This is a guest post from Andrew Christopher Enriquez, co-host of The Nerd Nighters and life-long gamer.
So after an exactly 20 year hiatus, I finally played D&D again. I was the same ages as my son is now when i played my first session. I ran my wife and two kids (8 and 10) through the first scenario of the starter box. OK so i have played in a few 1st edition campaigns but they were always really shorted lived, and saying i haven't played D&D is not saying i haven't Role played at all. But for all intents and purposes I've been away from the brand for a very long time.
We went to the Reaper store up in Denton one night to pick out minis for our characters, and minis for the bad guys. I figured this would help keep the kids engaged if they had mini's to care about, especially if they took the time to paint them themselves. My son has ZERO patience for playing games, and a pretty bad temper to boot. Board wiping(he has ODD) because he has to wait in turn is not an uncommon occurrence, so we usually keep it to light quick paced games. And D&D definitely is not light or quick paced, ESPECIALLY since i haven't played in so long
So how did we do? Well to be honest i should really preface this by saying my wife wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with this, she didn't want to role play at all. She has a hard time getting into any game where she embodies a character, even Mice and Mystics and Betrayal are too much for her. This is not a complaint, i understand role playing isn't for everyone, shoot no game genre is for everyone. I just knew going in, that she decided to play with us because i pressured her into making this a family event. And she hung in there as best as she could.
So anyway, we made it almost all the way through the 1st scenario. Like 2 rooms away from finishing it. This took us 4 hours. Well probably an hour and a half of that was teaching them all what role playing was and how it works. This new 5th edition is super easy, but for people completely new, it does take a little time to learn to use your brain like that. "you mean i can do anything?"
The biggest surprise was just how into the game my son was. He sat through the entire 4 hours without complaint, and when it was his turn, he was paying attention and made quick decisions. When it was not his turn he sat quietly listening and drawing knights and dragons and armor and stuff. He played the rogue and role played it's flaws and personal goals perfectly. It was awesome.
My daughter wanted to make plans for everyone to follow. She's definitely an alpha gamer. She played the squishy mage, yet ran in front of every battle. Spell casting was awkward since i wasn't real clear on how it works, and she had a difficult time understanding how cantrips aren't for attacking, they're for role playing. But she was 100% engaged the whole time and really enjoyed it.
My wife, as expected, was dying inside the whole time, but she hung in there. 4 hours was her hard limit, and honestly that's not bad. I had a blast. I really enjoyed spending the time together as a family sharing this experience. I cant wait to get back to it and play some more. It was definitely worth the time spent.
I recommend if you haven't played D&D since you were a kid, picking up the new starter set and playing through it with friends or family. It's extremely cheap for the amount of fun you'll have. and if it fails, you list pretty close to nothing.