June 18, 2011
Board Games with Family
"Playing Board Games" is a much more socially acceptable description than "Geeking out with my entire family for six hours every weekend pretending I'm a brooding fantasy creature with a mysterious past."
There's only 1 level of geekdom even darker than this: LARPing. That's where you not only play Dungeons and Dragons, you dress up as your character and enact scenes. My sister-in-law and I love costumes, and I'd like to dress up even without the acting bit, but the boys are extremely resistant to crossing that line.
How can I explain D&D to non-players? It's like nothing I've ever played before, but here's my best shot: it's like a video game with an intense story controlled by a human (the "dungeon master"). In our case, this is Tanner. He has massive resources on the D&D world, the people in it, and adventures to lead us on, but our characters can do pretty much whatever we can think of, like when Z tried to flirt with that really annoyed elf.
Players decide on characters, their backgrounds, and choose their abilities within the game's rules. Then the dungeon master finds a reason for us to meet up and band together, and we can make our characters talk and move and do stuff by saying (use my character as an example) "Misery examines the bookshelves." Or for Leah's brother, Z, "Donn jumps on the table." Because that's what he does. *sigh* Any fight in a room with a table, he has to be on the table.
So we have a person telling us what we see, sometimes with visual aides and always with a dry-erase grid map, and we decide what our characters are gonna do about it. And Tanner has printouts of how the people or creatures around us act and react (he's not making it all up out of his head, he has stuff to tell him what's what), but it's a huge game full of tons of details and possibilities.
My favorite parts are when we get into character and use voices (mine is gloomy, Jon's is brash, Alex's is bombastic) and have actual conversations and interactions as our characters. There are times it's funny and we all start laughing, but that just makes it more fun. ^_^
So, uh, that's the best explanation I have. ^_^; Hee.