Comic Con Africa 2022 Recap: Let's Talk About Unplug Yourself and Dungeons and Dragons

Comic Con Africa 2022 – Unplug Yourself and Dungeons and Dragons

Since 1974, children, teenagers and adults worldwide have found themselves entranced by the pen-and-paper roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons. Over the decades, the popularity of the game has only grown. Thanks to the mainstream success of shows like Stranger Things and Vox Machina, Dungeons and Dragons is no longer a game subjected to dark basements. Instead, Dungeons and Dragons is now a household name; welcome to sit at the table and use the good china.

Thanks to the hard work of Unplug Yourself, Dungeons and Dragons took to the spotlight this year at Comic Con Africa. To truly understand what Unplug Yourself was doing, I took some time, played a campaign with them and spoke about what Unplug Yourself is as well as Dungeons and Dragon’s representation at Comic Con Africa. Here is that conversation:

Comic Con Africa 2022 Recap: Let's Talk About Unplug Yourself and Dungeons and Dragons

Arielle: If you could introduce yourself…

Peter: I’m Pieter Krynauw, a dungeon master for Unplug Yourself here at Comic-Con. I’ve been a Dungeon Master for ten-plus years now, and I really enjoy the hobby. I’m an engineer by trade and very meticulous. Still, the creative side of me needed an outlet, so D&D allows me to create, experience and run a fantasy setting where I tell a story and the other’s influence and bend it to however they see fit.

Arielle: Would you please explain to our readers who might not know, what exactly is “Unplug Yourself”?

Peter: Unplug Yourself is the initiative to get people to Unplug themselves. Unplug your monitor, unplug your TV Games, unplug your computer and sit at a table with a bunch of friends, roll dice, play a board game, play a D&D game, and have an actual conversation with people around the table.

Comic Con Africa 2022 Recap: Let's Talk About Unplug Yourself and Dungeons and Dragons

Arielle: How do you feel about the representation of Dungeons and Dragons at Comic Con Africa 2022?

Peter: We’ve had so much interest in Dungeons and Dragons here. Our tables are booked virtually instantly. I don’t think we anticipated how many people would be interested in it (Dungeons and Dragons). We first thought, yeah, let’s have a few tables, let’s go with that and see how it goes. Then every day, it’s just been booked full, and halfway through the sessions, we have people coming to look for seats, and we have to tell them no.

Every time we’ve had a spare table with a DM, it’s been booked full in under ten minutes. Dungeons and Dragons is popular; some of the D&D shops that I’ve spoken to have sold out. One of the dice shops had 200 sets of dice and sold out within the first two days. I think the D&D community here at Comic Con Africa 2022 is massive.

Arielle: Considering its popularity here, is Dungeons and Dragons something you’d be looking to grow at future Comic Cons?

Peter: Yes. Unplug Yourself is amped to grow the whole D&D community. They’ve got initiatives for Dungeon Masters Boot Camps that they host at different gaming stores to try and get more Dungeon Masters out there because the current problem is there are a LOT of players, and none of them are Dungeon Masters, and you need a DM to run a game.

Dungeons and Dragons

If you’re someone who’s found themselves intrigued by Dungeons and Dragons but you’re unsure about sitting down and playing yourself, don’t be. Signing up to play the Dungeons and Dragons campaign with my friends at Comic-Con was a significant step outside of my comfort zone. Nothing can put my anxiety into overdrive faster than telling me I need to sit in a public space and play something I’m not comfortable with, with someone outside of my close friends at the table.

The horror I felt leading up to the game was unmatched, and when the DM told us to interact with each other as our characters, I could have melted through the floor. And yet, despite finding the situation uncomfortable and feeling like I was embarrassingly out of my league, the game was filled with laughter, giggles, and moments of awe. At the end of the day, playing Dungeons and Dragons with Unplug Yourself is hands down my favourite memory from Comic Con Africa and something I’m so glad I did.

If you’re like me and you struggle with wanting to play but are too uncomfortable with actually doing it, give it a chance because it might just surprise you. If you’re looking for a group to help you into the door, then you can’t go wrong with Unplug Yourself. If they could take me from not even wanting to sit at the table to finishing my first campaign and being the loudest, you know you’re in good hands.

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