Lion of the Blogosphere

How D&D players have changed

This comment from “anonymousse” is very interesting:

I’ve been involved with boardgame culture for about 10 years now (I’m older, so got into it a bit later), but was a wargamer from way back (30+ years).
In those 10 years, the culture has changed dramatically. Boardgames have always been a collection of several subcultures: 1) older all male history buffs who play complicated wargames, 2) mathematical types (again mostly male) who, in decades past, would have been playing chess or bridge, but now play mathematically vigorous games, 3) Dungeons and Dragons offshoots-fantasy and role playing type games (often fantasy setting, but not always).

Today, it seems that 3) (fantasy-not just fantasy setting, but fantasy play) is becoming more and more dominant. Far more women are involved than in the past, and FAR FAR FAR more homosexuals/trans/sexually odd folks. I’m really not sure why that is. The population of gamers has been replaced in the last generation -what used to be predominantly intelligent but nerdy men (math intelligence = mathy games, verbal intelligence = history/war games) has shifted to social and sexual outliers. I again suspect the whole Dungeons and Dragons crowd has morphed with Comic Book people and Cosplay people into a boardgame subculture that isn’t particularly into math/history, but is interested in ‘pretend play’ (i.e. D&D and its spinoffs). There is no fundamental reason that a hobby devoted to the interests of intelligent people would appeal to transvestites and homosexuals, and yet it has happened.

30 years ago, if you went to a game convention, it would a gaggle of skinny to slightly overweight nerdy males (older men into World War 2, or the kids in Stranger Things).

Today, if you go to a game convention, it will be a gaggle of morbidly obese (like riding scooters instead of walking), socially awkward (not just nerdy but suffering from social anxiety issues), rainbow clad militant homosexuals. 30 (or even 10) years ago, I would have taken my kids to a convention-full of nerds, but intelligent folks. Today, I wouldn’t want my kids to become part of the culture and wouldn’t take them to a convention. Again, I just don’t understand why the transition occurred.

I haven’t been to a gaming convention, so I was totally unaware of how things have changed.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 30, 2019 at 5:52 PM

Posted in Nerdy stuff

28 Responses

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  1. It’s all part of the crisis of the intellectual class.


    August 30, 2019 at 6:23 PM

  2. I wish D&D was an icky prole activity just so Lion would talk about it less.


    August 30, 2019 at 7:11 PM

    • Just something I’m interested in this month because I’ve been watching Critical Role.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 30, 2019 at 7:57 PM

    • It is, unless your group has a woman in it. The status of your group depends on the attractiveness of the women in it.

      Panther of the Blogocube

      August 31, 2019 at 12:09 PM

  3. Doesn’t this stuff always happen?

    Straight white dudes will just have to invent something else. I’m sure they will. No one can predict what that will be just as no one predicted D&D.


    August 30, 2019 at 7:56 PM

  4. The one I attended in Austin was filled with hot girls in ridiculously expensive cosplay outfits. I think some were likely small time models who were there as some sort of underground marketing scheme, and others were girlfriends if not toys of industry connected younger Alphas. The rest of the makeup of the crowd was as your commenter describes but also a lot of little boys and dads/miserable looking mothers. That’s because Austin is so ridiculously fecund. Kids everywhere.

    Paul Rise

    August 30, 2019 at 7:57 PM

  5. The transition occured because internet allowed those who would have been shamed meet one another in the past to meet each other online. AKA all the weird kids can now meet the other weird kids – the original nerds. To be honest no one really cares, it’s just a bunch of overgrown kids enjoying toys, arts & crafts and playing pretend. To try and put some nefarious spin on it is bullshit. D&D is now a regular hobby instead of limited to just nerds. Think of cooking, climbing, gardening, etc. D&D is just another hobby.

    You should see some of the fantastic arts and crafts being made by artists around these conventions, there’s a lot of talented people just trying to make a living making hobby games and toys for kids.

    The reality was the nerds were first to get into things that are uncool because of their greater IQ and capacity for imagination, aka they see the potential of things before the masses do. They will do things society thinks are uncool because they genuinely like said things.


    August 30, 2019 at 9:24 PM

  6. It wasn’t a natural phenomenon. If HR-lady types are allowed to exert influence on something, they will extend social-control tendrils through it, take over the systems of influence, and wage war against the thing’s real community. When people complain, those people will be ridiculed from the top (from those systems of influence which are now controlled by the HR ladies), and gradually the real community becomes so disgusted that they cede the space to the Interlopers.

    The companies make it clear that they are aligned with the HR lady progressives, and spit on the people who made those companies what they are. Look at Blizzard’s collapse, for example. They have done everything they can to make Hearthstone seem like a homo and tranny social club, complete with campy showtoons. Meanwhile, the game’s community has collapsed and the popularity of the game has cratered. They don’t seem to care.

    WoW Classic is out now, and if you’re involved in that you can see the HR lady types trying to take over the scene. (Still, it’s basically vanilla WoW, and that awesome).


