Thursday, September 11, 2014

Young Dave Arneson

Young Dave Arneson. Picture released via the Great Kingdom Documentary

Before he went on to become Co-Designer of Dungeons & Dragons, Dave Arneson was a kid just like everyone else. This picture surfaced earlier this year via the now frozen Great Kingdom documentary project. Dave was born in Hennepin County, Minnesota on October 1st 1947. As a teenager in the 1960s he discovered board and war gaming with favorites such as Avalon Hill's Gettysburg.

Arneson Estate. Picture capture from the Great Kingdom Trailer.

In 1964 a gaming organization called the The Midwest Military Simulation Association (MMSA) was founded. Dave Arneson was a student at Park Sr High School in St Paul Minnesota at the time and joined the MMSA soon after it was founded. It was there that he met people such as Dave Wesely whose ideas would become incredibly influential on Dave's later views on gaming as well as many of the other original Blackmoor players.

It was the basement of his childhood home (seen in the picture above) that became the base of operations for the gaming events that would develop into the first fantasy roleplaying game. This is where one would find the bar counter that Dave used as what may have been the first DM's screen and the Ping Pong Table where much of the gaming took place.

Greg Svenson describes the basement as follows:

When you went down the stairs to the basement of Dave's house there were doors to the right and to the left. The right hand door went to the laundry room (where we met the first black pudding on the first dungeon dive). The door to the left led to the room where we did most of the gaming. When you walked in to the room the bar was to your immediate right and the ping pong table (a pretty ordinary one) was on the left, with a couch against the wall on the far left.

Who would have guessed that an ordinary Minnesota kid with a fascination for board games would help change the world?

Further discussion of this article



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