The truth is that D&D was never really my favourite game. The nearest I got to seriously enjoying the original brand of fantasy roleplaying game was on two occasions: firstly, in 2000 when we first received Third Edition; secondly, in 2018 when I played a megadungeon game with B/X. Both times, in the end, the abstractions wore me down.
In recent weeks, I’ve been discovering how to run a megadungeon game without the rules of D&D. We’ve been using the GURPS Third Edition rules and having an absolute blast! In fact, this must be the most popular and exciting game I’ve run in a good few years. What’s the reason? I believe it’s the use of a solid game structure (dungeoncrawl) with some easy-access rules (GURPS) utilising an Open Table format. A good dungeon game doesn’t need D&D.
While I am happy to introduce new gamers to D&D, I’m not really a big fan of the big box brand. It seems to me that the super-powered heroes of the modern D&D are a far cry from the barely competent adventurers of the past. But either way, the d20-rolling abstracted engine is not really something I enjoy running or playing.
If you love D&D, well, more power to you! I just don’t think it was written for me. While I am a big fan of the old Red Box BECMI introduction to dungeoncrawling and I’m hugely grateful for the invention of the game, overall I think I would rather just do it with GURPS. The rules of D&D are not really fulfilling my desires at the table anymore. And that’s ok.