The First Dungeons & Dragons Was Created In This Basement

Even if you don’t play pen-and-paper role-playing games, there are countless video games that have been influenced by (and indeed, directly based on) the Dungeons & Dragons RPG created by the late Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the franchise’s inception and what better way to celebrate than to visit The Basement in Gygax’s hometown, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, crack out the old core books and roll some dice.

The three-minute clip above was shot by “D&D historian” Jon Peterson and takes us on a short tour of Lake Geneva, before delving into the aforementioned basement. We get to see where Gen Con, perhaps the largest gaming convention in the world, got its start.

Turns out it was inside the town’s Horticultural Hall, which hosted the inaugural event all the way back in 1968. This also happened to be the time Arneson and Gygax met and well, the rest is history.

Gygax’s basement is a humble space, with one of its entrances marked “Wargames Room”. Inside is an elevated sandbox — sadly not the original, but a recreation for the anniversary — where Gygax would play out various table-top battles. There are shelves of miniatures to one side, ready to partake in simulated combat.

The video ends with the beginnings of a game of the original D&D, though no one looks particularity thrilled by the proceeding… I guess it’ll take a few beers and pizzas before the action really starts.

Gaming at the Gygax House: A Visit to the Basement Where D&D Began [YouTube, via BoingBoing]

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