Thursday, 24 May 2012

Big is Beautiful

It's long been my view that TSR-era D&D, taken as a whole, is the most brilliant game there is. No - I don't mean the system is brilliant: it isn't. No sensible person would design a game that way nowadays, knowing what we now know about game design, which has undoubtedly got better since 1974.

D&D's brilliance comes from the fact that, plain and simply, it has the biggest "brain trust" of any game system on the planet. Like Manchester United, who can draw on football playing talent worldwide, or like the USA, which can siphon off the intelligent and talented multitudes from every corner of the globe, D&D has for decades been the biggest game around, and that means that it can draw on more creativity, talent and innovation than any other system.

The perfect example of this is, of course, the OSR and what is going on nowadays on Google+ (mainly, it has to be said, thanks to this guy more than anybody else). There are hundreds of extremely talented, thoughtful, entertaining and clever gamers pooling their ideas daily on teh internets, and the dead giveaway is that almost (though not entirely) all of it feeds into one game - D&D.

Far from seeing this as a bad thing, I embrace it. Perhaps if I wasn't interested in its own peculiar and idosyncratic take on the fantasy genre I would bemoan D&D's dominance. But I love it, so I don't.

D&D, you are the bestest game in the whole wide world.


  1. The power of a common language, platform, or whatever you want to call it. The known baseline.

    Incidentally, man I hate how Google has localized all blogspot URLs based an place of access rather than place of publication (I mention this because of the that was tacked on presumably by Google to your dndwithpornstars link).

  2. Seems like an odd decision, doesn't it? Not sure what the rationale behind it is.

  3. Who can tell how the mind of Google works?

  4. Yes and: what I love is that although there's obviously a huge core of elves-n-dwarves-n-sword+1 dnd playing out there, there's also room in the tent for carcosa and gamma world and Roman era Trav and modern cops, done by people who don't care to play other games that make more sense. And Zak's brilliant Flailsnails idea is practically a challenge to push the edges.

    Yay dnd. I still hate most of your systems but I love the games you make possible.

  5. the biggest "brain trust" of any game system on the planet

    Yes, these are heady days for anyone playing a D&D-oid game. There is just such an embarrassment of riches out there. I can't keep up with the torrent of random tables, one-page dungeons, house rules, tips on designing sandboxes, etc, etc. Certainly there are much more sensible systems out there, but none has the resources that are available to the busy DM.