It’s hard to believe that Dungeons & Dragons has been around for just about as long as I’ve been alive. It’s hard to put an exact date on its anniversary, but according to this analysis, the closest approximation would be this past Sunday, January 26th. With so much focus on Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary last fall, I almost let this one pass me by—indeed, it was only seeing people tweeting about it on the weekend that reminded me! But roleplaying has been a major part of my life since I was 9 years old, and I could hardly let D&D’s 40th anniversary go by without at least mentioning it.
A couple of years ago, I prefaced my review of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beginner Box with a recollection of how I first got into the game, so I’ll let people read that rather than repeating it here. Of course, I don’t strictly play Dungeons & Dragons anymore. My game of choice is Pathfinder. I was not particularly taken by Fourth Edition D&D, so when the Pathfinder option presented itself, I was an easy convert. But Pathfinder is really just a revised Third Edition D&D, published under the Open Gaming License, so in that sense I’ve never really left D&D. But it does also mean that I haven’t really kept up with what is current with the game that still carries the name Dungeons & Dragons. I know Fourth Edition is out and “D&D Next” is on its way in, but I’ve not been keeping up with news about the new edition. I sometimes regret that a little, but it’s a matter of time that I just don’t have.
What I can say, though, is I will be playing Dungeons & Dragons in some form (either as Pathfinder or some future regeneration of the game) for the rest of my life. When I die (assuming I don’t manage to live forever), it will either be watching Doctor Who or with a d20 in my hand. In the meantime, here’s an early (and kind of scathing) 1974 review of the original Dungeons & Dragons game that was posted this weekend on EN World: