Tuesday 22 December 2009

Coming of Age

I'm Indoctrinating teaching my children to be gamers like their old man. My eldest, Sarah, is already running her own D&D campaign. She recently had a surreal experience in school and I asked her to write about it for this blog.

"You may think that its only the older generation that ever plays d&d, maybe once or twice a fortnight round a friends house with a couple of crates of beer [How much beer does she think we drink?!]. However I know from experience that that's not the case, and I've often convinced my cousins to play - after much nagging - a simplified version of the game.

In fact, the other day I had a rather bizarre experience in school which made both my dad and I laugh. My lunch table had some new editions to it at the far end, when I joined my friends at lunch. We were getting on well with them when one of them pulled out a box of pre-painted models. I lost the thread of conversation then, but soon not only models but character sheets, rulebooks and dice were being put on the table and to my utter astonishment a D&D game [4E] began to be played right there, in school, in the middle of break.

A couple of them looked a little embarrassed when they caught me looking, and began to explain, but I told them I knew what they were doing (to their relief) and I politely declined when I was invited to join in (not that I wasn't tempted). Okay, I realise that this could be a one off, and its likely that there aren't many kids who play D&D in our school, but I like to think that this is a good sign that there is hope for us after all."

There are a couple of things about this incident that gave me pause for thought. First, these are 12-13 year old's, yet they have already begun to develop a sense of embarrassment about their hobby. But on the plus side they did start their game in a public space which means they may yet be developing that thick skin we often seem to need. I'm quietly optimistic for this budding gaming group.

The second thing I noted, this time with much more satisfaction, was the fact that Sarah referred to 'us', including herself in the collective gaming community. She clearly already thinks of herself as a gamer. My Padawan Learner has come of age. My work here is done.


  1. We used to have a couple of guys in our social group playing D&D during breaks at school in the playground. I tried it a couple of times but didn't have a very good experience of it, I think it must be something to do with 14 yeard-old GM's with control issues...

    I'm currently looking into Dark Heresy and trying to coerce my gaming group into giving it a go. It's a world I can relate to alot more, as it's been my hobby on and off since I was 12 with a break between 14 and 20.

    I don't know why we were so embarrassed as kids getting into our various hobbies. Now that I'm alot older I have the view of "I'm an avid hobbyist and I don't care who knows!" It's never caused me any problems socially or with the females of the species. We spend too much time as kids worrying about it for no reason :P

  2. I used to run the Warhammer club at Junior school but stopped once I got into secondary school for fear of bullying. I went from social outcast to being fairly popular within the school which I suppose helped my development as a person and to be more confident. Once I left school and started university I took up historical wargamming (leaving my poorly painted space marines in the roof) but it's weird because people think it's cool now we're a bit older and some even admit to wargamming now (often the most unlikely of people).

  3. I remember my 'coming out' at school after trying the grab a small game in breaks and lunch. I never really felt embarrassed as I supported Leeds United and was the only one in school who did so was used to getting ribbed for that.
    The school I was at had a very enlightened hobby process - if you could get a teacher to stay behind you could form a club and get a room and storage space one night a week. The catch was that you had to stand up in hall in front of the whole school and explain your hobby, the 'rules' of the club and what your plans for the year where!

    After doing that I never had an issue or had to sneak around in front of my 'peers'.

    As for the club - ran for a couple of years till we could join the local group who had an age limit.


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