My First Gaming Book

I was reminiscing about the good old days recently. I’m a gamer of a “certain” age and my history with the hobby is a long, storied one (but not as long and storied as some I suspect).


Over the decades, I’ve owned “several” gaming books, but the 1st edition Player’s Handbook is the first one I purchased myself–using money I got for my 10th birthday. I think it cost just over £10–which was a princely sum in those days. (Now, of course, you can’t even get a decent burger for the same amount!)

This book has a special place in my heart. It’s wildly unlikely I’ll be playing much 1st edition AD&D in the near future, but you’ll pry this book from my cold, dead hands (but only if you make the relevant Strength check).

What was the first gaming book you ever spent your own money on (and do you still have it)? Let me know, in the comments below.

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Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

16 thoughts on “My First Gaming Book”

  1. I know my first book(s) was the Magenta Basic Set, but I don’t remember if I bought that with my own money or not. Man, middle age is a pain . . . .

    The first book I’m positive that I purchased with my own money was Unearthed Arcana, as I recall seeing it in a Toys’R’Us store way back when and being mesmerized by the list of polearms!

  2. Mine was the AD&D 2nd Edition Player’s Handbook. We were playing a 1st Edition campaign but 2nd Edition had just come out so I bought it instead. I wore that book out and had all the page numbers to the most used tables and such memorized. For all its quirks I still had a grand time playing that game.

  3. My first book was the Fiend Folio at JC Penney’s. I only had the blue box at the time, but the illustration of the githyanki compelled me to buy the book. Of course, I then had to save up for all the AD&D books…

  4. Photocopied copies of the OD&D booklets because they were perpetually sold out at every FLGS in town. First hardbounds were 1E: MM, PH, DMG.

  5. My first RPG purchase was The complete starter set. The big yellow AD&D starter box. I still have it in very nice condition although I think the mini’s and dice might have disappeared over time.

  6. I’m pretty sure it was the Top Secret boxed set, about 1981. I really cannot recall if the kids in the neighborhood first played D&D or this. I knew I had to have it, and begged my dad to make a trip to a department store that we never went to otherwise.

  7. See I still have my first rpg book: Star Wars D6 by WEG. Saved up my paper round money to buy a shiny hardback copy from Spirit Games back in 1994. 24 years later I still own it along with a whole ton of other books (and systems). So glad I went for it over a comouter game!

  8. amazingly the same book, i remember scouring the back pages of dragon and ordering it from spirit games – i wrote a letter with my mums help and got her to write me a cheque, it duly arrived with a note thanking me for the nice letter..sadly i dont have it anymore, having sold my 1st edition hardbacks in the mid 90’s

  9. My first gaming book was the Red Box set, received for Christmas. The first book I purchased was the 1st Edition Players Handbook with the big demon on the cover. Still have all those.

  10. My first gaming book was back in 1989 , a Players handbook & unearthed arcana, both of which I still have. They are stashed among my many other gaming books on my shelves of joy.

  11. My first introduction as well.
    Although I never used the new rules I di adopt the stories. And as dm allowed for newer races from time to time that I generated stats on.

  12. My first book was the Fiends Folio. I was 11 years old. I remember walking to the mall with my friend Darrell. He already had the DMG, PHB, and the Monster Manual but this was my first book. I was blown away by the artwork. It was nothing like any of the books out at the time. We walked home and took turns reading out loud the different monster stats.

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