Saturday, February 1, 2020

Dungeons & Dragons - Fantasy Role-Playing Game Review

Dungeons & Dragons - Fantasy Role-Playing Game
Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Role-Playing Game (Source: Pixabay)

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game first published in 1974. Designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, it is now published by Hasbro's Wizards of the Coast subsidiary. 

What is Dungeons & Dragons?

D&D was originally based on miniature wargames, but departs from traditional wargaming because it allows each player to create their own character to play, who embark on imaginary adventures in a fantasy setting. 

Polyhedral dice for D&D
D&D uses polyhedral dice to resolve
 in-game events.
Source: Wikipedia 
A Dungeon Master (DM) serves as the game's referee and storyteller, maintaining the setting where the adventures occur, and playing the role of the inhabitants of the game world. The characters form a party and interact with the setting's inhabitants and each other where they solve dilemmas, engage in battles and gather treasure and knowledge. 

Today Dungeons & Dragons is recognized as the beginning of the modern role-playing games. It is the best known, and best selling, role-playing game in the US, with an estimated 20 million people having played the game.

D&D Starter Set game
D&D Starter Set
My son Greg discovered D&D in 1978 at the age of eight. For several years, all he wanted for gifts and to buy with his allowance were additions to the game in the form of published pamphlets (modules) which typically included a background story, illustrations, maps and goals for players to achieve. He most often played the game with his two best friends, brothers Kevin & Russell.  I remember one night in particular when the brothers were spending the night with Greg and the 3 of them were in his room playing D&D. I went in to call them to dinner and Russell (only 7 years old) said “wait, I can't leave now or my character will be in trouble. I have to finish this play first.” Made me smile. I have to say, as a mother, I really liked this early version of D&D as it heavily encouraged a child's imagination and taught them problem solving skills and strategy.  It also taught them important social skills and how to work together as a team to win the game.

An image of a D&D game in progress
An elaborate D&D game in progress. Among the gaming aids here are dice, a variety of miniatures and a dungeon diorama. (Source: Wikipedia)

Today's version of D&D has evolved to include miniature figures and a grid map and even a dungeon Diorama, among other advanced gaming aids. 

D&D Resurgence

This week, my local newspaper ran a story about the massive resurgence D&D has recently had:

"Paladins, sorcerers and wizards unite. A new generation of players has become ensorcelled by the fantasy role-playing board game “Dungeons & Dragons.”  You don't need to be familiar with the game to figure out “Ensorcelled” means charmed or be-smitten."

Long-time players and newcomers will tell you the game is making a new resurgence with players of all ages, especially younger players. 

I see this resurgence in interest in D&D in my own family. My eight-year-old son is now grown and a father to four sons he is teaching the game to. His sister has joined a group who play D&D a couple Sundays each month. 

In my local community, there are teachers who run such clubs and our local Public Library is hosting Dungeons and Dragons games every Wednesday afternoon. 

D&D is Here to Stay

With technology making so many video games available, it would seem that board games would become a thing of the past. Not so with Dungeons & Dragons, the most popular fantasy role-playing game of all time.

(c) Dungeons & Dragons Review written by Wednesday Elf (1/30/2020)

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. I am amazed that D&D continues to enthrall in an age of technological wizardry. I've never actually engaged in Dungeons and Dragons, but I seem to be in the minority. What a timely review! It doesn't surprise me that your creative family members like to participate in this role-playing classic. I'm sure they have some pretty amazing high adventures.

    1. I've never played D&D either, Diana, but have observed the game when my kids played and have heard many stories from them. It's the fact that it's a fantasy game seems to be the appeal. My DD & SIL, both artists, participate in Archon St. Louis each year (the Science Fiction & Fantasy convention), and fantasy plays a big role in their artwork. So I can see the appeal of a fantasy game with wizards & spells. My daughter just shared this post with her D&D group online and they all liked it. :) I take that as a compliment. :)

  2. I doubt it will surprise you to know that I playing D&D in my own youth. Two of my own brothers played, which opened to door for me (a girl!) to play. I opted to be a cleric (a healer). My youngest brother most often served as Dungeon Master. He made up the best adventures! There are a lot of props for the game now that game-players can purchase. We didn't have those unless we made them ourselves. Depending on your DM, this can be a totally enjoyable game that can seriously last for months, if desired. I do remember the church came out against the game, probably because of the wizards & spells content. As a Christian, I can assure you, it did me no harm. I know (and knew even at 14) the difference between fantasy and reality.

    1. We all need a bit of fantasy in our busy, and often stressful, real life, Mouse. D&D seems to provide that through a fun role-playing game where you can be whatever and whoever you want and enjoy the adventures created by the DM.

  3. Now when I think of D&D, I think of the Big Bang Theory lol. I can see how the game offers useful like skills. In fact, playing games is a plus in my book. My youngest brother played this way back when - wonder if he still does? I've never cared to play it, but honestly knew nothing about it - you've peeked my interest, and yep, I'd give this one a try, even today, even at my age lol

    1. I've actually never seen the Big Bang Theory show, Barbara.... LOL. So have no way to compare it. I think I would like to try playing D&D sometime, maybe with my kids & grandsons ~ even at MY age. :)

  4. I've never played D&D, but one of the ladies I work with holds D&D parties with friends a couple of times a year (apparently they used to be a lot more regular until they all started having families LOL). I think if any of my friends had been interested when I was younger I would probably have enjoyed it, but as I went to an all girls school (and back in the day it was definitely a boys game!) I only heard about it in movies and on television. Great to know it's having a resurgence as encouraging kids to use their imagination is very important IMO.

    1. The imagination part is my favorite, Louanne. With today's pre-programmed video games, kids 'react', not 'figure out' a game and create the characters & scenes from their imaginations, with a bit of help from the basic story the DM uses. It's like saying, Okay, here's the beginning of the game; now, what happens next and how will it all end? Each time the D&D game will be different. Nice, IMO.

  5. I've never played, either, but have long wondered what D&D was about and why it was so popular. Now I understand! It really sounds like fun. Thanks for initiating me into the wonderful world of D&D.

    1. Glad my review helped give you some background, Margaret. I admit I knew little about it when my kids began to play it and actually learned more from my research on this article and from my daughter who filled in some background for me. I definitely will have to play it someday. :)

  6. My son was really into D&D when he was growing up, so I'm slightly familiar with the game. Good review Pat.

    1. Thanks, Mary Beth. We 'oldies' should give this game a try sometime perhaps. We may discover something new about both the game and ourselves. LOL.


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