Students bond over campaign game

Ariana Berkemeier | Banner | Jon Andersen, the Dungeon Master of the Dungeons and Dragons club at the SSgt. Salvador J. Lara Casa Blanca Library, makes both first time players and regular attendees to the club feel welcome by making it an enjoyable and fun learning experience.

The atmosphere in the room is tense. Three players are on the edge of their seats, not knowing what the Dungeon Master is going to say next during their innovative campaign of Dungeons and Dragons.

D&D is a fantasy role-playing tabletop game created in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. The game stands out from other board games because the actual story and rules are created by one player who is called the Dungeon Master. The rest of the players create their own characters and must follow the storyline the Dungeon Master has chosen. Campaigns are often known to take hours to finish.

Sgt. Salvador J. Lara Casa Blanca Library located in Riverside hosts biweekly Dungeons and Dragons games. The meetups started in October 2018 after the library supervisor, Jon Anderson, thought of creating a D&D group after attending a library convention.

Anderson said D&D is a game for everyone, noting that their first campaign meeting  consisted of different people of all ages.

“The first day, I had a gentleman from his mid 60s, who had played D&D since the 70s and also had a brother and sister who were 12 and 14,” Anderson said. “The Netflix show ‘Stranger Things’ (2016) has been the result of a lot of people getting interested in it again.”

The library group is a good place for people who would like to learn about the game for the first time and have fun with other players. Even if there are experienced players, this library group will give them a chance to help others learn and maybe show off some of their skills.

Many California Baptist University students play D&D. They say the game is worthwhile and people can develop many skills from playing.

Bradley Campbell, freshman biomedical sciences major, said if people look past the long process of the game and the “nerdy” stigma around it, they will enjoy what it has to offer.

“Anybody could have fun playing D&D if they are willing to just let themselves go and learn something new. It is a bit of an arduous process setting up for the game, but as soon as you get into it, endless fun awaits,” Campbell said.

Nathan Small, junior civil engineering major, said playing is not only fun but also educational.

“The game allows players to exercise creativity, practice team building and practice critical thinking and repartee. The game, in many ways, forces you to be creative in order to provide your players with a dynamic and exciting experience,” Small said.

Ethan Fisk, junior marketing major, said he hopes more students gain an interest in the game.

“I am part of a group of players at CBU that’s interested in potentially creating an official D&D club on campus and would be more than happy to help people learn the ropes or find a new group of players to work with,” Fisk said.

Playing D&D offers creative, social and educational benefits. The Sgt. Salvador J. Lara Casa Blanca Library D&D meetups occur every other week, free to the public for ages 13 and up. It is never too late to learn. Come grab some friends to play against because the fantasy world of Dungeons and Dragons awaits.

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