“Life With the Dice Bag” is a documentary about role-playing games and the people who engage in them. As a bit of disclosure, I was once a
role-player, though I haven’t touched a twenty-sided die in I don’t know how long. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s focus on the film.
Mason Booker interviews gamers and industry professionals like Gary Gygax and Brom (a spectacular artist) about the history of role-playing games, the controversy surrounding them, their benefits and the stereotypes that come with a player’s handbook. What he ends up with is a primer on the subject that will appeal to nobody but gamers, who should already know this stuff.
The problem with this documentary is not the subject matter. It’s the presentation. From cover art that looks hideously amateurish to interview subjects who are made to hold a mic, this whole thing looks like a high school film project, and that’s giving it too much credit. If Booker wanted to introduce the world of role-playing games to people who know nothing about them, this wasn’t the way to go.
If you already are familiar with role-players and their games, this film will serve no function except to reinforce what you already know. If you know nothing about them, but are interested, this is a weak place to start. What you shouldn’t do, though, is let the film turn you off to these games. Role-playing games have a lot to offer, and most are made far better than this documentary.