Dungeons & Dragons…and creativity

December 14th, 2018

A friend forwarded me a great Forbes article about leadership lessons you can learn by playing Dungeons & Dragons. I was quite surprised that 8.6 million people played the game in 2017, and I’m sure that its being part of a story setting in Stranger Things created some new awareness. Sadly, the full linkage to D&D in the book Ready Player One  was lost in the movie. I won’t go into details because I hate spoilers!

The game has had a few iterations (and I’m not sure I would understand the changes implemented since the late 80’s…) but I have to believe that a role-playing game such as this can still capture some imaginations that aren’t fulfilled by mobile phone apps or video games. Maybe the only downside is that the games (“campaigns”) can take many hours or days. This was fabulous for snowy winter days in Pennsylvania, but I found out around 8th grade that I didn’t have enough free time to play it with everything else going on.

The game has great benefits to teamwork, creativity, and problem-solving. There have been countless times in my various careers that I’ve had to come up with realistic scenarios for war-gaming or training, and I think the game may have been fruitful in shaping that skill. You can buy “modules” or standard scenarios (such as the near-impossible Tomb of Horrors) or make the scenarios up yourself.

There was one time in my military career, while on a real-world mission, my commander asked me to come up with a realistic training scenario to test the quick reaction force. He didn’t want to tell them that it was an exercise at first, but let’s just say that my scenario was so realistic and well-executed that it became evident twenty minutes after the start, that not clearly stating it was an exercise wasn’t the best idea!

I still don’t feel like I would have time to play D&D again, but I will definitely consider it again when I hit retirement age. It sure beats looking at a phone…but I did happen to notice that there’s an app for rolling all of the various dice. :)