Dungeons & Dragons: The New Retirement Game


Covid reset our way of thinking on everything from where we work to how we learn. It’s even changed how people are starting to think about retirement. Instead of just assessing their financial capital, people are learning that placing emphasis on their social capital is equally important. Those who once thought retirement meant enjoying the silence while gardening and reading books are now rethinking their view of their golden years to include group activities, such as games.

Why D&D?

One such game that has increased in popularity among those retiring is Dungeons & Dragons. Nope, Dungeons & Dragons isn’t just for teenagers anymore. Many senior citizens are starting to play the game—instead of fishing, retirees are finding it more fun to dodge traps and defeat monsters. Many older players enjoy the escape aspect of the game and have even been using it to connect with their grandkids.

Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game. In the game, players pretend to be fantasy characters who embark on a group adventure. They battle monsters, explore terrain, and roll the dice to decide outcomes. A Dungeon Master guides the narrative.

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The game has come a long way since Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson invented it in 1974 as an alternative to miniature-military war gaming. The latest version includes new online playing options and can be seen in classrooms, therapist’s offices, and even bars. Game rule books have been topped best-seller lists.

The game’s popularity has fluctuated over its 48-year history, but in 2018, its developers, Wizards of the Coast, sold more units than ever before. The game is now considered cool and is showing up everywhere, from being a major part of the Stranger Things plot to references on shows such as The Big Bang Theory and Futurama.

Celebrities Are On Board, Too!

It’s not surprising that Anderson Cooper is a fan, but even tough guys like Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson have recently come out as D&D fans. Celebrities such as Drew Barrymore, James Franco, and Stephen Colbert have also been quoted as being fans of the fantasy game. Joe Manganiello is so obsessed that he wrote a D&D movie script.

Today, people play it at bar and restaurant pop-up events such as “Joke and Dagger: Dungeon, Dragons, and Improv” in Brooklyn, New York, or “Dungeons, Dragons, and Drafts with Kevin” in Milford, Delaware.

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How can you play? You can look for an existing group of players and join a campaign, or you can buy a D&D starter pack and create your own world.  Starter packs come with game rules, multi-sided dice and maps that help aspiring dungeon masters create castles and worlds. Then, think about your friends who may be a good fit for your campaign: Who always wants to talk about bingeing Game of Thrones? Who named their cat Bilbo? Who spends their weekends at Renaissance fairs? Once you have a group, you are on your way to battling goblins in the halls of Castle Retirement.

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