So, I got the Player's Handbook for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition on Friday. I don't often get a choice to play, not living anywhere near other players, but I enjoy reading the material and comparing it.

Before I go over my impressions, let me discuss my views of the other 4 editions.

1st and 2nd Edition I came to after they were gone out of print. I mainly came into contact with them via an old starter set of the 1978 version and games like Baldur's Gate. Later I got the player's handbook for AD&D 2nd Edition. Basically, my view here was similar to what a majority these days thinks; it's counter-intuitive, complex and at times downright illogical. THAC0 was and is a source of continued confusion for me, and a lot of the rules and restrictions were rather arbitrary and annoying.

3rd and 3.5 Edition was the one I've actually player, both in person and on PC. It's a good system, but required a ton of modifiers, notes and maths calculations to do the simplest things. Over time there was also a vast amount of material released, leading to a power creep and some utterly broken things. Overall though it was a good system, being neither excessively complex nor annoyingly simplified.

I didn't like 4th Edition, though I never played it. I was never very inclined to do so after I saw the mechanics. I didn't like how they looked so I never made the effort. To me it was going back to a tactical wargame which isn't what I wanted.

My first impressions of 5th Edition is that it was simplified in the right areas without making it too simple. It has taken things back to the more RPing approach of 3rd Edition, but nicely streamlined things. Now things are well defined, simple, easy to follow. Rather than lots of maths to do modifiers there is an elegant system of advantage/disadvantage where you roll 2 D20s and either choose the best or worst result depending. The spells now scale beautifully and the classes have real flavour without going overboard.

I'm very impressed by it, but I'm obviously not sure how it plays. Hopefully I can find someone to play with sometime.