Talent Match does Dungeons and Dragons! (Blog post)

Every now and then we like to try and do things a little differently at Talent Match, and try to incorporate many different styles of learning into the activities we deliver. This time, we decided to try something very different. We decided to play Dungeons & Dragons.

I know, I’m shocked too. Dungeons & Dragons is a tabletop fantasy role-playing game where a group of people get together, create characters for themselves and then play out a story written by the Dungeon Master while rolling dice to see how well they do. The Dungeon Master creates an entire story and helps keep things fair and ensures the players stick to the rules. Their job is pretty important.

But what’s all this got to do with helping people get into work or helping them to find jobs I hear you ask. Well, that’s where I come in. I’m a pretty big fan of the game, and play it myself with a group of friends on most weekends, so if I get the chance to play it at work? You can be certain I’m jumping at it.

Recently we had a Job Club session that unfortunately couldn’t go on due to staff absences. A colleague of mine suggested I try running a game of D&D in its place, so I did my best to come up with a short scenario that beneficiaries could play through that will also help them gain the skills they need for job searching.

I picked a bunch of skills that the beneficiaries would need going forwards and tried to incorporate them the best I could. I chose interview skills and information gathering. Meanwhile communication and team working are skills you can improve just by playing the game itself.

I created a setting of a small village that knew a dragon was going to come and attack soon. Someone had put up a job posting in the centre of the village asking people to find him as he would pay them for slaying this dragon before it got to the village. The player’s role was to then find this person, and go through a series of challenges that would prove that they could be the ones to slay this dragon.

So you can see that we’ve now got our information gathering and the set-up for an interview.

During the “interview”, Craig, who is the person who put up the job posting, asks them exactly what they can do. Each player had a character sheet in front of them which detailed what they could do, and they worked from this to convince Craig that they could slay the dragon. Now here is where I bring the dice rolling into it. After all, it’s not really D&D if there’s no dice. Once a player had stated what they could do, I asked them to make a series of dice rolls. The higher they rolled, the better they did. The players showed off their skills at archery, sword fighting, and casting magic, with a roll of the die for each thing they wanted to do.

Eventually, after the players had proved their worth, they found themselves in the employment of Craig and getting ready to fight this dragon. We ended the session there, and I spoke to them about what skills they felt they had learnt. They felt that they had learnt communication skills, team work skills, interview skills and problem solving skills.  I also told them that if they enjoyed it and really felt it was worth doing in regards to building the skills they need, then the possibility of doing more was there.

All in all, I felt the session was successful, with the players gaining the experience they need, and actually coming away realising what they had done, and how it could help them in the future regarding job searching and interview skills.