Today, April 17th 2021 marks the 50 year anniversary of the first official Blackmoor Game session. The session was announced in Dave Arneson's fanzine, Corner of the Table Top (Vol. 3 No. 4), where shared gaming updates with other gamers in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.
The announcement for the game read:
There will be a medevil "BRAUNSTEIN" April 17, 1971 at the home of David Arneson from 1500 hrs to 2400 hrs with refreshments being available on the usual basis. Players may come at any time and any number are welcome to attend what should prove to be an exciting time. It will feature mythical creatures and a poker game under the Troll's bridge between sunup and sundown.
Now I don't know about you, but I would have loved to be part of this game. I have not seen many more details about what this game entailed. Did actual trolls play poker or was it just that the game took place under that bridge where the troll used to hang out?
Was this actually the first Blackmoor game? That is where fans and experts disagree. Most accept that Dave Arneson ran similar games before this time even if they were not announced in the fanzine. Several of his players have said that they remember games at least as early as 1970. Jon Peterson has referred to these games as Blackmoor "precursor games" which leads us to a discussion of definitions, which we can get back to in a future blog article.
In any case the anniversary of the Blackmoor Troll Bridge Poker Game gives us an opportunity to celebrate perhaps the most important step in the development of modern Tabletop Roleplaying Games. Enjoy the day and raise your glass to Dave Arneson!