A review at Ars Technica starts this way: “Dungeons & Dragons just celebrated its 42nd birthday…”. I said no, no way, this is a mistake, it can’t be — I started playing that game the year after it came out, in 1975, which was…41 years ago. Yikes.
I played regularly through college — we had a kind of loose gaming group who would get together every week or two for a long night of goofy fantasy role playing. I drifted away after graduation, though, for two reasons: I’d moved far away from old friends, and they kept tinkering with the game, adding new persnickety rules and turning it into an exercise in bookkeeping rather than storytelling.
The review explains, though, that the latest edition goes back to its roots, simplifying and streamlining the rules, which I think is a step in the right direction, even if I’ll probably never play it again (I now live even farther away from my old friends). I think it’s also cool that they’ve made the basic player’s rules available for free, even if they’re going to still stick the dedicated D&D gamer with an $85 bill for three books, the Player’s Handbook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and of course, the Monster Manual (D&D Core Rulebook).
So all I need is money, and time, and friends, and I could pretend to be 18 again. Now that’s real fantasy role-playing!