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Voice of Real Australia: Old school games help to slay loneliness

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Table top gamers enjoy a round of Dungeons and Dragons at the Game Center in NSW. Picture: Chris Lane

Table top gamers enjoy a round of Dungeons and Dragons at the Game Center in NSW. Picture: Chris Lane

Monopoly, Trival Pursuit, Cranium, Snakes and Ladders, Mouse Trap, Boggle, Cluedo - if it's a boardgame, you name it and I can pretty much guarantee I've played it.

As a self-confessed nerd, I have spent many a weekend playing games with friends.

But my nerdiness stepped up to a whole new level about two years ago when my partner (who is also a self-confessed nerd) asked me to join in a game of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) with him and his friends.

Now, as kid of the 90s my knowledge of the game was based on the things I had seen in TV shows and movies - most notably Netflix's Stranger Things.

I thought it was a game for kids or weird 40-year-old men who still lived at home with their parents but boy, was I so entirely wrong.

It was within this fantasy-driven world that I met some of the most wonderful people.

We all come from different backgrounds with diverse genders, ages, cultures and beliefs. A mix of working professionals, tradies, retail staff and students.

But none of those differences matter when we come together around the table each week.

For a few hours we get to embrace our characters (mine is a dragonborn warlock with a heart of gold - just in case you were wondering) and escape our real world stress.

Escape is the perfect word for it really, because even if you are worried about bills, work, family pressure; whatever it may be, all of that melts away and you get to play around in a medieval world.

As a kid I would imagine my Barbie as a princess and Ken as the prince who saves the day - now I get to be a member of a merry band of adventurers taking on feats that silly prince could never have even dreamed of.

You might be thinking, 'this is ridiculous Kayla, you're an adult' but let me assure you I play alongside people far smarter and more accomplished than I could ever be.

Some even have children themselves.

I think the main appeal for these games is human company.

Throughout lockdown so many of us were deprived of that human interaction we all crave.

And for my D&D crew, online game sessions on a Tuesday night helped to get us through.

For three hours there were no children to homeschool, no work stress, no financial stress and most importantly there was no loneliness - there was only those fictional bad guys to slay and good guys to save.

The way I see it, anything that brings people together in a positive way can only be a good thing, even if it's based on fictional characters in an imaginary world.

So maybe, if you haven't already, dust off your favourite boardgame, turn off the TV and gather your favourite people for a night of fun.

You never know where it might lead you...

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