Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, March 12, 2024
D&D and the state of my tabletop gaming

Jean-Fran├žois commented that he would like to see more D&D posts from me. Bad news: I am not currently playing Dungeons & Dragons anymore. A few years ago I had two groups: One fell apart during the pandemic and never recovered, the other moved from playing around a table to a virtual tabletop software called Roll20. Unfortunately the second group last year also fell apart, due to players not having the time anymore. And I haven't found a new group yet. I used to be part of a roleplaying club, but I moved and now live hours away from there, so that isn't a viable method to get back into D&D either. I would need somehow to find people to play with where I live now.

I started the year with the resolution to find new people and play. I started looking in the most obvious place: The largest local store selling role-playing games, board games, and card games. Like everywhere else, all the surviving shops of this kind lean heavily into collectible card gaming, and having played Magic the Gathering earlier in life I don't want to get back into that financial trap. The shop doesn't run any roleplaying game events. But once a week there is a board game night, and that is what I am now visiting nearly every week to sit around a table and play.

Technically most board games don't have a "Dungeon Master" role. At least not one that is described in the rulebook. But in practical terms, in order for something to happen at a board game night, somebody needs to bring a game (or at least know one of the games that are available there), set it up, and explain the rules to everybody else. And as I have a large board game collection without people to play with, it is often me who studies the game in advance, brings it to the board game night, and teaches it to the other players. Which ends up consuming about the same amount of time as preparing a D&D game as a DM. As this keeps me busy, I haven't looked further for an actual D&D table elsewhere.

In Fall of this year, "One D&D", the not quite next edition of Dungeons & Dragons comes out. Which then should be accompanied later, probably 2025, by "D&D Digital", an official virtual tabletop to play Dungeons & Dragon on. Now WotC is notoriously bad at releasing software, so I'm taking all this with a grain of salt. But theoretically there should be a huge new platform full of potential players somewhere in the digital future of D&D, and I am planning to participate. But this year is mostly going to be board games, not role-playing games.

Ouf! That's sad to hear. At the same time, you've get more time to learn and play those board games from all the kickstarters you ever did! Yay!

I hope you find a group to play with in 2025!

I found a loophole to playing Magic that doesn't cost too much. My work was auctioning off colour laser printers so I snagged one for $30. I tried printing my own cards and they look great. I was then able to find some cardboard stock that fits in my printer and is the same weight as magic cards. I bought a paper cutter so I can cut cards quicker. I even found a corner cutter to give my cards rounded edges.

The only drawback is I can only play with my play group. I've printed cards for them and people seem receptive to not paying insane prices for cards. I put the cards in protective sleeves since all my other decks use them, this saves me having to print the backs as well.

It all started when Wizards released those beta proxies for $1000. I thought that was an insane cash grab, then I thought, why don't I just make my own proxies. So I did.
Sorry to hear that your D&D groups fell apart, but it's great that you've found a way to stay connected to tabletop gaming through board games. It sounds like you're really dedicated to the hobby, and I hope you're able to find a new D&D group soon. The upcoming releases from WotC sound intriguing, and it'll be exciting to see how they impact the tabletop gaming community. Keep us updated on your gaming adventures!
If it helps you can try Blades in the Dark whose system is all theater of mind so you can run or play adventures over zoom calls. Just share your screen for the dice rolling or if everyone has D6s at home you can roll in front of the camera. This game only needs d6s.

If your group doesn't like being villains as the base game suggests (mine needs to be "good guys") there's also the free vigilante expansion which is working well for us so far. Sessions go fast.

Whoever is DMing still needs to do prep work but you won't need to print maps or use figurines. Hardest part is the DM does have a challenge to be able to improvise on the spot as the players get more and more OP. :P
Pandemic also killed my last D&D group and we've not picked up since. Miss it to be honest. I am looking at maybe using the 50 year anniversary to refresh my materials and get back into it.
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