May 1, 2012

5th Edition? Really?

While reading some discussions about which D&D game was the bestselling it occurred to me that the edition numbers are really misleading. In fact there have been at least 25 editions of D&D in the English language alone.

"Basic" D&D has gone through 19 iterations, while AD&D has had 6 iterations (1st edition, 2nd edition, a "2.5" edition - the black covers, a 3rd edition, a 3.5 edition and the misnamed 4th edition - the correct name being "D&D but we really want to be WoW".)

D&D was conceived by some incredibly creative guys: Gygax and Arneson. And this genre defining idea was mismanaged by a series of incompetent doofuses for decades until Wizards of the Coast got a hold of it (to be clear I am talking about the doofus execs who managed TSR, not the hardworking designers). The game was given to a brilliant team of game designers, but I think these designers looked down their noses at the original 3 booklet set. They couldn't see past it's crude presentation and terrible organization to the core of the game which had a unique and brilliant heart.

I can't blame these designers, while I've always enjoyed the original it took the release of Swords & Wizardry for me to truly -grok- the brilliance, elegance, and genius of the original white box set.
What we got in 3rd edition was an overly complicated permutation of 1st edition D&D with a hybrid of Runequest (quite understandable since the chief designer was a long time fan of Runequest). Still, it was a vast improvement over 2nd edition, and to a generation hungry for the game of their youth it was a hit.

Apparently the bestselling D&D set was the Basic D&D Black Box.
Yeah, I'm shocked too. As a geek and collector, this is one of the sets I've had zero interest in acquiring. Perhaps it was a quirk of history with the generation after the D&D cartoon era being influenced by their older brothers?

If "D&D Next" is really 26th edition return to the Original - then you can bet I'll be buying a copy and getting all my friends to play.

If it is another ill conceived piece of marketing dung in the vein of 4th you can bet I won't waste my time.

BTW. I don't think I've ever even seen this version anywhere, ever.