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D&D 1E Edition Experience: Did/Do you Play 1E AD&D? How Was/Is It?

How Did/Do You Feel About 1E D&D?

  • I'm playing it right now; I'll have to let you know later.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I'm playing it right now and so far, I don't like it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    183

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
The BECM rules say that it is "helpful" to use a battle mat, then hardly reference it again. No pages of diagrams and references to "squares" or board position. The assumption is that most people won't use a battle mat, but if you are the exception, here's a couple of paragraphs on how it might be done.

Newer editions assume you are using a battle mat, and reference it throughout the PHB. There are lots of diagrams provided, many spells and movements are described in turns of "squares," and there are many rules for things like flanking, movement through threatened areas, and how one character's position affects the actions and options available to another. The assumption is that most people will use a battle mat, but if you're the exception, here's a couple of paragraphs on how it might be done.

I would have preferred that newer editions keep that default "no battle mat needed, but if you use one, here's a couple of paragraphs on how you might do that." That's what I was driving at.
 
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CodeFlayer

Explorer
Speaking broadly, weren't the earliest games played on a tabletop with miniatures, but without a grid of any kind (tape measures and such used for distances)? The earliest known addition of hexes, from what little I know, appears to be Avalon Hill's Outdoor Survival with continued adaptations, perhaps unto this very day.

While I enjoy hexes and grids personally, I think it would be very interesting to play 'full retro'. The book "Playing at the World", by Jon Peterson describes at least parts and I found to be an extremely enjoyable read.
 

Yep, those who were using miniatures were indeed using a measuring tape for all movements. Flying creatures were put on a small wooden block on which we would put a piece of paper with their elevation. It was really tedious to do it this way and most went to the Theatre of the Mind. As long as the DM was good at describing scenes, everything was funnier and faster.
 

CodeFlayer

Explorer
If TotM were to have a ... marketing/mind share difficulty...would a prop heavy 'luxury' form (which has its undeniable charm?) perhaps help TotM get a make-over in the next set of books? Just a wild thought, but well meant.

edit/exposition - I remember playing a game as I'm suggesting now at a con in '79 with mini's but no grid. No tape measure was used, and the GM used the surface/props as a diorama to enhance the role play, but was otherwise not a wargame. Apologies if I am being over emphatic here.
 
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Well, we did try to accelerate things with small 6 inches and 3 inches sticks or piece of rope. But not to avail. It was too tedious. I wish we could have had the idea of a battle grid like we have nowadays. We are using a 4' x 10' grided plywood on which we've put a piece of glass of the same size. It works wonders.
 

S'mon

Legend
Sometimes, yes: an early or even the first iteration of some of the rules was the best, or very close; and subsequent developments made them worse (or removed them entirely).

Other rules needed help; and subsequent developments fixed them...and then maybe even went on to wreck them again! :)

Others have been good - or good enough - all the way along, while others have never worked well.

The problem I see is that sometimes the official designers didn't all the time quite realize which were the good ones and which ones needed help. That, combined with a change-for-the-sake-of-change mentality that seems all too common to designers of many things beyond just RPGs, led to what I see as long-term mistakes that have now become largely baked in.

There's definitely a tendency to forget or not realise the intent of a rule, so change it without understanding why it was there. Systems can degenerate as well as improve.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Sometimes, yes: an early or even the first iteration of some of the rules was the best, or very close; and subsequent developments made them worse (or removed them entirely).

Other rules needed help; and subsequent developments fixed them...and then maybe even went on to wreck them again! :)

Others have been good - or good enough - all the way along, while others have never worked well.

The problem I see is that sometimes the official designers didn't all the time quite realize which were the good ones and which ones needed help. That, combined with a change-for-the-sake-of-change mentality that seems all too common to designers of many things beyond just RPGs, led to what I see as long-term mistakes that have now become largely baked in.
And would you say the balance of change has been toward improvement, or disimprovement? That is, have game designers largely been wasting their time and players' money?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
And would you say the balance of change has been toward improvement, or disimprovement?
In D&D? I'd say it's been a many-steps-forward many-steps-backward affair over the years and editions, leading to in my view a slight net disimprovement overall; others' opinions of course will vary.

