Is Gaming For Me?

Your friends like Dungeons & Dragons.  Your significant other wants you to join their Pathfinder game.  You meet a cool new person, and you have so much in common, and suddenly you discover they play Rifts.  But is any of this “weird gaming stuff”(1) something you could actually enjoy?

Let’s explore some possibilities.  Everyone likes different things, of course.  Here are the most common reservations I hear:

1) “I don’t like all that magic and fantasy crap!”

Games span a wide range of genres.  Maybe you don’t like sword and sorcery; then most Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder games are not for you.  Although, if you like science fiction, you might be happy if your Pathfinder GameMaster (GM) focuses on xenoarcheology, androids, and the Iron Mountain.  For space travel, you might like Rogue Trader or Star Wars. 

Maybe you prefer Historical Fiction (try Good Society) or Alternate History (try Deadlands). Post-apocalyptic? Sure — Apocalypse World is more violent than I enjoy, but then there’s Fallout: Wasteland Warfare, where you can play a tabletop version of that well-loved video game.  Superheroes (The Marvel Universe: Roleplaying Game), War (Warhammer 40k),  even Anime (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) —  tabletop games come in all these styles, and more.

2) “It’s too violent!”

That depends mostly on your GM and your particular group, as well as which game you’re playing.  Some gaming groups are all about the vicarious violence and the catharsis of slaying monstrous enemies in the game; other groups are more focused on role-play aspects like exploring, tracking, flying, hacking, or talking to NPCs (non-player characters) to solve mysteries and negotiate deals. 

3) “Doesn’t that D&D stuff lead to devil worship?” or “My family thinks it’s evil magic.”

It’s all make-believe.  It’s important to separate the fiction of the game from the reality we live in; it’s just a game.  Even the games that involve a magic system use made-up spells.  Not all games have magic. 

I can’t talk to your family for you, but my heart goes out to you.  If you’re in a situation where playing a game with a magic system would cause family strife, I hope your group of friends will be open to the idea of looking at a different genre of game. 

Friends who don’t game or who are thinking about starting have asked me why I play.  I play tabletop games for several reasons, but the most important is that it’s fun for me.  I love getting to connect with other humans in a friendly, non-work environment where we can be on the same team. 

One time, I found myself not having fun, so I switched gaming groups — but that’s a different article. 

(1) “Weird gaming stuff” — words used by some of my loving and supportive relatives.

Paige Steadman
Paige Steadman

Paige Steadman (she/her or they/them) usually plays a Druid or Ranger, but in real life she works as a Bard.  She makes her living in theatre and music… 

About the author

Paige Steadman (she/her or they/them) usually plays a Druid or Ranger, but in real life she works as a Bard. She makes her living in theatre and music. She is currently the Director of Education at The Good Acting Studio and is a member of Working Title Playwrights and of the SAFD (Society of American Fight Directors). She loves to act, write, teach, compose, and direct. In her free time, Paige enjoys reading, playing tabletop RPGs, LARPing, and snuggling with her cats. She is happily married to a computer wizard. See for more information.

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