This is a milestone month for me. We are expecting our third child to come any day now and I turn 40 this Saturday. I started gaming with the Moldvay Basic Set of Dungeons & Dragons, making this my 30th year of gaming as well!

Given the fact that I need to lighten my load a bit, and the fact that yesterday was April Fool’s Day, I thought I’d celebrate my Neo-Grognardness with a nostalgic look back at my 80s gaming era.

So without further ado, you know you were an 80s Gamer if…

– you played AD&D. D&D was for amateurs.

– regardless of system, you still call published adventures “modules.”

– you have fond memories of frying monsters with those cool laser weapons from the Barrier Peaks.

– you introduced the metric system to your fantasy world just to make coin conversions easier.

– the mention of FASERIP makes you smile.

– you had arguments over what stats you and your buddies should have before giving yourselves superpowers.

– you screamed at the television that “Acrobat” was not a proper AD&D class.

– at least one of your favorite PCs is written on loose leaf.

– one of your PCs died during character creation.

– you hate Tom Hanks.

– your group once wiped out an entire pantheon of gods just for the bragging rights and the treasure.

– you know the difference between a hireling and a henchman.

– you judge the quality of a post-apocalyptic RPG on how well it can emulate Thundarr the Barbarian.

– you own a d30 and still don’t know what to do with it.

– you wonder why all the new Middle-Earth stuff ignores the Court of Ardor.

– at least one of your PCs carried a three-bladed sword.

– you remember exactly where you were the first time you laid eyes upon Shadowrun.

– at least one of your PCs met a hilarious end due to an Arms Law/Claw Law critical hit.

– you were ticked off that someone tried to pass off a giant shuriken as a glaive (but you still made up stats for it).

– you bemoan all of the options the latest iterations of D&D offer for PCs and fondly remember when all you needed to make an AD&D character was four hardbacks, six or seven issues of Dragon Magazine, one issue of White Dwarf, a couple of rules nicked from D&D, and several house rules.

– you thought the cartoon was stupid and couldn’t wait for someone to make a serious D&D movie, which you now regret.

Thanks for reading! I hope you got a chuckle out of these and I promise to write a meatier article next time!

Walt Ciechanowski

About  Walt Ciechanowski

Walt’s been a game master ever since he accidentally picked up the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set in 1982. He became a freelance RPG writer in 2005 and is currently the Victoriana Line Developer for Cubicle 7. Walt lives in Springfield, PA with his wife Helena and their three children, Leianna, Stephen, and Zoe.



18 Responses to You Know You Were an 80s Gamer if…

  1. You know you were an ’80’s gamer if you had to color in your dice.

  2. if you remember races as classes.

  3. If by “battle mat” you meant an 8.5×11 sheet of graph paper.

  4. @griffon8 – For “ADnD” that stopped after the very first white box rulebooks. but basic DnD kept them until it was discontinued in the very early 90s.

  5. Wow. All that and no mention of Call of Cthulhu, surely the most talked-about game-changer of the 80s.

    Was I the only person running Traveller who changed “death” to “discharged”?

  6. Walt Ciechanowski

    @Sewicked – That’s also a good one! One of my favorite early dice was a red d20 that I colored in with yellow. It was the ugliest thing, but I used it for years.

    @Matthew J. Neagley – I never understood why “Halfling” wasn’t modeled on the Thief rather than the Fighter.

    @JDSampo – My groups rarely used a battle mat. We made maps, but combat was completely verbal.

    @Roxysteve – This list was based on personal experience; while I’d bought some of the stuff, I never actually played CoC until the mid 90s (Delta Green).

  7. You know you were an 80’s gamer if you can discern from a single percentile dice roll not only if you hit your arch-nemesis from Web, but also where and for how much damage.

  8. Two words that define 80s gaming for me: “Judges Guild”. I owned only two of their publications, neither for D&D, but their stuff was everywhere.

  9. @Patrick Benson – I know what game that is. :)

    That alone shows I was an eighties gamer.

  10. You know you’re an 80’s gamer if you had Car Wars in the DVD cases.

  11. @Matthew J. Neagley – Guess I was one of the ‘pros’. I never actually owned Basic D&D or Expert D&D.

    I’m definitely on board for 11 of these. I can understand most of the rest.

    I miss classic White Dwarf. But I don’t think I could watch Thundarr again.

  12. Walt Ciechanowski

    @Patrick Benson – I was an ORION agent! I also played a FREELancer.

    @Roxysteve – That’s another one we never touched. I remember seeing “City-State” stuff on the racks, but I never bought them.

    @Ken Zieger – And OGRE :)

    @griffon8 – I actually caught some reruns last year. My then-5 yo daughter loved it!

  13. Kurt "Telas" Schneider

    You know you were an 80s gamer if you used the Twilight:2000 rules to recreate the movie “Red Dawn” in your hometown.

  14. Walt Ciechanowski

    @Kurt “Telas” Schneider – You poser – real 80s gamers used “The Price of Freedom.” :)

  15. You know you were an ’80s gamer if you were ever killed by a Personal Hygiene Test and Cleanliness Maintenance Kit.

  16. You know you were an ’80s gamer if you still sometimes refer to miniatures as ‘leads.’

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