My teens and early 20s were spent playing Avalon Hill board games and Dungeons & Dragons. I can recall dozens of stories about my pen and paper role-playing days, as well as the names of at least five of my D&D characters (ask me sometime about my impossible D20 roll to save the life of my barbarian Thuron Swiftwood sometime).
Those were good times. As I grew older and became more enmeshed in my career, I was lucky enough to get into writing about games, and one of my first interviews was with the D&D master Gary Gygax. It was fun picking the brain of the master that had provided the foundation for much of my early experience with gaming.
It was with great frustration that I learned that Wizards of the Coast was working on a new version of the rules. To me the best version of the rules was when I played in the ’70s and ’80s. Since Gygax and co-creator Dave Arneson gave way to WOTC, the D&D system has become more convoluted and corporate than ever before. Poor Gygax and Arneson are probably spinning in their graves.
For all the younger gamers out there, you missed a simpler time. Role-playing was at its best when the rules were set by the dungeon master and flexible. I miss that. Now if I could just find my old books and start back up old-school.