For this blog post I thought I would start investigating what RPG really means and its history, so lets begin.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term ‘RPG’, it stands for Role Playing Game. RPG’s allow people to take on the role of a fictional character in a wide range of scenarios. Over the years RPG’s have evolved with new characteristics and better features then ever before. The earliest known type of ‘RPG’ was the Commedia Dell’arte which roughly translates to ‘Comedy of Craft’ which dates as far back as the 16th century and originated from Rome. Commedia Dell’arte consisted of actors doing improv to numerous scenarios using exaggerated masks and used props to help define the scenario or character better.
But it is said to be H.G. Wells (Yes, the guy who wrote War of the worlds and famous for his contribution to the science fiction genre) who really opened up to RPG’s (some calling him the ‘great grandfather of RPG’s’) with developing a book of wargame rules called Little wars and it was he who made the first suggestion to create figurines in order to immerse people into the battle. Despite popularity, war games didn’t really take off until early 1950s. In 1953 Charles Roberts released a war game called ‘Tactics’ which created a standard in game mechanics with some still being applied today such as cardboard counters being used to signify military units.
“You only have to play at Little Wars three or four times to realise just what a blundering thing Great War must be,” – H.G. Wells