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"How Dungeons & Dragons Sparked a Revolution in Gaming" Topic

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©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian08 Jul 2024 6:00 p.m. PST

Created more than 50 years ago, the game has captured the imaginations of generations of Americans, and not just the nerdy ones

Smithsonian Magazine: link

TimePortal08 Jul 2024 6:16 p.m. PST

The TSR staff was known in the mid-1970s for their historical miniature rules. My first set was Tricolor. Got Chainmail, Royalist and Roundheads soon after.

The first Dungeons and dragons was printed in the small booklet format. Then came the box edition with the booklets inside.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2024 3:18 a.m. PST

"A revolution in 'gaming'" certainly--but a body blow to historical miniatures wargaming.

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2024 4:31 a.m. PST

I frequent roleplaying game forums, and it is a little depressing how so many younger gamers are dismissive, or even disparaging, of the wargaming roots of the rpg hobby and its founders. People like to bring up insensitive things that middle-aged men might have said back in the day, and I get that criticism to some degree (though maybe less relevant than some critics like to pretend), but I find it almost hypocritical how many of these critics attack the actual wargaming hobby of historical miniatures and hex-and-counter wargames.

Wackmole909 Jul 2024 5:13 a.m. PST

As a Gaming Generalist at heart, I have played in most every form of Modern Gaming. We are living in the true "golden age" of gamiing Eras and Styles. It is no long one period and rules set but many. Historical gaming has more to offer but is harder to get into. This is because Fantasy/Sci Fi is a easier gateway.

The Modern player just can't understand the pre Internet world and how slow comunication was. it was very hard in most place to find other players, who had the same interest.

1970's RPG games change that and made it into a true industry.

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2024 6:27 a.m. PST

It's eerily similar to what's happening with the music industry. When D&D first came out (the three books in a box) and before the Monster Manual and other items really opened the floodgates, there was a passion and level of creativity that really transformed the hobby. Today, modern publishing techniques make it possible to swamp the market with all kinds of RPG systems, books, add-ons, etc., so the width and breadth has increased substantially. The main issue is that modern day gaming (especially RPGs) has little soul to it. Music has gone the same way; i.e., hordes of singles and albums that are all digitally created, but it misses the passion and creativity that all of the great bands had.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2024 7:46 a.m. PST

I second robert piepenbrook's and aegiscg47's comments. RPGs and gaming in general took the wrong fork in the road.

Wackmole909 Jul 2024 8:11 a.m. PST

Shagnasty, you mean the fork that leads to graveyard of Model Building and Trains.

Grattan54 Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2024 10:19 a.m. PST

How many war films are made anymore? How many have the US as the good guys? How many are just good adventure films that would draw youth in?

We live in a society today that says war, the military ect are bad. You shouldn't fight or play with soldiers ect. But those same parents that tell their kids not to play with war toys have no problem with them bash the crap out of orcs or blow up alien invaders ect.

Films today are fantasy and sci fi. That is what youth watch and society says is okay for them to watch and play with.

KSmyth09 Jul 2024 12:09 p.m. PST

I'm 68 and have been gaming a really long time. I don't claim to be the oldest or the gamer of longest tenure, but I've seen a lot. I'm also convention organizer in the Pacific NW, so I get a chance to see what comes through the door of a historical convention.

Today is not the same as it was in 1970 when I began in the hobby. I don't mean that in a bad way. Wackmole is right, this is a Golden Age in the hobby, whether one plays miniatures (of any kind,) board games or RPG's. I'll leave out video games because I just don't do that.

There have never been more miniatures of a wider description available. And what has 3D printing done for the hobby? Board games of every type can be had for a wide variety of systems. You can still get your hex and token games if you want them. If you can do print to play, almost anything is available at a reasonable cost. Role playing systems continue to sprout all the time.

I believe D and D brought people into gaming that likely would never have come into board or miniature gaming in 1974. Most of them likely didn't play a single hex and token game or touch or paint a single figure. That's okay. I'm not sure why there is a need for us all to like and do the same stuff.

