Wednesday 28 October 2009

The next generation


I thought that I'd start this first post of the blog by taking a little time to introduce myself and outline why I'm blogging.

I'm 44 and have been gaming since the mid-seventies, wargaming first with Airfix 1:72 figures and then onto Minfigs 15mm Napoleonics, along with boardgames like Flat Top and Squad Leader. But in 1978, a friend introduced us to a new game - Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. I was hooked and gamed on and off through the eighties and into the nineties, school holidays and then fortnightly Friday evenings, first on a city-based homebrew campaign and then (with another DM) Waterdeep and the Forgotten Realms.

And then, as so often does, the group split up; wives and jobs and domestic relocation scattered us to the four winds. I got rid of my old books, my huge stack of White Dwarfs, consigned our adventures to memory.

But I kept my dice. And like seeds, they sat and waited there in their bag, in the dark. Until 2008, when my five-year old son started to show, thanks to Power Rangers, Storm Hawks and Doctor Who, an interest in monsters and heroes, swords and shields, games of imagination and wonder. Hmmm...I thought, perhaps it's time.

And sure enough, D&D had found a new generation. I trawled ebay, I logged on to Amazon. I got the books and more, my son inherited from his uncle, a talented figure painter, a collection of twenty-five year old Citadel Miniatures.

I was soon lurking on the various OSR sites, poring over the ruminations of the great and the good and although it was very heartening to realise that there were others out there who had not consigned their hobby to the past and moved on, I also noticed that almost to a man, they were of my age or perhaps a few years younger. Whilst I am still looking for adult players in my area, I also believe that it is our responsiblity to start passing on the love of the game to the next generation, to give them what we had when we were young. Without new blood, we will one day be a dwindling group of silver-haired oldsters, clutching our battered and near-disintegrating DMGs and PHBs.

I have been playing D&D with my son, now six and a half, for the past few weekends and whilst I had my misgivings when we started, that he would be too young, not able to cope with the game mechanics and would find it all too frightening, my fears proved groundless. I hope to be able to share his adventures and the development of a new D&D player as the weeks roll on. And I hope that there are others out there who are passing on the dice - and the excitement and the wonder of our great hobby.