Don’t misunderstand my intentions here. I’m not post this to say that Randall is wrong. Far from it. His post was all about his rankings. This post is about my rankings. Neither one is right. Neither one is wrong. This is pure opinion.
So anyways… here’s my rankings.
2e with Player’s Option books: I really enjoyed the player’s options books because they opened up so many, well, options and made the game more exciting to me. I’ve always been a player that gets enthused about options and ways to tweak characters.
2e: While I cut my baby RPG teeth on BECMI, I didn’t get into real role playing with a true group of mature role players until 2e came out. I remember joining Joe’s game as he was “converting” it from 1e to 2e because the 2e books had just come out and he was so excited about the layout, formatting and general ease of use that 2e had over 1e.
1e: I’ve played in lots of 1e games since meeting Bill & Nat with Bill at the helm, and I must say that 1e is one of those games that require a good GM. There’s lots of “wiggle room” in the rules to where each GM can make the game his own. This can be good or bad, but usually turns out great. I had a lot of fun with this system, and I hope to play it more in the future.
BECMI/RC: Since this is what I started with, it’s higher up on the list. I never did understand, though, why an “Elf” couldn’t also be a “Thief” or vice-versa. I like the race+class combos allowed in the AD&D versions of the game. However, these box sets are still near and dear to my heart since they are what I started gaming with.
3e/3.5e: I rank these guys together because they are close twins of each other. I had a lot of fun with 3e/3.5e because I was in a handful of good groups during the “third party publisher hay day” that 3e brought about. I loved the different takes that different publishers would have on the game, but I also hated them at the same time. Some publishers (Mongoose) were more in line with the game balance of WotC while other publishers (AEG) seemed to push the boundaries of sane play by making each book’s abilities more potent than the previous publication. Still, the overall mood of most publications was a good one.
4e: I’m sorry to all of the people that love this game, but I hate it. The “perfect game balance” in which all characters at the same level roll the same dice with just merely different special effects bores me to tears. It honestly doesn’t matter what character type you play because the game is dumbed down, so that even the best strategist has limited effect in combat. Because all of the characters have the same abilities with different flavors, it’s damn near impossible to stand out. Also, skill challenges are lame as are PC wishlists for treasure. PCs should take what treasure they get (preferably at random) and make do with it.
Others: I’ve never played OD&D or B/X, so I can’t rank them. I started gaming in 1983 with the classic red box D&D and I’ve gone from there. I didn’t play 1e until I was well versed in 2e. As a matter of fact, I thought 1e was the original version. It wasn’t until about a decade ago that I was aware of OD&D, and I’ve just never pushed my bankroll to purchase a complete OD&D set with all supplements. I’ve also never played a B/X retroclone or update. If I were to go that route, I’d pull out my old red box and blue box sets and play them.