How a Game Can Improve Work Ethics

Have you ever observed a Dungeons and Dragons session; the conversation seems quite nerdy:

“Roll a D20 attack roll. Add your STR modifier + your proficiency. What’s your hit total?” Or, “What’s my save? Okay, I beat the 13 Con save.”

Being a long-term player of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), these phrases seem standard along with the assortment of many different sided dice and worksheets players use to track abilities, equipment, background story, and other stats.

After playing for over 10yrs, I’ve realized Dungeons and Dragons isn’t just for unkempt, antisocial men who live in their mother’s basements. It’s a game for anyone who’s willing to be imaginative and creative! Most times that I play, there is a pretty even Male/Female ratio.
I like to sum up the game in my little description. D&D is like having an author of a book write you and 4-5 others into it as they are reading. The author knows the story plots, but you decide what your character does in their story setting. The probability of dice rolls determines the outcome, and both successes and failures create many fun experiences for everyone around the table.

Being the anti-social nerd, I am; I’ve found the game a great way to continue growing professionally as well.

You calculate your actions with more thought. D&D is improv. It’s not easy to take on the role of a compelling character with goals and morals that differ from your own. You might have created your character on paper, but during the game, you’ve got to act as your character. This sometimes means giving a lot of thought into your actions taken to make sure they are the best for the situation. This can be an excellent tool for your business. Not only do you get to practice social interactions, but you also gain knowledge on how others in your party handle and react to different social situations as well.

You own your mistakes. You may be very agile and deceptive, but if you roll suboptimal numbers, you’ve got to embrace the result and act accordingly. You might have experienced something similar in your business; like a new employment law that you don’t agree with. You can either fight it and throw a tantrum or embrace it and act accordingly.
If you want to do something extraordinary, like do a ninja flip onto a horse and attack an opponent with your spear, declare it. The worst that can happen is you roll a critical fail (“1”), get a hoof to the face, and fall flat on your back. After a few sessions, you’ll find your imagination less inhibited and willing to take more risks.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”

Charles Swindoll

Team Building Exercise! Every session, the DM (aka dungeon master or “Author,” as I see it) presents the team of adventurers with a challenge to overcome. Whether you’re fighting evil Orcs who have ransacked your city or figuring out the magical components of a wizard’s bath, you’ve got to work with your peers and employees, who may not necessarily be in alignment with your goals and motivations. Similar to being an employer, this requires negotiation at its best, especially in situations where five other players have different ideas for solving the problem. Depending on your character, you may react to situations that aren’t aligned with your values but being able to “stay in character” demonstrates your empathic ability and quick thinking. I find that an open line of communication is best.

You learn to prepare. Each player has to manage their traits and skills on a sheet and should know their race, class, and other special abilities in advance of each session.
Since starting to play, Dungeons and Dragons has become my favorite non-athletic activity for fostering team building and collaboration, practicing conflict resolution and problem-solving, and promoting interpersonal communication. Again, these are skills that go beyond the game room and extend into your personal and work life.

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