Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Dungeons And Dragons
Dungeons and Dragons is a board game that has gotten a bad name over the years. In some cases the bad reputation is deserved and I will discuss that too.
This is a fantasy game. Each player has a character with it's own special abilities and tools or armaments. Play is decided by the role of dice. Battles and other activities of the game are determined by rolling dice.
There are several different kinds dice. The number of sides on the dice is determined by the shape. They range from 4 sides to 18 sides. A player uses whichever dice is required for whichever play. I think it sounds more complicated than it is.
You can buy a game that leads you through the various adventures until someone completes it. Or if you feel confident you can make up your own game.
The reason Dungeons and Dragons has a bad reputation is that some gamers ( it is mostly blamed on college students but I do not know if that is the case) took the game too far. They dressed in costume to be their characters. Not a bad thing.
The problem came when they took the game to places like the woods or sewers and had live action instead of using a table and character pieces. There were stories of people being injured and even killed. I do not know which if any of them are true. But the bad reputation continues.
People who play have also been branded as "nerds" with no outside lives. They devote themselves addictively to playing Dungeons and Dragons.
I now have to be honest and say that I do not play. Not because of any labels attached to the game. It just is not the kind of thing I enjoy.
However my children had weekly Dungeons and Dragons dates with my mother.
They would really get into the spirit of the game. My mother told me about one time that my youngest son was in a stressful situation in the game. She said that he was straining so hard the veins were standing out in his neck and his face was red.
When the time allotted for role playing was over the game was put away until the next week. The characters were dropped and the players were themselves again. They knew the difference between make-believe and reality.
Each player was required to keep track of tools and abilities acquired during the game as well as what was used or lost. They had to keep a running tally of points gained or lost. My children's math skills accelerated.
Another thing the characters had to do was to keep track of where they had been. It was important to their progress in the game. So they made maps. The maps were labelled with places they had battles. Topography was important so that was included. How many 6-year-olds do you know who can make and follow a map? My daughter could.
All the players needed to use their brains to know what to do in a particular challenge. They needed to know what action they would take and what it might cost them. They also needed to protect themselves from harm at the same time. And it all had to be done quickly.
Of course each player had ideas for a new game. So they secretly worked on their own games too.
The game had to have a beginning, a middle, and an ending. Simple enough. But within that game the challenges had to be planned. Where and when would they happen? How would they be resolved? What reqards would be found through out the game. When? How would they be won?
What would the characters be like? What talents and tools would they have at the beginning? Why would they be setting off on this particular adventure?
How would the game end? What would the requirements be to end it? Those are just a few of the things the game master had to take into consideration.
Dungeons and Dragons were a valuable learning tool for my children. Anything taken to extreme is not good but in moderation I think this is a good game.