Last week or the week before I discussed my opinion on D&D. While I still stand by the points that I made in that article (click here to read it) I am now certain that I have underestimated how incredibly popular this game is about to come again.
Some of you are nodding and probably have a smug smile on your face in regards to that admission but I still want to highlight that I think this may in fact break open this market to a load of new blood to the hobby. I agree that any edition of D&D will do this because it is the game that makes our hobby visible to everyone , but I think it is going to go bigger than that.
The reason I am coming out and saying this is due to my interactions in my other role. The one where I shape young peoples minds to the ways of the world and the ways of our computers. You may point to the fact that I am a computer teacher and say that I am obviously teaching nerds but that is not exactly the case as I teach a class that is more vocational than nerdy and you know what, they all want to know about D&D from me.
It is like prior to the school holidays that finished last Sunday they all had a laugh at my nerd status but they have come back and some of them are now playing it (not the fifth edition, as far as I know that has not made it to Tasmania in physical form) but some of them have sourced the red basic box and they are playing it.
I have been fielding questions for three solid days now about what the history of the game is, how does Pathfinder fit in and is 5th Edition going to be any good. They are getting super excited when I tell them I can show them some sneak peaks of the impending release of the game and they just want to learn about it from me. It seems to me, anecdotally at least, that this edition is going to bring a load of well needed new blood to the hobby.
I say that it is well needed because a great deal of role players now look like me or even a little older. We are 40+ and reliving the game of our youth because it offers us a way to be creative and social at the same time. D&D has lost its stigma that it picked up in the 80’s and it is seen as a viable alternative for parents to tear their kids away from their PS4’s, Wii U’s and XBox One’s and get them reading again and talking to other, real human beings.
I could be totally wrong. Perhaps all of my students are in reality uber nerds but if they are then my spidey-sense needs to be taken back to the manufacturer and replaced. I really think that this is going to be a big year and this feeling has me reconsidering my original position on the whole “not going to get it” stance I took. I still feel that I will not get the books but I feel that resolution beginning to crumble. It is of course true that every new edition of D&D is an eagerly awaited thing but I was about when 4th edition was coming out and I was with people that would fall into the same or similar demographics as the ones that I teach now and none of them had really heard about this phenomenon then. Is it that the huge play-test that was undertaken by so many of us has really built up the community and networked word of mouth has seeped out into the community.
I have three kids in my Computer Science class preparing for projects that have each asked to do something related to D&D. One of them asked to do a D&D character sheet for the basic edition. One of them asked me to do a D&D text based game and another has asked if he can do a D&D combat tracker. I want to say it is all me but it just isn’t.
I have also said that this version of the game was going to be great if they stuck to what they had in the play-test. I have downloaded the basic rules from Wizards of the Coast and the new version of the D&D rules appears to be very faithful to those tests. I have to say I was pretty skeptical that they were going to be but I have been surprised.
Conversations I have had and reviews that I have read all look very good for D&D and the future of our hobby. D&D fan or not, this edition of D&D is going to bring in a huge influx of new players to the hobby. This is going to be great for the short and longer term viability of the tabletop game and if I play it or not, I have got D&D to thank for that. Keep rolling!