Colin Y.J. Chung

Aside from getting together with a group of friends to make up stories together... could you argue RPGs are also educational?

My answer is yes. Let's break it down. When you're role-playing, what are you doing exactly

  1. Project Management
  2. Group Decision Making
  3. Strategic Planning
  4. Creative Thinking

Wait. Really, Colin? Aren't you just justifying a silly game where you kill goblins and loot bodies

Let's break down each of those:

Project Management

A RPG adventure is basically a camping trip where you also happen to kill monsters and steal their treasure. Each player can only carry so many items, so they have to plan on what to bring, how much, and who should carry what items. Sometimes, players can hire henchpeople, adding an element of HR. In other words, the planning stage of an adventure is basically logistics and resource allocation.

Making Decisions as a Group

RPG adventures are played with friends. And together, you make decisions on where to go, whether to fight or retreat, and whether to split-up or stay together inside a dungeon. I'd say 40-60% of my time as a DM is sitting there listening to the players argue about what to do next.

This inevitably creates a group dynamic where diplomacy, leadership and team cohesion has to take place. Yes, there's shouting and arguing... but the players have to - in one way or another - decide on what to do... together as a group.

Strategic Planning

This should be self-evident by now. As I throw problems, resources, and decision-trees at the players, they as a group must weigh the pros and cons of each decision. Sometimes, one player will remember an old fact or NPC which leads the team to a breakthrough in solving a problem they're facing. Smarter players take notes.

Creative Thinking

The most beautiful thing about a live, in-person table top RPG... something video games can never, truly replace... is the fact that you literally can do anything. In a video game, your decision tree might be: talk, fight, and run. In a tabletop RPG, you might use an item you have in a way that only the human imagination can conjure up.

Many players throughout history have MacGuyvered themselves out of a tight spot with random items in their rucksack. Others have used magic spells in ways that the designers didn't intend. Point is -- tabletop RPGs are restricted by the human imagination and when we get creative, our imagination is boundless.

To me -- a role playing game like D&D actually teaches more relevant work skills than any other hobby.
 All of the above skills are required in an office setting when you work with a team.