Skip to main content

A brief history of Role Playing Games

Role playing games, warcraftThe first strategy game that attempted to realistically model conflict was the Kriegspiel, developed by a Prussian staff officer, von Reisswitz, in 1824. Kriegspiel, from the German for wargame, was a system used for training officers in the Prussian army. The first set of rules was Instructions for the Representation of Tactical Maneuvers under the Guise of a Wargame, produced in 1824 by von Reisswitz, a lieutenant in the Prussian army, based on earlier work by his father. Today it is considered the grandfather of modern wargames.

In 1913, Little Wars, a slim set of miniature rules written by H G Wells published. Little Wars is recognized today as the first recreational wargame and gamers and hobbyists regard Wells as "the Father of Miniature War gaming."

In the 1930s, Fletcher Pratt, a Civil War historian and fantasy author, developed a set of rules for naval engagements, known by the title Fletcher Pratt’s Naval Wargame.

In 1938, children’s book The Hobbits written by J. R. R Tolkien published in Great Britain. In 1954, the Lord of the Rings saw only modest critical interest, at least initially. But the elements to be found init, including the conflict between good and evil in a fantastic world populated by elves, dwarves, hobbits, orcs, men and other were to become an integral part of fantasy role-playing gaming that we see today.

In 1953, Civilian wargaming began in the US when Charles S. Roberts, developed a game called Tactics. It posited two hypothetical countries, with typical post-World War II armies, going to war with each other. This was the first of the modern commercial wargames (as we know them).

It was in near the end of 1973, that Dungeons & Dragons was published by Tactical Studies Rules (TSR)

Professor Muhammad Abd-al-Rahman Barker, a professor of Urdu and South Asian Studies, at the University of Minnesota, writing under the pen name M. A. R. Barker, was the originator of an entire world-Tekumel. It became the setting for a role-playing game called Empire of the Petal Throne, published in 1975 by TSR, Inc. Born Philip Barker, he converted to Islam in 1951 on his first trip to India. Tékumel, is a fantasy world based on from ancient India, the Middle East, the Aztecs and Maya, and other non-European sources. Besides being published by TSR, Tékumel has spawned three other professionally-published roleplaying games over the course of the years:

  • Swords & Glory, published in 1983 by Gamescience.
  • Gardasiyal: Adventures in Tékumel, published in 1994 by Theater of the Mind.
  • Tékumel: Empire of the Petal Throne, published in 2005 by Guardians of Order.
While drawing heavy influence from fantast literature and world histories and myths, games like WarCraft from Blizzard, a multiplayer online network game, have become global phenomena.


Popular posts from this blog

Famous Old Faces of Doordarshan

Some people recall the faces and some people recall the names. Here are images of some of the famous readers and presenters of Doordarshan down the years. If you recognize any of them, leave a comment.
[Update 1: Most of the faces now have names thanks to helpful comments by olio-gallimaufry]
[Update 2: Included image of one of the earliest presenters, Gopal Kaul. Send in generously from personal collection by son, Ashutosh Kaul. Sept, 2010.]
[Major Update 3: Got a tip-off about a documentary about the famous faces of Doordarshan from the makersof“The Golden Trail , DD@50 :Special feature on Golden Jubilee of Doordarshan” from which these caps were taken. I managed to catch the incredible documentary and am adding some more faces/name and part of the docu here. New ones can be found after the image of Narotam Puri. 30th Oct, 2010]

 Pratima Puri. Believed to be the first Doordarshan reader.

Indian Cigarette Vintage Ads

He put a cigarette in his mouth and, as a matter of silent routine, offered one to Gwyn, who said ‘No thanks.”Richard looked at him.”I packed it in.”"You what?”"I stopped. Three days ago. Cold. That’s it. You just make the life choice.”

Richard looked up and inhaled needfully. He gazed at his cigarette. He didn’t really want to smoke it. He wanted to eat it. Almost the only thing that he still liked about Gwyn was that he still smoked…Paradoxically, he no longer wanted to give up smoking: what he wanted to do was take up smoking. Not so much to fill the little gaps between cigarettes with cigarettes (there wouldn’t be time, anyway) or to smoke two cigarettes at once. It was more that he felt the desire to smoke a cigarette even when he was smoking a cigarette. The need was and wasn’t being met…

While it would always be true and fair to say that Richard felt like a cigarette, it would now be doubly true and fair to say it. He felt like a cigarette. And he felt like a cigaret…

Kishore Kumar, Yodel-ay-ee-oooo Songs, A List

*Updated with corrections pointed out by Bart Plantenga, author of some incredible book on Yodeling including Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo: The Secret History of Yodeling Around the World.


Kishore Kumar's brother Anoop Kumar, who we basically know for the line 'O manu tera toh hua ab mera kya hoga', used to own lots of Austrian music records. And from these records, Kishore Kumar picked up the art of Yodel singing, an art perfected in bathroom and then introduced by him to the world of Hindi film music. According to his biography 'Kishore Kumar: method in madness‎ ' by Derek Bose, "Kishore was a fan of the Swiss singer Tex Norton [* Tex Morton, an Australian cowboy born in New Zealand who sang  in the gene autry / Jimmie Rodgers style] and the Australian Jimmy Rogers [*Jimmie Rodgers, perhaps the most American and one of the most famous yodelers in the world, famous for his blue yodels] as well."

Although most of these songs by Kishore Kumar are thought to be '…