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How Did You Learn To Play?

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3 hours ago, TheAuldGrump said:


With the exception of the game at the dry bar, there have been girls, women, and ladies in all of my games. (And that was how I learned that I have a weakness for nerd girls. :lol: My first girlfriend, the woman I lived with for a while, and my good lady wife, all classic nerd girls. Megan working on her own campaign makes me want to stand up and cheer. Again.)


The Auld Grump

Yeah, I get in trouble for saying this sometimes, but with only two odd exceptions*, I have always gamed with girls/women and I always took it for granted. I've known lady gamers since I began playing in 1981. In most of my groups, they have equaled or exceeded the number of males.


I had to be instructed of this cliche of no girls at the table, or ladies don't like gaming, or what-have-you.


*The exceptions were one group when I was 13, where one of the players hated that his sister was invited and we all looked at him like he was crazy, and another group that started out all male, where one of the guys did not believe that I had often played with females, and then acted weird for months after ladies began joining us.

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12 hours ago, Glitterwolf said:


Heroquest counts?

In that case I did play!


I used to own all the expansions as well and played it with my girlfriend at that time.


Later played a handful games of WHFB and 40K.

That was the gaming career...only PC nowadays..


Of COURSE it counts!


Thousands were introduced to both RPGs and miniatures by that game!


My Mum and me STILL play it, and Grump used to have THREE copies!


Now two, since we gave Mum the best copy, after we painted it.


When BD is old enough not to eat the dice or minis, it will be how we get her into gaming!

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In 1980 I was a 6th grader and an 8th grader was apparently bored on the bus ride home, so he started running me through a dungeon. I just told him what I wanted to do and he worked out all of the rules himself. I got the DMG and Otus starter set for Christmas upon request, not knowing or caring that they were 2 different games, and except for a brief stint in a punk rock band, have been playing and or reading games continuously.



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On 3/4/2018 at 5:03 PM, Dr.Bedlam said:

Upon thinking about it? Everyone else I ever played RPGs with? Either I taught them, or they already knew... having been introduced to the hobby by a friend or relative. Apparently, being a gamer is more a contagious paradigm than one imposed by one's environment or advertising.


The contagion analogy is a good one, and one i wish that the execs at a certain big gaming company would have learned years ago - I might still be their customer if they had.  But I digress. 

How I started is a hybrid - no one ever actually taught me to play a role playing game, but I wouldn't have started playing without people talking about it, and being taught how to play a simple wargame. 

I was in 8th grade, and some kids at lunch time were playing this game called Melee. It was really cool looking, and even though games went quick, I didn't get a turn to play over lunch that week - the line ahead of me was too long.  That weekend I got my dad to take me to a hobby store downtown where I was told it could be purchased, but they were out of stock of it.  So instead, I spent my $3 on a copy of Metagaming's Warp War.   That was a poor substitute, but it was close enough it made me popular among that group of kids.  In the following couple weeks, other kids got their copies of Melee - and it's sister game, Wizard - and I finally got to play, before acquiring my own copies of both games.  Playing Melee and Wizard at in the courtyard at lunch became a regular activity for a bunch of us. Then the kids in the GT program started talking about this game call Dungeons and Dragons. 

The only books anyone had at the school  for a long time were owned by the GT program teacher, and it was just something that the GT kids talked about with their friends after she ran a  game for them as a reward for something.  Not to be out done by those 'stupid' smarty pants in GT, I started using the Melee/Wizard rules to run "D&D" games for my friends on the bus every day before and after school. We were probably the first kids at our school outside of the GT program to actually do some role playing games, but we were ridiculed for it, because it wasn't "real" D&D - especially as other people started picking up the real books.   Eventually one of my friends acquired his own copy of D&D, and we switched to the "real" game.  But none of us had actually played it, so we all had to learn together - but it honestly wasn't that much different than what we had been doing with Melee & Wizard.

I was saving up to buy my own copy of D&D when I saw an ad for Traveller, and I bought that instead. I probably ran more Traveller games in High School than anything else. 

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I found the little D&D Diablo 2 thing! It was in the Diablo 2 box! So it must have been something that was included with the game at purchase in the early days.


