RPG a Day 2016: Welcome to the world of tables and footnotes! – Day 20

I’ll tell you a little secret; some Saturday posts get written on Friday so the blogger has less to do on the weekend. Sorry for breaking the magic and showing you the cogs behind the curtain, the inner workings on this complex machine! That’s rather on topic today for we’re discussing challenging games. The topic for today’s #RPGaDay 20016 post is:

August 20: What is the most challenging but rewarding system have you learned?

And the accompanying clarification to this topic is: “What game did you struggle the hardest to learn, but were most glad that you did?”

This may seem like a silly answer, but I admit it, when I first read the book I wondered if I would ever understand this game, if all the verbiage, all the rules, would make sense to me? What did all this discussion about bell curves and standard deviation has to do with the game! Let me tell you about learning to play AD&D 1st edition.

I’ve played many games through the years, but I keep going back to D&D in all its many incarnations, and I count Pathfinder and the myriad OSR games I’ve played among those. But back then, when I decided to upgrade from D&D Basic and Expert to ADVANCED Dungeons & Dragons (there was no edition notation in the game back them), I wasn’t ready for what I was getting into.

Dungeon Master

D&D Basic and Expert (I had the Companion set, but we never got to those levels, and I eventually got the Masters and Immortal boxes, but I digress) were small, easy to read pamphlets, with lots of hand-holding and advice for the new DM. In contrast reading the AD&D books was like plunging in into a university level textbook; small print, walls of text, with the occasional piece of fantasy art here and there. It didn’t help that I decided to get the DM’s Guide first. When I started reading it didn’t make much sense.

There were so many new rules, and I felt like I had to master all of them before I could run a game. Reading those AD&D 1st edition book wasn’t fun at the time, it was more like homework. Visiting them again much later the experience was different, I was older, had a better grasp of the language. But making myself read those books definitely helped me become a better reader and expand my vocabulary. It was challenging, but I didn’t give up. The reward was a lifelong hobby that has brought so much happiness and many friends to my life!

THAC0 Salad

What’s the most challenging but rewarding game you’ve learned? Was this post a total cop out? Let us know in the comments! See you tomorrow.