A Quick Primer for Old-School Gaming

Encounters at the used-book store

blog review

I stumbled across a little one-issue zine called A Quick Primer for Old-School Gaming today. It's maybe 12 pages long, and it is an *excellent* book on [tabletop] RPG gaming. If you're a fan of OSR, or if you're just curious about the history of RPG and how it influences games and gamers today, get a copy of this (it's $0)!

It's arguably a niche topic; it's not just about RPG gaming, but about getting out of any rut you may have developed by getting too entrenched in rulebooks. Even so, I do feel like its core principle, that gaming should be fun and creative, broadly applies to anyone and everyone interested in gaming. You don't have to be knee-deep in rulebooks and character sheets to be the type of person who gets too serious or overwhelmed or intimidated by the very thing you are supposed to be doing for fun.

The essay is written well, with some examples of right and wrong (allowing for the fact that there is no Right or Wrong, the author instead shows you how things are often done in modern games versus old school games).

Now, I don't always agree. I do think there's a mild danger in this topic to declare that rules are restrictive and therefore bad. I've played in plenty of systems where rules are either missing or thrown out, leaving critical decisions to be made arbitrarily and, often times, contentiously. But I don't think the author is necessarily saying that. I think he's saying that the obsession with rules is bad, and of course, as with anything, if that makes the game experience less fun, then it is a bad thing.

All in all, it's a really great little booklet that you may as well have on your shelf. Lots of food for thought, and some really subtle ideas on how to keep that spark going in your gaming life.

As I said: it's a tiny book, easily read over your lunch break, so if you're interested, don't hesitate.

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