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Happy 40th Birthday, Dungeons & Dragons

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Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons according to Jon Peterson, author of Playing at the World. The effects of Dungeons & Dragons on popular culture are far-reaching, as I explained in The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games:

A sort of fantasy shorthand has been developed as a result of The Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons in modern culture, such that even non-gamers know that dwarves live underground, elves have pointy ears, and wizards cast spells. If role-playing games are perhaps not as interested in delving into reality to prove political points, the future may lay in other fantasy gaming mediums.

When Gygax was asked if he resented the Dungeons & Dragons clones in other gaming mediums, he was flattered. "In fact," said Gygax in Master of the Game (1989:155), "I am saddened only that there isn't more exploitation ... the greater the exposure to the imaginative, creative, and social aspects of role-playing, the greater participation in the field, and thus the prospects of better things to come."

Dungeons & Dragons also greatly influenced my own personal development:

From my own personal experience, playing role-playing games was an important part of my professional development. Speaking confidently to a group seated around a table, agreeing on a course of action, and getting team members to work together using a set of complex rules, are all attributes I use at work. Before I ever entered the business world, I had unknowingly led hundreds of business meetings. All that was missing was some dice.

In celebration, my gaming group entered a dungeon and fought a dragon. Here's to another forty years of gaming adventure!

Want more? Subscribe to this column; follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar. Become an Examiner and get paid to write today!

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