From AD&D's handful of wargame stats to the streamlined, elegant design of 2020, D&D's character sheets have a lot to say about how the game has changed.
Character sheets tell us a lot about how a game works. The core rules of a game might be hundreds of pages long, but a character sheet condenses the most relevant information into a single, easy to use document that tells players everything they need to know. A well designed sheet tells you what the game designers think is important, and help add emphasis to the game's rules. You can learn a lot about what folks were thinking by looking at what goes into a sheet.
Which is exactly what we're going to do today. Going back to the very first character sheets in D&D's history to the present day incarnations, we're going to take a look at how character sheets have evolved--and how they've shaped the game across the editions. So get out your graph paper, your slide rule, and let's step back in time to 1971, back before there was a first edition, before there was even a dungeon OR dragon. Because if we want to look at the protoplasm that would evolve into the first recognizable character sheet, you've got to understand where it all begins.
And for us, that's back in the progenitor of D&D: Chainmail - Rules for Medieval Miniatures.
We all know that D&D began as an outgrowth of the booming wargame...