Bill MacKenty

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Paper and Pencil games

Posted in Games in education on 23 - September 2008 at 02:02 AM (15 years ago). 256 views.

So here’s an interesting tidbit:

I recently visited my two brothers, (15 and 17).  Being a Self Respecting Geek, I decided to introduce them to dungeons and Dragons (4th edition, thank you). The games went swimmingly, and they are both excited to play again (and did you know 2 third level characters can beat a young white dragon? I was impressed…). 

Both of my brothers enjoy computer games (one a bit more than the other) and they both play Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

First of all, I was delighted that D&D still has the fun factor.  After just 3 gaming sessions, the boys were laughing about critical misses, low initiative rolls, and funny moments during the game. The concentration, the intense arguing about tactics, the frantic grab for the Players Handbook - everything clicked in the game.  It was really fun.

Secondly, I observed how they dealt with complexity.  Unlike computer RPG’s, D&D doesn’t try to hide to hide numbers, armor class, or math that influence a combat or action.  In computer games, there is button mashing, and the computer runs the numbers.  In D&D, I was pleased when I saw my brothers split apart so the archer would be flanking the dragon they were fighting (this confers combat advantage, which adds a +2 to hit).  I was also pleased to hear them argue about how to effectively use their at-will, daily, and encounter powers effectively.  The boys were actually arguing about dice averages!!!

An all-around win.