It's a very tiny premade adventure, that has super simple intro rules, with pregen characters for the Amazon, Barbarian, Paladin, and Sorceress classes. It uses only a d6 for all of its rolls, because it always simply says "roll one die" or "roll three die" without specifying what type to roll. There's no armor class, and instead you have a "to hit" number on your character sheet which, if you equal or beat on a roll of 3 die, means you hit whatever target you were aiming for. Also, it does away with spell slots and the like to give all characters a mana pool that they expend by using their skills, of which each pregen character has at least 1 skill and at least 4 mana points.


I really want to find affordable copies of the old Diablo 2 D&D Adventure Game stuff. From what I've read elsewhere, it plays a bit like HeroQuest with extra bits of 1/2e AD&D thrown in(for actual AC and stuff). All pregen characters, only 5 levels of advancement, uses dungeon tiles for all mapping, and not quite as dense as a full blown RPG due to its more hack and slash nature. It'd be something good to have to drag around to SCA events, where a full blown D&D game isn't likely to happen but something where a handful of people can get drunk and roll some dice is good to have around.




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I first played D&D (no idea what edition it was) in the mid 90s with my older brother (he's 5 years older and was sooooooo cool). Eventually he and his friends hit their 20s and were too busy/cool to hang out with a teenager and I stopped playing until recently when I got back into it when I learned that my friends were all super nerdy and watched Critical Role and one thing led to another and now I play semi-weekly. 


Two of them had never played and were dragged along by their spouses so I guess the contagion spread to them too. 

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I guess I should elaborate a bit since we seem to be moving beyond just RPGs.

1971 - 8 years old received a copy of Avalon Hill's boardgame Gettysburg (I think my father always regretted giving me this)

1975 - AH Panzerblitz - I introduced a lot of players with this boardgame

1976 - TSR White box edition (again saw an article in the Boulder Daily Camera about the CU game group, two of these players had played with Gygax and crew), Greyhawk Supplement, Blackmoor Supplement,  Eldritch Wizardy Supplement, Gods, Demi Gods and Heroes Supplement

1977 - AH Squad Leader (I still play infrequently), Metagaming's Ogre (Microgame #1), AD&D Monster Manual (not sure it was labeled AD&D at this point), First Fantasy Miniatures from Heritage and Ral Partha, TSR Fight in the Skies (WWI Air Combat game, would much, much later become Dawn Patrol, I own every edition of this game, including from the company that designed the game although I don't remember the name off hand)

1978 - First convention - Genghis Con I, Traveller RPG, AD&D Players Handbook, WW II Miniatures with GHQ Microarmor

1979 - Genghis Con II, first trip to GenCon (taking place at Kenosha WI, University of Wisconsin/Parkside), Napoleonic Miniatures. I had my drivers license for three months when I made the cross country trek with friends from Denver, AD&D DMG, Star Fleet Battles (Folio Version)

1980 - Second trip to Gencon (Also at the University of Wisconsin/Parkside) worked for a Dimension Six as an exhibitor, I also visited the Safe House in Milwaukee with Dimension Six and the guys from the Armory. 


Those were the major gaming events in the first ten years or so of my life in gaming. There were a lot of other games (including Melee and Wizard and Into the Labyrinth from Metagaming and Runequest from Chaosium) in there and I have been gaming pretty continuously in one form or another (RPGs, Boardgames, Miniatures) since 1971 to the current day.

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My very first contact was in 1982 when I was 8. My city cousin who was a year older came to visit for a couple weeks and he had the AD&D DMG, Players Handbook, a couple starter modules and a handful of minis. He got me and another cousin playing. When he left all we had was our character sheets. We didn't have access to any of the books or anythinge except d6 for ourselves so we designed our own game based on what we could remember from our games. We had tons of hand drawn maps and very little in the way of rules or restrictions. I'm not sure if the stats we rolled up actually had any effect on the play. We got a few friends and relatives playing with us. Several years later we got ahold of the important AD&D books and some of the D&D boxes. I was DM for a small group of friends for a couple years in high school. Eventually everybody except my closest friend grew out of it and we swiched to miniature games instead of rpgs. I introduced those to a bunch of other people but I'm the only one still totally hooked on them. All the others I had playing have moved away from the area so now I just play wth my kids.

