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.


  1. I'm not much into games. In our house in Berlin (all renters!) lives the janitor with his son (who is about 20), and they do middle-age role playing at the weekends far away. Thus they have beautiful long hair, build tents and whatsoever, and seem to be very happy with their fandom.

    1. I have heard of people who do the role playing adventures on weekends. As long as they are back in the real world when the fantasy is over I think they should have a good time.

  2. Like you, Emma, I have also never played this fantasy game or any others. However, a few months ago my brother gave us his older Play Station 2 which he replaced with a newer model and he also included he controllers and games. As soon as we have a neighbor who know about these things hook it up, I may give game playing a try. It was good to read that D&D helped your children in so many ways.

    1. I am a firm believer in moderation. As long as a person understands that they are taking part in a fantasy and when the fantasy is over the real world is where we live. Have fun with you video games. Many of them I cannot play because the trigger for my seizures can be the fluctuations of light in some of the games.

  3. Interesting details of a fabulous game. I say fabulous because it taxes the players mind and makes him alert, innovative,flexible and develops many other qualities that are required to meet the challenges of life. As you said this should be played in moderation.

    For me this game will be taxing and tiresome because I can never rise up to challenges of this game. My youngest son is games addict although he is working in a full time job. In the night he plays computer games for several hours. I must ask him about this game.

    Best wishes

    1. What really amazed me about this game is that my daughter was only 5 years old. She could draw and read a map. I still have trouble with that.

  4. I haven't played dungeons and dragons as well, never thought there are many other forms or versions of that game, taken to another level

    1. As far as I know the limit to the adventures is the imagination of the people making the adventures. My mother and sister and my children all designed their adventures. When one was completed after a few weeks a new one would begin. They took turns.

  5. I've heard of this game but I've never played. I think kids that did play it had good imaginations. I think using the imagination is a good thing. There will always be people who go too far, but that's not the fault of a game.

    1. Exactly. I love two year old children because their imaginations kick in at that age. They are more delighted by fairy tales and games of make-believe. It is also the age when they learn to tell "untruths". Two-year-olds are my favorite people.