A company called “Wizards of the Coast” has re-packaged the iconic role-playing game “Dungeons & Dragons” into a bite-sized version that they’re hoping will attract us 40-something gamers of yore to play a stripped-down, abbreviated version of our old pasttime. We can recapture just a bit of the fun we had in our youth while not giving up entire weekends to wander around the castle of the lich king, fighting umber hulks and delighting in our flametongue swords. This is a trip down memory lane for many in my generation who enjoyed spending hours in a fantasy world:
Wizards of the Coast, the current publishers of D&D, recognized that some of the 24 million people who used to play the game left, not because they didn’t want to play, but because their lifestyles changed and they didn’t have the time anymore — so they have created a new rules system to address those concerns and bring back their former fans.
The new “D&D Encounters” provides all the materials needed to run a D&D game, but in a relatively short period of time. The goal, said brand director Liz Schuh, is to get those former gamers rolling the dice again.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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“We wanted to try and create experiences to fit in their current time frames,” Schuh said. “It is also an opportunity to learn the new rules system.”
Apparently, the idea is working, with people returning to the gaming tables for 2 hours of playing, sometimes bringing their children with them to usher in a new era of fantasy geeks. But I can’t help but think that many of us D&D players of old have moved on to World of Warcraft, and aren’t too inclined to give up the cyber-reality of a MMORPG in favor of real companionship and human/elf interaction at the local library.