I have so many great gaming memories over three decades of playing tabletop games. Too many to remember. Some stick out, like my first exposure to gaming (which I wrote about here), or the all-weekend games at Matt’s house growing up. Or time during college when I was introduced to miniature gaming with Battletech. Fast forward to my 30s and into my 40s and we have the great 3.5 campaigns run by Alexander spanning a good chunk of the 2000s. Then we move to Castles & Crusades and board games. With the release of Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, I’ve continued to find new and exciting games to bring to the table. All of those memories have been some of the best times spent around a table.
And until last night, I would be hard-pressed to pick out a single, greatest gaming memory.
As a child I had varying levels of interest in the things my parents did. It is the circular nature of going from youth, to adulthood and then becoming a parent yourself that part of that repetitive reality is that while kids may find those interests and hobbies that their parents engage in fun and interesting, they will invariably reach an age where they want to branch and discover something to call their own.
I can confidently say that all our children have been rubbed off regarding our hobbies and activities. RPGs however were the one part of that world that they never seemed to hold any great interest for. Then we see the release of Stranger Things in 2016, and while I don’t think it had a direct effect, it did plant a seed that continues to blossom over the seasons, culminating with the recently released season 4. After we finished the current season, I got it in my head that maybe the kids would be interested in seeing what RPGs are all about. So I asked them if they would be willing to give it a try.
And somewhat to my surprise, they all said yes.
So we set a date and decided we would get together to run through having them build their characters and start an introductory adventure.
I decided to print out a few binders of the PHB chapters that covered character generation, with the intent of not overwhelming the kids with too much too quickly. Overall I felt that building characters went well for the most part. I decided to keep game concepts and mechanics for later, as we encountered them during the adventure.
Along with Rhonda, their five-party adventure group had a pretty nice mix of characters and races. We had a Human Monk, an Elf Cleric, a Half-Elf Ranger, a Half-Elf Rogue, and a Half-Orc Sorcerer. Overall, the kids really leaned into thinking about their characters and how they would look to flesh them out beyond stats on a page.
After we got the characters to a good point, we broke for dinner, and then resume the evening by kicking off the adventure. I had looked over several options, ultimately deciding to go with the Adventure set from the Essentials Kit Boxed set. It has some starting quests for the party to embark on. And it would allow me to ease the kids into various game concepts and mechanics.
We played for close to 3 hours, ending at a good stopping point for what will hopefully be the next time. As we wrapped up, all the kids seemed to really enjoy their first experience with role-playing and D&D. I asked if they would be up for playing again, and all four of them exuberantly said yes.
I can’t remember the last time I played an RPG with a completely new player, but it was invigorating, fun, and exciting to see the game through their eyes. Plus the idea that I’m helping bring something that I love to those who have never had a real chance to try it previously just hit the spot.
After we were done for the evening and Rhonda and I was getting in bed for the evening, she looked over at me and she could tell my gamer self and more importantly, my father self had its heart-filled. It might seem like something most people wouldn’t think twice about, but the reality of sharing with your kids something that you love, and seeing them respond to it the way they did, gave me the best feeling imaginable.
The next time I think about my greatest gaming memory, it will forever be the time I first played Dungeons & Dragons with my family.
As always, leave a comment with your thoughts. Until next time, LLAP!