Thursday, March 3, 2022

Rewatching The Secrets of Blackmoor - The True History of Dungeons & Dragons

Griffith Morgan was kind enough to gift me with a copy of The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg. (a more detailed review of Tonisborg is in the works) It's a book that simply reeks with gaming history, and I've been enjoying my time traveling experience. It has, however, put the documentary - The Secrets of Blackmoor, back into the forefront of my thoughts. I decided today, it was time to rewatch it.

I am literally watching as I type this post.

To put it simply, I had forgotten how good The Secrets of Blackmoor was, not just as a gamer and a History Major, but simply for the pure enjoyment of an amazingly well done documentary. I may need to watch this again with Rach. I think she'll enjoy it.

You can rent The Secrets of Blackmoor on Amazon for less than 4 bucks, or own it in digital for less than 11 bucks.

What if everything you knew about the history of Dungeons & Dragons was wrong?

6 Years, 12 Cities, 200 Hours of Interviews, 20,000 Documents and Photos: An unprecedented investigation into the history of D&D - the game that spurred a multi-billion dollar industry.

Be among the first to know the Secrets of Blackmoor.

Blackmoor is the name of a fictional world created by David Arneson. It is also the prototype of Dungeons & Dragons, the first published role playing game. Unlike other fantasy worlds, such as J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, Blackmoor is a living world that is being explored to this day. Secrets of Blackmoor investigates the origins of the role playing game, through candid interviews, archival footage, and newly discovered artifacts.

In 1963, David Wesely becomes a founding member of a club that includes history buffs, model makers, and miniature collectors. Hiding within the group, however, are a bunch of college students who are interested in war gaming. Within a year, the gamers meet a high school kid named Dave Arneson who is playing war games with his friends in his parents' basement.

These gamers have no idea that they will change the face of this hobby forever. Their only concern for now, is how to simulate the reality of war, and above all, they just want to have fun. Their voracious hunt for new rules and knowledge leads them to the University of Minnesota Library where they discover an old manuscript, Strategos; the American Game of War. Within the dense pages are a few sentences that inspire them.

The influence of Strategos changes how they play their war games. But are they really following these old rules, or have they stumbled onto something truly unique by misinterpreting what it says? Should a game be constrained by rules, like Monopoly, or should there be no boundaries at all, like a game of make believe?

One thing is very clear--something magical was going on in the Twin Cities.

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