It’s official, the next edition of D&D is in the works, and those Coastal Wizards are asking for help in crafting the rules. But you probably knew this; heck, it was in the New York Times. Perhaps you’ve volunteered to help out and put your stamp on the next iteration of Gygax & Arneson’s creation. Good for you.

But this article isn’t about D&D, or crowdsourcing, or editions. A new game is an excellent opportunity to make other changes at your table. Perhaps it’s a chance to try out something new, or change something that’s been bugging you. (And if you’re not playtesting D&D, you could run a new game this year.)

  • We don’t know how electronically-friendly (or mandatory) the latest version will be, so you might finally want to adapt to a laptop at the table (or a tablet, or a number of them). If everyone will be internetworked, then it’s probably time to revisit the “pay attention to the game, not the LOLcats” aspect of your game charter (or social contract).
  • While we’re on the topic of chips (the silicon kind), take a look at software and apps, and online campaign management tools, like EpicWords (review a bit dated), and Obsidian Portal (review not so dated). Don’t forget Phil’s digital toolbox.
  • There’s a good chance that the rules will be electronic (see: D&D Insider), but if a laptop or tablet isn’t mandatory (or even if they are), there’s always room for index cards!
  • Did the spotlight-hog root his way back to sitting right next to you? A new game is a great time to try assigned seating, and see if it works for you.
  • Since you’ll be playtesting a new system, maybe it’s time to ditch the GM’s screen and expose yourself to your players. (That didn’t sound right, did it?) Or maybe it’s time to try out a screen and see if it works for you. Martin’s got your advantages and disadvantages of a GM’s screen right here.
  • Is one or more of your players less than enthused about playtesting the next iteration of D&D? Find another one and ensure they fit. Make sure your old players understand that this isn’t a break-up; we gamers can take things like this personally!

Is there anything else you might like to change in your group when you change your game? Sound off in the comments and let us know!