Lion of the Blogosphere

Is D&D crushingly boring?

Commenter “RTP IT Guy” writes:

I played one or two sessions of D&D but found it to be crushingly boring.

The reason why I’m writing these D&D posts is because I happened to come across the article about last Saturday being Gary Gygax day, and it brought back nostalgic memories of how I enjoyed playing it as a kid. I was probably 12 years old when I was introduced to the game, and I don’t think I ever played it again after starting college.

But I have to admit, as a middle-aged man, it does seem like it would be boring, although I’d be willing to try it again. I read some of the D&D 5e instructions, and it seems like a real chore just to figure out what the rules are. When I was younger, I remember how excited I was to read game rules. What happens when we get older that we lose interest in things that brought us joy when we were young?

I guess our brains become old and useless.

* * *

And to demonstrate that no one understand the D&D alignment system, here’s a passage from an online article:

“There are plenty of kickass lawful good figures in pop culture who don’t fit the ‘white hat’ stereotype,” Perkins said, name-checking Batman, Indiana Jones, The Dark Tower’s Roland Deschain and Wonder Woman. “Don’t forget that a lawful good character can be twisted into any shape, be it a psychologically damaged night prowler, a rogue in archaeologist’s clothing, a murder hobo hardened by the cruelty of existence, and a god living among men.”

I have no idea who Roland Deschain is, but the other examples are chaotic good, not lawful good.

* * *

Interesting comment from SQ:

I keep wondering if this is related to my change in thinking about pets. As a child, I desperately wanted a dog. Owning a dog seems crazy to me now, but I don’t have to herd sheep.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

24 Responses

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  1. I was thinking about my own personal experience with role playing board/dice games (which is to say, almost non-existent) and was wondering how could people even find it that interesting, considering the variety of forms of diversions that exist nowadays that are way more engrossing than D&D (like video games or streaming video). But I imagine back in the 1980s, the world-building and all-encompassing nature of D&D could have attracted an introvert like me.

    GondwanaMan

    July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

  2. That poster also said that taking on a different persona was the main point. I don’t know why he thinks he understands the point of D&D while also finding it “crushingly boring,” but no: it’s a detailed, nerdy, interesting game in which people obsess over interesting details – not drama club. It was actually annoying, the “I know exactly what it’s about, it’s about [cliched BS explanation] – but it’s too boring for me.” Sorry, not everything is targeted at homos.

    Perturabo

    July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

  3. My limited experience with D & D was the introduction from some Army buddies. Unfortunately, they were streets ahead of me in experience with the game and it ultimately was to me, boring, since I was so outmatched.

    Mike Street Station

    July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

    • D&D isn’t like playing chess where it sucks to be outmatched. This shouldn’t have been a problem.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

  4. Games are practice for real life. We grow up (at least most of us), and then we play the ‘real life’ game. It doesn’t leave much time for other games.

    I keep wondering if this is related to my change in thinking about pets. As a child, I desperately wanted a dog. Owning a dog seems crazy to me now, but I don’t have to herd sheep.

    SQ

    July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

  5. My experience with D&D is that it’s slooooow. It takes hours just to do the simplest things, like “walk to the next dungeon and fight a couple random encounters along the way”. You have to argue over what to do with your entire party until you come to an agreement. You have to wait for each person in turn to decide what he wants to do, including the nerdy mage with a million spells and abilities who wants to think through every possibility. You have to wait for the DM to read through the gigantic manual and figure out what the rules are for each situation. Then there’s the logistical details of getting 4-6 adults to all meet in the same place for multiple hours at a time, to do something completely pointless.

    I think it’s best as a game for nerdy kids to read the dungeon masters guide alone and imagine all the cool scenarios they’d like to play, not as a game for adults to actually play it. The stories you hear about cool campaigns seem to be from weird people who have basically sunk 100% of their free time into this game, for years on end.

    ack-acking

    July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

    • This. If you find the right group, the social interaction of D&D can be pretty fun, but modern CRPGs do a better job with the technical details and eliminate the dice-rolling.

      That said, nerds gonna nerd and some of us former outcasts still need some childish escapism. Nowadays, when I want escapism I play a CRPG or maybe a lighter boardgame like Cataan or Seven Wonders. And when I want normal human interaction I go to the dog park or the bar or do other normal-people things.

      hdo

      July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

  6. I found d&d crushingly boring at age 12 though I did spend a lot of time designing maps. My 15 year old daughter enjoys it.

    toomanymice

    July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

    • I think the designing maps part seems more interesting than the actual role-play.

