DD&D 2011 Wrap-Up

It’s now been over a week since we ran the 4th annual Drinking Dungeons & Dragons event for folks we know at Gen Con. Our small, single game in a hotel room turned into a room-filling (and food and drink minimum-fulfilling) event with four tables, and including all the attendees of our pre-party and audience, had over 50 gamers talking games and having drinks. The event was talked about the rest of the weekend, and apparently spawned many, many tweets during the game (which I missed due to running and hosting) so I’m happy to call it a success.

DD&D 2011 Product Placements

With the theme of Dungeon Reality Show, we made 30 different fake products that our heroes could drink or shoot a short (5-10 second) commercial in order to gain the benefit of. We tapped the innumerable talents of Jared von Hindman to illustrate the cards, and used Magic Set Editor to lay them out. As soon as we were done, we already had ideas for more, so this theme will likely continue next time we run DD&D, with all new products.

DD&D 2011 from Critical Hits on Vimeo.

The above video is a collection of the commercials, plus the longer commercials made by each table for a new product of their choosing which competed against the other commercials for audience favor (and bonus points.) NSFW language, so watch at your own risk.

The Design

DD&D at its essence is D&D played as a party/drinking game. That doesn’t just mean adding rules for when to drink to D&D, it means accounting for players who lose the capacity to do something complex like combat as the evening wears on and incorporating fun activities that can be enjoyed by everybody. We also take it as our chance to mash up everything we’ve been talking about in RPGs for the past year. This year, that meant not only covering a lot of the big things in D&D (Gamma World, Dark Sun, Heroes of Shadow, and Essentials) but other RPGs too by incorporating elements of Fiasco, FATE/Dresden Files, Leverage, Dread, and even Hamlet’s Hit Points. Aside from rules addressing the characters, we made the most meta skill challenge possibly ever conceived, a classic chess-inspired encounter, and ended the game with Jenga. It even came down to a heartbreaking finish as the last two remaining players, battling for their respective realities, each worked on an extremely rickety tower. In a moment that is still in dispute, one player managed to make an extremely tricky pull, only to knock the table over while walking away.

As always, if we had to do it over again, we’d change some things, especially with how the final encounter went. But overall I’d say I’m happy with it, and invite you to run the adventure for yourselves.

The Pre-Party and Venue

With only limited seats available, we decided to hold a party before the game for anyone who could make it. The party and the game were held in the High Velocity Sports Bar attached to the new JW Marriott in a private room called “The Skybox” filled with TVs and tables. The staff was very friendly and helpful, having to deal with a packed room full of demanding gamers.

However, a slight victim of our own success, the crowds also meant that it was tough to get service sometimes, the room got a bit too hot, and at all times, was very, very loud. Those, coupled with a few other issues, probably means we’ll have to not have an audience the next time we run it, but will explore all the options.

The only other issue with the venue was their apparently easily-breakable glasses. We lost three beer glasses in pretty quick succession in various parts of the room, one time causing a spill that doomed several character sheets, and caused us to make the executive decision to skip an entire combat encounter (that would have used the cards more) since it would have been too difficult for that table to continue without their use. As far as I can tell, the glasses didn’t even break for any major reason. Another thing we’ll definitely have to figure out how to deal with next year (laminated character sheets?)

The Materials

I’ve posted all of the files used for the game on its own page, including the Product Placement Cards, the adventure, the custom monsters, and a few of the characters. That should be most of what you need to run the game at home, provided completely for free. Jared has posted all the original art for the cards for sale, so if you want to own any of it, be sure to email him.

Thanks again to everyone who attended, played, and drank!

About Dave

Dave "The Game" Chalker is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Critical Hits. Since 2005, he has been bringing readers game news and advice, as well as editing nearly everything published here. He is the designer of the Origins Award-winning Get Bit!, a freelance designer and developer, son of a science fiction author, and a Master of Arts. He lives in MD with e, their three dogs, and two cats.


  1. It’s like I’m getting caught drinking something I shouldn’t be in that first picture! I had a great time, thanks for hosting the event, it was a lot of fun, & not just game wise, but as a meetup of friends I only interact with online.

    Good times.


  1. […] arrived too late to attend DD&D, and the gamer in me was saddened by that. It sounds like an awesome game experience. The human […]

  2. […] DD&D is our big event of the year (which explains why I’ve been talking about it so much) and while it wasn’t flawless, we heard a lot of good things from our players, so I’d like to think we set an enjoyable tone for the convention. It also meant we were treated like royalty in the sports bar for the rest of our stay. […]