Most of this week, we've been looking at 1991. I'm going to go over a century back in time from that, to look at an article I've found that should be of great interest to those curious about the origins of role playing.
It has been discussed elsewhere that Major Wesley's Braunstein game may well be the precursor to modern roleplaying games. That fateful evening, Major Wesley and company were playing with rules from Charles A.L. Totten's book from nearly a century past, titled Strategos: The American Game of War.
Here's where it gets really cool: in the NY Times archives, I was able to find this article (click here for the full pdf) dated December 30, 1879, in which Lt. Totten demonstrated his game in New York for (Civil War hero) General Winfield Scott Hancock and other assorted U.S. Army personnel. Reading about this session, its eerie to see the references to tabulated resolution and "casting a single die" in a session held for a group of men not 14 years out of the U.S. Civil War.
Certainly you can keep going further and further back for more originating checkpoints for our hobby, but I find that article utterly charming. Who knew that 100 years after that game, we'd have AD&D in full swing?