An Open Table for Using Dungeons & Dragons with University EFL Students at a Foreign Language Resource Center

I'm scheduled to show and tell about how I created a Dungeon's and Dragon's club at the large university where I teach in Japan at the JALTCALL2022 conference on Saturday, June 18 from 15:30 to 16:00 Japan Standard Time. The abstract and link to presentation is below.

Tabletop role-playing games (TTRGPs) are growing in importance to the culture of the English-speaking world. 2022 marks the 10th year since the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons was introduced, with the game's growth and profitability soaring to record heights at a point when most TTRPGs would have reached market saturation and the end of its commercial viability (Abadia, 2021a). This record success has encouraged Hasbro to push Dungeons & Dragons further into the entertainment space (Abadia, 2021b), resulting in representations of Dungeons & Dragons in TV (Lawrence, 2021), movies (Ashton, 2021), and video games (Wilde, 2021). Given the continuing media saturation of Dungeons & Dragons into the English-speaking world, teaching the language and culture of TTRPGs is increasing in importance as a worthwhile area of language teaching. In addition, the shared storytelling nature of Dungeons & Dragons naturally lends itself to positive relationship building (Shea, 2019) through creating an environment requiring communication, a necessary component for language acquisition (Long, 1981). In this Show & Tell presentation, the presenter will describe the process of creating a Dungeons & Dragons tabletop role-playing game club at the Global Education Research Center of a large university in Tokyo. After briefly covering how the game of Dungeons & Dragons has become more prevalent in the English-speaking culture, the presenter will describe the principles used to orient the club as a language learning environment: namely, the after-school enrichment program model of education and open-table design principles (Alexander, 2011, 2016a, 2016b, 2016c). Following this, the presenter will outline the online resources, including blogs, podcasts, and videos that inspired the club's structure and content. Next, the presenter will describe the process of navigating the administration structure of the resource center. Finally, the presenter will describe the reactions of the students who attend.


Abadia, T. (2021 November 30). Why No RPG Company Truly Competes with Wizards of the Coast. The Alphastream Game Design Blog.

Abadia, T. (2021 December 7). The Real Competition for D&D and Wizards of the Coast. The Alphastream Game Design Blog.

Alexander, J. (2011 January 13). Opening Your Game Table. The Alexandrian.

Alexander, J. (2016, August 15). Open Table Manifesto. The Alexandrian.

Alexander, J. (2016 August 17). Open Table Manifesto – Part 2: What an Open Table Needs. The Alexandrian.

Alexander, J. (2016 August 22). Open Table Manifesto – Part 3: Organizing Your Open Table. The Alexandrian.

Long, M. H. (1981). Input, interaction, and second-language acquisition. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 379, 259–278.

References Used in Presentation

Diamond, A. (2022). Who’s Playing Dungeons & Dragons These Days? The Usual Fans, and Then Some. New York Times

[Bob World Builder]. (2022, June 1). [Video] D&D 5e Peaked: Here's What Happened. [Video]. YouTube.

Shea, M. (2019 December 16). How D&D Can Save Your Life.

Alexander, J. (2016, August 15). Open Table Manifesto. The Alexandrian.

[Dungeon Craft]. (2022, April 20). [Video] Gary Gygax's Lost Campaign Rules (Ep. 247). YouTube

Reistad, J. & Kuehl, M. (hosts). (2018-present). Detentions & Dragons – A Podcast About Running D&D at School with Students [Audio Podcast].

Wizards of the Coast. (n.d.) What is D&D?.

Wizards of the Coast. (2014). Starter Set Rulebook.

Matthew Colville. (2016, February 22). Your First Adventure | Running the Game. [Video] YouTube.

Shea, M. (2022). The Lazy DM's Companion

Sly Flourish's Guide to to Narrative "Theater of the Mind" Combat in the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons

Sadie Rogers on How to D&D YouTube Channel

[Introducing Players to RPGs Archives - Kobold Press]

References Mentioned by Participants

Quest Player Resources

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *