I was recently working nights for my company. I had a chance to talk to several security guards as they escorted me around my job. We got to chatting about random things during the nights. I would somehow always get the conversation back to board games (I do know about other topics by the way). I ended up talking to one guy and it turned out he also backed Nemesis, and was looking to get more into playing board games instead of playing Dungeons and Dragons. Why would Trevor (not his real name) want to get away from playing D&D which is one of the highest levels of nerdom?
The first reason Trevor gave me was time. He was the game’s Dungeon master (DM), if you are unfamiliar he was the moderator and creator of the story. He would be the referee and final arbiter of rule and law, in short, he was a little case god of the world his friends would play in. If by reading my description you were confused about how and why it would take a lot of time on Trevor’s part to play, know that a good DM can make the experience awesome. But we cannot stay young people with little responsibilities forever. Life has a way to catch up on us with school, work, and significant others. Time becomes a very precious resource.
Maybe Trevor has not seen how much I can spend on Kickstarter when I get too many overtime hours. The next reason he gave was money. He explained to me that he would spend money on figures, scenery, map tiles, and more books for the adventure. The only thing that the players of his game would supply would be their figures. First, D&D is an amazing game that can run off imagination and most of these are just non-needed. Second, they can make the experience cool. The only thing needed for the most part are dice and the sourcebooks for the system you want to play.
This was one of the main reasons Trevor gave about playing D&D was both how long sessions (time spent playing at one time) and the whole story could take to play. Back in 2009 in our weekly group, we started playing a Star Wars roleplaying game. We would only play twice a month to save room for board games. The whole story took us about two years to play to completion. That is a huge time commitment, especially if you need things to feel complete. I have played D&D sessions that have lasted almost eight hours. Having that much time on hand can be hard for many people.
Trevor has used all these reasons to turn to games that give you a close experience to playing D&D. Games like Nemesis, Descent, Gloomhaven, Folklore, and Imperial Assault have been giving players a close experience to playing D&D for a long time. They are some of the more popular games with our group. We love good stories and character progression, the quick way to our heart is to bring a game with these elements to the table. But on the other side of the coin, if you have played games like this but have not played D&D games before, I would highly suggest that you play. SaltCon has lots of events where they play one-shot adventures that have volunteers that will guide you on your adventure.
If you want to play a game like this just listen to our podcast for a few episodes and you will find one. If you would like a suggestion please feel free to reach out.