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D&D General How Long Did You Play the Different Editions of D&D? (+)


BECMI: Got started with the Tom Moldvay (Erol Otus cover) basic set in 1981, played till about 1982 when we discovered we could be Advanced!
1e: 1983-1989
2e: 1989-1993 - Stopped playing regularly right around the plethora of "Kit" books.
(1994-1999: Wasn't doing a lot of D&D playing; I remember a lot of Storyteller, Champions, Star Wars d6, Gamma World, Shadowrun, MechWarrior, etc etc)
3e/3.5e: Played this on and off when it came out, as with 3.5; didn't have a regular D&D group. (played in Exalted and a bunch of eclectic games here. Everything had gone "D20" engine and I was burned out on it. I rebelliously tried played anything that wasn't a d20 engine, haha)
4e: 2009-2019: Ironically, the much maligned 4e pulled me back in after I tried out a 1-shot. However, after running campaign, my 4e games became very heavily modified by the end (and I was using the 2e Planescape setting as the backdrop). Some of my players dubbed it "Franken-Fourth Edition".
5e: 2015-present: I didn't like the early DND next materials very much, so I didn't jump onto 5e at launch. But then sat in with a group, ended up DM'ing their second campaign, and now I'm currently running two 5e campaigns

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I played 3rd edition for eight years and then Patfinder for another five, but I didn't actually play much during that time.
And since then, I've been trying out various oldschool D&D variants for the last eight years, and ran one 5th edition campaign for four months.


(he, him)
I think this is about right:

AD&D 2e: 1989 or 90-2000
D&D 3e: 2000-2008
D&D 4e: 2007-2019
Pathfinder PF1: 2008-present (including playtest)
D&D 5e: 2012 (playtest) and 2015ish (just a few sessions of the finished version)
Pathfinder PF2: 2018-present (including playtest)


Got into OD&D in 1975. Played and ran it until 1978, then abandoned D&D for a number of years.
Ran a bit of AD&D2e, hmm, want to say, 1990, because I wanted something less interactive than other systems I was using for play-by-post. Probably lasted a couple years.
Came back to it when 3e came out in the early 2000's; ran a campaign for a couple years until the warts became too obvious around level 15.
Most recently, have been playing Pathfinder 2e for the last couple of year, and played a campaign of 4e a year or so before that. Haven't run either.


For the Basic/Expert sets and 1e I am giving my best guesses, best guess on the start of 2e but the end year is right and after that the years should be pretty accurate
Basic/Expert Sets: 1981 - 1982
1e: 1981 - 1986, very sporadic after 1983
2e: Early/mid 1990s - 2000
3.x: 2000 - 2008
Pathfinder Beta/1e: 2008 - present
Castles & Crusades: 2016 - present

AD&D 2e is probably the one I remember most fondly and most of my favorite characters and campaigns are from that edition. I spent the most time playing 3.x/Pathfinder but I only continue with it because it's what a lot of my gaming group knows best; even then I passed the DM reigns to one of my players a few years ago and I just play. On the rare occasions I still DM D&D it's using Castles & Crusades running old school 1e and 2e adventures. Mostly I run campaigns using other systems now, such as Savage Worlds.
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B/X: 2014-present
BECMI: 1984, 2009-2013
1e: 1984-1989, 2011-present
2e: 1990, 1997-2000, 2012
3e: 2000-2001
3.5e: 2004-2008
4e: 2008-2011
5e: 2017-present


Golden Procrastinator
OD&D: Never played
Holmes: Never played
B/X: 2020-present
BECMI: 1985-1989 (I played in a few one shot games in recent years)
AD&D 1e: 1986-2000, 2005-present
AD&D 2e: I never played a campaign, but played many games through the years and from 1989 to 2000 I heavily hybridized it with 1e.
3e: 2000-2003
3.5: 2003-2007
4e: 2008-2011
5e: 2014-present


I tend to overlap systems a lot. I started 1e AD&D ca 1985 (after Fighting Fantasy in 1984) and never fully switched to 2e, just used the 2e PHB and MM as supplements. Have run it intermittently since, most recently last year, but I tend to find 5e can do most of what I want in 1e.
Went for 3e in 2000, I think I last ran 3.5e in 2010. GM'd 4e regularly 2011-2016 and more intermittently thereafter, would be GMing 4e today if a player hadn't dropped. It's a 'live' edition for me. GM'd 5e from I think Jan 2015 to now, definitely my main system (though my most played system in 2020 was Mini Six!). Ran a Pathfinder campaign most of 2014-15, then swore never again! Oh and I ran BECMI for a few years ca 2015-2017.


It's hard to track my earliest D&D playing.

I think I was playing whatever came out before the blue box OD&D, and then the blue box edition, from about 1977 until AD&D came out, which we played relentlessly. I played a smattering of 2E in the early '90s, and a bit of 3E when it first came out. We played a fair amount of 4E - for a couple years, I guess. Playtested D&D Next, played a bit of 5E when it first came out, and have been playing 5E weekly since January of 2017.


