Monday, January 16, 2012
Reflections on editions and changes over the years - Basic & AD&D
I started with a Holmes Basic Set that I bought in a K-Mart in Tennessee in 1979. I quickly became aware (throgh the toy store in the mall) that there was an Advanced version and over the next two years I started procuring those - it's a longer process when you're running on allowance, lunch money, and Christmas and birthdays - but we typically start off characters in Basic and then moved over to Advanced once every had things figured out. I moved a few times in those years so I started a new group more than once.
I know that at the time I didn't see Basic to Advanced as a different system or an edition change the way we see them now. I saw it as a natural progresssion - Basic covered the basics, Advanced added in the rest. Of course once the Moldvay sets came out, especially Expert, that was clearly not the case, but I was mostly playing AD&D by then anyway. I was happy to play in a Basic or Expert game if someone ran one, but considered my self an AD&D player first and foremost.
For me, the 1st edition of AD&D was a time of excitement – there were new adventures on a regular basis,there was new stuff in The Dragon every month, and my friends and I were doing this all for the very first time! There was a lot of cross‐pollination back then as there were articles on Traveller and Champions in a magazine that was mainly about a different game. We played it for years, constantly playing around with new rules from the magazine or things we thought up or trying out some of those rules we had always ignored before like weapons vs. armor type or the as‐written unarmed combat system, so while it was really never in a completely settled state we always thought of it as the same game and we loved it.
So we spent the 80's playing AD&D as our #1 game and we played it a LOT. Multiple characters, multiple gameworlds, multiple DM's, rules tweaks wise and unwise, and it filled out summer vacations and our weekends and any other days off and even some after school time. We played other games too, but AD&D was the center of it all. I doubt I have played any other game as much, and I doubt I ever will. I like to think we get more out of them now with the background and the understanding that we have now. but I'm not absolutely sure about that. We played a lot, and quantity has a quality all it's own.
As good as it was, by the late 80's there were a lot of things people saw as flaws in the game and when word got out that a new edition was in the works there was both excitement and concern but we were young and eager to soak up any new set of rules - even one for AD&D.