A lot of D&Ders might not have to deal with finding a tangible, physical space to game. In a circle of 4-6 gamers or so, they likely get together at someone’s house. And if the circumstances change, and it’s inconvenient or there’s not enough room, the players simply circulate to the house of a different player. Most groups are small enough and have options for where to game. But my group is different.
Golden Triangle D&D
The original Dungeon Master (DM) who brought us together posted a flyer for an open invite D&D, and he DMed a table of about ten of us in the upstairs of the local library. Our group grows and fluctuates as people come depending on availability. We typically have 5-20 people show up for a game.
The original DM who started the group decided to recruit some of us to become dungeon masters as well. The result is that five of us are regular DMs that help run the open invite group games, and we’re always inducting new people into DMing in case one of us can’t make it.
We have several smaller games in addition to the bigger open-invite community games. For example, there’s a Ladies Only D&D, a homebrew campaign, and a game based in the Critical Role setting. But even those games can be 8+ people. We have people who come from the town we’re based in and two nearby towns, and those three towns together constitute the “Golden Triangle” region. Thus, our group is Golden Triangle D&D.
Location, Location, Location
We began playing at the local library. The local library has been a great support, but sometimes the space is unavailable because of other community events. When we couldn’t use the library for several consecutive months, we began seeking out a new venue. We researched and researched, but even smaller meeting rooms in local hotels cost upwards of $100 per session, usually more like $150. If only five of us were at a particular session, that’s a large financial obligation – and one that we might not be able to handle twice per month. Some of us are middle-aged adults, and some of us are 13 year old kids. Some of us have full time jobs, and some of us are full time students. The biggest variable is attendance: not all of us are there at any single game.
Luckily, one of our DMs is a member at the local First Presbyterian Church. The pastor allowed us to rent out the meeting room for a much more reasonable price of $25 for an all-day Saturday session. It’s strange playing D&D in a church considering that D&D was once not looked upon favorably by many churches. But the church has been a fantastic place to play. We haven’t had to leave at a certain time, and usually no one else is in the church. So we don’t have to worry about bothering others like we do in a library.
When we are playing in one of the smaller breakaway D&D groups like the Ladies Only D&D, there aren’t as many players. It isn’t financially worthwhile to rent the church space. For smaller games, we use the space available at the local gaming store and pie shop downtown.
With our community group settled into the church, and still sometimes the library, it seemed a comfortable arrangement. Smaller games were housed comfortably at Books & Boards and Three Sisters Pie Company. However, the future isn’t so certain. The pastor at the church is leaving, and we’re unsure if the new incoming pastor will have the same open mind towards RPGs. Additionally, our beloved Books & Boards is closing at the end of April. So the community group may or may not have to find a new location, or play only when the library is available. Our smaller D&D groups will thankfully still be able to play at The Three Sisters Pie Company, who shared their location with Books & Boards and will be remaining there (thank goodness!)
In a group where people come to play from various locations, we can’t simply go play at someone’s house. When attendance is usually around 10-12, but has reached 20, it’s imperative that we have an open community space, preferably public, where we can meet and engage in gaming. Role-playing games help build community, connect people, improve socialization skills, exercise critical thinking, and improve people’s general state of mind. D&D can be a powerful educational tool and strengthen the bonds between players. For that reason, it’s essential to appreciate the value of literal spaces where people can come together – libraries and gaming stores and other venues that support recreation.