Saturday, April 9, 2011

Gaming Experience - How Long and How Continuously?

I suspect I’m in the minority when I consider my gaming experience in comparison to other OSR bloggers. Probably most of my fellow bloggers have been gaming more or less continuously since the early editions of D&D, either never having stopped playing those editions or maybe returning to them recently for a variety of reasons. Personally, I only returned fairly recently to any kind of gaming (after about a twenty year break!)...

To be honest, I only became interested in role playing games again after struggling to finish some short works of fiction. A friend and I had agreed that it might be interesting to collaborate on a screenplay and we settled on something we referred to as our “Bloody Mess”. It was a work of horror that centered around a blood bank, government approval of artificial blood for use in a small pilot program, and the (I thought) hilarious consequences.

As that project lost momentum, at one point I came up with the idea of role playing exercises to get the ball rolling again. Originally I was looking at CoC or BRP for help with this, although we also discussed using some kind of framework of our own design. Eventually, we settled on the games we knew from many years ago - namely, early editions of D&D. It didn’t really fit with what we were trying to accomplish in our writing, but we still thought it would be an interesting exercise. Probably we both secretly yearned for an excuse (as if one was needed) to play the games we'd enjoyed in our youth again.

In the end, the writing fell by the wayside but we continued to play our one on one games of D&D, which had taken on a life of their own and become a lot of fun. Along the way, I’ve played with a few other folk, and we’ve had some guest appearances in our game from time to time as well.

So, am I wrong? Have you been playing non-stop since you were a kid? How many years have you been playing more or less continuously, and how many years would you say you’ve played total..? I wonder how many OSR bloggers came back to the game recently versus those who’ve never stopped playing but just went back to earlier editions of the game. I’d be interested in hearing from my fellow bloggers about their experience, but I’ve put up a poll here as well in case you prefer to be anonymous or prefer its brevity. I’m not sure if I phrased the options as well as I could have, but it’s a start.

16 comments:

limpey said...

I don't think a choice that reflects my experience shows up on your poll. I played D&D when I was a youthful snot nose... then gave it up because A) I thought it would interfere with my sexual development, B) I changed schools and didn't find a good D&D crowd and C) had convinced myself it was "time to grow up."
Fast forward decades later. I've given up all pretense of aspiring to be 'sexy' and am lucky enough to be in a relationship and never quite managed to grow up. I remember finding some of my old books and notes and the love came back... so I sought out a gaming group but discovered that I had to learn 3e... which was OK but never really felt like my D&D (whereas the few folks I met who played continously from the 1980s or so don't seem to like older editions as much as the returning oldsters). I've been a 'returned' player for 10 years or so.

Padre said...

I have been playing Dragonquest on & off since 1981. I have taken a break of a few years from time to time, but was never without the game or doing something with it even if I wasn't playing actively at the time.

James said...

Played 1e from about 82 until 2001, with a few breaks, here and there. Switched to 3e in 2001 and played it for 7 years, or so. Took another 2 year hiatus and when I decided to resume gaming, I discovered the OSR.

Kilsern said...

I started with D&D in 81 at age 10 then switched within a year to AD&D (it was "Advanced", so I figured it must be better). I played actively for three years, then everyone in my town stopped playing and I didn't find anyone to play with again until my sophomore year of high school. In high school I started a conversation with one of my sister's boyfriends. He had a group and let me join. They were playing The Fantasy Trip. I played with them for a year, but my mother made me stop when she found out they were feeding me beer (oops).

When I started college in 91, I stumbled upon a gaming group that was looking for a DM. They were playing AD&D second edition. I wasn't familiar with 2nd ed. and hadn't DM'd since I was 13, but I gave it a go. I never did purchase a single 2nd ed. book, but was given a PHB by a player of mine that happened to have two.

After college, it took me about 7 years to find another group. Since finding a new group, I've played an equal mix of 2nd ed. AD&D, WFRP and various other games. I've played 3rd ed. a couple of times, but it never really took. I started playing OSR out of nostalgia last year, and am digging it.

Sean Robson said...