    August 30, 2019 at 10:09 PM

    • Maybe the dominance of HR ladies is also “natural” from a certain point of view.


      August 31, 2019 at 11:40 AM

      • I think it’s natural for them to want control, but in the past they were sufficiently suppressed.


        August 31, 2019 at 1:46 PM

  7. No more Epstein in the news? That’s it? MSM just regurgitating same old story of how victims didn’t get justice because he killed himself. No Klinton Foundation, no GM, no Epstein-Trump modeling agency mutual biz, nothing….
    MSM totally complicit
    Story of former Australia PM’s daughter as one of JE’s employee-recruiters came and went a few weeks ago..
    Naomi Campbell (was on his plane) gets off scott free again. Has had associations with JE + Mugabi (received diamonds from Mugabi for god’s sake).
    Radio Silence. The amoral pansexual sex addict criminal elite keep chugging along …same game.

    Neil Haversham

    August 31, 2019 at 3:07 AM

    • The curtain was pulled back for a moment and we all witnessed REAL POWER. Murder in plain sight and ‘they’ get away with it completely.

      That’s the truth of life on planet Earth. No pretense of democracy or the will of the people should concern any thinking person any longer.


      August 31, 2019 at 12:41 PM

  8. While I feel there is probably good intend from the comment, the way it’s worded is very triggering. The comment almost seems to suggest that queers aren’t intelligent and also still very ‘other.’

    As someone who’s had the game in their life for 30 years, I gave felt this game has always welcomed small tribes of minorities regardless of what traits they have that may be considered to make them a minority. In that sense the game has not changed at all.


    August 31, 2019 at 10:11 AM

    • Everyone has always been welcome to participate. What’s not welcome is progressives appropriating nerd culture (which is obviously driven by white heterosexual males) and then telling us it isn’t our culture.


      August 31, 2019 at 10:58 AM

    • See my post, below. Saying that homosexuals aren’t as intelligent as unusually intelligent people isn’t insulting them-its saying that they are just like everybody else.

      And, yes, they are also still very ‘other.’ Again, just a few years ago, others in boardgaming (40 year old male history buffs and younger math nerds) would have agreed.



      August 31, 2019 at 4:55 PM

  9. Good observations.

    Is it all demographics?

    I don’t think the same percentage of skinny nerds of the type who memorized combat tables, Monster Manual stats, Player’s Handbook spells, or Deities and Demigods, even exist anymore. Has to have dropped by at least 30-50%

    Skinny nerd types, unless they went to Asia or got an Asian wife, were exterminated by the phenomena described by the Roissy/PUA crowd – white females got pregnant with heroin addicts and other trash ‘alphas’ when young and then found a nerd to raise their hellspawn when they were pushing 40.

    The 80s are over. Long live the 80s.


    August 31, 2019 at 12:24 PM

  10. I love the implication here that members of the LGBT+ community are–for whatever reason–less intelligent than others.

    Not exactly holding their cards to their chest, huh?


    August 31, 2019 at 1:16 PM

    • Not at all. I’m also responding to an earlier comment that says about the same thing.

      I never intended to say that LGBT are less intelligent than others (and in fact I never did say so). I assume they are roughly as intelligent as everyone else- which means, on average, they are less intelligent than the verbally intelligent (history games) and mathematically intelligent (mathy games).

      If LGBT are equally intelligent as others (I assume this is true), then an organization aimed at intelligent people would be about 2-3% LGBT (i.e. their rough proportion of the general population), and wouldn’t be socially or culturally dominated by them. The fact that gaming seems highly overrepresented by LGBT seems odd, and suggests something social/cultural is going on. My suspicion is that more LGBT are attracted to gaming because of the ‘pretend’ element in fantasy games (which piggybacks with comic book nerds and cosplay nerds).

      In other words, there is no fundamental reason why homosexuals would be attracted to history heavy games or math heavy games-you would think exactly what used to exist: history buffs and math savants like games, and that is who used to do so. Today, not as much.

      Interestingly, everybody is ignoring the rest of my post: I also mentioned morbidly obese and socially awkward people as being more prevalent. Do we suspect that obese people are unusually good at math? Or that those suffering from social anxiety have an unusual predilection for World War 2? Probably not.

      The fact that the three groups that I mentioned are getting into board games, of all things, suggests something cultural is happening in the hobby.



      August 31, 2019 at 4:51 PM

      • I realize I’m late here, but share many observations with you, anon.

        I will say you’d expect LGBT to be overrepresented for two reasons:

        1. These hobbies are disproportionately urban, as are LGBTs, especially the sort of LGBTs who are over-the-top in their LGBT behaviors and appearance, as opposed to the sort who, if not outright closeted, are at least private about their sexuality. I have played D&D and board games in small towns, mid-sized cities, and big cities. It is MUCH easier to get together a group in a big city. Also, in a city, you can find the exact group you’re looking for — people who want to play the same game as you at the same time as you. In a small town, you have to make more compromises, which translates to less fun and convenience, and therefore fewer people getting into or keeping up the hobby.

