D&D General Dave Arneson: Is He Underrated, or Overrated?

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I’m not so sure.

I do think him and Gary clashed on many levels. And so, without much power in the relationship, he couldn’t get any traction.

I think much of the myth of “he didn’t do anything” about his time at TSR can be put down to: it was a VERY short time there and he was the kind of person that would clean toilets (work his but off in shipping) cause it needed doing. I think that soaked his time and drained his will.

But I must add that not only Gary had made similar claims about Dave.
The impression one gets from Arneson's own accounts in this book really leaves me with the opposite impression, that Gygax and the Blumes wanted it to work with Arneson but he was not willing to meet anyone halfway or apply himself. His post-TSR history is particularly telling.
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
After reading Game Wizards, my opinion of Arneson has sunk to the point that I consider him more of a detriment to the development of the game than a co-creator. A lazy and unskilled curmudgeon who happened into the little success he had because of the determination and hard work of others.
I mean, I still think he played a major role in the quantum leap of the idea coming intonbeing...but his continuing contributions are shockingly sparse, and his attitude was rather astonishing.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
After reading Game Wizards, my opinion of Arneson has sunk to the point that I consider him more of a detriment to the development of the game than a co-creator. A lazy and unskilled curmudgeon who happened into the little success he had because of the determination and hard work of others.

I wouldn't go that far. As far as D&D goes, I agree with myself, quoting Jon Peterson-

"...Gygax and Arneson were co-creators of D&D, in at least the crucial sense that Gygax would never have worked toward such a game without incorporation of Arneson's vision, and Arneson would never have realized the publication of such a game without the structure that Gygax provided it." That sums my opinion up. D&D would not have happened absent either of them.

But yeah ... I've known many people like Arneson in my life. Great as friends- never, ever, ever get into business with them. From everything I've read & heard, he was a wonderful person if he was DMing your game, and a terrible person if you were depending on him for something important.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I wouldn't go that far. As far as D&D goes, I agree with myself, quoting Jon Peterson-

"...Gygax and Arneson were co-creators of D&D, in at least the crucial sense that Gygax would never have worked toward such a game without incorporation of Arneson's vision, and Arneson would never have realized the publication of such a game without the structure that Gygax provided it." That sums my opinion up. D&D would not have happened absent either of them.

But yeah ... I've known many people like Arneson in my life. Great as friends- never, ever, ever get into business with them. From everything I've read & heard, he was a wonderful person if he was DMing your game, and a terrible person if you were depending on him for something important.
I mean, his post-TSR career amounted to promising big things and literally never delivering anything...and destroying a couple of companies who banked on his work.
 

Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
I wouldn't go that far. As far as D&D goes, I agree with myself, quoting Jon Peterson-

"...Gygax and Arneson were co-creators of D&D, in at least the crucial sense that Gygax would never have worked toward such a game without incorporation of Arneson's vision, and Arneson would never have realized the publication of such a game without the structure that Gygax provided it." That sums my opinion up. D&D would not have happened absent either of them.

But yeah ... I've known many people like Arneson in my life. Great as friends- never, ever, ever get into business with them. From everything I've read & heard, he was a wonderful person if he was DMing your game, and a terrible person if you were depending on him for something important.
Having a good idea is worthless actually.

Developing it and getting it to market is what means something.

I got a great idea and you have a patent. I am SOL.

In science, lots of people have ideas. But running the experiment and publishing it is all that matters. All good work and ideas are on the shoulders of other ideas and work.

Oh well, my bias is showing…
 
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In science, lots of people have ideas. But running the experiment and publishing it is all that matters. All good work and ideas are on the shoulders of other ideas and work.
Without an idea, there is no experiment to run or results to publish.

An idea can exist without structure/being published. But you can't publish without an idea. But, an idea by itself is indeed useless until you can communicate (structure & publish) it.
 

Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
Without an idea, there is no experiment to run or results to publish.

An idea can exist without structure/being published. But you can't publish without an idea. But, an idea by itself is indeed useless until you can communicate (structure & publish) it.
I am not saying arneson did not deserve any credit.

Just not as much. And you are right—you have to have an idea. But as is the case with research, a lot of people have similar ideas fairly close together in time.

Did arneson share his earnings with the braunstein guy? He might have—-I don’t know.

But taking the idea and fleshing it out—-putting it together with other ideas and expounding might be more important than the initial spark.

I think having an idea is great. Not developing it and getting it out there is worth as much as a few electrons buzzing about a synapse.

There may have been more basement dwellers doing this than we know back to the 60s. But we only know about Arneson because of Gygax.
 

darjr

I crit!
Normally I agree, an idea is a dime a dozen. Execution is everything.

Sometimes though there truly are unique mind bending ideas. I think the synthesis Dave did is one of those.

After that? I do think he was treated badly and could have done more, could have been great paired with a writer and editor and game developer.

I do agree that Gary deserves his credit too. Recognizing and executing on the idea is no small feat.

Finally though I think that they also both get too much credit. D&D turns out to be bigger than both of them and I do think they were both lucky too.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Normally I agree, an idea is a dime a dozen. Execution is everything.

Sometimes though there truly are unique mind bending ideas. I think the synthesis Dave did is one of those.

After that? I do think he was treated badly and could have done more, could have been great paired with a writer and editor and game developer.

I do agree that Gary deserves his credit too. Recognizing and executing on the idea is no small feat.

Finally though I think that they also both get too much credit. D&D turns out to be bigger than both of them and I do think they were both lucky too.
I think everyone involved could have been treated better, and could have behaved better.

Both Arneson and Gygax in their own way did a lot to dig their own graves.
 









aia_2

Custom title
Read the history of the game. Arneson created Blackmoor. Gygax played in a game of it. Gygax asked Arneson for his notes. Arneson wrote it all out and sent those to Gygax. Gygax took those notes, changed them, then published them. Arneson was famously unhappy with the changes Gygax made without consulting Arneson. So even your first line is ahistorical.

Sorry, why do you say i am not sticking to history? You rephrased what i wrote...
 

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