‘Dungeon Masters don’t have levels, dork!’

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Last weekend Indianapolis experienced “The Best Four Days in Gaming” – Gen Con. As the annual convention’s Web site describes it: Gamblers have their Las Vegas. Jocks have their Super Bowl. But we gamers-ah-we have our Gen Con. It’s the literal epicenter of premier gaming.

The big news this year was the surprise announcement of a new fourth edition of “Dungeons & Dragons,” to be released in 2008. D&D4E will debut in April with a basic product containing quick-start rules. The three “core rulebooks” – the “Player’s Handbook,” “Monster Manual” and “Dungeon Master’s Guide” – will then come out one a month starting in Maysimultaneously in June.These traditional releases will be accompanied by an online suite of character-creation tools and a virtual game table for online multiplayer sessions – intended to help the old-school, pen-and-paper game compete in a world obsessed with MMORPGs like “World of Warcraft” and “The Lord of the Rings Online.”

Also, the venerable companion magazines Dragon and Dungeon have just ceased print production. In October they will re-emerge as online magazines with free access for a limited time; at some point accessing their content as well as the online toolbox will require a subscription.

Now mostly liberated from an undeserved rap of actual ties to Satanism, the roleplaying game celebrated its 30th anniversary just three years ago and is perhaps one of the ultimate badges of geekiness. It’s also reportedly a favorite hobby of actors Vin Diesel, Stephen Colbert and Hal Sparks.

But if rolling weird dice and assuming the persona of an elven warlock just isn’t your cup of mead, you might prefer games like “D&D Miniatures,” “Star Wars Miniatures” and “Heroscape,” which strip away the roleplaying aspect and focus on strategy. There’s also the “Star Wars Roleplaying Game,” which uses many of the same rules as D&D.

Your nearest East Valley hobby store will have hundreds of similar products, each with a different take on the RPG concept:

  • Game Daze has mall locations in Scottsdale Fashion Square, Paradise Valley Mall, Chandler Fashion Center and Superstition Springs Center in Mesa.
  • Gamer’s Inn at Southern Avenue and Stapley Drive in Mesa is open 24 hours!
  • The Game Depot is at McClintock Drive and Southern in Tempe.

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Jayson Peters

Digital, social and print media pro. Nerdvana's founder, curator and editor.

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