AD&D 1e: 1982-1988, 1996-2002 (12 years, player then DM)
AD&D Oriental Adventures: 1986*-1988 (DM)
AD&D 2e: 1988* (player)
D&D 3e: 2001-2003 (player & then DM)
D&D 3.5e: 2003*-present (18 years, primarily DM)
Pathfinder 1: 2009*-2016, 2021 (sporadic only at PaizoCon, plus Kingmaker on Xbox in 2021, player only, but borrowing rules and modules for 3.5e DMing)
D&D 4e: 2008*-2009 (player)
D&D 5e: 2015-present (but only rarely, around 6 total session, player only)

* denotes started playing at or near release
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Basic Set (Holmes): 1978-1981 (Started at 5 y.o.)
B/X-BECMI: 1981-1991
AD&D 1e: 1980-1990+
AD&D 2e: 1990-2018
3e: 2005
4e: never played
5e: 2018-present

So, what I consider the "AD&D years" was roughly from 1980-2018, nearly 40 years, really it was a 1E/2E hybrid. Most of what I am doing now is trying to bring that "feel" into 5E.

I only played 3E for less than a year before returning to AD&D since I was never very impressed with it. Oddly, though, the d20 Star Wars I enjoyed a lot and consider it the best d20 system and the best Star Wars version.
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Basic: 1987-1990 or so? Then I switched to White Wolf games until 1998.
1e: 1999-2005
2e: never
3x: 2000 - 2004
4e: 2013-2015
5e: 2015-present



Sure, why not?

(31yrs) B/X/BECMI: 1981 - 2012
(32yrs) AD&D 1e (Pure): 1981 - 2015
(3 yrs) AD&D 2e: 1991 - 1994
(15 yrs) Hackmaster 4th: 2001 - 2016
(2 yrs) D&D 3rd: 2000 - 2002
(0!!) D&D 4th: ...hehe...no thank you Evil! ;)
(5 yrs) D&D 5th: 2014 - 2021

In those I consider a game "still being played" if we played more than a 'one or two off'. Like a full adventure and/or over at least two months of play (at a session a week, minimum). Also, typically but not always, playing in the same "campaign world timeline" (or, as it was known in Ye Olden Days of Yore, "A DM's Campaign"). If we include any version I've played, even a one off, then I think 2e would be bumped up a few more years because we did do the odd "one session, maybe 2" set in Dark Sun or Birthright...but not really any "campaign play".

Oh, and yeah, Hackmaster 4th Edition (the first version Kenzer & Co made) is AD&D as far as I'm concerned. It's more "D&D" than any "D&D" version after it...and maybe before, in a manner of speaking! ;)


Paul L. Ming


My first game was technically White Box, but that was just one session, and it wouldn't be until 2 years later that I'd find others in high school playing it, but I joined at the start of AD&D 1e, which would have been 1979. I played 1e from then until I got out of the US Army in 1987, which was about the time AD&D 2e came into existence. I started playing with a long running group through the entirety of 2e, until we lost our DM in an auto accident, then had a 5 year hiatus from the game. Our lost DM's daughter had grown up, and glommed unto 3.5, and wanted us to play with her and her friends, so we did, but technically, 3.5 had already been going for a couple years, before we finally started playing that. We played for 5 years, which was about the time that 3.5 got pulled from the shelves, and there was a wait to a 4e, which was about the time Pathfinder Beta came into existence. Because I'd been looking to publish a Japanese horror setting, and was looking at 3.5 to do it in, when 3.5 ended, so rather than wait for 4e, I eventually published it using Pathfinder, and have been using PF for all that time, until about 3 or 4 years ago, when I started getting interest in sci-fi games again, and a year later Starfinder RPG was released. So I've been publishing for Starfinder as third party since it's inception and still going strong...

I've played other games, mostly back in the day when I was playing 1e in the army. I played Runequest, Elfquest, Twilight 2000, Aftermath, Star Frontiers, Space Opera, Paranoia, and Human Occupied Landfill.

David Howery

I bought the Holmes basic set, but never actually played in a campaign with it, a couple of one shots for a couple of months. I quickly found out about AD&D and played it off and on (in college, out of college, moving around) from 1980 to 1989, when 2E came out, which I played only for a couple of years, after which my job started moving me around and I fell out of gaming in general...

Mark Hope

Cool thread :)

B/X: 1982 - 1984
AD&D: 1984 - 1989
AD&D 2e: 1989 - 2002
D&D 3e: 2003
D&D 3.5e: 2003 - 2008
Pathfinder 1e: 2008 - 2018
AD&D 2e: 2014 - present

I've run a few additional AD&D and B/X sessions over the years since moving onto 2e, and have returned full-time to 2e in recent years. I've played 4e once or twice and 5e a handful of times as well, but not enough to warrant a separate note. Also, all of the above is a single, continuous campaign.


Moderator Emeritus
Also, all of the above is a single, continuous campaign.

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Spent the most time playing 3.X.

Yet feel virtually no nostalgia for it except some of the fluff. Played 2E after 3E and D&D became fun again.

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