Tabletop gaming for the win

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Parker Otto | Northern Star

Using a board comprised of small squares, miniatures and various dice, tabletop gamers can decide the fate of their characters in Dungeons and Dragons. While there are a set of rules, the game is mainly based on the decisions of players and their imagination.

Parker Otto, Columnist

As students adjust to in-person classes and interact with people in real life, it’s only natural to make up for all of those lost socialization opportunities. One activity friends and family can do together is tabletop gaming. While other elements of nerd culture have become mainstream, tabletop gaming is a worthwhile activity that ought to be practiced as both a fun distraction and a great way to get rid of stress.

While tabletop gaming may be a foreign term for some, all it really means is board gaming on a much more nerdy level. Instead of traditional board games like Sorry!, The Game of Life or Battleship, tabletop is commonly applied to games that require more interaction with players and can take  longer. This includes household staples like Monopoly and Risk, along with more niche games for the nerd community like Dungeons and Dragons. 

Lengthy tabletop sessions are quite healthy for you and the people you play with because of all the social interaction you obtain. A 2019 study from the University of Edinburgh found that elderly people who played non-digital games ranked higher in critical thinking, memory and problem solving than those that didn’t. Gaming has also correlated to an increase in endorphins, chemicals in the brain related to happiness.

It’s also an incredibly exhilarating activity. Between all of the nail-biting moves, when it seems that your game is kaput to the arguments between teammates, playing tabletop games for several hours is incredibly fun. 

Two of the biggest obstacles for people when they first get into tabletop gaming are: how to play these games and what games to get. Thanks to the internet, the barriers that separate the newcomers from the experienced are much smaller. 

For students who want to have some laughs with friends along with some pizza and fun, tabletop gaming might be worth a shot. Here are just a few games that are worth considering:

Ticket to Ride: This board game for two to five players makes the process of a transcontinental railroad sound awesome, mainly because it is. Players try to create the longest railroad across America and parts of Canada by trading and playing cards. 

Risk: This game is meant for two to six players, where sessions can last for hours or days as players try to rule the world. Alliances are formed and broken, lands are conquered and the roll of the dice can make the difference between life and death. 

Dungeons and Dragons: While Dungeons and Dragons may seem like an expensive venture with all of those miniatures, books and accessories that line the shelves of gaming stores, the roleplaying game is actually fairly simple in what is actually necessary. What’s fun about this game is that not only is it the ultimate flex of one’s nerd credibility, but it also is unpredictable and is only limited by your imagination. There’s no right way to play the game, so just go and have fun with friends.

Tabletop gaming is a fantastic and underrated part of nerd culture that ought to be pursued by more people. With so many resources and opportunities to start playing, there’s no reason not to get your friends together and have some fun rolling the dice.