Dungeons & Dragons: How lockdown sparked a resurgence of the classic fantasy role-playing game
Covid-19 may have brought the world to a halt, but the pandemic has helped breathe new life into the iconic fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.
As the Kiwis searched for ways to escape the monotony of life locked in for the past 18 months, unprecedented numbers have found much-needed fun, nostalgia, and social interactions in the mystical realms of barbarians, druids. , wizards, wizards and wizards.
Originating in 1974 as a pen-and-paper tabletop game requiring only a blocky dice and vivid imagination, “D&D” has gone through several iterations, or “editions,” and has also evolved into a detailed online version, connecting players from all over the world.
“It’s really seeing a massive tilt in participation,” said Johan Chan, a longtime Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast based in Auckland.
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“It’s been really noticeable last year throughout the lockdown, with a lot of new tools appearing online where you can create a lot of visualizations and characters.”
Amol Singh, store manager of Vagabond Games & Collectables Takapuna, estimated that Dungeons & Dragons’ popularity had quadrupled across New Zealand since last March.
“If you had asked me two years ago how many people were playing, I would have answered around 500. Now it’s easily 2,000 people, probably more,” Singh said.
The fact that you only need a few companions to play helps the game’s resurgence, while the cost is also minimal, especially given the hours of entertainment it offers.
“Everyone took the train to try to find things to do with their partner or people at home,” he said.
“A lot of people have turned to D&D because it only takes a group of three people to get started. It can accommodate up to eight people, so apartments, small families, virtually any number of people can fit. play it and say “OK, it’s $ 40 – why weren’t we there earlier?”
Like any personal interest or hobby, you can choose how far you want to go to immerse yourself in the fantastic world of Dungeons & Dragons.
Some players dress up and like to play their characters, or you can just sit and play around the dining room table.
Under the instructions of a designated “dungeon master”, players are assigned characters and a campaign – an ongoing storyline or set of adventures – to complete, navigating strange and dangerous realms, collecting powers. and magical weapons and by facing evildoers, dragons and other beasts.
Depending on how much time you have and your level of engagement, you can run a campaign in under an hour, while some older editions can take several days.
It’s not just pure escape, Singh insisting that Dungeons & Dragons has educational value as well.
“It’s very easy to get in. And it is also a family hobby. The youngest D&D player I have met is six and the oldest is 80, ”he said.
“Kids always love to play games and the big thing about D&D is that it’s also very educational because the game system teaches you statistics, fractions and all those other equations that you have to learn to play the game,” but you don’t realize it. I do it.
It’s also a great way to meet new people, said Chan, who is part of a tight-knit group of seven players who first logged into a local Dungeons & Dragons Facebook page in 2017.
“We all formed together to be a band, and now we’re really good friends. We’ve been playing together for almost four years. One guy, who just moved to Huntly, still calls weekly through Zoom or Google Chat.
Prior to Covid-19, Vagabond hosted weekly Dungeons & Dragons game nights in downtown Auckland that regularly attracted groups of around 70, made up of both experienced players and newcomers.
The onset of the pandemic saw the online version of Dungeons & Dragons explode, and once Kiwis emerged from lockdown, that interest translated into a boom in sales of all formats of the game.
“We were hoping for a 230% increase in D&D sales during this period. It was crazy, ”Singh said.
In recent years, celebrity support has also played a central role in bringing Dungeons & Dragons into mainstream audiences.
Long dismissed by many as a children’s game or a hobby for older “nerds”, the game began to gain more wide acceptance thanks to the heavy support of two Hollywood stars.
“The first big boom in D&D came when Henry Cavill and Vin Diesel both publicly announced that they were playing D&D,” Singh explained.
“Because Cavill, the guy who plays Superman – the Man of Steel – he plays D&D. So people say, “It can’t be that cheesy, right?”
Singh believed Dungeons & Dragons would continue to gain in appeal to Kiwis of all ages, especially if they had similar support from one of our local sports superheroes.
“If we had an All Black come out and say ‘D&D is pretty cool, you should play it’ you would see a massive increase in schools where kids play it and different bands start it.”