They certainly improved on the fantasy games with MAGIC cards. I remember giving Dungeons and Dragons a try in the mid 1980s. My step brother asked me to join him and his friend in a little game, just the three of us.
His friend was the Dungeon Master. I was handed this sheet of paper with my step brothers stats on them. I think it was some kind of mid level elf hunter or something. He told me to be very careful with his character and not to make changes without his permission. My step brother may have been another hunter or scout or something. With these character stats, we had to imagine a scenario to journey through.
I think we rolled the dice on a setting. Either way, we ended up in a town of some kind. We made believe that it was a retirement community filled with old people. Since we both had good pickpocketing stats, we decided to start stealing from the old people. Every time we picked someone’s pocket, the dice had to be rolled to determine whether we were successful or not.
I couldn’t stop laughing at this Dungeons and Dragons game. I didn’t know that it was considered so open-ended. We were tying up old people and rolling them down stairs. We made sure to torture and steal from as many as we could. It was very reckless and fun. I really didn’t give any good experience for the character I used, because old people don’t yield many points. But it was fun at the time.
The problem with Dungeons and and Dragons was that it was probably too open-ended. People probably wanted much more direction than the descriptions of characters, weapons and enemies. I used to love looking at the old artwork and read the fantasy statistics. But I didn’t know what I could do with this information. It was all so new and lacked much direction.
Now, the Magic card games use many elements from Dungeons and Dragons and add more structure to the game. It made fighting the central theme, which is what most people tended to gravitate towards anyway. Instead of using a sheet of paper with your character stats, you use a deck of cards of your best players. The randomness seems to be more in the cards you can get rather than the roll of the dice.
Dungeons and Dragons may have gotten popular, but I don’t think it took off like Magic cards did. There are fairly large groups of young guys who get together and play their fantasy games based more on strategy than imagination. I guess if you want to experience more of the imagination end of this fantasy, you can read a book or watch TV.
I loved to watch the cartoon, Dungeons and Dragons in the mid 1980s, because it made me think of the game. However, it was nothing like the game.