What I truly think is amazing is the number of families I see in gaming cafes in Seattle sitting around playing a game of Wingspan or whatever over a sandwich on a Friday night. It's never been a better time to be a gamer.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2024 12:45 p.m. PST

I think Grattan54 has shared much truth about our modern society. My interest is historical gaming, not just playing games, and that is is definitely a "graying" activity. RPG and lighthearted games are fine as long as they are based in history rather than Sci Fi or fantasy. I want to play Alexander, Napoleon or Jellicoe rather than Han Solo or Gandalf.

TimePortal09 Jul 2024 1:10 p.m. PST

Aegis, I opened my store in 1983. But started playing heavily with miniatures in 1977. I did only board games before that.
So I witnessed the development first hand. Most of my fellow vendors felt that D&D was a boost to RPG and many companies and systems popped up. The most prolific company was Judges Guild who flooded the market with supplements. RPG systems like Columbia's Harn, Chaosim Stormbringer, GDW Traveler, and Twilight 2000, all entered the market.
Many stores felt that TSR out kicked it's coverage with going with Walmart. And Toys R Us. It was a matter of how the companies worked stock age.
The gaming companies was a sale to distributors and you got the money as the manufacturer. With big box stores in the 1980s and later, it was a matter of they tied up your merchandise for as much as 8 months before sending the manufacturer money. Another issue was returns. The return time of year tended to be after Christmas, in January and February. Only after the returns to the manufacturer was settled did they send money to the maker.
With hobby distributors, there tended to be no returns on unsold items, just damaged goods.

Zephyr109 Jul 2024 9:08 p.m. PST

"We live in a society today that says war, the military ect are bad. You shouldn't fight or play with soldiers ect. "

Not a problem! For those so inclined, there is always the My Little Pony RPG… ;-)

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2024 4:49 a.m. PST

Zephyr1: We used to always joke that people could play My Little Pony RPG, then they actually published one!!

ccmatty Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2024 6:01 a.m. PST

I am one of those hobbyists who started with D&D back in 1980. Although I do not play RPGs today, I can say that I am in the miniatures hobby and wargaming because of D&D.

Among other things, in hindsight, D&D was an amazing way to bring friends together, to develop creative thinking, and to introduce people to a new genre of literature.

It was only a few years ago that my mother acknowledged she faced pressure, which she dismissed, from other parents to stop me from playing D&D. I am ever grateful to my parents for dismissing the warnings of other parents that D&D is/was a gateway to a cult or deviant behavior. The RPG experience as a kid fostered my love for wargaming and collectingn miniatures today.

UshCha10 Jul 2024 6:12 a.m. PST

Nope, I have a son who does RPG and Si-Fi wargaming we have minimal in common, neither of us see much in the others hobby and neither of us see anything at all in the "Warhammer Hobby".

My only interest and as far as I am concerned, is based on my son's experience of RPG's, a D20 is better than a D6. His comments were vindicated, it is better, but that is the only crossover I can see. I have never seen any credible crossover between Historic wargaming and RPG game wise. And no even a tenuous crossover between Proper wargaming and commercial video games. Professional wargamers in the military may have closer ties with real time multiplayer situations but even than a Lazer Tag type system is probably often better for land based events.

ERGO as far as I am concerned no impact whatsoever on "Proper" gaming grin

DeRuyter10 Jul 2024 10:04 a.m. PST

We live in a society today that says war, the military ect are bad. You shouldn't fight or play with soldiers ect. But those same parents that tell their kids not to play with war toys have no problem with them bash the crap out of orcs or blow up alien invaders ect.

That is a vast generalization! You have forgotten a large part of the modern entertainment industry. Ever heard of Call of Duty? It is just a little computer game that likely outsells all the historical miniatures games put together. It is not Sci-Fi or blowing up orcs, rather it is based on actual wars starting with WWII. I can name many other games, such as War Thunder, World of Warships and other games that are more milsim, like Arma. Point being society still plays soldier, just now on the computer rather than on a table or in the backyard.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2024 10:56 a.m. PST

It's a golden age of materiel, but it's the worst drought of my adult lifetime for historical miniatures wargaming. All those toys and no opponents.

