Inside the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Game That’s Been Going for 40 Years

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When last we heard about Robert Wardhaugh, his Dungeons & Dragons campaign had been running for about 35 years. But now, Wardhaugh’s D&D game has hit the 40 year milestone. Wired recently visited with Wardhaugh to see how he keeps the game interesting. He and his friends started playing in secret many years ago. And now, well, the video notes the game “takes up much of Wardhaugh’s life and most of his house.”

When he’s not in the role of Dungeon Master, or DM, Wardhaugh works as a history professor for the University of Western Ontario. And that career plays into his game. The unique world he constructed for his game is an alternative fantasy version of historical Earth. He started with D&D rulebooks but evolved to a more homebrew style over the years.

Wardhaugh has around 30,000 hand painted figures and custom terrain to play with. He hosts the D&D game for dozens of players. Those players have made over 500 characters for the game over the years. Wardhaugh estimates he runs a 10-hour session weekly. After doing the math, he calculates he’s spent over 20,000 hours of his life playing Dungeons & Dragons.

That’s commitment. Wardhaugh tells Wired he makes some pretty major life decisions in service of continuing the game. For example, when he purchased his house, he knew he needed an area for gaming. He utilizes the whole basement as his gaming space. Just the storage of tabletop minis alone takes up storage, let alone all the custom terrains and actual playing surfaces. Basically, Wardhaugh wants to have everything and prepare as much as possible. He’s the kind of DM who makes every option available to his players.

Several people sitting around miniature terrain playing Dungeons & Dragons

We’re quite impressed with Wardhaugh’s dedication and how he’s created a place for so many people to escape into. He doesn’t plan to end his game anytime soon. You can read more about this epic Dungeons & Dragons campaign at this website.

Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist and the author of A Kid’s Guide to Fandom, available now. Follow her on  Twitter and Instagram.

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