Category Archives: Myself

What He Played, And When He Played It

Inspired by another blog I stumbled upon—and to serve as a bit of an introduction—I’m going to make an attempt to list all the RPGs I’ve actually played, and roughly in what order I encountered each.

Middle School:

  • Basic D&D (Holmes “blue book”)
  • AD&D 1st ed.
  • Top Secret
  • Champions 1st ed.
  • Tunnels & Trolls
  • Arduin
  • Star Trek (FASA)
  • Star Frontiers
  • Villains & Vigilantes
  • Space Opera
  • Fantasy Wargaming
  • Time Masters

High School:

  • Call of Cthulhu (1st ed., or perhaps 2nd)
  • Lots more AD&D, a little more V&V

College:

  • Rolemaster
  • Spacemaster
  • More Call of Cthulhu (5th ed.), more Champions (4th ed. “Big Blue Book”)

As an adult, after a long gap of leaving the hobby all together:

  • D&D 3rd ed.
  • Mutants & Masterminds, 1st ed.
  • Star Wars d20
  • d20 Modern
  • HERO System 5th ed.
  • Call of Cthulhu d20
  • Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne
  • Arcana Unearthed
  • Weird Wars d20
  • Skull & Bones d20
  • Serenity RPG
  • GURPS 4th ed.
  • Polaris
  • Iron Heroes
  • Burning Wheel
  • Burning Empires
  • Dogs in the Vineyard
  • Gamma World 1st ed.
  • Truth & Justice
  • Spycraft 2.0
  • Spirit of the Century
  • True20
  • Dread (the Jenga one)
  • Hero’s Banner
  • InSpectres
  • Paranoia XP
  • Agon
  • The Committee for the Exploration of Mysteries
  • FantasyCraft
  • Spione
  • Don’t Rest Your Head
  • Misspent Youth
  • Best Friends
  • Burning Rose
  • Giants
  • Mouse Guard
  • Cold City
  • Diaspora
  • The Pool
  • The Shadow of Yesterday
  • 44
  • Dresden Files RPG
  • Fiasco

I think we can see some patterns emerge here. The most obvious that I fall into what seems a common demographic: RPG’ers who started in the heyday of the hobby, drifted away from gaming (or at least RPG’ing) in the ’90s, and then were brought back by the release of D&D 3e. I’d argue there’s also a not-uncommon sub-demographic into which I fall, i.e., RPG’ers brought back by D&D 3e who subsequently discovered The Forge and now are rabid fans of indie RPG publishing.

Otherwise, this list also shows what a huge impact both the Internet and adulthood can have on one’s experience of the hobby.

As a teen, my gaming was generally done with whomever my current group of 3-4 friends were at the time. Living out in the suburbs and being too young to drive meant that getting together to game was infrequent. When we did game, we generally fell back on games we already knew—especially since I was typically the only one who owned anything other than AD&D. That, and play typically took the form of one-shots; we met too infrequently to maintain full-blown  campaigns.

In college, getting together was easy; my college was small, and we all lived on campus. Still, the campaigns (if you can call them that) were short. After three or four sessions, we’d move on to something new.

But, once D&D 3e came out, there was the Net. ENWorld, RPG.net, Usenet… information about games and access to gamers themselves was everywhere. It was then that I finally played RPGs with people I didn’t already know. I joined a D&D group, then a second, and then a HERO group. I started going to the local ENWorld Gameday, GenCon, and Forge Midwest. I played in a D&D campaign that lasted something like seven years. I had transportation, I had disposable income, and I had growing confidence about gaming with complete strangers. I don’t feel like I even game all that much (e.g., I’m only in a single Burning Wheel group right now), yet that last list above is pretty staggering.

And then there’s all the games on my bookshelf that I haven’t played…

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