Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) was created in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. It introduced a new genre of game, the Tabletop Roleplaying Game (TRPG) that was a collaborative adventure built in the minds of the players.
Since then not only has it been improved with new editions but the game is greatly publicized through pop-culture. So why isn’t the player-base a fast growing and unavoidable group?
The history of the game lent some plausible insights as to why its popularity has been a slow ascent. Since it’s creation there have been 5 editions of the original trademark, numerous other publishers who’ve created their own versions of TRPG’s with variant settings. Even Star Wars has a successful rule set entirely different from the Dungeons and Dragons model. This is obviously too much to try navigating as a prospective player and even less accessible if you’re unwilling to read a dry 400 page rule book.
Some primary research led us to the real struggles of the audience. A survey we did with D&D players said their biggest issue was scheduling time. The other was a mix of not having enough players or for that matter good players who tend to be more reliable for groups as well.
This made us also question what prevents players from getting good and thusly being a long-term contribution to the player base. Firstly People nowadays need more visual aid due to the rise in video games. The second issue is with people who have trouble with character improvisation or the ability to embody that character. And third is a general cooperation skill that is vital to creating good parties.
As a means of finding ways to solve these problems, I had the team play a session. Surely enough their fresh minds ran into a number of roadblocks that were easily identifiable. The first being the confusion of most print based character sheets. The second was the anatomy of the first session, There’s a lot of time spent on the droll of character creation, with a mix of new and regular players the time spent on-boarding people to a number of character rules took 2 hours. I’ve also consistently run into a number of first sessions which need a solid block of time acquainting the characters with each other in game, this time taking about an hour before spending the final 2 hours of the average 5 hour session actually working towards objectives.
The culmination of our research made us realize that a users journey can begin even before the session begins, with a character creation feature. In the same vein the coordination of the players within the session lent to a Internet of Things product to further connect the players imaginations. Not only would group chats make coordinating sessions simpler but it's best use would be to share assets with players, a common practice Game Masters would manage with multiple sheets of loose paper that were damageable and less organized. Just a few features would be enough to create an entire ecology of game organizers and resources that is not only vast but personable enough to keep parties grounded in their experience.