Ihave always wondered if the creators of Dungeons and Dragons knew from the start the phenomenon they going to induce. Today, D&D is practically synonymous with RPG, due more to its age than its design. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons is a game set in the fantasy genre, where races like Elves, Dwarves, and Goblins are as much a part of life as humans and horses. True to standard fantasy format your characters are heroes, travelling the land to rid the world of evil - and why not, considering the great amount of wealth evil seems to amass? The players are normally the standard "goodly" races of Human, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Gnome or Half-elf and are further categorized into professions, or classes, like fighter, mage, thief or cleric. Admittedly, there are a grander number of races and classes due to all the supplements and support on the web, but for the most part they can all be broken down to the listed. The system makes use of many of the dice-types available. This is only the start of purchases that need to be made. While a player can normally get by purchasing dice and the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master will eventually come across the need for the affore mentioned Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual. This plus any pre-designed worlds, adventures, or other supplements can and up costing a weighty sum.
Money matters aside, the gamebooks themselves are written fairly well. The newer books have easy to read charts and appendixes, not to mention helpful and informative sidebars. The guidebook is written well enough so that it should be simple to start off using the core rules of the system and as the gamer's ability grows to begin to add in proficiencies, and other optional rules. One of the reasons I like the guidebooks so much is the fact that they stress teamwork and socialization. I do disagree, however with their statement that nobody "wins" in an RPG, It should be stated that as long as the players have fun everybody "wins".
Character creation is preformed by adding the sum of 3d6 for each statistic. Because the game centers level-gaining on combat the higher the stat the better off the character will be in the long run, as stats can not improve without the aid of magic.
When AD&D first came out there wasn't that much to compare it to and TSR was king of the hill. However, as systems have been introduced to the market and have become less cumbersome more gamers have been moving on. However, younger gamers take the game up again and there are still the old die-hards that refuse to play any other game, and staying power like that, especially with all the costs, does say something for the game.
Highs - Very available to consumers, well established, good starter system
Lows - Game system can become limited, focuses more on killing monsters than problem solving and character development
Final Call - A good starter system, however with all the newer games about, it's easy to grow out of.
Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, 2nd edition, TSR Inc 1989
Player's Handbook $18.00
Dungeon Master's Guide $18.00
Monster Manual $24.95