English Classes with Games - Dungeons and Dragons and Board Games.


D&D Playing

Sept. 26, 2018: I spent the summer preparing my first D&D Campaign. It's a low-level campaign set in the Sword Coast area of Faerun. I'm adapting it for single players so I'm not quite ready yet to begin the campaign, sorry. (But we can play other board games until I finish getting ready.) The rules are actually a little more time-consumming to learn and memorize than I had anticipated. Here's my 9-page first-draft summary of the Order of Combat Game Mechanics, for instance, if you'd care to take a gander. (I ripped them off of various websites on the internet and the Players' Handbook - PHB and Dungeon Master's Guide - DMG.)

Players' HandbookSword Coast Adventurer's GuideIf you would care to (eventually) play the game with me, it would probably be a good idea to at least read the Basic Rules, which are available for free. (You could also read the Player's Handbook and maybe the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide later on as well. If you're not willing to do a little reading, this probably isn't for you.) I've seen that some parts of the manuals have been translated to Spanish on other websites online, but it looks like the books have not been translated officially yet, if ever. I think the books may be available for free if you search around online, or for about 40 euros each if you buy them on Amazon. I'll be purchasing and sharing these books on DNDBeyond.com with players who join my campaign(s). Creating a character on the website is explained in this Youtube video at about 11 minutes into the video: D&D and Beyond to give you a bit of an idea of how that website works. DNDBeyond also allows everyone who joins a campaign to share all the books and materials that they've purchased on the website with each other, which will obviously be quite convenient. Appartently, eveyone says the website works great on a tablet, but you can also print out your character sheets as well. I'm assuming that there won't be any problems with creating characters with the additional information for characters in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide.

If you don't have at least an advanced level in English, I just don't think it would be a good idea for you to join the game. Because I'm basically asking my players to read a couple of long books intended for native speakers (to begin with). I just don't believe that upper-intermediate students could manage it without loads of determination and hard work. I would hope that you would find D&D fun above all, but the enjoyment in this game is usually magnified and multiplied by the amount of work and effort that you put into it.

There should already be several things happening simultaneously in a D&D game, namely board-game combat, exploration and social interaction, but we can add some other points to that for the purposes of language learning:

1. Combat:
This refers to the board-game combat aspect of D&D. It's actually what many players think of as the funnest part of the game. You'll have to read the Player's Handbook to learn how to play, and during the game there are usually so many different options for what the characters can do and say, that you'll have to come up with a lot of English vocabulary, such as phrasal verbs, to explain and describe what your character is doing in each and every moment. You might, for example, be cracking a violent competitor's locked chest or safe to make off with his loot and put him out of business.

2. Exploration:
Though I'll be using the Sword Coast area of Forgotten Realms for our campaign, there will still be a significant amount of exploring in the game in which you will have the opportunity to have an impact on what that area ends up looking like to you. You will have the opportunity to acquire and build properties and businesses both in Waterdeep and elsewhere in the Sword Coast area.

3. Social Interaction:
This is where the sometimes role playing that role playing games (RPG) are famous (or infamous) for come into play. It's some players favorite part of the game and it's the most embarrassing part of the game for others. I'll wager that if you think you might find it embarrassing, you might very well find speaking to foreigners in English embarrassing as well. If this is true for you, then this is your chance to practice getting embarrassed in a suitably safe environment. And by the way, role playing might include acting out something simple such as purchasing stuff in a store and checking into an inn, as well as negotiating a trade agreement with a merchant or a peace treaty with a King in far away city. These aren't the usual sorts of things that you might be doing in a conversation class.

4. Collaborative story-telling in the fantasy genre:
You won't just affect that game through dice rolls. You will be able to actually add to the story through your in-game choices, your characters' backstories and whenever possible I will even allow the players to add major plot points to the general campaign (if I am able to do it using the rules, etc.). (There is actually a rule in the DMG that allows players to add plot points. That is the one we will use.) Moreover, I'm hopeful that players will collaborate on a joint written campaign story (if not on DNDBeyond, on a wiki site). This is your opportunity to, for example, create a backstory for your character for me to correct and the other players in the campaign to read.

5. This is primarily a literary activity with, oh, so many books to read and Youtube videos to watch:
The campaign will be based on the Forgotten Realms and Faerun books published by Wizards of the Coast. There are actually over 300 novels in print set in this world, and many of the novels have audiobooks available. There are also all the source books for the Forgotten Realms D&D games such as the Neverwinter Campaign setting set in Faerun as well. Actually, you ought to be using all of this as opportunity to improve your reading, listening and writing in English in an intensive way. Oh, and let's not forget all the Youtubers, etc. who have great things going that you can draw on.

6. Learning English through intensive creativity:
Besides this (once you've learned all the basics), there are all sorts of published adventures available as well, and if you want to become a Dungeon Master yourself (you might even already be one, but in Spanish), I'd be happy to participate in that process providing it's done in English. There's no limit to how creative you can get. If there's one thing that Wizards of the Coast is doing right, it's provide all kinds of adventure hooks and background material that will aid you in your creative process and help to make your world and stories come to life. It's a lot of work, but you can learn a lot of English through creative work.

Possible: Starter Set Characters