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Dungeons and Dragons still going strong nearly 50 years later

In its 49th year, Dungeons and Dragons is available for in-person play every month at the downtown branch of the library from 2 to 4 p.m.
A Dungeon Master lays out the plays as a group of players take in the Dungeons and Dragons game day at the Barrie Public Library, Sunday, March 19, 2023.

The most famous fantasy role-playing game is not only still going strong, but Dungeons and Dragons is taught and played every month at the local library.

In its 49th year of keeping fantasy-minded people engaged in war tactics and problem-solving, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is available for in-person play every Sunday at the downtown branch of the library from 2 to 4 p.m.

Akira Currier brought his 10-year-old son to play D&D at the downtown library during their Sunday afternoon workshop.

“It's mostly for kids, some adults do show up also, but it's just a way for them to interact with other people interested in the game,” said Currier. “It's a real safe space and a good opportunity for the kids to get to know each other.”

The game was released in 1974 and is widely recognized as the original modern role-playing game, becoming the inspiration for video games, particularly the fantasy role-playing genre.

Currier, 38, said he has been a gamer for two decades and remembers playing D&D as a kid.

“It's definitely been around for a long time. There are many other role-playing games out there, but this is the one that is most known,” said Currier. “People even refer to other games as Dungeons and Dragons like they refer to all tissues as Kleenex or all bandages as Band-Aids.”

The game involves participants creating their own characters to play, which then goes on a series of adventures within a fantasy setting. A Dungeon Master is the game’s storyteller and directs the play and announces things that happen to each player as the dice are rolled, and the game continues. 

Players end up going to battle with each other, exploring adventures and gathering knowledge and treasure. Together they solve dilemmas, engage in battles, explore, and gather treasure and knowledge. 

There is no real way to “win” at D&D, as the game is more about the story and the adventures players go on.

The length of a game is pretty much however long players want.

“A single session will run, maybe four hours, but a single session isn’t the entire game,” said Currier. “For example, I have characters I have been playing consistently for almost 20 years. You’ll have lots of different adventures with that character, and they will grow and gain experiences as they go on.”

Currier said his kids were introduced to the world of Dungeons and Dragons over the last three years as being inside was the only option. 

“My wife and I introduced both of our kids to the game over the pandemic as something to keep them busy indoors. My son has always had an interest in fantasy games and actually started making his own game,” said Currier. “Just this morning during breakfast, he was reading us through his game. It was an opportunity to be creative and tell his story the way he wants to tell it.”

The game was highly popular in the 1980s and early 90s but also gained a lot of notoriety as adults who didn’t understand the world of wizards and warlocks began to accuse the game of nefarious intentions.

“I distinctly remember when I was in high school, my father not wanting to bring me to play D&D that weekend because he heard it was Satan worshipping,” said Currier. “There is actually lots of great evidence from psychologists that say the game helps to build social interaction, teaches how to handle decision making and morality issues. It's also really great for math as you're constantly rolling dice and have to add up numbers to it to determine different plays in the game.”

For more information on the Barrie Public Library Dungeons and Dragons game, check the website here.