Monday, October 15, 2012

Gaming Old School

My first memory of those things known as 'Role Playing Games' was when I was really little and my sister had some friends over to play Dungeons & Dragons. To keep the pesty little brother away, they let me leaf through the Monster Manual, most cool for a little boy.

Later, a neighbor and I played Basic D&D, primarily the 'Keep on the Borderlands' module as well as a Secret Agent game I don't remember the name of.  In my teens and early/mid twenties, I got into gaming pretty heavily, playing GURPS, Palladium Fantasy 1st ed., ROBOTECH, RIFTS, along w/ Warhammer Fantasy w/ a huge Undead army (working at a game store got me sweet discounts) although I never really got into AD&D 2e or higher. High School, Navy, College all were filled w/ various groups and clubs.

Then life hit. Marriage, Kids, Work.  All conspired to drain that time needed to play. Friends graduated and moved away.  I pretty much lost touch w/ the gaming community and the hobby w/ the only remaining connection being a couple of comics like Dork Tower and Knights of the Dinner Table. About half the books and most of the minis were sold off although I did keep some of the main and favorite ones for nostalgia.

I'm glad I did. About a year ago I had an epiphany.  Money was tight, work and politics just had me on edge all the time.  Target shooting was fun but I didn't get to do it as often as I liked and even restocking ammo was getting to expensive. I was digging through my closet looking for Ebay ripe items and found this:
The old Basic D&D set from when I was a kid that my neighbor friend had given me along w. the Keep module. Right about the same time, my best friend from college was telling me about a movie about gamers and an online mini-series by the same people and SJ Games was running their Kickstarter to relaunch their classic board game OGRE.  I took it as a sign. I started rereading all the old game books, watched the movies/mini-series (Gamers, Gamers 2:Dorkness Rising, and Journey Quest) and took a major financial risk by investing in the OGRE Kickstarter.

IOW, I've become a born again Gamer on the cheap. Outside of munchies and gas money for bi-monthly game sessions, I haven't spent much. It's all the old books I already had and my friend is painting my remaining mini's mostly for copies of books and trade items. My sister paid my way for Worldcon '12 (thanks much sis'). The risk I took for the OGRE Kickstarter has already paid for itself and given me a few extra bucks to not only help w/ family finances but pick up some goodies like one of the dice from the upcoming Gamers 3 and a signed copy of the module ran in Gamers 2.
A trend I've noticed. I like the old games. The mechanics are (very) simple and the story lines are fun.  Who can resist a classic dungeon crawl? So I've also been scouring local used book stores, flea markets and thrift stores for the old modules.  I've found a few of them:

 They're a blast to read and just giggle at the silliness of some of the designs and plots.  How many castle builders would waste thousands of square feet on a spiral leading nowhere? How does a huge colony of bats and monsters survive in a cave system w/ only one sealed and secret entrance?  It doesn't matter. It's fun as long as you don't have a group of munchkin rules lawyers to ruin it for you.

So my stress levels have decreased enormously allowing me to delve back into the political arena and also a renewed enjoyment for when I go out to the range. Finances are still tight but I can relax by picking up my dice w/ friends and family and wiping out some Orcs w/o spending a dime.

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thegunwire said...

Excellent little writeup my friend. I had TONS of D&D stuff back in the day. Went through this phase where I wanted to get all that stuff back, so I bought tons of it on eBay. Sadly, it just sat there, so I sold it all off again. But it was fun to look through. I had a Dungeon Masters Guide a few years ago that was about as close to brand new that you could get - it was a great time reading through it 25 years since I had last read it...Todd

Cowboy Blob said...

I still play 2E with guys I played with in the early and mid-80s, plus some new friends. Occasionally, we delve into an old Gygax module... good fun!

drjim said...

I put together a "vintage PC" last year just so I could play "Grim Fandango".

Clinton said...

i take personal and utter offense to the term 'munchkin rules lawyer'. I cant help it if you dont read the cards....

Mjolnir said...

I still have every edition of D&D from 1st to 4th (which sucks a**).
Nice article!

Angus McThag said...

Betcha the spy game was "Top Secret".

Thirdpower said...

Clinton: You just made my point for me.

Angus: I think that was it.