The Joy of Play

By | September 20, 2014

Hello again!

This week I had a lovely, nostalgic feeling.  We’ve had cool, overcast weather here in Raleigh the past few days, and one day while I was out walking in it I felt like I’d stepped back in time.  I first started playing in October of 1995, and the weather feels about the same right now as it did then.  I thought about my first set of blue gem dice with the one orange d10 and my 2nd Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook, the one with the knight charging toward you.  I had one of the later printings, with the rectangular gold TSR logo.

I remembered how much I looked forward to those early sessions, when I had just the one book and worlds of adventure ahead of me.  There was a happy eagerness to those early sessions, something that went missing as I got older and continued to game but, somehow, lost the thrill of it.

I don’t know that I can ever really recapture that early feeling for more than a few minutes, but recently we’ve been playing through the 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set, and I find myself having a lot of that same old joy.  I look forward to adventuring in a way I haven’t in a very, very long time.  To me, this new edition of D&D is the best edition I’ve ever read or run – gone is the complexity of 3rd and 4th, back is the simplicity of 2nd and earlier, but with a cleaner sense of mechanics and game design than has ever been.

Are there flaws?  There are always flaws.  But today is about joy!

It feels good to wander back into Faerun, a place I haven’t been since the mid-90s, and use a ruleset where I don’t feel like I have to have entirely too much memorized in order to play the game.  That might just be the result of the game being so early in its lifespan that there’s not too much “optimization” in it yet.  At the same time, it’s been streamlined to the point where there can really only be but so much optimization, and I appreciate that.

It’s definitely given us something to think about as we finish up Beta 1.02 and begin looking at the improvements for Beta 1.03.

Thanks for reading!