I haven’t played in a role-playing game in YEARS. RPGs were my intro into the wonderful world of gaming at age 13. I was in a Werewolf the Apocalypse LARP (Live Action Role-Play for those not in the know) and became instantly hooked. There was creativity and a vibrant use of the imagination. It was an activity where I, a shy and awkward quiet kid, was safe to experiment socially. I, as my character, could try out different personalities and an infinite number of social situations, helping me build the confidence that I needed to open up as myself at home and at school. I built friendships on gaming. I learned history from gaming. And I became comfortable in my own skin because of the freedom that I found in tabletop and live-action role-playing games.
On my NerdCare to-do list is a very important item; get together with friends once a month and play a game. Sometimes this will be a board game or a card game and other times I hope this will be a role-playing game. I know that I’ll have to be the story teller at least once or twice, and if I am lucky, perhaps I’ll find someone willing to run the game and let me play for a little while. Gaming is important to me. It’s a fun activity that brings people together and builds a sense of belonging. We all need a sense of belonging.
Someday, I’ll be able to pass Alice the dice and lead her on her own journey of self-discovery; armed with only a book, a sheet of paper, and a trusty pencil. She’ll have grown up watching her parents and their friends play, probably while sitting on someone’s lap and eating snacks late into the game night. It’s inevitable that one day she’ll ask, “Can I play too?” The only real question is, what game is Alice going to want to play first?