History of Gaming: Part 3 Brian Nisbet takes us further back in time In writing any history one must be careful of falling into easy traps and over-simplifying that which requires complexity to be properly treated and explained. I am far from a perfect historian (a fact to which those I studied under many years ago will freely attest), but I know the temptations of the Great Man theory all too well and it would be very, very easy indeed to fall into that trap where Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is concerned. Part 2 of this series ended with the publication of the first recognisable edition of the game and it still weighs heavy on so many facets of the gaming hobby today. Most people in Europe and North America have heard of it, as well as many, many others around the world. It is the easy touchstone when people try to explain the games we play, or to mock them. It has influence, of course, it was the game I started with in 1983, but it was not the first role playing game and, subjectively, it has never been the best. So we will talk about it and other games that came out in the years following D&Ds publication. D&D is a fantasy game and, as with so many expressions of genre, where there is fantasy, sci-fi is usually lurking somewhere nearby. In the 70s the big hitting SF game
was Marc Miller’s Traveller. GDW first printed the game in 1977 and the comparisons with D&D are not only easy to see, but have been publicly stated by Miller.
However this was all about space, garnering wealth and power in the Third Imperium and was less about killing the monsters and taking their treasure.”
However, this was all about space, garnering wealth and power in the Third Imperium and was less about killing the monsters and taking their treasure. The game also broke from the system used by D&D and its many imitators, pushing skill advancement, rather than levels. Traveller has stood the test of time very well and while it’s never been quite as popular as D&D or some other games we’ll
Brian Nisbet Brian Nisbet has been gaming since the early 80s and because just doing is never enough for him, he’s been writing about it and organising events since the early 90s. He is more than willing to discuss almost anything to do with gaming, politics, history or networking and you can find him on twitter as @natural20 or in the bar.
mention, the brief story of the Free Trader Beowulf has stuck with me since the first time I read the quote on the back of the iconic little black book. It also has a direct connection to the Gazebo as Issue 2’s guest editor Gar Hanrahan is
The Gazebo is a free, quarterly e-zine dedicated to gaming in the UK and Ireland.