Dungeons & Microzine


Filed under Game trail, Musings;
1 comment.

Earlier this month, I attended my ninth annual PAX East, a video game convention held here in Boston, Massachusetts. The event offers panels, game demos, competitions, and merchandise. That's roughly the order in which the parts of PAX appeal to me, as I try to save my money and avoid the merch table. But there's one kind of merch I can never resist: dice.

When my age was in the single digits, I found my older brother's Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set, complete with polyhedral dice. I'd never before encountered dice with more than six pipped sides and was fascinated to discover dice could have any number of sides: four, eight, ten, twelve, and twenty! I eventually saved my pennies and bought a one-hundred-sided die from the TSR Hobby Shop.

Dice

A fraction of my collection.

These days, every trip to PAX East includes a stop by the Chessex booth, where I pore over dice of different shapes, colors, and materials. Even though I no longer play D&D, I usually go home from PAX East with a few additions to my dice collection.

I want my nephews to experience some of the same awe and fantasy I did as a kid. When I saw one of them randomly rolling dice last month, I decided to expand his horizons with more dice acquired at PAX East.

But what was he to do with these dice? Rolling them at random without purpose or structure would be entertain for only so long. So I set out to find some games he could play.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a Twitter response from Lorri Hopping, a former editor at Microzine, Scholastic's five-times-a-year compilation of original edutainment for the Apple II. I'd grown up playing Microzine games at my grade school and have since become an avid collector of the entire series. More recently, I had the honor of publishing Kevin Savetz's interview with Hopping and her Scholastic colleague, Amy Kefauver, in Juiced.GS Volume 20, Issue 3 (September 2015).

Hopping aided my quest for dice games by recommending a book she'd published through Scholastic in 1999: Ready, Set, Roll! Number Cube Games. I found a used copy of Hopping's book on Amazon and received it in time for my nephew's birthday.

I'm tickled that, three decades later, two of my favorite games from my childhood — Dungeons & Dragons and Microzine — collaborated to make this gift possible. I hope dice, books, and games spark my nephew's imagination even a fraction as much as they did mine at that age!

  1. Awww, Ken! This is so GREAT! Thanks for the mention and for buying my book. I used to play all kinds of math games with dice, cards, calculators, and pen and paper when I was a kid… a bit of a number geek at that age. I hope your nephews find some games they likes in there—or inspiration to create their own.