Friday, December 23, 2011

Open Friday: Christmas Gaming Memories

Though I do want to talk about the results of last week's poll, since it's so close to Christmas, I thought I'd make this week's Open Friday post about gaming memories associated with the holiday. For me, I strongly associate gaming and Christmas, since it was a Christmas gift to a friend of mine -- TSR's Dungeon! -- that got me to dig out the Holmes boxed set sitting in the linen closet of my home and try to make sense of it for the first time. Subsequent Christmases often featured RPG-related gifts, but no Christmas will ever quite beat the one in 1979 when I was made first furtive steps into a hobby that's been with me for more than three decades. That's a memory I'll never forget.

How about you?

43 comments:

  1. Christmas 1981 - I had bought the AD&D Player's Handbook a few months before and got the DMG and Deities & Demigods as gifts on Christmas Eve; I received the Monster Manual on Christmas Day. All was then right with the world.

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  2. Nothing specific as a Christmas D&D memory. I do remember fondly playing D&D constantly over the holiday breaks.

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  3. Christmas '86. DRAGON magazine subscription. 'Nuff said.

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  4. All I know is that I mailed several people in town from various groups I know and we'll be running at least three RPG on December 25th starting at 13:00! (Kagematsu, Swords & Wizardry, Mountain Witch) and then we'll see whether we want to play other stuff into the early morning hours...

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  5. I remember playing a Christmas-themed game where we rescued Santa and fought evil snowman. It was from a magazine, either Imagine or White Dwarf I think, although I'm not sure.

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  6. Christmas 1981: I had been introduced to D&D through the bio section in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and since reading that I had searched everywhere for the rules in 'normal' book shops. I had found 'What is Dungeons and Dragons' via a high street bookshop and had begun to get an idea of what the game was actually about. That year, my grandmother travelled thirty miles to the nearest game shop and braved the inner sanctum of geekery, umbrella in hand, plastic rain hat and wheeled shopping trolley, to buy me the Moldvey boxed set.

    I remember the magic of reading that set from cover to cover that Christmas day and have my granny to thank for an interest in role-playing games which has lasted thirty years. It was the best present I ever received. Thanks gran.

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  7. My friends and I had heard about Dungeons & Dragons, but didn't have it yet. We made up our own maps with graph paper and played a game the way we thought D&D would be, I think we flipped coins to see if we hit the monsters. We did things like this for months and talked about it a lot.

    That christmas my parents got me the Basic and Expert sets. Needless to say, I was thrilled.

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  8. I played even more D&D around Christmas time, but only on account of additional time on my hands with school vacation. A few modules I remember receiving as Christmas gifts: D1-D3 and Q1, and X2.

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  9. In common with Simon Forster I remember the Christmas Adventure - pretty sure it was in Imagine - entitled 'For Whom The Bell Jingles' that had the Yeti, Father Christmas captured, a dungeon shaped like a Polo mint (that smelled minty fresh) and my personal favourite Snow Dwarf and the Seven Wights!

    A couple of years before I had spent most of December sneaking home from school on a lunchtime and peeking at the Monster Manual secreted on top of my parent's wardrobe - that would have been 1981. I can remember seeing the picture of a Hobgoblin as clear as if it were yesterday. Love it!

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  10. I received the Erol Otus covered red box D&D set for Christmas when I was 9. Can't ever forget that.

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  11. The only D&D Christmas memory I have is that I never got a D&D Christmas gift of any kind. My parents never understood what the game was or how to buy anything for it.

    I did get my own copy of the basic set for Easter one year though since I could just go to the store and pick it out myself.

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  12. My brother got Holmes basic for Christmas 1980, and getting other games for Christmas has always been a family tradition (Dark Tower in 1981 was another big one). Christmas screams gaming to me!

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  13. Every holiday, but especially Christmas and Thanksgiving I remember gaming with cousins and friends till we couldn't anymore. It would be fun to get in a game during the next couple of weeks.

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  14. Christmas Day, 1981. The Moldvay Basic Set. Months before, I had heard classmates speak of Fighter/Magic-Users and elven thieves. I was expecting such when I began reading the Moldvay rules, didn't see anything like it in the rules and assumed my friends were making up their own rules.

    A few months later, I'd learn of AD&D. Never got it. Stuck with Basic and later Expert as far as D&D goes, before moving on to other RPGs.

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  15. For me, it was an entire set of 2nd Edition core books for Christmas of 1994. I still have them all, including a monstrous manual signed by my grandmother...

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  16. Wow. Put in in the "Xmas of '81" crowd too.

    Earlier that year, friends at school brought the Moldvay Basic and Expert rules to school and it opened a whole new world for me.

    That Xmas I got the B/X rulesets, plus the AD&D MM and PHB. Boght the PHB with money I got for Xmas.

    30 years later, and it's all still with me.