      Mike Street Station

      August 4, 2019 at EDT am

  7. At least you all had the chance to play it! My parents were Evangelical Christians and with a name like that they considered it one step above doing a ouija board. I feel that I missed out, in the way that you do when you weren’t allowed to do something. If nothing else it’s harmless nerd bonding, and requires imagination and interaction, unlike modern gaming culture.

    As far as growing older is concerned: I could buy an album and listen to the songs intently, often for months. If I didn’t like it at first I was willing to give it a chance and now some of my favourite albums are ones which took me weeks or months to appreciate (others like Nirvana I now find mostly unlistenable and nihilistic, and I can really only put my once liking them down to peer pressure and teenage conformity).

    Nowadays, if I hear a new song on the radio I have the same reaction that my mother said my granddad used to have the moment a pop song came on the radio–“what’s the rubbish?” before turning it off, pronto. Of course, most/almost all modern music IS rubbish, but even if there were some music being made by properly-attired white people that didn’t have degenerate lyrics, I probably still wouldn’t give it a chance.

    prolier than thou

    July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

    • I didn’t know that anyone took that D&D evil occult thing seriously. I guess I was wrong.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

      • This is proof lion should never claim to know anything about evangelical fundies whom he often crows about viz a viz abortion. He’s obviously clueless.

        toomanymice

        July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

      • Ian

        July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

      • Well, Lion probably doesn’t run into many fundies living in NYC. My new theory, that just struck me, is that high IQ white people living in Red States are probably more likely to gravitate to the left than high IQ people in Blue States primarily because Evangelical Christians and their concerns tend to seem ridiculous to anyone with an IQ above 110. The same way blacks alienate smart white nerds in cities, and make them more conservative, is kind of the way I felt about Evangelicals growing up in rural NH, and ours are nowhere near as bad as the Evangelicals in the South.

        Peter Akuleyev

        July 31, 2019 at EDT am

      • Lion, did you ever read Jack Chick tracts growing up?

        Peter Akuleyev

        July 31, 2019 at EDT am

      • I never heard of Jack Chick.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        July 31, 2019 at EDT am

      • Akuleyev — I find pretty much everything that blue state liberals believe ridiculous. I see no reason why high IQ people living in red states would gravitate towards that nonsense. I certainly didn’t. I have, however, noticed that arrogant and shallow people everywhere are eager to believe what they imagine “smart people” believe even if what those “smart people” believe is absurd.

        destructure

        August 2, 2019 at EDT pm

  8. To reply: If I didn’t understand it, fair enough, but it was more a comment on my tastes, not a slight against those who enjoy the game.

    I don’t read fiction or watch
    movies/theater/television, outside of documentaries. Why obsess over things that not only never happened, but never could happen?

    RTP IT Guy

    July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

  9. My experience in the 1980s playing AD&D was that playing with a bunch of other guys was a hassle because of all the rules lawyering and arguing among the party, but that playing with one other person who trusted the DM implicitly and didn’t take the rules super cereal was an engrossing blast. The DM gets to create a world, and the player creates characters based on Robert Howard or Fritz Leiber or J R R Tolkien characters, and the two of you create a series of sword and sorcery stories which you don’t know the twists and turns of because of the role of the dice in determining what monsters show up and who gets killed and what treasure you discover. Playing the game gives you both a chance to use funny voices and play wacky characters and develop all kinds of inside jokes and stories that only the two of you know about, but feel as real as the jokes and characters on TV.

    AD&D, with the right person, was a terrific hobby, and Gary Gygax really improved my life by developing it.

    Gozo

    July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

  10. I used to love playing D&D as a teenager and young adult. When we bought our first house, my wife and I learned that two other young couples on the street also liked to play, and we made a regular group.

    We had to stop when our first kid got old enough to crawl on the board and mess up the pieces. Nowadays, I don’t have the patience for such a long game, because I have so many responsibilities. Same thing with playing long computer games, watching DVDs with the commentary on, or reading fiction.

    FuriousPockets

    July 31, 2019 at EDT am

  11. “I keep wondering if this is related to my change in thinking about pets. As a child, I desperately wanted a dog. Owning a dog seems crazy to me now, but I don’t have to herd sheep.”

    Probably because of your schedule. Dogs are great. They are children who never grow up.

    Curle

    July 31, 2019 at EDT am

  12. Let’s face it…sci fi, D&D, fantasy and role-playing is an area filled with pedophiles and weirdos.

    See, Walter Breen and Marian Zimmer Bradley.

    map

    July 31, 2019 at EDT pm

  13. To enjoy D&D you need to have very high creativity, imagination and intelligence. Anyone with an IQ under 130 will find it boring. To find it fun you need to be able to visualize every scene unfolding inside your brain, most peoples brains just don’t work like that. Which is why television is so popular, all the visualizing is done for you.

    DataExplorer

    August 2, 2019 at EDT am


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