By accident, I found out which version of Dungeons & Dragons I got my start with — one of my players brought with him his copy of the magenta Expert Set, which features the same color scheme and some of the same artwork as the Basic Set.

I’d heard of so many players who got their start with the D&D “Red Box” that I was discouraged from ever searching out the “pink” box I was familiar with — but now I finally know it was the 1981 “Magenta Box” in our games cupboard.

I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I found the Basic Set and started puzzling it out, though it coincides roughly with the 1994/1995 Battletech toys, which means I was probably about ten years old when I started in.

Some of the first tables I made were copying out experience point charts. I remember figuring out that higher experience point totals took longer to accumulate, but I couldn’t figure out how they were gained or awarded.

Treasure was also beyond me — I easily determined how important magic items were for advancement, but I couldn’t figure out how and why characters received their equipment beyond their starting allotment.

I could easily see how a character could afford all of their basic gear — but I couldn’t figure out how they got “the good stuff.” Oh, but I made “wish lists.”

It would be another seven years or so before I would get into a regular D&D group — even now I’m still working out the how characters get “the good stuff,” albeit for narrative (and vaguely philosophical) rather than logistical reasons.

Anyway. That was a fun trip down memory lane. And now I know I got my start with the “Magenta Box.” I didn’t get to play so much — but I made my own character, wrote out an experience chart, and designed a dungeon or two on graph paper.

Good times.