I played steadily from 1980 to 1988 and then had a forced hiatus from 1988 to 1992, during which time I was almost continuously at sea in the navy. I've been gaming regularly ever since; I played mostly GURPS until 3E brought me back to D&D. I played that until about 2008 when I returned to my old school D&D roots.

Loquacious said...

Started playing Champions in 1985 or so. Continued to play until 1996-7, when I took a "mommy break" due to 2 small kids in the house. Got back into gaming 3 or so years ago and it's like I never left. I do not, however, play D&D and really never have except for one failed experiment when I was about 19 or so. (lasted less than a year)

Risus Monkey said...

Started with Moldvay in 1982 and went on to play Ad&D with am older buddy. Spent a couple of years just soaking up games that I purchased like Traveller or Top Secret. Found a gaming group as a sophomore in highscool and played a couple AD&D sessions before moving on to MERP, Rolemaster, WFRP, James Bond, and finally Gurps... Which I've been playing almost continuously since.

Had s brief pause during college semesters and found my current group in 1994 when I moved to DC. Played done vampire and a little D&D 2e and messed around with Castle Falkenstein before moving to Charlottesville in 1997.

D&D3e brought me back to D&D and we launched a ling running Buffy game when I returned to DC. Discovered Risus, Fudge, and Fate. Finally came back to old school games just last year as I resumed blogging and found D&D 4e lacking. Now, I'm a game slut and will play just about anything.

Risus Monkey said...

Eek, sorry about poor editing on previous comment, I'm writing on a smart phone.

basaltic said...

(Hey ZB...this this Snabby with a new blog)

I started D&D back in about 1978 I think with 1E basic. My group of friends played extensively through 1982 or 3. I briefly restarted (3e I think) in about 2000/2001 with some friends and that petered out. I didn't think about it much until Ze Bulette started this blog. From him I learned about many aspects of the game I'd never considered and that the open source old school movement was alive and well.

I am happy to say that we are now playing again using a combo of my crusty old 1E AD&D books and the OSRIC/Monsters of Myth books I recently purchased. Fun! Thanks ZB.

Barking Alien said...

I've been playing continuously since the summer of 1977 but only a fraction of that time (at this point) has been devoted to any sort of D&D or its many relatives.

I am a non-OSR old schooler.

:)

lige said...

I started with both Moldvay and Mentzger (they were both at Toys R Us and the time and not knowing the difference between the two my Grandma just bought them both) in 83-84 and eventually moved on to AD&D in Middle School and played pretty consistently (AD&D and TMNT Road Hogs) through high school. After that I made a few attempts to play in college but always had other commitments so I never really stuck with. Started up again about 4 1/2 years ago with group of other lasped players and the campaign is still going strong! At the time I didn't think it would last more than a couple of sessions.

DrBargle said...

Pretty much gave up all gaming when I went to Uni, got back into gaming in the past few years as injuries meant I had to start thinking about a new all encompassing hobby after rugby.

richard said...

Moldvay and Trav in 81 led quickly to AD&D1, CoC and then everything but D&D (ca. 85) until 95 when I stopped through circumstances and since then have played maybe 10 sessions of something. I actually haven't started playing again yet, but hope to organise a group in the fall.

Also on a cellphone: plz excuse bad writing.

ze bulette said...

Thanks for the responses. My own history is that I played from '80 to '86 or so, lots of D&D but we tried a lot of other games at the time. For the last couple of years I've played B/X, OD&D, and AD&D, or else some combination of those, although I've been reacquiring and examining many of the other games I've played in the past.

At the time I'm posting this, "Only got back into the game in the last few years" is definitely in the lead. Although in retrospect the poll doesn't clearly state that it's intended for OSR bloggers. I think the responses probably carry over though, bloggers or not.

Now I wonder how and when I got the impression that most of my fellow bloggers have been playing continuously...

JDJarvis said...

I've had slow spots in my gaming now and again but I've generally been playing monthly or more for over 30 years.

Shieldhaven said...

I... am not one of the OSR types, though I think you chaps have some interesting ideas. I have been playing tabletop games almost without interruption since 1994, starting (unsurprisingly, given that date) with 2e. The past few months are the first time in my life that the game I am regularly GMing is not some edition of D&D, as I am currently running Mage: the Awakening, mostly to give myself a break from medieval fantasy.

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