If you are over the age of 30 you have probably heard of the Dungeons and Dragons game. If for some reason this is a new phrase to you, to quickly sum up it is an analog table-top role play game. Which is actually reason number one that I encourage Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) game play.
Dungeons and Dragons game is the original RPG
Before xbox, before phone apps, before even nintendo there was D&D. In fact, many video game designers are avid D&D players. And it’s no surprise that the gaming world is based on the concepts set forth in D&D. So while many parents are argueing the value of video games, or ignoring thier negatives. I am saying, “look where it all came from!” and “if you want to understand how to play video games better you need to understand this!” It’s a history lesson and gaming all in one.
D&D requires using imagination
Unlike playing a video game or even social media-ing, the D&D game forces creativity. First a primer on how the game is played. There is a DUngeon Master, think of this as the Master of Ceremoies. The Dungeon Master (DM) chooses or creates a storyline that every player will be participating in. The DM then extemporizes this story for all the players asking them questions about how they will behave when they enter a building, or how they will respond to a creature they meet in the woods. And unlike a video game that only allows, “talk with trader,” “kill trader” or “continue walking” the open format of the Dungeons & Dragons game lets players say absolutely ridiculous things like, “throw my stew at the trader” or “ ask the trader if he has a cell phone”. The DM, in turn, responds to these things with storyline appropriate and sometimes equally ridiculous answers, “trader shows you his cell phone and runs away from you cackling that you will never get to use it.” Also when faced with problems the players have to come up with solutions, the DM can share hints, but most of the time players get creative and start solving things.
There is writing with pencils in D&D
I know this may sound almost archaic, but the players use pen and pencils to keep track of their characters traits, equipment, health, defenses etc. A video game does all this automatically, but talk about gaining an appreciation for what a computer does easily. I think most kids today have no idea what complexity is involved in video games. Cause the games just do it all. Well, force them to write out all that stuff and constantly update and change it and suddenly the value of computers is reaffirmed. Reaffirmed as a tool of advantage, not as a social addiction.
To play D&D you must be present
A Dungeons & Dragons game is a group activity. Players come, they sit around the table. They roll dice, they laugh, they eat snacks together, they physical spend time in one anothers presence to play. This is always to be encouraged. Which teens spending more time alone socializing by phone, anything that forces real human interaction is a huge plus (I won’t even talk about how my bar is so lowered when all I want is my teens to be with friends in person).
Best of all, D&D takes more than one time. The D&D adventures are never complete in one sitting. Sure the players finish a section of the adventure, but each storyline takes several get togethers. That may sound hard to plan, but once kids start playing their video game addictions kick in and suddenly they are planning the next time they’ll get together. This is a good thing.
Now there are a few items of need to play D&D and you might want to get a primer on how to play. But overall encourage Dungeons and Dragons play.