In a sea of hobbies that have helped fill the hours of quarantine this past year, Dungeons & Dragons stands out as the greatest way to spend your free time. Yes, yes, I know, I’m biased, since it’s my favorite way to spend my free time… but I stand by it.
Social Construct is Socially Constructive
The COVID crisis has lasted longer than anyone would have wanted, or expected. It has taken a toll on our relationships with friends and family. The people that we used to see every day, every week, or every so often? We have seen them less. We have lost touch with some people important to us, and grown more distant with still more. Our social lives have suffered.
D&D offers a way to interact with our friends by doing just that: necessitating us to interact with them. Watching movies, shows, playing games, and other pastimes can be enjoyed with friends or alone, but D&D demands interplay between its participants. You must talk with them and listen to them, as well. That’s how the game is played, and that is how relationships are maintained: by communicating. More so than other pursuits, D&D insists that you and your friends perform the primary relationship-building activity while entertaining yourselves.
This year has been unkind to much of the world from an economic standpoint. Lots of people lost their jobs, unemployment skyrocketed, and a paycheck became an uncertainty, if not a scarcity, for many of us. I know it was for me. Buying new video games, going out on the weekends, going to the movies, meeting up with friends at the bar after work, and other activities that were part of our everyday lives before COVID became unnecessary expenses that had to be trimmed back, or eliminated from our budgets.
But since D&D is played almost entirely in our heads, there’s practically no price of admission! Other than a couple of pencils, some paper, and a handful of dice, there is no cost to play. And not even that! There are websites accessible from our phones where you can build and save character sheets. Even though D&D dice are nice (VERY nice), there are apps that will roll virtual dice for you. And while the rulebooks are great resources, all the rules you need to run an adventure are free to access online. No upfront cost, no microtransactions, no paid DLC (unless you count the sourcebooks, which aren’t needed to enjoy the game). In a world where every penny saved counts, tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons are a thrifty gamer’s best friend.
Equal Opportunity Fun
Speaking of expenses, there is a culture in gaming these days of “paying to win”. I enjoy Magic the Gathering. I like taking my little green counter deck and playing with my brother and his friends now and again. But it is clear that I’ll never be able to play on their level. They have sunk lots of time, effort, and hard-earned money into that hobby! Going to conventions to buy expensive and rare cards, opening hundreds of booster packs, and ordering particular cards online to create decks that approach perfection, lacking any weaknesses for my little deck to exploit. And it's not just trading card games! Video games do this too, hiding statistically superior weaponry or defenses behind paywalls. Warhammer 40k is famously expensive to get into, and even more expensive to be competitive in.
D&D isn’t that way. Its cooperative nature prevents things getting too competitive, yes, but the game by its nature is fair to all its players. Everyone has the same classes and races to choose from, the same opportunities for good stats, magical loot, good and bad rolls, and participation. No person at the table has any advantage over the others, and cannot fabricate one.
No Skill Required
I used to play Fortnite with my friends. Our first Victory Royale was a beautiful thing! But more often than not we’d lose, and lose pretty badly. But it was usually still fun to play. But now and again we’d face off against “one of those F****** BUILDERS”. While we enjoyed running around the map, fishing, riding in cool vehicles, and shooting anything that moved, we never mastered the skill of quickly building those massive structures that some players make look so easy. It became a running gag how much we hated being bested by people that much better at the game than we were.
Fortunately, no such skill gap exists in D&D. Some players are more experienced than others, sure, but that doesn’t really translate to the game. No individual has, or can have, Any advantage over another. No one has a competitive edge. That’s primarily because...
Not a Game For Losers
D&D isn’t a competitive game! The game is designed to be collaborative. But even among other cooperative games, D&D stands out. The fun of the game is dependent on teamwork. No single character or class can succeed in all the areas needed to be a successful adventurer. No individual player can play alone without at least one friend to be the dungeon master. No lone person can direct all the people involved in a scene in a satisfying and dramatic fashion. D&D is a group activity among group activities. A game’s game, if you will.
If you haven’t already begun your journey with Dungeons & Dragons, there’s never been a better time to start! D&D has earned a place in the limelight these past few years. Access to D&D products, Dungeon Masters, and players is at an all-time high! You can’t go to a bookstore or to your local Target without seeing D&D products on the shelves (often in places of relative prominence)! If you’re looking for a little advice, help, or direction, there are no end of resources on the internet, including here on the Dungeon Feed and on our own YouTube channel!
And if you’re already a fan, be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay abreast of our new D&D-related content, and news about products exclusively here on Misty Mountain Gaming! Link is in the lower right corner of this page.
Until next time, friends and adventurers! Farewell, and Godspeed.