Braunstein, the world's first role-playing game
September 6, 2008 8:50 PM Subscribe
Most gamers have never heard of Braunstein. Sad but true. In the hierarchy of self-awareness you’ll find the circle of gamers who know what D&D is (a very, very large circle), then inside of that is the circle of gamers who know what Greyhawk is (large but smaller), and inside that the circle who knows what Blackmoor is (smaller still). And then in the very center, vanishingly small, are the people who’ve heard of Braunstein. Which is a pity, because Braunstein is the granddaddy of them all.Braunstein: the Roots of Roleplaying Games by Ben Robbins. The first role-playing game was run by soldier David Wesely in 1967, his group including none other than D&D co-creator Dave Arneson. This past GenCon Braunstein was revived! Here's what the players had to say. Handouts from an earlier Braunstein revival. David Wesely's post-game comments. [via Rob McDougall]
David Wesely provides further background (posting as weseld1) including that his inspiration for introducing the figure of a "referee" (a.k.a. game master or dungeon master) came from Strategos, The American Game of War by Lt. Charles Adiel Lewis Totten. Rob McDougall tells the story of Totten. Wesely also mentions two books of game theory which had a great influence on him, one of which The Compleat Strategyst, was a bestseller put out by the RAND Corporation. Rob McDougall traces the history of roleplaying back to RAND.
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