Everybody has their own memories of the holidays and hold special traditions close to their heart. In our house, the holidays was time with family. Which meant lots and lots of games. But there's really only so many times you can play Monopoly.
So my teenaged brothers taught me how to play Dungeons and Dragons when I was eight years old. It was a constant background in my life. Whenever we wanted, we slipped off to battle monsters and help townsfolk and find treasure... all without knowing I was practicing math skills. My fourth grade math teacher was puzzled when I blasted through my times tables. We only had pencils, paper, dice, and a battered copy of the Player's Guide (first edition, for those wondering). It was all you needed, really. Well those and your imagination, which it seems my family had in spades.
Dungeons and Dragons and many of its tabletop gaming kind were banished to the shadows of parents' basements and got a lasting negative rap despite that it requires a pretty active social life to play. It was so bad that even I, a kid raised on the game, stopped playing it. Then I grew up and was old enough to remember how to be a kid again.
Now there's a resurgence of the game, largely thanks to Stranger Things for bringing it back into mainstream media. (Although they still do play in a basement...)
In the middle of the digital age came a treasure trove of popular podcasts and streaming videos about different campaigns that have become wildly popular. Digital content about a tabletop game!
Tabletop gaming is making a fairly welcome comeback. It's a way to socialize with friends, and offers far more variety than video games because you cannot predict what your fellow players will do. Dungeons and Dragons and other dice rolling games are guided by the Dungeon Master who is half narrator half circus ringmaster. The beauty of Dungeons and Dragons is the versatility of it – a good Dungeon Master can take the same basic story and adapted it to any group of any age, and the story can grow and change with character actions. Players have to learn to cooperatively act and work as a team to achieve goals. It's part storytelling, part strategical thinking - and yeah, there’s actually a LOT of basic math skills.
If you or your child is interested at all, the library carries a few books on Dungeons and Dragons. Or if you’re a hands on type, The Newberry Branch is currently gauging interest about developing a Dungeons and Dragons program possibly for kids, teen, and adult age groups. If you’re interested, check out Newberry Branch’s Facebook page or stop in and fill out an interest sheet. On Jan. 23, 2020 at 3:30 p.m., there’s going to be a short program about how to create a character that is open to the public.