Happy 40th BDay, Dungeons & Dragons

I started playing Dungeons & Dragons in 1977. I had read about it in the Detroit News, Detroit's afternoon newspaper. There was long article in the weekend Living/Accent section about the game (which I have since tried unsuccessfully to track down). I was already reading science-fiction and fantasy books, plus playing Strat-O-Matic sports games and Avalon Hill wargames. Dungeons & Dragons didn't seem like much of a stretch.

I scored a ride with my cousin, whose orthodontist was in Ann Arbor, near the University of Michigan. His Mom always took him to a nearby comic book store after his appointment, so I went along and looked for the game in the store. I asked the guy at the counter and he handed me the box containing the Holmes Basic Dungeons & Dragons set. It had to have been from one of the first three printings, as it contained the dungeon geomorphs and not B1 or B2. The absence of an adventure module was probably the most influential aspect of that particular boxed set, as our group never bought or used adventure modules in the early days. We each built giant dungeons or Middle Earth-like worlds and then took turns DMing, although I always ended up DMing when the entire group (four of us) were present.

We quickly added the original D&D boxed set of three books, the four original supplements, the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual, and Judges Guild's Ready Ref Sheets to our game. It ended up very similar to the Swords & Wizardry Complete rule set (which explains my fondness for the S&W Complete rules).