My point is more that had those many steps backward not been taken we'd have a much better game.
That is, have game designers largely been wasting their time and players' money?
Wasting their time? Not at all. Part of the designers' job is to experiment and try new things, but - and here's the key bit - be a) willing to abandon them if they don't work (and to realize they don't work, and why) and b) if they do work in some situations not be too eager to shoehorn them in everywhere else.

Wasting the players' money? Perhaps. On my shelf are the core three books from each of 1-2-3-4-5e and while each new edition has had some interesting content I really probably could have stopped at 1e and not been much worse off.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
In D&D? I'd say it's been a many-steps-forward many-steps-backward affair over the years and editions, leading to in my view a slight net disimprovement overall; others' opinions of course will vary.
They will indeed.

Wasting their time? Not at all. Part of the designers' job is to experiment and try new things, but - and here's the key bit - be a) willing to abandon them if they don't work (and to realize they don't work, and why) and b) if they do work in some situations not be too eager to shoehorn them in everywhere else.
I believe you do game designers a disservice.

Wasting the players' money? Perhaps. On my shelf are the core three books from each of 1-2-3-4-5e and while each new edition has had some interesting content I really probably could have stopped at 1e and not been much worse off.
OTOH I also think that commercial pressures have forced churn that was needless. The need to turn the wheel of capitalism. That has been more evidenced in splat-books.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I believe you do game designers a disservice.
Perhaps, though in more-or-less redesigning 1e over the years I've made all these errors myself (and maybe still am, for all that!); and thus can easily see how others can do - and have done - the same.

OTOH I also think that commercial pressures have forced churn that was needless. The need to turn the wheel of capitalism. That has been more evidenced in splat-books.
Agreed; and that's probably what drove some of the change-for-the-sake-of-change core designs as well.
 

Esbee

Dungeon Master at large.
I am currently running a 1st Ed campaign, which is my system of choice.

I do dabble in 5th ed, but 1st ed is where it's at for me. I don't want to get into a whole essay about my reasons, but since getting into D&D in the mid-80s I've played BECMI, 1st ed, 2nd ed, 3rd ed and 5th ed... with some one-off forays into OD&D. I have never tried 4th ed.

And while I love elements of most of the editions I've played, ultimately I've found 1st ed to be the most engaging for me.
 

John Dallman

Explorer
This week I'd like to examine the 1st Edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Have you played it before? or are you still playing it? What do you think about it?
It's been the main edition of D&D I've played ever since 1979. The groups I play it with are still using the worlds and rules hacks they had established before 2e appeared, and some of the same characters. Personally, I didn't find 2e different enough to be worth a formal change-over. I've found the changes since 2e to be overly prescriptive about the kind of game they envisage; I like the all-inclusive Arneson approach much better than a "purist fantasy" style.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
My $0.02

I first played it in 1977 in the library of East Middle School in Aurora, CO. The game was DMed by a fellow student who could have been a hobbit IRL. My human fighter with a 2-hd sword and another player’s MU down to his last MM were the last surviving members of the party, and we ran into a purple worm. Sparing the details, it was a close battle that ended when it was just me & the worm, there was simultaneous initiative, and it hit while I missed. TPK.

And I was hooked for life!
 

erc1971

Explorer
For the 1st 10 years I played D&D you had D&D and AD&D - it wasn't called 1st edition back then. I loved it, played it every chance I could and avoided all other RPG's.

I would never go back to 1st however (running it anyways, I would play if someone offered to run). 2nd is my favorite edition, cleaning up a few rough spots and offering some cool customization options.

Eric
 

Dax Doomslayer

Adventurer
I also started in 1977 using the blue book. I went over a friends house who was a war gamer and we played one of the Avalon Hill war games "Midway". After lunch, my friend's brother wanted to join us and I remember them talking about this mysterious game "D&D" which they decided to teach me. My first character race/class was an Elf with a sleep spell. I remember fighting a bunch of orcs and putting them to sleep. I was hooked. I've played every edition since and with 5E and Fantasy Grounds, probably play more than I had since I was a kid.
 

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