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Annals of RPGs: Someday It Will Be Your Grandfather's D&D

posted Oct 18, 2016, 1:23 PM by Douglas Sun
This story, about a fellow introducing his grandparents and some of their friends to Dungeons & Dragons, is so obviously awesome that I shared it on Facebook before I even finished reading it. But I have to say that the age of the players does not surprise me so much as the timing of the story.

It sounds like most of the players in this story are just a little too old to have been part of the first cohort of teenagers to discover D&D (or what we now call core hobby market games in general) and make it into a thing, or to see their peers discover it and make it into a thing. I started playing in the late '70's, which puts me in that first cohort. I have now lived long enough to see the friends with whom I learned the game get swamped by the demands of career and child-raising. The will to game is still there, but modern life being what it is, they're lucky if they can clear away enough time for a quick game of Munchkin. I have also met friends who have come back to gaming, Rip van Winkle-like, after having been completely out of it until their children were grown.

Even with online and PBEM environments like Roll20 and VASSAL to ease the strain, lack of leisure time remains a basic problem on our busy middle age. Presumably, that will change, as mess empty and we ease into retirement. Myself, I intend to keep busy writing and designing right until my mortal coil decides that enough is enough. But what of my peers, since they have all the time in the world for an RPG campaign or a monster game?

Until the physical demands of his job began to encroach on him, the great sports announcer Vin Scully used to dismiss talk of his retirement by saying, "You can only play so much golf." For someone of his generation, golf is what everyone does when they're retired. Will that be the case for my generation, or will the gamers among us plunge back into gaming now that we have the time for it, and bring some newbies along with us? I hope we will see a time when well-meaning retirement home staff, trying to corral the residents for today's planned activity, are faced with cranky seniors who would rather get on with their D&D campaign, or planned a Magic craft for that day, or want to play Drang Nach Osten,