Written by Micah Xu, Junior at Gwinnett School of Math, Science & Technology (GSMST)
In a world of instant gratification in our entertainment and flashy, over-the-top video games, there is a certain element of imagination that is hard to find in a lot of games. Everything is defined in those games, the story is set, and there is no room to explore outside of the path that is written by the writers of those games.
What if instead of saving the world immediately, the player wants to spend time with one of the characters in the world? What if the player wants to settle down for a bit, maybe start a farm or business while also saving the world from whatever evil is plaguing the land?
Tabletop games can fix this problem, and it allows players and potential game-makers to experience and create a world of their own, one that has as much possibility and freedom as the players and game-maker wants to give it.
Tabletop games can be strange and hard to understand at first. Most of them, including the ever-popular Dungeons and Dragons, run by combining game mechanics like statistics, chance and number-crunching with a story that is told by the person running the game, usually called a Game Master or Dungeon Master, along with the players that experience the game. In a tabletop game, a player has the freedom to do as many things as the Game Master will allow.
For example, if a player wants to, instead of immediately saving the world, instead wants to talk with a character they find particularly interesting, they can. If they want to spend their time following a side character with their personal journeys instead of immediately doing the main quest, they can. This freedom, limited only by the creativity of the people playing, is the greatest reason to play these sorts of games, and it allows stories that would normally go unsung to become the main attraction.
Another reason to consider tabletop games is the fact that they allow stories that would normally go entirely unsaid and rot away in the recesses of the minds of many to be told and experienced before they fall into oblivion. Sure, not everyone can write a novel or short story about their story ideas, and sure, not every story is worthy for the press to read in the newspaper, but that doesn’t mean amateur storytellers should give up.
Tabletop games can be a gateway to better writing and story design later down the line, and a lot of the skills that are required for good storytelling (dialogue, descriptions, plot devices and character building just to name a few), can be used for better stories later down the line.
And, honestly, the best part of these sorts of games is the chance to shine a spotlight on a world. A world where you and your friends are heroes that have the sovereignty to do whatever they want, or, in other words…