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Into The Box: Dungeons & Dragons, tabletop games

Not just a movie with Jeremy Irons.
Gordon miniatures
Gordon Currie has been making and painting miniatatures and buildings for Warhammer and other games for 30 years.

I’ve heard of Dungeons and Dragons many times and knew lots of people who played it. I read a couple comics about it and evened listened to a podcast where a group of guys record themselves playing it, but I had yet to dive into the fantasy realm myself. 

Not because I didn’t think it seemed fun, but because I didn’t quite understand it. I’m a competitive guy, some might say too much, and I prefer playing board games with clear rules and a clear winner. But D&D isn’t quite like that. 

As a role playing game, it’s more about immersing yourself in a character and a world than it is the outcome of the game, and imagining yourself in these other-worldly scenarios making these tough choices. I dove into the D&D Starter Set with a group of friends. 

The starter set is perfect for anyone, whether you’re a family of four, kids 12 and up, or a group of adults. It clearly lays out how to lead a game, how to pick a character, and what decisions you can make. I must admit, picking my character was my favourite part. Though I badly wanted to go with either the high elf, or hill dwarf character, I chose the human folk hero, and named him Dillon the Magnificent. I couldn’t resist. 

We’ve played a couple sessions so far of our game. DTM (Dillon the Magnificent, of course) was proving himself to be the leader in our unlikely group of compatriots. However, though I made it safely out of the goblin ambush, the kennel, and the cave mouth, Dillon faced a setback during the goblin blind, and is now dealing with a sprained left ankle. 

He’ll rebound soon enough, and we’ll resume our adventure exploring the different twists and turns possible through D&D. 

If you’re interested in diving in, the D&D Starter Set is available at The Northern Toybox, complete with full instructions and an adventure guide. 

Child Development Centre D&D Program

The South Peace Child Development Centre has been exploring the educational and social aspects of D&D for a couple years now. Kyle Kochanowski created the program, leading a number of students once a week (there are five this year), along with coworker Ben Hargreaves. 

“D&D covers a whole breadth of skills these students may be lacking, basics like turn taking, making choices that have consequences, different ways to use social skills, and there is a whole group of neat ways to address these skills in one place,” Kockanowski said. “Plus, I’m a passionate nerd, so if I can lead the next group of gamers that’s great.”

Throughout the length of the program, Kochanowski has seen some of the students grow to become confident young men. Kochanowski helps with the game side of things, and making sure each player understands what’s fair and what’s at stake, while Hargreaves is in charge of the painting side, where the kids build and paint their miniatures, that act as their characters in the game. 

“It continues through the summer, and is a great idea for kids who are maybe not into athletics. It’s really helped us pull kids into the program who didn’t like the other ones we offered.”

Painting Miniatures

Dawson Creek is home to many passionate players of both D&D and other role playing games, as well as table top games like Warhammer, which consist of building and staging out an army over a large area, and conducting movements similar to a board game. One aspect of games like Warhammer that is almost as key as the game part, is the painting and collecting of miniatures. 

Gordon Currie has spent time working for game companies, and has been an avid gamer for more than 10 years. He got into Warhammer 10 years ago, and has a large collection of figures, or miniatures. He builds towers and castles, and other buildings, that fit in with the game, and likes the ability to mix his artistic side —Currie is an avid acrylic and watercolour painter — with gaming. 

Painting and collecting is just one more part of the larger RPG and tabletop gaming experience that makes it immersive, and checks the different boxes one is looking for — whether its competition, imagination, or the calm and wonder that comes with creating art. 

“I’ve always enjoyed fantasy worlds, and being able to collect, paint and build armies just adds to the experience,” Currie said. 

Miniature painting kits and Warhammer start sets are available at Northern Toybox.