        2. These hobbies are much easier to maintain as a single person without kids — a category in which LGBTs and the other people you describe are concentrated. I don’t have kids yet, but even as a married man, board games and such compete with a lot of other activities for my limited “man time”.

        One change is that wargames sort of invented this hobby — Gygax came up as a wargamer. My boomer father was a wargamer, and I sort of came up as a wargamer as I’d play with him in my teen years, but I’ve never met anyone else in my age bracket with an interest in wargames per se. I also think fewer men of post-boomer generations have a serious interest in military strategy and tactics, due to cultural change. So the wargame concept of strategic board games has been applied to different themes, which drew in different sorts of people.

        But other than that, I’m not sure where the delta is (other than people are getting generally weirder due to our social decay), but I too notice that this crowd has changed, especially in the cities. In my current smallish town, things are not so different though. I’ve never been to a real convention, but I imagine the urban types dominate them.


        September 3, 2019 at 8:49 AM

      • I never thought of D&D or any other tabletop games as being “urban” until I read your very informative comment. Thanks.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 3, 2019 at 9:11 AM

      • To be clear, this is not to say there are not adults who play in small towns. Just that, in large cities, there is a culture of meetups where people look for other gamers with similar interests and inclinations. In a small town, you’ll spend some time searching, maybe find some guys who live 45 minutes away and only want to play Warhammer 40k when you’d rather play D&D, and they play on Tuesday nights when you’d rather play on Saturday, and you need to decide if you want to play with them or just drop the hobby.


        September 3, 2019 at 9:26 AM

  11. “There is no fundamental reason that a hobby devoted to the interests of intelligent people would appeal to transvestites”

    “but is interested in ‘pretend play’”.

    You answered your question.


    August 31, 2019 at 1:35 PM

  12. You never write about band nerds and I guess that’s because you weren’t one. But, as a former borderline band nerd (or is outcast a better description?) I never noticed an overlap between band people and board game people. Nor even an overlap between musicians and board gamers even though I’ve definitely seen an overlap between musicians and tech. people and one often associates techies with board gamers.


    August 31, 2019 at 1:54 PM

  13. Back in undergrad, I played D&D a couple of times (this was around nine years ago). The people playing it consisted of the third category described in the comment. One guy was really smart, but the others were socially awkward geeks into weird parasexualities. One he later became a she after we graduated.

    There were a couple of girls who played the game, as I mentioned in another post on D&D.

    This was before the Great Awokening, so I can imagine that demographic has indeed become more visible and taken things over in the intervening years.

    I played Diplomacy online for three years. I don’t think there were too many woke types or even normal women, just INTJ-type males. I eventually stopped because I felt like I did everything I could in that game (I once won a solo victory as Italy, which is extremely hard to dol, so who knows if that has been taken over by SJWs since then.


    August 31, 2019 at 5:55 PM

  14. D&D, and ‘pretend play’ has always been the playground of outcasts. Before it was the nerds who were outcasts, now they’re not. But the LGBTQ+ population is still a marginalized community. Moreover, D&D is more mainstream, and has always been for everyone. Who cares if you’re a gay human, or woman human, or a dumb human, because today you’re Triolus, the group tank and healer (paladin) and we fucking need you bro. D&D is inclusive, and you should be too, mate. Cheers.


    August 31, 2019 at 11:34 PM

  15. I really don’t know anything about these games, but I do know something about spaces. When I was in college, most of the cafeteria was too loud and students watched wall mounted TVs while they ate. There was however, a movable partition wall at the far end of the room. The wall was always deployed, and behind that wall was a quiet nearly empty space with a few tables, and some chairs.

    People from a few loosely associated cliques started going into the room to eat lunch. We would take all of our items off the trays, and stack the trays in the corner before we started eating. That way we were eating on a table with dishes, instead of eating off of trays. We would talk in indoor voices, and not interrupt or talk over each other. No one ever even suggested turning on a TV set. In short, we acted like moderately high class adults.

    One day, some freshman decided that there were cool people eating in a special place, and decided to come in to the little room so as not to be left out. After a little while, one of them said: “Hey, why is the TV off.” We gave them looks of disapproval when they would come in to the little room and eventually they just stayed in the big room.

    This was my first introduction to these things, and I think it was extremely pure. There was absolutely nothing for the new people in that room… nothing at all… but they wanted in because other people seemed to like it. Once they got into the space, they started changing it from what it was, to what they wanted it to be.

    Again, I don’t really know much of anything about D&D, but from the way it’s portrayed I can certainly see why LGBT-alphabet-soup-outcasts would think that it’s a great space to be in. Trying to imagine D&D makes me think of a profoundly unattractive and self-important person sitting with a small circle of others and announcing: I am a magical tree-elf otherkin. Then the small group of people accepting the statement as if it were a fact. That’s very much like what I see coming from queer alphabet soup land.

    If nasty people with blue hair showed up to your D&D game expecting that, and didn’t get it, the first order of business would be fixing the problem.


    September 3, 2019 at 11:30 AM

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