Dungeons & Dragons

I could write a lengthly post about how important D&D stands among my personal pantheon of games–it’s practically the first game I tried playing back in 1982. And how I took a detour from gaming for a number of years, completely missing 3rd edition and barely registering 4e. But now I have a friendly, local gaming store right around the corner from where I live, the new D&D definitely caught my attention, and we started a new campaign with a familiar group of players last night.

I had the chance to break out a set of funny polyhedral dice and roll up a new fantasy character. I’ll be playing Or’Rhynn, the half-orc bard with drum and ambitions to join an order of paladins in the future, always insisting his human heritage is more evident in his thought an actions, although the orc nature still shows through at times….


Gaming, what’s it good for anyway?

Back in November a new game store opened in town. For years now, almost since my wife and I moved to this small, mostly rural county in central Virginia, I’ve joked about a gaming store opening up down the street from where we lived. The town had a bookstore when we first moved here, but then it closed. We have the usual assortment of retail stores, but nothing like a B&N and certainly nothing like a FLGS.

Until November. Since the store opened I have spent almost as much time there as I spend at work. I’ve started two regular weekly RPG campaigns, play X-Wing once a week, other miniature games when I can find a willing opponent, a card game my wife enjoys, and a variety of board games in between. Up until November I spent most of my hobby time thinking about gaming, writing and reading about games, maybe even painting some miniatures, but I rarely actually played a game more than once a month, and I was lucky if I managed to play a miniatures wargame even that often, mostly because the closest FLGS was almost an hour away, and making that sort of trip on a weekday after work just wasn’t practical. Fortunately, this new place in town is so close that my engine isn’t even warmed to operating temperature by the time I drive down there, and looking at a map of the town I realize that if I cut across the high school sports field and hopped a creek I could walk to the store in under ten minutes.

So, all this means my gaming tempo has increased exponentially. Instead of posting blog reports or pictures, I’ve just been simply playing one game after another, taking regular breaks to do mundane things like got to work and get a bit of sleep. Part of the reason I’ve spent so much time at the store in the past two months has been to run demo games and draw new players into the space, getting others excited about playing some awesome games. In a phrase, I have been trying to help build a gaming community. And it’s starting to pay off in real terms.

In the second part of this post I’ll go into more detail about what has been happening in my FLGS and why I think gaming has been good for something in my life and community.

To be continued….

Camp Nerdly Cook

Back from a weekend in the Prince William Forest National Park where Camp Nerdly occurred.  I spent most of the weekend in the Imagekitchen, cooking for 75 gamers, but I got some opportunities to play some games on Saturday evening and Sunday after breakfast.  It had been some time since I had played any RPGs, and this was quite the event–I felt like I was a mainstream gamer with my interest in games like MouseGuard and Lady Blackbird while everyone else was playing games I hadn’t even heard of yet.  It was a great event, and family friendly, with plenty of board and card games played in addition to the RPGs.


I had spent a long week at work, including the past weekend, and I arrived exhausted, the back of my truck packed with food and ice to keep it all cool.  When I pulled up behind this place and saw the mop and bucket, I realized I was exactly where I belonged.  After unloading everything and arranging cold storage, I got dinner started with some assistance, but it was easy enough–frozen lasagna in the ovens.  We discovered, half an hour before dinner service, that one oven was more efficient than the other; turns out we had one which was too warm, one was not warm enough, but the third was just right.  By 9 pm I was hot and exhausted (no AC in the kitchen, and those ovens heated up the place fast), so I took a shower and headed up to the parking lot where I had my truck.  I fashioned a simple bed with a piece of foam and some sheets–it was a relatively warm night, and humid, too warm for a sleeping bag.  I woke at dawn feeling refreshed with green tree boughs overhead and birds chirping in the forest.  And then it started to rain… and it didn’t hardly stop until camp ended on Sunday afternoon.


Behind the main hall are the cabins.  But I spent a good deal of my time in the main hall, specifically in the kitchen.

long hall

It was a family event with Superhero Bakery in the kitchen on Saturday afternoon which was amusing to witness 3 little kids dressed up and baking brownies while I worked with other staff to mash up chickpeas to create falafel for Saturday night dinner and slice up chicken breast to go into a marinade.  Dinner Saturday was a lot of work, but it was satisfying when some 70 hungry gamers came through and ate almost everything.  I was able to walk away from the kitchen by 8 to allow other volunteers to take care of all the clean up, so I had some down time on Saturday evening when I played some games–stayed up until 2:30 in the morning playing Dungeon World, in the end, and then up again at 5:30 to start breakfast.  But Sunday breakfast was easy in comparison, and I got to play another game which lasted the rest of Sunday morning.  An hour of final cleanup in the afternoon and I was away by 3 pm, although it was still a 90-minute drive home to fall onto the couch in complete exhaustion.  Then back to work Monday morning at 6 am!