DnD is pretty easy to pick up, and it seems, depending on the person running the game, sympathetic to the newbies. It’s certainly no more complicated to understand than baseball or football. And really, it’s as fun a way to spend a few relaxed hours with friends, pizza, and diet orange soda as I can think of.
I have to admit my own bias here: I've never done the tabletop thing. I have seen a huge resurgence of interest in it in the last yew years, though. Friends of mine back in Boston have D&D groups. Penny Arcade has become as much about miniatures as it has about consoles. PAX has tabletop rooms, in addition to console, PC, and handheld spaces.
I'll never, ever be a card-collecting game person. (I had a boyfriend in college who, after teaching me to kick his ass in Heroes III, tried to get me onto Magic. Not. Happening.) I'm scared by math and by miniatures and by having to store items in physical space.
But at parties, I've had a blast with the random board and card games friends have brought by. (Yes, I throw that kind of party.) I've been scared off by 20 years' of unwelcoming nerdboy players of D&D... but I feel like the time of communal tabletop gaming is ascendant.
So after playing random pick-up games in the hall with strangers at last year's PAX East, this year I'm feeling emboldened by how much more welcoming the community seems to be getting. I've decided that one of my goals for PAX is to try a tabletop something, and I've had someone offer to guide me.
Video gaming has gotten more inclusive, and continues to do so. In this very socially networked world, in-person gaming seems to be doing the same. I hope I get to play something fun.