GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Video games have been hugely popular for years, but another type of game is making a comeback. This one happens off-screen, in your imagination and members of a group in Grand Rapids have gained a large following from their livestreams.
The group, called Dice Tales Live, plays a game called Pathfinder. It is a roleplaying game that involves character creation, improvising, word building and luck.
“It is a story about the children of destiny,” Brooke Maier, the game master, said.
Maier has been playing tabletop games like Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons for years. She said the Dice Tales group came together for a one-night live show at the Dog Story Theatre to help fundraise. The theater was forced to close during the pandemic.
After their show, the group decided to continue working together, but since they did not have a physical space to play live in front of an audience, they decided to head online to Twitch.
“We air them Thursday nights at 7 p.m.,” Cari Scholtens, a member of the group, said.
Every week, the group live streams their adventures. Those videos are also saved to their YouTube page and podcast platforms.
Unlike Maier, Scholtens has only been playing for a couple of years. She is a teacher alongside Maier. The game master invited Scholtens to play one night, and she has been hooked ever since.
“You can go anywhere and do anything and be whoever you want,” Scholtens said.
Maier said roleplaying games have become more popular in recent years, thanks to shows like Stranger Things and popular groups like Dimension 20 and Critical Role.
“It used to be more of like a thing you do in the basement. You don’t talk about it to other people because they will think it’s really strange. But now that we’re in this sort of renaissance period, it’s very popular,” Maier said.
That popularity has allowed the group to get their act back on the stage at conventions. They headed to Indiana for Gen Con, North America’s longest-running tabletop gaming convention.
“I have never been to a convention that big and it was really, really cool,” Scholtens said. “As for our performance, it was also awesome. A lot of people came and it was really immersive and fun.”
Both Maier and Scholten said they are encouraged to see the comeback of tabletop gaming and they encourage everyone to give it a chance.
“Just try it. I mean, it might not be your cup of tea, but it very well might be,” Scholtens said.
The place where the group originally began is also making a comeback. The nonprofit theater is asking the community for help to get its doors open in a new location.