Tabletop Gaming: Art, Imagination and Community

In 1974 Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson created a game that would combine developed wargaming and character based role-play, and a community was born

A generation inspired by myths, legends, and the epic adventure of middle Earth, have ensured Dungeons and Dragons remains dominant on the table top gaming landscape. To date over 20 million people have played, and over $1 billion dollars in Dungeons & Dragons products have been sold. But table top has taken on a life of its own. Hundreds of RPG’s inspired by the innovative game play design of D&D can be found online or at your local gaming store.

Game designer Brandon Sanchez of Wizard Cops, a Harry Potter inspired adventure set on the gritty streets of New York City, explains perfectly why so many flock to game houses and backrooms of comics shops to play,

“The four of us here at Wizard Cops started playing Dungeons and Dragons as kids, and we guess you could say that it just fills a creative void that video games and reading never really could. The closest thing you could get to it would be to do the noble work of writing a story yourself, but even then, you don’t have the other independent parts and minds that make up the fantastic twists and turns of a table-top role-playing game.”

The gents at Wizard Cops,  Brandon Sanchez, Joey Nestra, Matt Carvin, and Schwartz are promoting their game, posting actual play via podcast on their website, the big business of tabletop RPG’s is not their driving force. (Image: Courtesy of Ink & Bean, Wizard Cops)

From the Wizard Cops website,

We don’t intend or expect to make money or be famous, we just thought that there are probably many like us out there who would enjoy listening to, reading about, and playing in a wizarding world.

The guys at Wizard Cops perfectly exemplify what table top gaming is really about; community and imagination. The ’70s and ’80s have spawned a generation that isn’t afraid to play, that refuses to give in to the stereotypical idea of what is “grown up,” we still want to PLAY! The world of table top RPG’s allows players to take on any role, to wield great powers and defeat evil in a time when most are all too aware of the world’s darkness.

“We’ve always wanted to be real wizards, and now, with our new game, we can be,” added Aaron Schwartz, fellow Wizard Cops game designer

The power of the community is strong, so strong that many, if not most, comics and gaming shops have space available for gamers to come together and play.

Glynnes Pruette, who owns Comic Book Hideout in Fullerton, California admits that offering games nights isn’t lucrative, but she’s proud to do it,

“Game night does not make me money. But it is something I feel is important to offer for my shop community.” (Image: George Diorio)

While Pruette is open about the fact that game nights aren’t going to budge her bottom line, she is equally open about the fact that doesn’t matter one bit,

” I (and my customers) really enjoy game night & it’s not going anywhere. It is honestly my midweek break where I can relax and spend time with my regulars that are my friends & where they can spend time together. Game night is an excuse for a weekly hangout at the Hideout.”

Tabletop gaming, an arena of the imagination and a community harbor for many, has the additional draw of being a potential artistic outlet. From painting your own figures and designing sets for games like Warhammer, to creating your own character cards, the world of tabletop has something for everyone.

While console and PC gaming have the media spotlight, the world of table top, born in the days before 8-bit, has the staying power of rainy day forts and grilled cheese sandwiches. It speaks to the child in us who just wants to grab a sword or a wand and take on some trolls. So, as a wise man once said ,” Game on.”

Image: Jinx

What is your fondest table top memory? Share with us in the comments below or join the conversation on Grizzly Bombs Facebook page.

Images: White Tower Hobbies,, Wizard Cops, George Diorio, Ink & Bean 

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