaming has long been a male-dominated hobby, one that has partially been kept that way by the portrayal of women in many of the games (well-endowed and often scantily clad women in provocative poses, etc...)."ReplyDelete
Do you have a source on this claim? Specifically, that miniature-based wargaming has been male dominated 'partially because of the portrayal of women in many of the games'. If so, I would love to hear it. I don't necessarily agree, as well. As I see it, these sexualized women are made that way because it sells well. There's nothing stopping a woman from making modest miniatures, so as far as I can tell the only problem is that companies are choosing to market to the male demographic that they know is interested, rather than the female demographic that has shown little interest, which doesn't seem like much of a problem to me at all.
"With the exaggerated and oversexualized porportions of these miniatures, it is obvious that they were not designed to be interesting characters with their own motivations within the context of the Kingdom Death world."
I don't see how sexualization excludes characterization. A character's motivations, depth, and complexity shouldn't be defined based on how they are dressed, just as, for example, a real woman shouldn't be judged to solely be a slut based on how they are dressed.
"They were created as a means to appeal to male gamers."
I don't see how this is wrong. Men and women have every right to express their sexuality, and if they choose to do that by buying things they find sexy I don't see why that should be condemned.
"And while sexism in miniature gaming has been around for a long time, these are some of the most degrading models I have come across."
"...but achieving that goal by objectifying women is not an acceptable way to do it."
Degradation and objectification is largely subjective. What you find degrading, others might find empowering. For example, let us look at Bayonetta. Obviously sexualized, yes, but designed by a woman as a power fantasy.
More than that, while I recognize and encourage your right to criticize and discuss this product, I don't think the conversation should dip into what is or is not acceptable, given that this is largely subjective. As far as I see it, the only reason something should be unacceptable is if people are being endangered by it and I can't see how this product endangers anybody.
I hope this comment finds you well, and I look forward to any response you deign to give me. While we may not agree on the topic of sexism in miniature gaming, I appreciate you voicing your opinion, I can see that you want to improve the experience of yourself and those who agree with you, so even if we continue to disagree I will still respect your feelings on the matter.
Thanks for the response, and not approaching it with guns blazing and insults flying.Delete
I don’t think that there is any debate about miniature-based wargaming being male-dominated. Rick Priestly and John Lambshead just published a book* about advice for tabletop wargame designers, where they had the following to say: "Never mind that practically all tabletop wargames enthusiasts are male - a fact that is rendered all the more painfully obvious by pretending otherwise.” They go on to say that when writing rules, you should just use male pronouns because they are the ones who are largely going to play the games (I can’t imagine that makes any female gamers or designers very happy to read that they largely do not exist, but that is another topic).
Why is it then that it is largely just men that play Warhammer and other miniature wargames? It certainly is not because women do not like games. Video games are very popular with men and women (http://www.isfe.eu/sites/isfe.eu/files/attachments/esa_ef_2012.pdf). Science fiction and the settings of many games are not things that only men enjoy. What is it then that keeps them away? Certainly it is a multi-faceted issue, but I think one of the big turn-offs is how women are portrayed in a lot of those games. This is not just something I have come to solely on my own, I have actually spoken to women about this. If you were a woman and decided that you wanted to play Infinity (as an example), and discovered that most of the female models were in suggestive poses and form fitting armor, what would that suggest to you? I think it pretty clearly shows that models were made to appeal to a largely male audience and their own fantasies. They are suggesting that women are something to be viewed as objects. That is not a warm welcoming to women who might be interested. Dungeons & Dragons have come to this realization and have started to avoid presenting monsters as largely naked females (http://kotaku.com/dungeons-dragons-gradual-shift-away-from-monster-boo-1790002540).
As the articles Aletheia linked in her comment show, there is a bevy of research into how objectification of women is harmful (http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx). The blatant sexualization of women in media is not harmless. As such, I see no reason why I should not decry Adam Poots’ decision to market his game by objectifying and dehumanizing women. Women are being endangered everyday by a culture that normalizes such things.
To speak to the notion of women making modest miniatures, Annie at Bad Squiddo Games (https://thedicebaglady.net/) is doing just that. She is producing and selling sensibly dressed female miniatures, and trying to make the sort of models that she would have liked to see when she first got into the hobby. In her words, the “main focus of Bad Squiddo is to tell younger girls "Yes, yes you ARE welcome in this hobby" to counter the constant "you are NOT welcome".”
To comment on people expressing their sexuality: The Kingdom Death pin-up models are ridiculously proportioned to the point where it makes me wonder if the artist ever looked at reference pictures or studied human anatomy. They are portraying women as something they cannot be, and turning them into something to be ogled and desired as things. It is making women into objects. Something to be used, enjoyed, and tossed out. The KD pin-ups may be expressing someone’s idea of sexuality, but that I believe is largely a male teenager’s idea of it.
*Tabletop Wargames – A Designers’ and Writers’ Handbook
Have you ever read any feminist writing? Any at all? If you want sources for how and why portraying women as things that exist to be jerkoff material for straight guys chases actual women out of a hobby, look into it; you are clearly using something that has the internet. If you really need help, though, here are some references:ReplyDelete
Or, a lovely music video breaking down why the very idea that female objectification is empowering is bullshit to try to coerce women into performing for the Male Gaze:
I regret looking at the comment section, but I'm not sure what I expected...ReplyDelete
FWIW, I thought Kingdom Death was a lewd adults-only game until recently due to how explicit the pin-up promo art & models are; glad to know there's something more to it than that