Does Everyone Really Start with Dungeons & Dragons?

An Unscientific Poll

Since the beginnings of tabletop roleplaying, it’s been a pretty safe assumption that most roleplayers got their start with Dungeons & Dragons. But there have been a lot of games over the years, and some of them have been explicitly focused on attracting newcomers. Is D&D still the point of entry for most of us?

Rather than answer that question definitively, I took a self-selecting, incredibly unscientific online poll. I asked tabletop RPG folks on Google+, Reddit, Tumblr, and Twitter to tell me which game was their first, when they first played it, and who introduced them to it.

As you’d suspect, some of the answers were incomplete, some were a bit confusing (a few respondents, for example, had a false start or two before truly playing an RPG), in some cases memories were fuzzy. After sifting it down to 149 responses and making a few judgment calls (“early 1990s” was counted as 1992, for example), a couple of fascinating trends emerged:

first-game

First, Google+ respondents have been playing for a rather long time, with an average starting year of roughly 1987. Reddit and Tumblr respondents haven’t been playing for nearly as long. This isn’t surprising, given the demographics of each social platform. Also, according to this unscientific poll, the less time a gamer has been playing, the more likely they started with something other than D&D.

I’ll cover responses to the “who introduced you to RPGs?” question and call out some of the most interesting first game responses in a future post.

And here is that follow-up post.