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Thank You, Dungeons & Dragons
by Chris Youngs

It's November, so it's time to start thinking about turkeys, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Oh, and giving thanks, of course! This year, I'm thankful for a lot. But right now, I'm especially thankful for the D&D game -- especially this year.

Why is that? Well, with all the news about the economy tanking, people are looking more and more for ways to save money and still enjoy themselves. Retail sales across the board are hurting right now as people tighten their belts and prepare for a recession. With all the doom and gloom, it's good to take your mind off reality for a while and do something fun. Finding a way to do that, though, can be tricky. And that's why I think the D&D game is the perfect recession-time hobby.

The cost of entry is incredibly low for the game, for starters. Picking up a Player's Handbook only costs what it would take you to take your significant other out to the movies for a night. But instead of walking away after a couple of hours, maybe even feeling unsatisfied with the dollars spent, you get hours of entertainment from that single purchase.

If you want even more opportunity for hours of entertainment, pick up a Dungeon Master's Guide. If you're willing to run a game, you'll have no end of gamers lining up to play with you. If you've never tried DMing, and you're looking for places to save some cash, give it a shot. In my group, several players have recently tried a hand at running a game, each time with great success.

Then, staying heavily involved in the game requires only an occasional re-investment. Once you have a character, our new print release plan informs you which books you want to buy. Playing a fighter? Martial Power is for you. Wizard? Arcane Power is just around the corner. And when Player's Handbook 2 comes out, you can essentially double all your available options with one more book. Can you think of another hobby that brings good friends together, gets your brain creatively engaged, and costs you so little?

Of course, I've saved the best for last. We know that in tough economic times, subscription services suffer the most. Historically, magazine subscriptions drop significantly when people start trimming their budgets. But is there a better deal for a D&D fan out there right now than Insider? You basically get a supplement's worth of gaming content and access to the D&D Compendium for $5 a month. I was going to compare that deal to the tired example of giving up one fancy coffee a month. But you know what? You should take your laptop to your local Starbucks, order that fancy coffee, and use the free Wi-Fi to peruse the latest Dragon article or Dungeon adventure. If you're looking to trim your budget, I'd say cancel the high-speed Internet and bum off your local coffee shop.

So, despite all the grim news from the government, I'm feeling thankful this month. Thankful for a great game, thankful for a great job, and thankful for great friends who enjoy my hobby with me. So keep playing, and get your friends to check out D&D Insider, since there isn't a better way to stay engaged with the hobby. In fact, this year, think about adding a new Thanksgiving tradition to your family gathering, and break out your dice and an adventure from Dungeon after dinner. Most important of all, remember to get out there and vote on November 4th!

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