One of the challenges being a geek in the corporate world is finding people to game with. Sure, if you’re going to do Fantasy Football (and I do) or Madden 2012 (which I will when I get it on Tuesday – Woot!) you can usually find someone in the office who plays. But, Dungeons and Dragons? Heroclix? Heroscape? Not very likely.
If I want to find someone to play those games, I have to get creative. Take Heroclix. Heroclix was my gateway drug into collectible miniatures. But once I got those first few boosters, I struggled to figure out who I might pull in, then I realized…the kids! Unfortunately, they were 4 and 6 at the time, but I was quite sure I could teach them. How do I justify this to my wife though? Math! Heroclix is all about math when rolling attacks, defenses, etc. It was a good plan and it really did get them adding and subtracting in their head. I think they even learned something about strategy (assuming the strategy was gang up on Dad or throw a fit when you lose).
Jumping into Heroclix began to expand my trip into the world of gaming. I learned about message boards and that stores actually host games! Who knew? I didn’t. So the boys and I would roll down to the shops and watch, then ultimately play. It was a great learning experience for all of us. (I’m always amazed how gracious gamers are with kids.) This opened up a whole world of possibility for group play.
But as time wore on I was looking for new games to play. Then, Dungeons and Dragons 4e came out. I hadn’t played D&D since I was 13 (maybe AD&D at the time?) and I really wanted to play this game. Fortunately, a couple of local game shops were hosting D&D gamedays where you could demo the products. So, off the boys (now 10 and 12) and I went to the stores. We had a great time. To this day, the boys talk about “Flame Seed Guy,” a guy playing a Druid who threw a flame seed into a room full of flour or something. He created a conflagration that not only took out the enemies, but did substantial damage to our team! Flame Seed Guy’s real name was Brad and he and I spoke a lot throughout the game, mostly me going on about how I really wanted to play D&D regularly.
At the end of the game, Brad told me that his 4e group was looking for a 5th member. Someone had dropped out and they really needed a 5th character, would I like to give it a whirl. I jumped on the chance. This lead to a great 15 months of gaming for me. The group was great and I learned a lot not only about playing, but how to DM effectively as well. Our DM, Rob really worked hard on our adventures and he ran a very cinematic game. But, as these things do, the group ended. I really wanted to play more D&D 4e but the group was moving on to Savage Worlds.
During this D&D campaign I was relentlessly tweeting pictures and descriptions of our games. I found out that some local friends were quite jealous of my being able to play, and if a seat was ever open….? That seat never opened up in our game, but as noted, I really wanted to play. Over time I came to realize that the only way I was going to play more 4e was to run a 4e game. But that seemed like so much work and I had so much doubt that I could do it. But my desire to play only grew. Sure, I could run some delves for the boys, but that just wasn’t the same. So after a couple of months, I took the plunge.
I reached out to the friends who had expressed so much interest and they immediately jumped on board. It’s a great group of people from diverse backgrounds who share a common interest in D&D (and for the most part craft beer, a story for another day). Bi-weekly games don’t work for our group. We have tried to commit to playing once a month. Two games in it’s gone really well, better than I expected. Our next game is in just a few weeks and I really can’t wait.