Wizards of the Coast will be hosting the second annual Never Split the Party Contest at Gen Con this year for three players who separated over a decade ago.
The prize includes travel to Gen Con and accommodations for four days and three nights, as well as four-day convention badges for the winners and up to five other people in their D&D gaming group.
Part of what’s driving Wizards to host contests like Never Split the Party and release updated versions of classic products (like the D&D Red Box and the Dark Sun Campaign Setting) is that they’re hearing from former D&D players quite a bit. Many of these players are sharing that they still feel a connection with the D&D game and they miss playing. Most have grown up and moved away from their original game group and now have a hard time finding a group to play with…or time to play. They are people who used to play D&D but haven’t played in a while because they grew up/moved away/got married/had kids/etc. and miss their old game group.
“After hearing from our fans that large numbers of D&D players were no longer able to play with their original game group due to life changes like relocating or family and work obligations, we decided to do something about it.” said Liz Schuh, D&D Brand Director at Wizards of the Coast. “We wanted to give a group the opportunity to reconnect with each other and reconnect with D&D. The Never Split the Party contest allowed game groups to share their stories with us and gave the winners the chance to reunite at Gen Con, which has traditionally been a place for gaming groups to connect and enjoy playing D&D together.”
So when Wizards hosted a contest to reunite a D&D group, they received hundreds of entries from groups who can’t play together anymore. Entrants submitted an essay in 300 words or less why their separated gaming group should be reunited, answering questions about how they met, where they gathered to play, their favorite game night tradition, the last time they played together, why they split up, and a plea for why Wizards should reunite the game group at Gen Con.
For this year’s contest, Wizards is reuniting a group who started playing together when they were as young as nine-years-old and are now scattered across the country. The last time the group members all saw each other was nearly ten years ago when one of the group members got married. Next weekend will be the first time any of the group members have been to Gen Con and they are excited about reuniting and reconnecting with the game they enjoyed so much as kids while experiencing this major convention together.
The guys who are now a choreographer, a graphic designer and a barista were once a wizard, a rogue and a samurai and look forward to reliving the “glory days” together. Though they are no longer able to play together, each member of the group has fond memories for the friendships that were built around a game table…and the personality, intelligence and creativity the game fostered in each of them.
“We really enjoyed reading all of the stories of the Never Split the Party contest entries,” said Laura Tommervik, senior brand manager for D&D. “The group that we chose had a really compelling entry, filled with poignant reminiscence for their younger gaming days. We were thrilled to give them a chance to get together again!”
For more info: See the Wizards of the Coast’s web site.