Dice. Miniature fantasy figures. Graph paper. Massive rule books with stacks of tables and charts. Six or seven people gathered in the dead of night, moving tokens around a grid and arguing about the range of a longbow. Even among self-professed geeks, Dungeons and Dragons has always been on the nerdy side. For years, the hobby has sat on the fringes of popular culture. Few would dare to admit they’ve played a game. In recent years, that stigma has changed. With celebrities and industry professionals alike revealing their love for the game, there is no better time to get into the hobby. Here are four reasons you should consider starting a game of Dungeons and Dragons.
- It’s cooperative.
Anyone who has played Monopoly knows games can ruin friendships once players get into the spirit of competition. The steady sweep of armies across the globe in a game of Risk pits friends against each other, and while many find that fun, others get frustrated and avoid tabletop gaming altogether. Dungeons and Dragons is unique because it encourages cooperative play. There is no single “winner” in a game, since every player works toward the same goal, whatever that may be. Whether it’s slaying a dragon or overthrowing a corrupt tyrant, every player wins (or sometimes loses) together, and it’s fun either way.
- It’s creative.
Some of the best RPG video games offer players choices and allow them to do whatever they want in the world the game designers created. In Dungeons and Dragons, there’s virtually no limit to what you can do in the game world. Do you want to play as an enchanting sorceress or a daring thief? How about an aging king who was recently overthrown in a coup, posing as a beggar on the streets in search of his next meal? The only limit is your imagination. Even science supports the hobby. Studies have shown that playing tabletop role-playing games, like Dungeons and Dragons, increases creativity in nearly every measurable way.
- It’s a social hobby
Everybody needs a hobby, or so the saying goes. Most hobbies, like miniature trains or stamp collecting, are solo affairs, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Unlike these hobbies, Dungeons and Dragons is social by design. You need at least two to three people to play, and it’s better if you have five or six. The cooperative nature of the game also encourages socializing, whether it’s dealing out a fair share of the treasure hoard to all players or negotiating safe passage across fantastic wilderness landscapes. Many self-professed nerds admit they learned critical social skills from late-night sessions of Dungeons and Dragons. It’s a great way to meet new people or spend quality time with old friends.
- The new edition
Just last year Wizards of the Coast, the publisher and owner of Dungeons and Dragons, released the latest edition of the game to almost universal acclaim from fans. Dubbed “Fifth Edition,” the reworked game system serves to make the game far more accessible to a wider audience, simplifying the rules with the aim to encourage more creativity from the players than ever before. It’s never been easier to start playing. Even if the new edition isn’t your style, there are plenty of gamers playing past editions, and getting your hands on older rule books is easy, and usually cheap, especially in the age of Amazon and eBay. Interested in joining the hobby? Stop by your friendly local game store and ask. They’d be happy to help you enter the wonderful worlds of Dungeons and Dragons.