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  17. Christmas of '86 I believe, I received the MERP boxed set. Loved it. It was the second game I owned after Dragon Warriors. Never got a chance to play it and it probably marked the beginning of the end of my first period of roleplaying. I stopped about 2 years later and only restarted in University.

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  18. Christmas 1981: I got the Moldvay D&D set, and the D&D Computer Labyrinth Game,

    Christmas 1983: I got the Deluxe Traveller set.

    Christmas is awesome.

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  19. My introduction to rpgs was Christmas of 1989. I won fifty bucks playing poker against a bunch of drunk relatives and went out and bought the 1e PHB, DMG and Five Shires Gazeteer the next day.

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  20. I usually received gaming-related gifts for Christmas, and gamed a lot over holiday breaks. But honestly, the biggest bang I ever got in gifts was, I think, the summer of 80 or 81. My mother asked me to make a list of things I wanted for my birthday. I wrote down every Judges Guild product I didn't yet have. She went and bought them all for me!

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  21. I can remember getting the Holmes boxed set for Christmas 1980, I believe. My dad found it on a discount table in some store and got it. He was my first DM. In subsequent years, my brother and I got a variety of products for Christmas, including the 1st edition AD&D books, the Labyrinth game and the pocket/LCD game, miniatures (including, one year, the dioramas). We had 2 or 3 stores in the area that carried RPG Stuff, so it was easy for them to find gifts.

    I can also remember playing Villains and Vigilantes with my brother downstairs in the family room as we fought out the "Death Duel With The Destroyers" over one Christmas break.

    Come to think of it, I think I also got a copy of Boot Hill in 1983.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane, James. It was a welcome distraction for a few minutes today.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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  22. Another 1981 memory (what a year!): I scored the AD&D DMG, Monster Manual, and Deities and Demigods. Look out world, I'm a Dungeon Master!

    The next couple years brought modules. I also remember my first set of miniatures, with an ochre jelly that looked like a blob scraped off the edge of a mold. I also got a few Avalon Hill titles, including the excellent Dune game, which I still own.

    By the time I started driving, I had my own money, and was buying games from companies like SJG that didn't have any hobby shop presence in my town. So no more gaming Christmases :-(

    But every Christmas now is just as great because I usually receive a Euro board game, such as the latest Dominion expansion. Can't wait to see what's under the tree this year . . .

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  23. My family didn't give games as gifts, or my brother & I never requested them. In addition to the mundane presents, there was usually cash or checks, which we spent at our FLGS and/or bookstores 1-2 days after Christmas.

    I do remember hosting New Year's Eve all-night game sessions through high school.

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  24. Gaming always seemed to wind down around the holidays since adulthood. Everybody so busy this time of year. My seasonal memories seem to be based more around summer and Halloween. Although I would have played this week if I hadn't had a cold, and we may be playing next week. This is a very rare amount of holiday time gaming for me.

    Cheers, and happy holidays to ye!

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  25. Does last week count? My little brother's in town for Christmas with his fiancee, my neighbor came over, and my wife was there . . . and they all did a really nice job breaking Secret of the Slavers Stockade.

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  26. '84 Christmas D&D Red box set ... I was sold!

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  27. Little to add, save this:

    http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/wwdnbackup/2009/03/this-isnt-a-book-its-a-time-machine.html

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  28. I only got gaming products other than board games once for Christmas. The first RPG in Finnish, of course the Red Box D&D was published in 1988, so I bought that for myself. We played it a lot with my friends, and at some point got the Expert box, when it was published.

    But next Christmas there was a complete disappointment: I got an RPG but it *wasn't* D&D, but this confusing and strange RuneQuest. I remember being quite annoyed - I was 12 and not the most polite kid.

    Next year, I had realized that this RQ thing was good with the help of some friends. This time I made a wish for a Finnish RQ book, Riimumestarin kirja. This translates roughly as "Runemaster's book", and it was a compilation of more rules, creatures and some Glorantha info. The Finnish RQ is the mix of RQ II and RQ III, I'm not sure exactly how, never having played or read either of them, and this new book had for example ritual magic.

    Anyway, this wish for a Christmas present was delivered to my grandmother, who didn't really know what I meant, so she got a book of runes which contained some 25 rune stones and a book for making divinations with them. I was of course again quite annoyed but this time kept quiet, and bought the proper book later myself.

    Later on I did loan the runestones and the book to a friend who never returned them, and only after that I realized that they would've been a great prop for many RPGs...

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  29. I was already gaming for at least a little while when I put GDW's Traveller box set on my wish list one Christmas. As I watched the wrapped pile of presents grow under the tree as Christmas Day approached I grew ever more despondent that none were the 9"x6" inches that signaled my wish would be granted...
    Even Christmas morning when the presents were sorted into piles by name that little box wasn't there in mine. But what did I find in that larger box I was certain contained a shirt or slacks or something else lame??? Deluxe Traveller! (Which I didn't even know existed at the time)
    Best Christmas gaming memory ever.

