Dungeons & Dragons (commonly referred to as D&D) is a tabletop adventure game. It is played using pens, paper, dice, and most importantly: creativity and imagination! D&D has been around since the 1980s, and it is currently seeing a new surge of popularity among young people and adults alike.
D&D can be described as a mix of a board game, improv theatre, and telling a story with a group of friends. The players together create a shared imaginary world, with rules that make it more grounded than just “playing make-believe”.
Each player in a D&D group creates their own character: perhaps a mighty warrior, a clever thief or a powerful wizard. Each character has their own backstory and goals. Some characters can carry on for years through multiple storylines and adventures.
One member of each group will be the “Dungeon Master”. Their job is to invent the world the characters live in and the challenges they face. The Dungeon Master also plays the roles of other characters in the story, whether a helpful tavern keeper, a terrifying dragon, or anything in between.
D&D is not just an entertaining game. It also promotes a range of positive outcomes in education and personal development. For younger players, it is a form of play-based learning that teaches skills in reading, writing and mathematics. For teens, it can be a safe space to explore different identities and social situations.
One of the things that makes D&D enduringly popular is its flexibility. Some groups may focus on the mathematical strategies behind complex battle scenes. Others may be more interested in acting out drama between their fictional characters, detailing the history of their world, or simply making jokes with friends.