Player Heroes

  Benefits of Tabletop Gaming  

Reading, Writing, and Math

  • A textual, story-telling, collaborative, world-building experience

  • Character building involves lots of reading and applied critical thinking skills

  • High text level vocabulary

  • Writing and Art

  • Dungeon/Game Master (D/GM) creates dialogue and personalities for NPCs’ (Non-Player Characters)

  • Lots of computational math, probability, game theory, percentages, and more

 

Collaboration and Teamwork

  • Tabletop Roleplaying Games (TTRPGs) are collaborative storytelling

  • Players work as a team to solve problems, defeat monsters, and level up

  • Each character fulfills certain roles; specializes in certain areas

  • Players often need to rely on each other to be successful

  • Diverse group of characters working towards common goals

  • Teamwork is highly important in the professional world

 

Creativity

  • Gives inspiration to create your own weapons, magical spells, characters, monsters, dungeons, towns, nations, magical lore, and worlds

  • D/GM and players can get immersed in the creative writing aspect of the game through world building, creating NPCs, and players’ backstories

  • Related hobbies: Cosplay, 3-D miniature creation and painting, writing, drawing, map-making, world-building, landscape/terrain creation, acting/improvisation, LARPing, game design, debate, board games, etc.

 

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

  • Players solve riddles, puzzles, and gain information from NPCs through dialogue

  • Creative application and approaches to each encounter and scenario are highly encouraged

  • Players need to decide when to fight or run away and when using their words (diplomacy/bluff/intimidation) are necessary

  • Players plan coordinated execution of their plans around battles, puzzles/exploration, and even social encounters

 

Social

  • TTRPGs like D&D are 100% social

  • Involves a tremendous amount of talking, articulating and expressing your needs, telling how you feel about certain things and interacting with one or many others at a time in a group setting

  • So long as the D/GM and the players can interact a game can be played (Did you know that during the 1st edition of D&D it was popular to play games through traditional mail? With the advent of technology many players are able to easily engage on virtual platforms)

  • Cultivates camaraderie; a bonding experience of mutual accomplishment

  • Fosters perseverance

  • Allows players to take risks in a safe environment

  • Increasingly being used as a therapeutic tool to treat social anxiety, trauma and PTSD, autism, and more

 

Empathy and Tolerance

  • Players create characters with goals, hopes, dreams, and flaws

  • When the player role plays as the character they are ‘putting themselves in someone else’s shoes’

  • Characters interact with other characters or NPCs with different backgrounds and moral codes

  • Navigating murky ethical situations

  • Deepens understanding of people who are different from you (the player)

  A few specific sources that provide  
  excellent reasons for kids to play  

The Surprising Benefits Your Kids Get From Playing Board Games

An article from Scholastic on how family time benefits from learning teamwork, patience, how to win/lose gracefully, and actually benefit kids’ brain and language developments. 

 

How 'Dungeons & Dragons' Primes Students for Interdisciplinary Learning, Including STEM

An article from KQED on how playing D&D is cultivates a range of social-emotional skills, which can lay the foundation for improved learning.

 

Learning in Dungeons and Dragons

A research article for teachers on the benefits of D&D in a learning environment.

 

Dungeons & Dragons storms K12 education

“An article on how teachers are using D&D as a fun way to teach students decision-making and critical-thinking skills, while they work collaboratively and creatively.”

Targetable benefits of TTRPG. Partnering with a professional Game Master allows the specialist (Mental Health Provider, Counselor, etc.) to focus on how the client is displaying individual benefits throughout the session. Some examples of individual benefits that can be observed and expanded on during separate traditional therapeutic sessions:

  • Perspective Taking

  • Insight

  • Problem Solving

  • Cognitive Flexibility

  • Creativity

  • Behavioral Activation

  • Improvisation

  • Appropriate Risk Taking

  • Impulsivity

  • Organization Skills

This can be very engaging to those who are treatment fatigued or treatment resistant populations that do not want to sit in a circle and talk about their feelings or have someone tell them about mindfulness.

Player Heroes

The material on this page is a combination of my own research while pursuing education as a therapeutic game master and exploring the hobby for nearly 30 years. I was able to pull some well-constructed points in the bulleted lists above from Robert Lundstrom and expanded on his content with my own research.

  Additional Research Sources 

Applied TTRPG - Resources for research
Applied TTRPG - Resources for research
Applied TTRPG - Resources 3.jpg