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Dungeons
& Dragons

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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Dungeons & Dragons (1974) (D&D or DnD) is an adventure role-playing game first released in 1974, which has been loved and refined by many since then. It's a tabletop game in that you play sitting around a table with a rulebook and figures. It's unusual not only because players create (and develop) their own characters but because the adventures are run by a Dungeon Master player who is free (aided by the rules and dice) to decide what happens.

As you play, the Dungeon Master describes locations, characters and the inevitable missions and fights you get into in search of reward, treasure and experience that enables them to upgrade specific stats. In this way, you embark on imaginary adventures within a fantasy setting. Plays form a party of adventurers and make choices about how they interact with people they meet and each other. Play involves solving social dilemmas, casting spells, solving puzzles and winning battles with natural and supernatural creatures. At points, they are challenged to roll dice in relation to specific stats of their character to determine the outcome of some event or action.

The game's early success led to all manner of similar game systems being made. Some of these are distinct products, while others expand and build on the Dungeons and Dragons rules. It's a game famous for drawing on Lord of the Rings for inspiration and has been played by an estimated 20 million people. It has become more popular recently from its appearance in the Stranger Things series. Watching video streams of talented voice actors playing D&D campaigns (like Critical Role) has also become hugely popular.

The results are a game experience that, provided you have an experienced or committed Dungeon Master, can be tailored to the experience, ability and preferences of the players. It's a cooperative game of camaraderie and communication, more than competition.

Our examiner, Sabrina Culyba, first checked Dungeons & Dragons 22 months ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 10 weeks ago.
Too complex for your family? There are lots of games similar to Dungeons & Dragons. Here are some easier younger-rated games:

Play StylePlay Style

This is a Narrative game with Battle, Communication and Role-Play elements. You can play with 3 to 8 players in the same room.

 
You can play this game in the following styles:

DurationDuration

Learn to Play: This takes 3 hours to learn. It's a complex game to learn for the Dungeon Master who needs to know the rules and world in detail. Players also need to learn how to create characters and embrace the freedom of unlimited play choices.

Use the Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set and Resource Videos to get to grips with the basics. With this, the best way to learn is to start playing.

Play Time: It takes between 1 hour and 4 hours to play a round of this game. It's a game you play for as long as the group has time. But if you want this can be for many hours. Campaigns usually span many sessions.

BenefitsBenefits

This game is good if you want to:

 
This game has helped players develop their Behaviour and Relationships as part of the following pathways:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Skill Level

11+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Still, it's important for parents and guardians to consider the maturity required to process the game content. Because the game relies on the players (in part) making the game work with their interactions, you need some maturity. Players need to care about what happens to their character for the adventure jeopardy to be meaningful. You need a more experienced (possibly older or parent/guardian) player to take the Dungeon Master role.

Our Game Pathways reveal how 17 - 38 year-olds play this game:

Content Rating

We rate this suitable for 12+ years-olds. Includes themes like Alcohol Reference, Blood, Suggestive Themes, and Violence. These things are sometimes depicted visually in the rules but largely they only exist in the storytelling of the Dungeon Master and the minds of the players.

The game rules include themes about the occult, magic, pentagrams, tarot, blood, gore injury, dead bodies, dismemberment and spiders amongst other things. However, many of these things can be tailored by the Dungeon Master to be appropriate for the age of children. When Dungeon & Dragon video games are rated (and these things become visual) they are rated from 12 to 16 years old.

CostsCosts

There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.
 
To play you can buy a D&D Starter Set that includes everything you need to start playing the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

Additionally, you can purchase the main books for the 5th Edition:
  • Player's Handbook (2014)
  • Dungeon Master's Guide (2014)
  • Monster Manual (2014) 
 

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 30/01/1974, updated in 2014

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Players: 3-8

Genres: Narrative (Battle, Communication and Role-Play)

Accessibility: 0 features documented (Tweet Developer )

Components: Book and Dice

Developer: Wizards Dn D (@Wizards_DnD)


Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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