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The History Of Role Playing Games

Aug 6, 2008
Role playing games were originally born out of simple role playing exercises that people performed. Role playing often had origins in theater, with people taking on the persona of a character and adopting that personality, background, and motivation as their own. Staying in this character, they would perform a series of events to complete the tasks assigned to them.

This idea eventually grew into gaming, with players taking on the persona of a certain character and fulfilling the objectives of the game, creating a story as they progressed. Each one of the characters used has a characterization and a certain set of skills that match the role, and by adopting this character, players are given the chance to participate in a story adventure in a unique way.

In the late 19th Century and early into the 20th, a series of parlor games were produced that incorporated elements of role playing. One popular game, called Jury Box, recreated a mock trial for players to participate in. This game, and others like it, proved to be quite popular and paved the way for more role playing games to be marketed. Historical re-enactment groups took role playing another step further in the 1960s, by hosting "creative history" games, which largely re-enacted historical events with some small fantasy elements incorporated into the event.

War games also had a large effect on the development of role playing games. Battle emulation games were developed as early as 1780, with a game based on chess developed by the Master of Pages for the Duke of Brunswick. History has shown that, later, in the early 1800s, the Prussian General Staff started developing their own set of war games as part of their military training. Metal pieces were moved around a table, dice rolls were used to indicate random chance, and a referee was used to keep track of the scoring.

As time passed, more and more realistic elements were added to the war games, which became adapted by other countries as well, becoming an important part of their military training exercises. War games made the transition into the public market in 1913, when Little Wars was published, a game that made the use of children's toy soldiers. The phenomenon took off and war games started becoming more and more popular, with many different variations becoming available.

Games were focused around recreating actual battles and wars, while others started to be produced that were completely original designs and situations. Fantasy elements quickly found their way into these products.

The most popular role playing game debuted in 1974. Dungeons and Dragons used the elements of classic role playing, with each player adopting a character and taking on its personality, characteristics, and special skills. Quests were designated for players, who often banded together in groups to complete the mission. The game provided them with basic events to choose between and react to, but part of the popularity of the game was that it allowed the players to craft their own story as the playing continued, giving them a chance to exercise their creativity.

Many different sorts of role playing games have since been released, giving all players many different options for exploring their creative side, making these unique types of games a highly fun and popular choice for many gaming enthusiasts.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for board games, chess boards, and dungeons and dragons miniatures. You will find all these things and more if you look for used board games, chess boards, and role playing games.
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