Science Fiction/Fantasy

4 Reasons To Get Your Kids to Play Dungeons and Dragons

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Johann Thorsson

Staff Writer

Johann Thorsson is a native of Iceland, but spends much of his time in Bookland. He has lived in a few parts of the world but currently lives in Iceland with a pretty woman and a mischievous son who resembles Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes fame) more each day. He has a complicated but ultimately useless degree in bioinformatics from a very pretty college in England. His favorite books are 1984, Flowers for Algernon and The English Patient. He hopes one day to call himself a writer without feeling like he's just fooling himself. Blog: Johann Thorsson - On Book and Writing Twitter: @johannthors

Remember when people said Dungeons & Dragons were a gateway drug into satanism and juvenile delinquency?

Well, they were half-right; D&D is a gateway drug. Only, it’s a gateway drug into things all parents should wish for their kids.

I present; four things Dungeons and Dragons can give a child.

1. A life-long love of books

Oh yes.

The game itself is massively fun, and when you can’t play you turn to the next-best thing; books that take place in the same world.

For starters, there is no playing D&D if you haven’t read The Lord of the Rings. And then you have a choice of hundreds of epic fantasies; The Wheel of Time series, The Game of Thrones books, The Shannara Chronicles, The Earthsea books.


And then there are all the books that take place within the D&D setting itself, of which my personal favorite are the first three books in the Drizzt Do’Urden series.

From there, anything that even remotely touches on fantasy. A love of books, for life, comes with the first night of playing D&D. It’s a package deal.


2. Friends for life

Picture the first scene from Netflix’s recent hit show Stranger Things, where the friends are playing D&D. That is actually pretty close to what it’s like playing.

You meet new people and make friends, who share an interest in a thing you don’t generally talk about in polite society. But you know.

You are part of a club.

There is no board game that comes close to the fun you can have playing Dungeons and Dragons.


3. A reason to learn math

Playing Dungeons and Dragons (or any other role-playing game) involves creating and playing characters who have certain abilities. These abilities are reflected in scores running from 0 to 20.

Then you may need to calculate a bonus from your ability score when added to the result of a eight-sided dice thrown and the probability that you will achieve what you are trying to do weighed against taking another approach.


So a night of playing involves quite a bit of quick arithmetic and statistics, as part of playing a fun game with friends.

And you get good at it pretty fast.


4. An increased vocabulary

English is my second language. Through playing Dungeons and Dragons, by age fifteen I knew what “obfuscate”, “ambidexterity”, “protean”, “thaumaturgy” and “demeanor” meant.

Not bragging, just saying. The way the words are used throughout the game gives kids an incentive to learn them, and actually remember them through context.


Then I recommend getting the D&D Starter Pack, it has everything you need to get started playing and is very affordable.