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On 3/4/2018 at 3:03 PM, Dr.Bedlam said:


d20_geek_swag_classic_round_sticker-r60c86ec2169449b8991f726a21f95262_v9wth_8byvr_324.jpg.be165c7b617de987baf68972eccec18a.jpg ...and this is what brings me to come bother YOU people. How did you get involved in RPGs? How did you learn to play? How did you develop the interest?

Was there an older cousin, sibling, friend, role model? Were you influenced by marketing or advertising? Trip over it at a comic shop? Encounter a screaming mob of beardos, flinging dice and invective at each other?

I'd like to know.

It was the Fall of 1975 and I was taking a Science Fiction and Fantasy Lit. course in my first semester back in college after my [almost]6 years active duty in the Navy.  A lot of the chatter was about this New Game called "Dungeons & Dragons", which sounded like a book come to life from the descriptions being related.

I expressed interest and was quickly invited to sit in on a game.

I was hooked.

The nearest place to obtain a copy of the game was about 35 miles away so I quickly made arrangements to "get thee hither",  The White Box had just been released and my choice was that or the Wood Grain Box at a slightly higher price.  Being a "college student" I chose the less expensive version.

If you've seen the original brown cover pamphlet size books then you realize that this was not a finished game, but more of an aid in making a game by having already designed systems and charts and tables for fighting and magic but little instruction in how to make a game out of the provided material.

It really took learning how it all fit together from somebody who already knew how to play in order to have a playable game.

D&D wasn't something you could "just pick up" unless you were already an experienced war-gamer familiar with multiple rules systems.

That problem was addressed, more or less successfully, when the Basic/Expert system editions were released.  When AD&D was released, it was finally a polished and well developed game that most people could pick up just from the books.

I ended up with all the original D&D Supplements, an ever increasing quantity of dice [the original set that came in the box quickly turned themselves into plastic rocks as the corners rounded off due to the soft plastic they were made of], a box of ~lead~ miniatures, weekends spent playing with the local group or at whatever SF Con was happening in the Los Angeles area, and within a year I was running a campaign.  When Judges Guild released the City State of the Invincible Overlord it became the anchor city for my campaign and it became increasingly difficult to get the adventurers out of the city as they were having Too Much Funtm in or under the city.

Campaign ran all the way until my senior year, when I got too busy with Senior Project to devote the time to keeping one adventure ahead of my players.

In the meantime I was also introduced to the SCA and through some of my SCA friends into a wide variety of games, both commercial and games designed by a couple of our regular group.

After college one of our regular group moved into a condo where the guy two doors down was an avid WWII war-gamer, to the point where he had an 8' by 16' permanent table in his garage and a small wall of drawer cabinets full of WWII era goodies, from infantry to aircraft so we all spent a lot of time  re-fighting historical battles or fighting made up engagements.

Here I am, 40 some odd years later with several filing cabinet drawers full of gaming books and paraphernalia, boardgames, and several shipping cartons space of miniatures plus painting supples.

This in addition to my lifelong Model Railroading addiction, and other hobbying interests.


On 3/4/2018 at 4:31 PM, BlazingTornado said:

I'm a late comer, I started on D&D 5th edition, so it's the internet age and there were plenty of online ressources I could poke around for... Mostly I checked out D20 Live and Spoony's Counter Monkey.


Started out DMing for some co-workers.


Which I thing is a thing Mike Mearls addressed recently during this or that... He said that now with all the vloggers (Matt Colville, WebDM, Dawnforged, Nerdarchy, Taking20, god knows which others) and all the games played for audiences (Critical Role, That Guy: The Game, Dice Camera Action, Adam Koebbel's games, every other live-streamed game imaginable on Twitch or YouTube), the Older Cousin model might be on its way out.

Learning from the internet could be viewed as learning from "the older cousin once removed".

But it sometimes takes longer to get a question answered.


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