Edition swapping

After a long (long) hiatus from any form of gaming, I decided to jump back into the deep end last spring. I’m no longer living in my old stomping grounds, however, so I knew I was going to need to find a new gaming group. A fresh start as it were.

I decided to give Yahoo groups a try and see if I couldn’t find one that targeted gamers in the area who were looking for new players. I was fortunate and not only found a Yahoo group, but also found an actual group of players who needed additional bodies.

As it turned out, the group (we’ll call it Mike’s group since he was the DM) was playing 2nd Edition AD&D. To be honest, I was a bit surprised. I personally always liked 2nd Edition, except for all those damned “handbooks,” but had found that most people were pretty into 3 or 3.5.

I wasn’t particularly looking for a D&D game and I wasn’t sure how I’d like jumping back into an older version of the game (even though I had liked it a lot). I decided to give it (and the group) a try and see how it went.

To make a long story short, I played with the group a few times but found the time a bit awkward for my schedule. I wound up having to drop out and leave it for different pastures.

I left, however, being impressed that Mike was still using 2nd Edition. He said from our first meeting that he had thousands of dollars worth of material and wasn’t about to change editions just to keep current. Plus, his group was comfortable with 2nd Edition and loved what they could do with it.

I found that particularly enlightening. I’ve spent the bulk of my gaming life as a GM (for one game or another) and I never rely exclusively on published material. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I used a store bought adventure for a game (twenty years ago maybe?).

For me, finding a player like Mike was pretty Karmic. I’ve always felt that games have too-short a shelf life, and I’ve never been able to figure out why game companies are so quick to turn over editions. I realize that people want the system to improve, but in many cases the improvements force a complete upgrade of a game system (not unlike computers), which throws everything you own into turmoil.

I can still remember the switch from 1st Edition to 2nd Edition. I was taking on a group who were eighth or ninth level and none of them were happy with all the changes. Fortunately, the changes between these two editions were largely positive.

I can’t imagine what those who were playing during the transition from 2nd to 3rd probably dealt with. I wasn’t actually playing at the time so I didn’t have to sit through the moans and groans.

Though, I have to say that like Mike, I’m much more inclined these days to say screw it. I like this game (this version) and I’m going to stick with it.

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