Children engaged in battles, set off on quests and discovered treasure — all without leaving an air-conditioned building in Longview.
The city of Longview Parks and Recreation Department and game store Three Suns Unlimited partnered this past week for the first of three summer Dungeons & Dragons camps for children ages 8 to 16.
The weeklong camp gives children an opportunity to learn to play the role-playing game created long before they were born.
James Ward, recreation coordinator with the city, said the fantasy game was invented in the 1970s and was played on college campuses by people interested in miniature wargaming who wanted to play something fantasy-based. The game evolved to include entire fantasy worlds.
Willow Meadows, 10, said she had never played Dungeons & Dragons but became interested in the camp because some of her friends play it — and after seeing it on the popular Netflix show “Stranger Things.”
Ward believes the game’s popularity has seen a renaissance due to the internet allowing people to join together and play from locations around the globe.
“We did one camp last year as a test,” he said. “It was well received so this year we thought we would try three. All are already sold out.”
While attending the camp held at Three Suns Unlimited’s Gilmer Road location, children learned the basics of gameplay, the rules of the game, how to create a fantasy character and take that character on adventures.
“It’s a great way to improve social skills and teach cooperation and teamwork — basic math skills are used, and they’re learning to be creative and use their imaginations,” Ward said. “Hopefully, after they’re done here, we can send them on the path where they can get together with their friends and neighbors and continue this hobby.”
For information about this and other city of Longview Parks and Recreation summer activities, visit longviewtexas.gov/3889/Parks-Recreation .