Monday, 12 September 2011

Speak out with your geek out

I saw this about ten days ago, forgot about it and have now been reminded.  Speaking as a pretty openly geeky person, I'm all for celebrating the positive.  And I've got a little list to remind me of why I enjoy this hobby so much.  Most of my list applies to RPGs and board games, but I'm pretty sure it extends in other directions too.

(Disclaimer - I was going to do a parody and shame W.S. Gilbert, but the song in question doesn't really celebrate positivity.  I'll save if it for some other time.)

Anyway - a partial list:

1.  Socialising.  You get to know your friends very well then you spend a lot of your free time with them plotting to overthrow a world-ending menace.  If you (and they) survive the process, you probably have some very good friends there.

2.  Education.  Really.  So many basic skills get covered.  Literacy, numeracy, social skills, teamwork, planning ... to the point that if it wasn't for the built in prejudice that gamers must be sad-sack losers, employers would use RPGs as a sure-fire interview technique.  I'd love to see companies invite people to interviews, hand them a character sheet and a load of dice and say "play this scenario, we're watching."

3.  Relaxation.  So, you've had a horrible day.  If, like me, you teach, some days can be really, really horrible.  If, like a lot of gamers I know, you do a desperately hard job in desperate conditions, horrible is even more horrible.  Escapism is good, people.  Few things are more escapist than allowing yourself to pretend to be a dwarf and heading out to bash heads.  It knocks spots off having a flaming row with your partner or doing something actively dangerous to let off steam.

4.  Play.  Play is good.  It really is.  Adults forget how to do this.  We get told that we need to grow up, be serious, earn livings, carve out careers and on the whole we do.  What we lose in that process is the sheer fun of life.  We really shouldn't.

5.  Dice.  They're just so pretty.  And tactile.  Grabbing a handful of dice and letting them roll all over the table is simply a great feeling.  I hate to end on a slightly down note, but there is a negative on the dice thing.  Don't tread on them.  Getting a d4 stuck between your toes is a never to be repeated experience in the lives of most gamers.


  1. Argh, yes, d4 on the bedroom floor in the middle of the night, that can give any Lego piece a run for its money.
    And education is a big part of what makes gaming fun for me. I enjoy looking things up (I'm a librarian, so I do it for a living actually) and I have researched all kinds of weird stuff while creating characters.

  2. Couldn't agree more on the joy of looking things up and - this is important - having an excuse to do it.