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  30. Xmas circa 1982, 6th grade. I was ready to move from Holmes D&D to AD&D. I asked for the Monster Manual, but is was sold out everywhere, so Mom gave me the Fiend Folio.

    I was disappointed, because I wanted the AD&D version of classic monsters like orcs, carrion crawlers, etc. But I remember sitting down at the coffee table and embracing the challenge of designing a low-level adventure for my friends populated entirely by Fiend Folio monsters like the berbalang, crabmen and the coffer corpse. I picked up the Monster Manual later, but I still like a lot of the monsters from the Fiend Folio because it was all I had for a few months.

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  31. Christmas 1977: Empire of the Petal Throne boxed set, about 100 Tekumel miniatures, AND Chivalry & Sorcery 1st Edition. C&S became my game for about 4 years after that.

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  32. I also associate Christmastide and the hobby. I discovered D&D in an old Sears/Penny's Christmas Wishbook when I was in middle school, c. 1979/1980. Then my 'fantasy' meter kicked up when I saw kids playing it in 9th grade at the start of school. That year I was wanting the old Atari Adventure video game, and that pushed me in that direction (I got it for Christmas). I also got the old Dark Tower board game for my birthday (in December) in 1980/81. By my 10th grade year, I got the AD&D MM (my parents thought it was just a book about mythology and monsters) for Christmas. That winter I played my first actual D&D game with a gaming group that met in the basement of the local First Federal in January. Much of my exposure to the game itself seemed to rotate around the holiday, as did my growing love of the middle ages (from subjects I took and studied during that fall/winter period in high school, such as studying Beowulf). So that's probably why my fantasy RPG thoughts get going a little more during the yuletide season than one might otherwise expect.

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  33. The first gaming book I remember clearly was a Christmas present: the Second Edition Dungeon Master Guide.

    I think I may have bought The Time of the Dragon boxed set first though, which I remember trying to use without the core rulebooks.

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  34. Getting D&D in my house for Christmas 1983 seemed as difficult as it was for Ralphy to get his Red Rider BB-Gun. I would strategically hang Sears catalog pages that advertised the game on the refrigerator door. I was constantly told it was a game of "devil worship", which only made me want it more! Christmas morning 1983 I unwrapped the Mentzer red box and sat there with a Cheshire cat grin staring at the cover. Not only did she get the boxed set but dwarven adventurer miniatures too! Apparently, mom enjoyed the psychological warfare she played with us kids on Christmas because the following year she did something similar when we wanted Colecovision. We used those books until the staples fell out of the binding. I still have that boxed set and consider it my most treasured artifact.

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  35. Like akfu23 - Christmas of 1981 I asked for the AD&D PHB, DMG, and MM (I think). Come Christmas morning there were no rulebook sized boxes under the tree. I'd tried to be a brave 9 yr old, but I was pretty upset. My parents were chuckling though, since the large, nondescript box tucked under the tree (literally the last present opened) contained all three books plus the Fiend Folio. Best Christmas ever.

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  36. Yet another Christmas '81 kid. I was a spoiled little bastard. I had no idea what the difference was between basic, expert, or AD&D, so I figured I had to have them all. I also got two boxes of a minis *(the monsters and dungeoneers sets from Grenadier). I think this was also the same Christmas that I picked up Dwarfstar's Barbarian Prince and Demonlord. The Dungeon Dwellers Crypt of the Sorcerer Paint 'n Play set would have been the same year.

    All of it out of the JC Penney's Christmas Wishbook.

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  37. Here's a pick of my Christmas haul from '81:

    https://plus.google.com/photos/118090182552861312817/albums/5689740105653432209

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  38. I think Christmas of 1980 for me, when I got the asked-for Holmes boxed set. That's how it all started.

    I guess a lot of guys are crossing their 30th anniversary tomorrow. Wish I'd thought of that last year. :-)

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  39. Christmas 79. Got my first wargame, by the end of 1980 I was all-in for Traveller. Sorry all, was never into D&D.

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  40. Merry Christmas and happy 30th gaming anniversary '81ers!

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  41. My parents would never have bought me AD&D stuff. The only xmas gaming memory I can dredge up is that I bought my first "MERP" product at (the original) Hobby Town in Lincoln during an xmas visit around 1983 - the Umbar module. I was so stoked to see Middle Earth modules!

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  42. Christmas of '80, I think. I was in 8th grade--the perfect age for the D&D geekiness bug to bite. I got the 1st Edition PHB for Christmas, and my brother got the 1st Edition DMG. I also received issue #44 of Dragon magazine (loved the article about Strength!)

    My brother made a dungeon for me as a Christmas gift, complete with various documents (including a very official-looking typewritten character sheet!).

    He also received the Blues Brothers record album, which I listened to so much while reading the PHB/DMG, that to this day hearing the beginning of "She Caught the Katy" reminds me of D&D!

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