I got a copy of last year's Historicon program. There's a big gaping hole where wargaming from the Thirty Years War through the FPW used to be, and they're filling the gap with board games, card games, zombies and orcs. Nothing illegal or immoral about it, but I can't for the life of me understand why people expect me to stand up and cheer.

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2024 11:36 a.m. PST

I remember when D&D came out in the 1970s, it didn't replace historical minis games in my group, it just became something else we played, like Diplomacy I don't think it was a "body blow" to historical gaming. Yes, a lot of people got into it, but I doubt very many of them would have become historical minis players if it hadn't. And in some ways the explosion of the fantasy side of gaming helped drag historical gaming forward with it, in terms of product quality, etc.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2024 11:50 a.m. PST

Still mad. When I sit down at one side of a table, miniature troops and terrain in front of me and my opponent opposite, I'm taking the role of one of Napoleon's marshals, an 18th Century soldier-king or a WWII kampfgruppe commander. I have a good deal in common with someone who prefers a different period or level of command, and even a certain amount with someone commanding miniature orcs or space marines. Looking at the "historical" instead of the "miniature" end, I can see the point of the board wargamer, or even someone who fights out historical engagements on a computer.

But where does anything I do touch with some kid blowing up starfighters on his console, the guy with the expensive deck for a collectible card game or six people meeting on the Net to act out a fantasy RPG? It's all "gaming?" Does the word even have any meaning beyond recreation? TMP proposals to "grow the hobby" always seem to boil down suggesting I adopt a different hobby altogether. (No money for you if we do, Bill. Might want to think about that.)

I've played D&D. Sometimes I even used miniatures to keep track of party order or combat. Fun with the right people. A really bad evening with the wrong ones. But it has nothing to do with miniature wargaming, let alone historical miniature wargaming. You might as well say the advent of "Monopoly" and "Risk" brought about a golden age of gaming. It's about as true.

UshCha10 Jul 2024 1:32 p.m. PST

robert piepenbrink +1. RPG and Historical gaming have nothing in common and Computer gaming just absolutely no connection to wargaming. Apparently the makers of D&D wanted to merge Computers and RPG and failed utterly, so no connection even there.

Old Contemptible11 Jul 2024 2:28 a.m. PST

"We live in a society today that says war, the military, etc. are bad."

Well for one thing real wars are a bad thing. There is more love for the military now, since WW2, in the late sixties to the mid-70s that might have been true. But I don't see it now.

I have only played D&D once at Boy Scout camp (I was an adult Scout leader) because there wasn't anything else to do. I found it ridiculous and childish.

As for players transitioning to historical gaming, I don't see it. I have been a historical gamer since the mid-1980s and I have not seen one person that has made the switch. We have men in their 60s playing D&D in my town. It is not a gateway drug.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2024 8:46 a.m. PST

I consider all wargames to just be entertainment. My former historical gamer group gained nothing from their pursuit beyond historical knowledge. It served no practical purpose whatsoever. They were not military officers, they played games which served no one but themselves. It was just entertainment for all of us.

If your historical wargames served any purpose beyond your personal edification, please share. If your games inspired an interest in history for people you introduced to the hobby, that's great. But did it reach beyond their personal enjoyment, to add value to the rest of the world?

All tabletop gaming is just a hobby for its participants. Nothing more, nothing less. If its participants know history, good for them. It still does not aid the rest of the world, in any realistic, or impactful, way. It is just a bunch of people playing games with toy soldiers. And I am one of those people, having a grand time of it, but that is all it is: a hobby pursuit which is entertaining, and perhaps, educational, but it never impacts the rest of my local society. let alone beyond. Cheers!

UshCha13 Jul 2024 12:07 p.m. PST

Sgt Slag , that is not a really useful definition It applies to most things, makers of music both armature and professional, certainly every armature and sports professionals, much of the clothes industry.

Really perhaps doctors and nurses both armature and profession do fall outside your definition that but few others.

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