Young people aren't the only ones who enjoy a good game night.
On Sept. 10, the Cartersville Public Library began hosting Dungeons & Dragons for Adults every Tuesday to give the 21-and-over crowd a chance to escape the pressures of life for a few hours.
And less than two months later, the group of beginner and experienced players is at capacity, has a waitlist of three people wanting to join when space becomes available and has expanded to Saturday sessions.
"I wanted to host D&D for adults because I know how difficult it is to find a group while maintaining the responsibilities that adulthood demands of us," said Chloe Petron, who leads the 10-member group. "I wanted to establish a place where adults can come, with years of experience or none to speak of, and enjoy the game for a few hours a week. I think that the response has been great."
Petron said she thinks there are "a number of reasons" that the game is so popular among adults.
"For the people that I play with, I think it is a way to escape the monotony of the daily grind, and it provides a social outlet," she said. "The growth in popularity may also be influenced by the numerous podcasts and live streams of D&D games, like Critical Role and High Rollers, that have also grown in popularity in recent years."
The group began meeting for two hours on Tuesday nights, but that amount of time doesn't fit the nature of the game. So the library gave the players more time on Saturdays this month.
"D&D games are notorious for being long games," Petron said. "The ideal length for a game like this is 3½ to five hours. Tuesday evening isn’t quite enough time for a good session so we requested a longer session time from the library. As a result, we were given the 9 [a.m.] to 4 [p.m.] slot on Saturdays during November."
Petron said Tuesday night games "generally start off with a bit of a social 'hour' that lasts until everyone has arrived."
"After that, we jump into the game 'recap,' which is meant to remind the players of the events of previous sessions," she said. "The next two hours have a bit more of a fluid structure, by which I mean that sometimes the group wants to focus on the role-playing aspects of the game and sometimes they would prefer to focus on the combat. The game concludes at an appropriate 'pause' moment. The brevity of this time slot means that the game should move more quickly, and it is important for myself and the players to stay focused in order to keep the game moving."
The Saturday sessions are much the same, just stretched out over more time, Petron said.
"Our sessions are longer on Saturday, largely because the library gave us use of their facilities for the day," she said. "The ideal length of a D&D game for the number of players that we have is five to seven hours. I say 'ideal' because in that amount of time, the game can progress at a natural pace, where the players can immerse themselves in the story and accomplish bigger tasks with less interruption.
"As for what happens on those days, there isn’t really that much difference in what happens during the long and short games; the difference lies in the details of the game. The players have space to breathe and let their characters develop and interact more immersively with the game world and the story. In the end, D&D is more than a game. It’s a collaborative storytelling experience that gets better the more time you spend on it."
Petron said the core group — which was established on the first day — ranges from young adults (21-30), "but we also have a few veteran D&D players that started playing in the '70s with first edition D&D."
The program had a "lull of prospective players until recent weeks," which led Petron to ask the library to start a waitlist.
"The idea is that once we have enough people on the waitlist, we can start up more games," she said.
Even though the group isn't taking new players right now, anyone who is "on the fence about D&D" is welcome to come by a session and "observe the game in action," Petron added.
The library system has other events planned for the remainder of the month that are still open to participants.
The There & Back Again Hiking Society's monthly excursion will be the Crisp Morning Hike along Iron Hill Trail at Red Top Mountain State Park in Acworth Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon.
The 3.9-mile gravel loop is rated as moderate and is accessible to both hikers and bicycles. Leashed dogs also are welcome.
"This scenic trail is a loop that winds along the banks of the lake through a historic area that was once home to an active iron mining community in the mid-1800s," the Georgia State Parks website states. "Along the way, you will have the opportunity to observe both native wildlife and a profusion of native plants."
The parking fee is $5, but there are a limited number of free Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites passes available for checkout at the front desk of all Bartow library locations.
There & Back Again T-shirts will be available for $10 each, cash or check, at the hike or from the reference desk downstairs at the Cartersville library afterwards while supplies last.
For ages 12 to 18, this month's Teen Chef program will be Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. in the youth program room.
The teenagers will be making pumpkin pancakes.
Next week, the Adairsville Public Library will host Winter Wonderland Mini Golf Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m. inside the library at 202 N. Main St.
The Cartersville branch has scheduled a free practice SAT session for high schoolers Saturday, Nov. 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the library classroom.
Students should register on the library website under the Teen Programs tab or in the youth department. Participants will receive a $50 discount on a Sylvan test prep course.
If possible, participants should bring a laptop or tablet device and a graphic calculator. Devices will be provided for those who don't have one.
For information on these programs, call 770-382-4203.