Dungeons & Dragons is apparently having its “best year ever,” according to Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner.
From that success, Goldner said Hasbro is interested in exploring games like Magic: The Gathering Arena and Dungeons & Dragons as titles that are “ripe for esports competition,” according to CNBC. Goldner didn’t expand further on what a Dungeons & Dragons esports property could look like—but it’s not as wild as it sounds.
CNBC noted that gamers are “increasingly” choosing digital games over board games, which open up the possibility for a new property in the Dungeons & Dragons world—think Hearthstone or Gwent. But a more standard Dungeons & Dragons esports experience wouldn’t be exactly new, either.
A yearly Dungeons & Dragons competition was held at GenCon from 1977 to 2013. It’s not exactly esports—there’s nothing electronic about the board game—but provides a framework for how standard Dungeons & Dragons could work in competition. The multi-round event provided pre-generated characters to teams of players, each set out on the same adventure.
Rounds were typically hours long and teams were scored based on their progression throughout the campaign. The D&D Championship Series was discontinued in 2013, but brought back in 2016 for a special event.
“What makes the Championship such a blast?” a participant writing about the event in a 2015 blog wrote. “It starts with the fun of Dungeons & Dragons, then adds elements that most Dungeons & Dragons games lack: challenge, high stakes, and urgency.”
According to Goldner, the time is now. “People are more into Dungeons & Dragons today than ever before,” he told Mad Money host Jim Cramer. “People are re-engaged with that brand because it’s a face-to-face game. It’s immersive and it’s a game that people really enjoy playing with one another.”
Goldner said Habso is creating a “suite of digital games” for Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. He added that more than a million players signed up for the beta for Arena, the Magic: The Gathering online game.