This year, one of my ongoing goals has been to incorporate more games into our school day. Not the “race to see who tidies up the fastest” kind, because let’s face it, my kids are (very sadly) too old to fall for that kind of thing now. We’ve been slowing building up our collection of board games and card games, mostly, though my 11 year old “hates board games” and my almost-9 year old just wants to crush me in as many games as possible. Still, we’ve stumbled across some new favorites and managed to (GASP!) actually get some math practice, random knowledge, and critical thinking worked in, thanks to those clever game-makers. Over the past two weeks, we’ve also begun a family Dungeons and Dragons campaign, much to the delight of my children. Fortunately, their Nerd Dad knows how to run it for us, so their Curmudgeon Mom caved and agreed to participate.
Now, I consider myself a creative person. I’m an avid reader as well as a writer, I like Renaissance faires and costuming and a lot of generally nerdy stuff. From my one DnD experience in college, I learned that I do not like actually engaging in role-playing games. I don’t like narrating aloud, it basically boils down to. I can’t think up stories off the cuff like my husband can–when the kids were little, their requests for made-up bedtime stories fell squarely to him. Ask me to write a story about said character and I can do it, no problem! Talking? Not my thing.
I hope this shows you just how amazing and self-sacrificing I am to agree to such a campaign. My husband is truly amazing both at his narration of the story line, spur of the moment ideas, brilliant descriptions, and, of course, the various accents ascribed to characters. The game itself is fine–the dice are pretty, I can make my character carry around a longbow, and it’s hours of family togetherness. Those are the good points.
The bad: O. M. G. Imagine, if you will, the most annoying things your children do or have ever done. Now imagine that they are doing it as some half-elf or Paladin or WTH-ever, possibly with an accent that their young years have not allowed them to even approximate with any degree of success, AND imagine that you are also playing a freaking character who doesn’t even have the power of the Mom Look to tell them they’re being so annoying you want to claw your eyes out. Are you with me?
Let’s just say this week’s session included my character using a flint to burn cobwebs off the 11 year old’s face (she asked me to, in my defense, since she believed herself to be fireproof) and also being sorely tempted to leave my younger daughter fighting off a swarm of rats in a tunnel because she swung her battleaxe into the pile of trash they were eating. Who knows what next week will bring?
If you want my advice, stick to board games. I don’t get nearly as aggravated playing Bird Bingo!