This is the third of a 10-part series I’m doing on my favorite game systems.

My 8th favorite game system is the latest edition of the world’s oldest roleplaying game: D&D. It’s also the most popular RPG in history right now (at least in terms of a raw number of players; it would be interesting to normalize the data for the population of the 1980s since to see if on a per capita basis that was still true).

I’ve played D&D 5e since it was first in beta ten years ago (back then the code name was ‘D&D Next’; I kinda’ wished they’d kept that name!). It’s a fun game, and relative to the 3rd and 4th editions of D&D, I much prefer it. It has some great innovations (some taken from other games): inspiration, rolling advantage, legendary actions for monsters, and death saving throws.

That being said, in my point of view, the game isn’t perfect. D&D 5e carries forward the notion introduced somewhere in the 3e or 4e days about ‘balanced encounters.’ Much of the game revolves around the notion that the GM should make combats ‘fair’. In this way, D&D 5e is more like a ‘sport’ where no one is deeply worried about losing, and it’s more about analyzing the game mechanics and statistics, sort of like watching professional sports. This is as opposed to 1e and 2e era D&D game mechanics where ‘combat is war.’ As one person said, ‘The 20th level dragon doesn’t care if you’re 1st level.’ The below video explains this topic well.

I do like D&D 5e, but having run it off and on for a few years, I’ve become weary of the heavy rules and emphasis on miniatures and balanced encounters. In particular, the game really slows down after about 8th level (tip: run low-level campaigns where characters are mostly levels 3 to 7 for maximum fun!).

I do still run or play 5e, but these days there are some other D&D-inspired games that I prefer more! More on those as I continue my series 🙂