Monday, August 17, 2009

The Next Generation of Gamers

One of the perks of having children is passing down some of your favorite things (like the love of music from the Canadian rock band Rush). One of those things I enjoy most is my love of RPGs, especially D&D. I began playing with my boys about 5 years ago (well, it began longer than that, when my oldest was still an infant in my arms as I played DC Heroes at the dinner table, but for the purpose of this post, let's just say it all started 5 years ago.)

I can distinctly remember the first time I played with them, laying out the tiles from the AD&D basic set for the 3.5 version of the game. This set came with miniatures for four of the iconic characters of that edition - Eberk the dwarven cleric, Regdar the human fighter, Lydda the halfling rogue, and Aramil the elven wizard. The boxed set was a gift to my oldest son, then 8 years old. We were playing it in our apartment which was temporary housing during the period after selling one house and waiting for our next (and current) house to complete construction.

We sat around the little dinner table under the glare of 60 watt bulbs as I explained the differences between the classes and what all the different colored dice were used for. My younger son (then 5) was also trying to figure out what all this was about. We played through the provided adventure and had a great time slaying all manner of monsters and undead. Both boys have been playing ever since.

Fast forward to this past weekend and my oldest son's (now 13) first visit to GenCon. Due to poor planning and budgetary concerns we were only able to attend on Sunday, the Family Fun day. My son brought along his best friend (age 14) to join in the fun. We had a wonderful time and managed to pack as much fun into one day as we could. There were Battletech battles, boffer fights, miniatures painting, sitting in on a recording of 'This Just In...From GenCon', and, of course, the dealer's room.

It really struck me what a wonderful community exists to help support gaming as a family activity. Everyone we met did their utmost to make my son's first visit to the con a memorable one. And so, I have a list of people I would like to thank (in chronological order of appearance):

  • Call sign 'Gamer' - for taking the time to share his experiences and lessons learned in the Battletech pods
  • Jeff Himmelman and Storn Cook - for showing what's involved in being a freelance artist
  • Ryan Macklin and Derek Rex - for giving the boys a warm welcome during the recording of This Just In...From GenCon
  • Luke Crane - for sharing his insight about game design and autographing the first gaming book (Mouse Guard) my son ever purchased at a convention
  • Brennan Taylor - for having a generous spirit towards new gamers
  • Paul Tevis - for embodying the enthusiasm and joie de vivre that is GenCon
Since my first GenCon four years ago I have come to believe this event is more about the people than the games. It is great fun to play all those games, but it is the connections we make that sustain us throughout the long year until next August.

Follow Your Bliss,


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