by Ramanan Sivaranjan on May 31, 2012
I played in my first D&D encounters session last week. These are pickup games run by people at your local games or comic book shop, using episodic adventures published by Wizards of the Coast. Each adventure runs for 12 or so weeks. Wizards of the Coast set up the Encounters program to introduce new gamers to D&D, and to get people who might have stopped playing back into D&D. It’s been going on for a few years now, so I’m going to assume Wizards has decided it is a success.
The Encounters adventures usually tie into the current set of books Wizards is pushing. The adventure I am playing in is about The Underdark and the Drow. Conveniently there are a couple books about these very things out right now.
It’s been an interesting experience participating in the games. The groups are a strange mix of people. At my local gaming store there are a bunch of little children and a bunch of adults. They split the two groups up for the most part, though both games I’ve played in have included kids. The first game included a quiet girl who I assume was the daughter of one of the other players, while the second game included a boy who was full on into D&D. (He played a Thri-kreen whose family’s knees were all broken by raiders when he was young, so now he is evil and goes around destroying other people’s knees: seriously.) Kids are the best. (Though I suspect playing with a whole table of them would be tiring.)
One of the dungeon masters from Dungeons Master is a player in the game I participate in. He has write ups for the game he runs at another gaming storing in the city, if you’re curious about the specifics of the adventures and how they play out. I’ve enjoyed both games I’ve played in thus far.
Encounters really distils 4th Edition down to its core. So far there has been a little bit of role playing followed up with some full on tactical combat. I suspect depending on the group you play with you’d end up with a different experience week to week. The great thing about D&D is that everyone can approach the same situation very differently. When I read about other Encounters sessions they are nothing like my own.
If you are looking to satiate your urge to play role-playing games D&D Encounters is certainly worth a look. (You can even play online!)