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] [more inside]
"Claude Degler attended the Chicon in 1940, and at Denver in 1941 delivered a speech purporting to have been written by Martians." So begins the Fancyclopedia I entry on Degler's Cosmic Circle. Claude Degler believed that science fiction fans were destined to evolve into a new species superior to homo sapiens, "cosmen." In 2001 (the year) David B. Williams went in search of Degler, who had disappeard from fandom in 1951. Teresa Nielsen Hayden wrote in 1986 a story/essay about the inner Degler called Hell, 12 Feet. He was as infamous as fans got, though some remember him sort of fondly. Degler crops up regularly in the "All Our Yesterdays" columns written by fandom historian, Harry Warner Jr. The ones with most information are the columns H.C. Koenig. Claude Degler, O Pioneers and The Cosmic Circle. Here's a Degler quote from the last link: We have created a fannationalism, a United World Fandom. Someday soon we will have our own apartment building, then our own land, our own city of Cosmen, schools, teachers, radio programme — later; our own laws, country perhaps! Our children shall inherit not only this earth — but this universe! Today we carry 22 states, tomorrow, nine planets!