Today is the 40th Anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons, a game that changed the course of millions of lives.
I began playing in 1976 when a Canadian Air Force officer’s son came to our school and introduced the game to the (one day to be named) geeks in the sixth form.
As the game wasn’t actually available in the UK we all took turns to borrow the rules and copy them out by hand. After that every lunchtime was spent fighting battles underground using Chess pieces as figures and a series of multi-sided spinners for the various dice.
Within a couple of years I had the original booklets, proper dice and a handful of figures from Minifigs in Southampton.
I left the navy in 1979 and found the Portsmouth Wargames Club where a band of young chaps had set up a thriving D&D club. Mark, Ian, Jim, Paul, Tim and a gang of others played every weekend from mid-morning until ten at night. We’d also play at various people’s houses in the week and in fact anywhere and anytime we could.
The rest is pretty much history. I became a regular DM, eventually DM’ing the open at Gamesday and then EuroGenCon.
And I still play now, though I’m now DM’ing and playing D&D3.5 (I never took to 4th) and running several games of my own invention as can be seen by this blog.
D&D gave me the chance to explore my creative side, it gave me and my friends tens of thousands of hours of social pleasure, and eventually led to me becoming a published rules author, so it shall always have a special place in my heart.
Tonight I shall raise a glass to Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson – well played chaps, well played.