Sitting indoors on a nice summer’s day playing games might sound like the norm for today’s kids, but playing games doesn’t have to be a bad thing. For the remainder of the summer, a group of boys will continue to gather at Fly by Knight Comics Cards and Collectibles in New Glasgow, honing their Dungeons and Dragons skills.
Created in the 70s, Dungeons and Dragons got a bit of a bad reputation during the Satanic Panic of the 80s despite having nothing to do with that sort of thing. The role-playing game sees players create their own characters, use their imagination, battle bandits and monsters, complete quests and seek out treasure.
Fly by Knight’s Jason Stuart got the idea to hold a children’s D&D camp when his son Adrian and his friends started a campaign and really enjoyed playing the game.
“It was huge, the spots filled up in less than a day,” Stuart said. He had parents coming in and asking about having a camp for the game that kids could take part in.
“It’s like they get to use their imaginations and it sneaks some math past them,” Stuart laughed. With dice for the game having up to 20 sides, basic math skills are needed to participate.
Stuart added that in the last couple of years the popular show Stranger Things, in which the characters play Dungeons and Dragons, has helped boost the popularity of the game once again. In the past little while, Stuart noted that he’s sold a lot of starter kits after the show started featuring the game.
Along with the players of the game, there is also someone called the Dungeon Master, who tells the story as the quest progresses; they may also sometimes make up their own quests for players to go on as well.
“It takes a little bit of patience and a special person to be a dungeon master but anyone can sit down and play the game,” said Stuart. To help the boys in the summer camp, who range in ages from 8 to 12 or so, Stuart arranged to have a friend who often gets together with his friends at the store to be the Dungeon Master for the boys.
With shouts of excitement and chants to burn a room down, it was easy to tell that the kids were enjoying using their imaginations.
“I have nowhere else to play D&D consistently,” said Blake Wilson, a participant, about why he was excited to be a part of the camp.
“I’m probably going to sign up again next year!” exclaimed Riley Petroff, another of the players.
Stuart added that after the great response he received about the summer camp he is playing around with hosting a shorter March Break camp next year as well.
Brady MacFarlane, left, and Adrian Stuart, right, laugh at a joke one of the players made while playing Dungeons and Dragons last week at the Fly by Knight Dungeons and Dragons kids summer camp. (Brimicombe photo)